Parents must help the child discover his or her “element”, a term
explained by Sir Ken Robinson as where “aptitude meets passion.”
Parenting is a challenging task in the modern times. Balancing work and parenting duties can make parents feel that parenting is stressful and challenging. Need to manage several requirements of life along with the essential parenting duties. Parenting in this age of rapidly changing technology is like chasing a moving goal. Technology can be used for consumption or creation. Choose creation whenever possible.
But being a parent can also be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of your life, although it’s not easy. No matter what age your child is/children are, to be a good parent, you have to make your children feel valued and loved while teaching them the difference between right and wrong. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to create a nurturing environment where your children feel like they can thrive and develop into confident, independent, and caring adults.
The challenges to parenting today are very different from those of earlier generations. Enlightened and informed parents have to play an active role in the overall development of their children. Sending the children to the best schools that are available is an obvious first step, but it is not everything. It is for the parents to observe the child’s progress till adulthood and create an environment in which the child can thrive. They have to help the child discover his or her “element”, a term explained by Sir Ken Robinson as where “aptitude meets passion”.
Parents have to be especially conscious of 4 stages in the journey from infancy to adulthood:
• Preparing the child for school (approximate age 5)
• A review at Grades 5 and 8
• Readiness for the world when completing school at grade 12 and age 18
• Be able to make a smooth transition while encouraging intellectual risk-taking and life-long learning.
The internet can be a wonderful educational tool for children. It provides them with instant access to information. They can keep in touch with friends and family all over the world, sharing emails, photos, and even videos. They can learn new languages with the help of mobile Apps. The possibilities are seemingly endless. Now, with AI enabled Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, responding to your kid’s every command untiringly, completely new frontiers are opening up.
This is an era of information overload. Too much of junk information may be as harmful as too much of junk food. Parents have to engage with their children in developing them as active learners and critical thinkers.
- Develop your child as a lifelong learner.
- Foster the habit of reading and a love for learning.
- Encourage curiosity and a questioning mind.
- Educate your children that “Your self-worth cannot be calculated by likes and shares and re-tweets”.
The important point to understand is that everything has pros and cons and that one needs to strive for a balance.
Unfortunately, as beneficial as the internet may be for children today, it is also one of the most dangerous tools they can get their hands on. With just a few clicks of a mouse, your child can go from learning about the mating habits of the spider monkey to seeing explicit videos on the mating habits of humans. The amount of pornography on the internet is just as abundant as the amount of educational material, if not more.
Luckily for parents who may not have the time to consistently monitor their child’s internet time, there are programs, such as Net Nanny, that restrict the material each computer is allowed to access. These programs essentially block websites that may contain offensive or inappropriate information.
Another danger of internet usage is the child’s access to social networking sites such as Facebook, as well as multiple chat room options. While these places and tools are a great way for your child to communicate with friends and family, it is also a primary avenue by which sexual predators make contact with underage children. Educate them on the signs to look for when a virtual pen pal begins to cross the line.
Everything has pros and cons.
One must strive to create a balance.
Pointers on positive parenting:
Appreciate and encourage effort and show a benign indifference to marks as an indicator of performance: The story of John Gurdon at Eton College is an eye opener of how little schools really know about the potential of the children whom they are teaching. At the age of 15, Prof. Sir John Gurdon ranked last out of the 250 boys in his Eton year group at biology and was in the bottom set in every other science subject. Sixty-four years later he has been recognised as one of the finest minds of his generation after being awarded the Nobel Prize, in medicine/Physiology which he shared with Japanese stem cell researcher Shinya Yamanaka.
Encourage the child to ask questions.
One of the very splendid examples of a parent’s expectations from school is in
Abraham Lincoln’s letter to the teacher of his son. Nowhere in that letter is a request that his son should get very high marks in examinations, but there are about 20 requests to teach him what we may label as ‘values’, ‘ethics’ and ‘life skills’.