Real education…… Being a Super Mom and Dad today!!!!

  - October 11th, 2011 by Shalini Nambiar | Posted in life   3 Comments »
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Yesterday the Australian newspaper while interviewing me asked me a question which made me really think and reflect. It was a simple question asking me the difference between the education imparted when I was in school and now? It sent me back to those moments when I was in school.

How was my school day different than it is now… I realized there is a marked difference? My Mom did not even know what homework I got, once a while would ask me which teacher and what they did but it was not like a daily ritual when I got back from the school. Coming back from school, throwing my bag on the well made bed which I was supposed to do before I left for the school… the fun was enjoying what was cooked in the house and relishing each bite I took. I was not forced the minute I landed back home to show my parents what homework I had got. The conversation was more on laying the table and getting ready for a sumptuous meal. Then since I-Pod /Mobiles not being there it was a fight with my sister or just having fun. The only thing parents said was ‘Life main kuch ban jana parh likh kar’. She was not aware of which teacher said what as she was not interested. She was interested more in giving us real education which will help us to imbibe all those skills needed for survival in this big bad world.

Homework whether we did or not was left on us, never remember her prodding me to complete it thus we were forced to do it ourselves as she would not help and I would do it for the teachers I loved and a cumbersome task to finish those I hated… Her only interest was that I should become good and follow my dreams.

I was left to charter my path myself with the family support always being there I did not have to go for umpteen number of activity classes at an age when I did not even know what I liked. The whole idea was to enjoy the family and have fun. The Teachers would teach and the mom would feed and take care. Everyone’s rile was assigned and no one interfered in each others lives.

Today when I look back I realize that what my mom gave me was real education, mine and her conversation was not at all regarding what homework is to be done, it was made clear that is my duty so it was left on me.

There was hardly any parental involvement in schools and no school was talking about it as each institute understood its role and responsibility.

Furthermore, I believe it is more than coincidence that when parents did not render regular assistance with homework, children emancipated more successfully and much earlier than is the case today. There is no evidence that actual achievement is enhanced through parental involvement in homework. After all, achievement has gone down as parental involvement has gone up. Grades improve, yes, but that is because parents make sure homework is returned to school virtually without error. And they drill their kids on upcoming test material to the saturation point. And then they are known, many of them, to complain if teachers do not give the grades they think their kids deserve. By that point, it is hard to tell whose grades they are. In the process of all this involvement, kids fail to learn basic study skills, are deprived of the inestimable benefits of trial-and-error, and become increasingly dependent on parental help as parents, now heavily invested, become increasingly anxious about grades and take them as a sign of their own competence. That is called co-dependency. Meanwhile, teachers become increasingly dependent on parents to help them teach. I know of no other professional group that expects other people to help them with their job and not be paid for it… ha ha.

Today’s parents [sorry] want to be SUPER MOMS AND DADS. They seem to know everything that happens in the school…even to the extent of when did the teacher sneeze or went to the washroom.

Teach Your Child Independence

When my son was a day or two old, my Mom said to me, “You have to realize that your goal as you raise him is to become independent of you. You are preparing him to be able to leave you someday and take care of himself.” It’s a well known fact of science that seeds which are dispersed farthest from the main plant grow up healthier than the one which fall under the mother tree.

I loved this thought. My parents have always been so well-adjusted to my big milestones like driving, dating, graduating, moving out, getting a degree, getting married, having a baby… These have all been happy moments in life for them. I am sure they have had their pangs of sadness as they saw I was getting older, perhaps even tears, but in my presence it was a happy time.

Some parents out there seem to want their children to be very dependent on them. They don’t want to let go and allow the child to grow up and function on his own. I understand the reason. You love your child unconditionally. You have spent so much time caring for this child. You have sacrificed so much… I personally think if you allow your child to grow up and move on, he will happily come around to visit more often, whereas if you cling to your child and mourn his every milestone, he will likely try to develop some space between the two of you so he can move on in his life.

Understanding your child is about giving your child the tools to survive without you. The -wise books help you teach your child how to think for himself and how to make moral decisions. It helps you raise your child to be a functioning member of society who can contribute positively to the state of the world. It isn’t about fulfilling your own desires for feeling needed. It isn’t about indulging your child’s every whim. It isn’t about giving him an easy childhood free of difficulty or disappointment.

You only have your child at home with you for about 18-20 years, dependent on culture. He has a long life to live beyond that. Be sure that as you parent him, you look beyond today to help him learn skills for tomorrow. Keep that long-term perspective. You can then enjoy your “child” on the level of friend, and joy in seeing him in his success as an adult.

Making Children Mind… The Super Parent

One of my favorite concepts is how we want to become a SUPER PARENT Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours is the idea of the Super Parent. The Super Parent is the parent who reads all the books. Super Parents want their parents to work. They want to be perfect parents with perfect children. Here is Leman’s list of some reasoning by a Super Parent I own my children

•    I am judge and jury
•    My children can’t fail
•    I am boss–what I say goes

My Children Can’t Fail

As I was reading this chapter, I saw myself in the “My children can’t fail” category. I don’t want my children to fail in any area. We should allow our children to fail. “I’m not saying that a child should be a failure by habit or that he should learn to be a loser in life. I am saying that we learn through failure. We learn through making our own decisions, and some of those decisions turn out to be mistakes which lead to failure”

We shouldn’t rescue our children from their mistakes. Natural consequences will come. We can try to shield them from the pain of this reality, but at some point in life, it will catch up with them. Natural consequences will meet our children at some point. For me, the difficulty is not in allowing natural consequences to happen once a bad choice has been made. It is in allowing my children to make those decisions in the first place.

I will stand guard and remind my children to be careful; they might get hurt doing XYZ. I remind them to do things they really don’t need reminders for. I don’t allow them to try things for themselves, and I don’t give them the chance to remember things on their own. I am not saying I should be letting my two year old wander out to the busy road and “remember” it isn’t a safe place to be or learn through the natural consequence of getting hit by a car. But when my children are playing with something age appropriate and have been told the potential dangers, I need to let them remember things on their own.

I found myself reminding my own daughter to do things like pull her pants up after she went to the bathroom–every single time. At the time, she was not quite four. A child that age does not need to be reminded to pull her pants up. If she didn’t remember for some reason, she could simply take a few steps and then realize her pants were down. I don’t want to create a child who takes no care to remember to do things himself because she has a constant reminder of Mom in her ear telling her every step–down to the pants.

Children also feel good about themselves when they remember to do these things on their own. She will ask me to not tell her what to do because she wants to be responsible. She knows what she needs to do and doesn’t want to be told. She wants that feeling of accomplishment that comes from remembering and being responsible. I wasn’t giving her the chance to even forget. So I have worked on it and have tried to do better.

I have a good friend who has a personality similar to mine. Her oldest is now 12, and my friend recently shared some things she should have done differently, in retrospect. One was to not warn her daughter constantly. Another was to not remind her to do things constantly. My friend says she feels like she has taught her daughter to not trust her own judgment and she has taught her she doesn’t need to remember to do things on her own. Mom will remember. Mom will keep track of what test she needs to study for and what worksheet is due in science class. She said her daughter also will become frozen often times because she is unsure of what to do…

Many of you may not agree with me but the whole idea is for you to reflect and become a real parent who gives real education of life to the child!!!!

Cheers!!! And Happy Parenting!!!

Shalini Nambiar,
Director,
Excelsior American School.

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October 11 2011 07:03 pm | life

3 Responses to “Real education…… Being a Super Mom and Dad today!!!!”

  1. Rashid Mahmood Says:

    Dear Ms. Nambiar,

    I was exploring through the net and just got hold of your blog, It was a nice read (Super MoM and DaD)I have read it from start to end.

    But to my surprize, I believe your views are an exception( and exception don’t make a rule) and can’t be generalized. Just to put my view point in more broader way. Would like to put it in sequential manner.

    1.) Your Views(in the blog) may be a part of all Cream Dala cream schools (where fee’s are very high)like : GD Goenka, Bhatnagar International, Ahlcon, K R Mangalam or Step by Step etc.

    We are having some 20 Lac school’s (18.5 Lac Public and 1.5 Lac Private) in indian. But the dilema is not all private school’s are like above mention schools.
    Still the education system is more or less same across the length and breath of Indian (I mean the way we did our schooling)

    2.) In earlier days, we hardly have any family planning kind of thing(so more children) but now a day just after marrigae couple’s first priority is family planning – and in due course of time they either have one or maximum of two child.

    So their entire world come’s down to one or two children, So the focus is more towards that child.

    3.) In Todays case Both parents are earning hand – They spend their hard earned money for their only child. This may be one of the reason why they know when a teacher sneezes in the class.

    Well I am cutting it short, there is nothing wrong in monitoring a child and every parent lookup to them as an investment (because they are pumping up their hard earned money for their education) so I believe there is nothing wrong if they don’t want their ward to fail. No Invenstor will ever look for a negative outcome of their investment.

    What kind of outcome are the parents looking forward for its their child “SUCCESS” and not failure.Parents always think good for their child and its an Universal Truth.

    Thanks and Regards
    Rashid Mahmood

  2. Olga Says:

    This is a great post that basically summarizes my own opinion on parenting. I truly believe that our goal as parents is to raise good people, happy people. Being good at math is not likely to make a person happy in their adult life. Their attitude toward the life is.

    Unfortunately, I believe that the Western society places too much stress on academic and professional success rather then on individual character development, and it translates to our parenting style.
    Of course, I do not believe that parents should not care about academic success of their children completely. But everything is good in moderation, so we should not loose sight of other things.

    Thank you for this post, Shalini.
    I will share it with a parenting group, because I believe it is very valid.

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