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Parenting: What should I teach my child?

Article By Ernest Ndawula. Teacher Jinja College

Most concerned parents are involved in their children’s education because they want them to be successful adults. They meet with their children’s teachers and ensure that they provide the basics on time. Some have even become Learning Coaches for their children. But as important as academic learning is, it is only one part of a child’s total education. Cultivating positive characteristics is arguably just as important.

There are a number of character traits that children need to learn to be successful in life, and to be well-rounded people. Many of these traits will not only serve children well in their adult years, but will also aid them in achieving academically. There essential character traits all children need to learn early in life and continue developing them in their adult years.

1. Curiosity (a strong desire to know and learn): Children’s’ natural curiosity can seem like an annoyance to busy parents, but it is an important trait that should not be stifled. Many of our inventors and entrepreneurs point to their natural curiosity as the roots of their successes. “Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect,” It can make learning more interesting and result in more active rather than passive thinking, which is good for the brain. “For too many children, curiosity fades and Curiosity dimmed is a future denied.” Be sure to encourage your children’ curiosity, take them to new places and teach them new things, let them pursue their interests, break away from routine, share open ended-stories and be curious yourself. Ask them questions to keep them interested in the world around them and answer their question.

2. Social Skills: Social interaction is a basic part of life for both children and adults. So learning appropriate social skills is essential. Children with good social skills tend to do better in school, have a better self-image and are better at resolving conflicts. Some children are born with the outgoing personality needed to get along with others, but for some, socializing may be more difficult. Just playing with others is helpful, but when social skills are a challenge, parents can use activities to build up these skills in children, such as learning to read facial expression or playing to pick up on body language.

3. Resilience (ability to be happy, successful, etc .again after something difficult or bad has happened): Life can be hard, even for children. Everyone needs some level of resilience to get through the tough times. When children learn to be resilient, they are better able to deal with the traumas and difficulties they will surely face. Many parents understandably try to shield their children from painful situations, but teaching them resilience will serve them better in the long run. If your child is having a problem in school or with friends, try problem-solving together so he learns how to manage the problem, instead of just running away from it. And parents can help children put their problems in perspective, so they learn most problems are not as big as they may first seem.

4. Integrity (quality of honest and having strong moral principles) : Often, it is not until children do something dishonest that parents have a discussion with them about what it means to have integrity. But ideally children should learn this characteristic before they are faced with challenging ethical questions. Discuss your family values with your children and try asking what your child would do if faced with ethical dilemmas, such as seeing a friend steal from another student’s desk or cheating to get better grades. Talking through these questions will help prepare a child for real life situations.

5. Resourcefulness: Resourcefulness (finding solutions to problems) is a trait that businesses look for in employees and it should be developed in childhood. When children have all their needs met, as middle class parents children usually do, they are not often called upon to be resourceful. Having the Internet and limitless apps at their fingertips is convenient, but not helpful in building resourcefulness in children. So parents should work to nurture this trait in their children. Try some activities that will help your child to be resourceful and think out-of-the-box. For example, challenge them to create new uses for old objects, such as plastic bottles, an egg carton or rubber bands.

6. Creativity: Most think of artistic expression when hearing the word “creativity,” but it encompasses more than that. It involves imagination and creative expression in whatever form that takes. In addition to academic endeavors, children should take time for creative activities, such as music, photography, theater, making creations from clay or other materials, visiting museums and nature preserves, as well as drawing and painting. Fostering creativity in children will benefit them in other ways as well, including building their communications skills, improving their cognitive abilities such as problem-solving, and developing their emotional development. Children should be given free time without the screen time (T.V) every day to develop their own creative thought. “Children without freedom to play won’t find their creative selves.”

7. Empathy: Many children value achievement or happiness over caring for others. “My parents are prouder if I get good grades than if I’m a caring community member.” It’s up to parents to encourage children’ natural sense of empathy for others and to stress the importance of caring for others as much as getting good grades. Raising an empathetic children is not just good for the community; it will also help them to have better emotional intelligence and maybe even be more successful. There are a number of ways to build your children’s empathy, including modeling empathy and expanding your children’s outer circle to include people different from themselves, and that can even include diverse characters in books and movies.

8. Assertiveness: Somewhere between being overly aggressive and painfully timid lies assertiveness. It involves being bold and confident, and speaking up when necessary but still remaining respectful. Being assertive “fosters insight, wisdom, patience, tolerance, confidence and acceptance,” “It is the necessary building block to mature and peaceful relationships between all human beings.” Steps to teach assertiveness include explaining the various communication styles and role-playing different scenarios, respect your child’s word, talk about boundaries, respect your child’s privacy, encourage them to express feelings, encourage extracurricular activities, teach your child to manage emotions and handle disappointment and teach your children to follow through.

9. Humility: There is an important balance between having positive self-esteem and remaining humble that all children and adults need to learn. In today’s parenting culture that emphasizes praise and validation, it can be a challenge to ensure that children still have humility. Children who lack humility may grow up to be arrogant adults, and no one wants that. Yet humility can be in harmony with confidence and positive self-esteem because when a child is self-assured and does not feel inferior to others, he won’t feel the need to brag about his talents and achievements. Teaching humility to children begins with modeling it. Parents should admit when they’ve made a mistake or don’t know the answer and be willing to give credit to others. Then they can encourage children to do the same. Role-playing games and praising humility when children demonstrate it is also helpful.

10. Confidence: Having positive self-esteem has a strong correlation to behavior and happiness, so teaching a child to have confidence is important. “Because there is such a strong parallel between how your child feels about himself and how he acts,”  “it is vital to discipline to raise a confident child.” realistically praising your child constantly and excessive praise is not effective but rewarding positive behavior rather than focusing on bad behavior. Also allowing children to fail at times and to overcome obstacles on their own will build their confidence for future endeavors. Remember, they won’t always have parents to help them out, and will need to believe they can face challenges on their own.

There is a lot to learn in life that goes far beyond the academics of math, sciences, literature, etc and many of these lessons must come first from parents in the home. Be sure your children learn these important life lessons so they’ll be well-rounded, happy and successful adults! My dear parents, there is far more to securing a good education for your child than simply getting a place at the best school in the region, schools and teachers can only turn children into terrific learners if those children’s parents are laying down the foundations at home that will encourage children to step up to the challenges of the classroom.

Self-discipline: Child’s ability to control their impulses appears to lead to better health, wealth and mental happiness in later life. In school, self-discipline is central. Great learners need to listen, absorb and think. They need to keep going through difficult patches, stick at hard tasks, manage their time well and keep mental focus. Children who bounce about the classroom shouting the first answer that comes into their heads will never be great learners. Of course, a joyless, overly controlled child will never be one either. Balance matters. All children need to develop a functioning “internal locus of control”.

Conclusion

Parenting is not a course of Study, it is not Skill-training Programme, it is not an art, and it is not a business but is a natural love and mutual understanding between you and your children. Let us have bigger hearts for our children, Let us have a better understanding of our children, Let us take right decision at right time, Let us still be not late, Let us see our life (children) does not run out of our hands, Let us join our hearts and heads to understand them. Please stop underestimating your child instead start understanding the child. Say no to comparison. Education is not life but education is part of life. Gift them character and best personality but not cars, money and Properties. Be the best parent. Check your environment and your child’s emotions. Every child is gifted with some talent. Identify your child’s talent. Don’t expect your child to understand you! Instead, understand your child and give what he wants the best not what you can give him the best. Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy. Do not forget that the child’s first school is parent’s lap.

A real parent is the one who helps his children to eradicate their personality defects and imbibe good qualities. However, today’s parents feel that buying costly clothes, eatables, large sums of pocket money and paying high fees for coaching classes are their only duties. They fail to understand that these things make the children desirous of only worldly pleasures. These pleasures nurture defects in them. So, parents have to introspect whether they are giving true education to their children. It is the duty of parents to help their children to imbibe good qualities and thus, lead a happy life.

Only happy parents can generate a happy generation. In order to create good subconscious impressions on children’s mind there should be good communication between the parents and children. Only parents who are free from stress can teach their children to live a stress-free life. They can communicate with their child easily. Children do not feel like talking to parents who are always under stress. They do not feel like conveying their ideas, thoughts and problems to such parents. Hence, it is necessary that the parents remain stress-free.

No one is available to listen to the problems faced by the children. Parents are busy with their work, whereas teachers are only concerned about completing their syllabus. As a result, children are mentally confused. They lose respect and faith in their parents. Parents are stressed because children do not listen to them. Casual talk brings them together. So, it is very essential that parents take out time to sit and talk casually with your children. This will help in minimizing stress and will result in happiness.

To have a stress free home then; Stop living in the past, avoid Negative talks & approach, accept your mistakes in front of your children, Stop Constantly trying to find faults with the children, stop Speaking authoritatively, explain properly to them, and communicate always with your children.

GOD BLESS YOU

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