Thursday, May 29, 2008

School /Teacher-Parent Relationship

For a child, home is the first school. The home and most importantly the parents are vital in the development and growth of each child. Teaching is best done by parents. They can provide that strength and confidence to their children. So it would be great if both institutions, school and home work in unison for the betterment of children.

Schools must learn to tap resources right next to them. Talking about a good relationship between parents of children studying and their schools/teachers, it is worth noting that most schools in India, work quite hard to keep them away. They take it as an interference in their working style. Schools might need to take a re-look at this issue. Attending/conducting parent teacher meetings which most of the times leaves parents dissatisfied due to less time alloted to each, is not enough. Parents of today are interested and would like to involve themselves more if given an opportunity. It is seen that those parents who take extra time out for their children and their studies, are rewarded with better results. Parents who help their ward in doing home work, in getting them involved in extra curricular activities, sports etc see a good development in the child. It is the duty if a parent to introduce their child to the teacher in the beginning of the academic year, and keep a regular check on the performance of the child.

Schools may do well to tap the talents of parents. Many parents/ mothers who are not working in offices and have the time to spare, can get involved into helping out with some or the other happenings of the school. Some may actually start to enjoy it. Schools should try and explore such talented parents. Parents could volunteer to help.

The environment of the school should be friendly for the family, it could help in better cooperation of parents. Both sides need to be respected. Schools could devote more time to parents, and parents must not feel that once the child gets admission in the school, they are done with their responsibility, it rests solely with the school. A mutual understanding, a good rapport between the two enhances a sense of community and commitment.

Needless to say that maximum communication from school to home is in the early childhood period. It starts to get a little less as the child is in the middle school. A healthy school-parent relationship goes a long way in a positive development of the child.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shock Treatment !!

Parenting is tough. This I discussed in my previous post. Children find their own means of treating their parents well. They also, most of the times do not exactly want to create that so called gap. They want peace and would much like a happy atmosphere in the home. Now we can all read a great deal on parenting, understand our children, be wise, go to and what not. But nobody can explain why we flew into that rage and sulked when our children manage to get bad results in their exams. I got this mail in the morning and found it funny and also thought provoking. Read it and see what thoughts cross your mind other than having a good laugh. See how sometimes children have to try and treat their parents psychologically:
A father, passing by his son's bedroom, was astonished to see the bed was nicely made, and everything was picked up from the floor.
Then, he saw an envelope propped up prominently on the pillow. 'Dear, Dad," the letter said. "It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing to you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend, because I wanted to avoid a scene. I've been finding real passion with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew you would not approve of her, because of all her piercings, tattoos, her tight Motorcycle clothes, and because she is so much older than I am. But it's not only the passion, Dad. She's pregnant. Stacy says that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods, and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children. Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone. We'll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with the other people in the commune for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS, so Stacy can get better.
Don't worry Dad, I'm 15, and I know how to take care of myself. Someday, I'm sure we'll be back to visit, so you can get to know your many grandchildren.
Love, your son,
P.S. Dad, none of the above is true. I'm over at Jason's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the school report that's on the kitchen table.
I would like to add another video of a mobile phone, which is also based on the shock treatment that children can give to parents, to get what they want. Normal ways don't work with many...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

To Parents with love...

It is dreadful when we hear of children choosing to take their own lives. This is about suicides committed by young children, usually in their teens. How would you as a parent feel when you read about such an act been committed? Does it not conjure up images of the goings on in that family? Most of the times it is human interactions that are in question. The first reaction is shock, followed by sympathy. Then we rationalize, wondering about the hows and whys. It is devastating for parents to lose a child. A lack or a wrong style of communication, excessive expectations, isolation, peer pressure, being unable to cope with study related stress, or stress related issues at home, being bullied at home or school... what could be the reason? The reasons for teen suicides could be many.

Each person is a unique individual, and craves to be understood and recognized accordingly. Society needs to respect that feeling. So which are the adolescent years? The years between 11 and 18 are considered as the teenage/adolescent years. It is the pre-adulthood period in a persons life. Adulthood as such differs from country to country. Every society has their own voting age, or the age when the child can get a driving license, while some countries have even other ways to identify the individual stepping into an adult group. The time when a child is entering into his/her teens is considered as a tumultuous span of a few years. It is synonymous with "difficult", "rebellious", "rude", and "OH-SO-CRAZY". But the child does not have any control over the hormonal changes that are taking place in the body, which could be a a reason for erratic behavior. The onset of puberty brings in various internal and external changes in the body. The child is emerging as a unique individual. We need to understand that and cherish as well as appreciate it.

Now how do we handle this so called troubled times that a child is going through, and in turn changing the scenario of the homes they inhabit? To bring the child to the path of righteousness rather than being success oriented is the point in case. For a child to commit suicide there has to be a background.

Societies are changing worldwide, and there is a divide among parents and children. Many a times the young , sensitive mind, unable to communicate his/her thoughts, rushes to take this extreme step. It is so unfortunate, especially for their near and dear ones, who are left feeling terrible, lamenting the rest of their lives, wondering that maybe if they had a better mode of communication, maybe if they had not nagged their child, maybe if they had tried to recognize the signs that led to this, maybe then they would still have the joy of seeing their child growing up in front of their eyes.

It is so important to talk with children these days, be more friends rather than tight lipped autocratic parents. To be flexible, to understand the needs that a child may have, and yet is unable to convey. Sometimes these problems take a serious turn, and sometimes they tide over. When a child is suffering from failure in school, he suffers from low self esteem and loses all motivation to do anything seriously, with the end result being poor relations with the family and school/society. Adolescence is a very challenging time for the youth. Millions of families are struggling with their troubled teens. In all of this, the pressure falls on the teenager. They are the ones coping hard, while we wrongly imagine that it is us. It is an oft heard topic of conversation among parents of the young uns (or shall we call it a volley of complaints?). The common factors here vary from their youngsters choice of friends, the amount of time that is spent on the phone/internet, issues of being no help at home, besides it being so sad for a parent who feels that "oh, now my child, who used to hang on every word I said is now thinking and arguing with me as if I know nothing". I say, enjoy this period of your child's growing up years. Parents have to make their child feel wanted, to encourage and be very liberal with praise. The child needs it from the people he loves most.

It all has to do with the correct style of parenting. They must be made to understand that it is their right to get clothing, food, education, safety and oodles of love and affection. But it is their privilege when they get designer clothes, telephones of their own, money to spend on the things they like, etc. SO should they feel obliged for the privileges that they get? Not grateful maybe, but certainly thankful. Maybe many of you feel that they must earn these, like the good points and bad points that they get in school. Well I differ in my opinion here. Reward and punishment has been often touted as a successful parenting style. It has but short term effects. The side effects are not very neat. It is conditional parenting. Will a child not start to expect gifts for every job well done? When does he learn that there is something called duty? When is that sense of duty inculcated within the child's mind?

We must encourage children to have friends, with whom they can talk on their own level. Besides, parents themselves should invest in a meaningful relationship with their child. It is essential for the child to know and be confident of the fact that there is a place to always return to, even if he has messed up in life. Whether the situation that the child has got himself into is reversible or not, the young mind must know he has a home where he is wanted. Maybe there will be a reprimand, but love and help too. So here the important quality is a forgiving nature. Do not create impenetrable walls for the child at home.

Many times teens are unable to enter a preferred institute for further studies. It builds tension in the child's mind. Be understanding. In todays world opportunities are numerous, and of many a variety. Children should be made to understand that. It is never the end of the road. Out of shame, the child might begin to isolate him/herself. Immediately embark upon your duty as an adult to make the child feel good, get him/her to make friends and to meet people, and also to be involved in group activities.

Several times it is the parents who are culprits when they psyche the child to be the best. The parent does not realize that he/she is isolating the child. Problems start when the parent wants to make the child special. Let them lead normal lives. If the child has to, he will excel. Let them seek the path of being an independent social being. Let them learn to appreciate people with all their differences, be it the cobbler, the carpenter or even the old man who lives across the street. Let them learn to relate to all kinds of human beings, and empathize with each one of them. Teach them to excel in whatever they do. Here, there is a difference in being competitive and excelling in whatever one does. John D. Rockefeller, a wealthy American businessman and a philanthropist, said, "Competition is a sin". Every child is different. Let them have ambition, but then being over ambitious is also a recipe for disaster. It can so easily breed jealousies, too much cut throat competition, and create so many negative vibes around. The child has to learn to take every thing in his stride, and to reduce self projection at all times.

There are times when the family cannot take success and failure normally. There is too much rejoicing on successes and too much remorse during failures. To be able to take it normally without these bursts of emotions, is what we have to teach the children. To quote Bill Gates, "Success is a lousy teacher; it reduces smart people into thinking they can't lose."

Above all parents need to be supple like the bamboo shoots that grow, accommodating everything, and bend with the times. Do not be like a banyan tree under which nothing grows, but which grows huge and wide on its own. Nobody said parenting was easy, it is a process of learning to take joy in even the toughest of situations.

Teen suicides in India are on the rise. I have attempted to point out a few causes, and some solutions. We, as a society must be supportive of our new generation and make the most of their abundant energy, their spirit of adventure.These can constructively be put to good use. They need all the guidance, and understanding from us.

I would really appreciate some feedback in the form of a discussion or comments..

From my side I put forth this song which does say a lot on parenting, and how we find ourselves and our practices as the best...don't miss it please see the video.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Empowering Children-Where to Draw the Line?

Tina's son, now eleven and a half years old, has reached the seventh grade. She is proud of her son, he is doing well in school, and has enough on hand the whole day, pursuing his hobbies. And all is going fine, she thanks God for this.. But a thought seems to be nagging her of late, She feels her son does not look as mature as his classmates, he seems to be blissfully unaware of this, and she notices that other parents who have same-age sons hand over much more responsibility to them. She on her part cannot make herself allow him to travel around in the city on his own,make him run errands for her. Children apparently love to perform small odd tasks for their parents, it makes them feel responsible. She is contemplating allowing her child to get more independent than he is now

Parents and teachers need to respect and recognize each child's abilities. They all mature at different stages. But at some point we have to allow them to make their own decisions. It does give them that feeling of accomplishment. It also allows the child's self esteem to grow. Besides we several times snub the child when he/she is giving his/her point of view, or taking part in a discussion, in a way curtailing the child's sense of confidence in himself. Whatever their opinion, we can at least make them feel that their ideas matter. In a sense children must be able to speak freely, without fear of repercussions.

Now, it is a fact that parents instinctively want to protect their children. So those who are "brave" enough to send their children to school on their own, for example, are looked upon as extra 'Daring". The other not-so-brave parents feel that times are bad, it was different during the years when they were growing up. Abductions, rape, road accidents and such, are on the increase, so why take the chance. Let the child grow up and he will learn all , in good time. Does this behavior hamper growth in children? Is it a fact that daring attitude in children, helps their horizons to widen? Is Tina's anxiety justified? Is it going to make her child feel like a lesser mortal among his very-independent peers? Is she exercising bad-parenting?

Maybe taking the middle path is the answer, maybe you could have your own view-point.. If you do, do put it forth..

Watch the video provided in the link and see if it changes your stand..Read the comments too, its got me thinking..

Related link :