Are We Adding to Emotional Stress of Our Children?
Dear Parents and Teachers
Did you ever think that you can be the reason of your child’s emotional unrest or distress?
Yeah! you read it right.
Few days back, just listening to young children on National Platform of MANODARPAN, an initiative by Ministry of Education, India, my belief that the young growing children need a sincere understanding from their parents and teachers got validated.
I am sure, we all as parents and teachers wish to see our children growing into happy, responsible and confident adults. We sure do. But how do we help them to achieve that goal? By constant reminders to study hard, if they don’t score well; they are screwed up for life, comparing them with their friends, judging them on the basis of their marks with scant regards for values and other skill sets that they need to develop, pushing them to live your dreams rather following their own. Right?
You know, dear parents and teachers, we need to acknowledge the following facts to connect better with our children and support them grow into their best versions.
# 1. Different Time & Context
We must appreciate and acknowledge the fact that our children are living in totally different times and context than ours. Consequently, our very own understanding of their world is very limited. What worked at our times may not work in their times. Try to look at the things from their perspective; there is so much competition and judgement around. Growing up in a digital world we are on a juncture when we no longer can expect from them to not use digital devices. All schools have been banning mobiles into the classrooms and irony of the time is that entire schools are now being run on mobiles. It means we must focus more on teaching the right usage of digital devices in place of not using them altogether.
#2. Living in Hyper Inflated Balloons of Virtual World
Children today are living in social media created hyper inflated balloons where your image and reputation is more important than the real strength of character. How many likes and hits they get, defines their sense of worth. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real feeling for them. We need to be appreciating their real worth in real world so that they are less influenced by the falsehood imagery of virtual world. It simply means they must feel appreciated and loved at homes through our words, actions and behaviours.
What Can We Do?
Don’t Judge Children
As the old norms change and give rise to new normal, let us decide not to judge our children based on their marks. Let us value them for what they can do and achieve to their best. Instead of results, let us develop the vision to appreciate sincere efforts.
Don’t Compare Children
We are all unique. Let us understand the meaning of this sentence in its completeness. All children are born to be different. Imagine the world where everyone is the same. How boring would it be? Also understand that we can’t get children customized as per our wishes and desires. They are the products of so many factors taken together beyond our comprehension.
Appreciate their Uniqueness
Educate yourself to know the research backed information. The theory of Multiple Intelligence by Howard Gardener makes it a common knowledge that we are all innately designed to be good at different tasks. Some of us would be good at interpersonal skills, some at musical abilities, some at mathematical and reasoning abilities, some at linguistic abilities while some other at scientific enquiries. In nutshell we are all unique and it is no rocket science to understand this.
Support Them be at Their Best
Knowing the theory and real-life manifestation of MI, our job as parents and teachers is to support our children be at their best. It means we must focus to strengthen their innate talents rather than spending our time on improving their weakness. It means, if your child is good at Languages and Social Sciences and struggles at Mathematics; you must focus on further strengthening the strengths and manage the weakness. In this case, a career must be carved out of humanities rather than Sciences.
Provide Opportunities to Explore Beyond Academics
All children must be provided ample opportunities to explore their interests and skills beyond academics. It means creating and availing opportunities for your child to identify what interests her. Let children play and engage in dance, music, arts and craft and sports as well. The very notion that children good at academics are successful in life is being challenged by every day proofs that most successful people around you were not all toppers in their schools.
Children must be trusted. Habitual distrust leads to low self-esteem. Don’t assume that your child is out with friends to indulge in wrong doings only or you must know everything about them for the time when they are away from you. In order to know them better, engage positively with them rather than spying on them. Remember, teenagers hate being distrusted. The more you show distrust the further they get away from you. Your trust in their capabilities and sincere appreciation of their efforts helps them develop self worth, so essential to their growth.
Don’t Tag or Label Children
The worst thing you as parents can do is to tag or label them. While growing, children go through various phases and stages. If you label the normal naughtiness of your child as notoriety and always bring that out in to your conversations with others, believe me your children will prove you right for the same over time. If you ever have heard the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy, Read More you would better understand it. If you ever have to tag, consciously tag them with good labels. That also would be fulfilled over time.
Treat Children with Respect
Always treat your children with respect. Just because they are younger to you in age, does not mean that you have the right to find faults at all times with them. They might not be right at all times but they deserve respectful guidance and corrections. Also remember you can never get the right settled in anyone through making them feel miserable. In order to help them discover the right, your job is of mentor, coaching, guiding and being there. You never slap your children when they fall down and are injured. You pick them out of love and comfort them. Just try to understand emotional fall. Be there to hold hands and guide through when they go wrong, no body makes mistakes intentionally. How you guide them out defines how they value themselves.
I believe, educating and updating ourselves with research facts as per the changing times and context, we sure can understand our children and support them be their best versions.
Let us be at our best!