Parents as teachers [Archives:2007/1100/Education]

November 5 2007

Bijayalaxmi Mohanty
[email protected]
Orissa, India

Parents are the first and the most inspirational teachers for the child. Learning becomes a delightful experience for the child because the soothing touch of their affection takes away the barriers to learning that limit their potential. However, this by all means is a difficult task to perform in so far as parents have to address themselves to children who demonstrate a wide range of behavioral characteristics.

It is a common experience that children fall under different categories. There are children who are bright but disorganized; some others demonstrate different kinds of behavioral difficulties; there are yet others who are wanting to overcome a weakness – academically or socially; there may be some who have suffered a trauma; those who have a physical difficulty or who need help in a particular subject; there are people who can't learn effectively, who panic, who have been identified as having learning difficulties or who want to learn techniques for success in exams. Parents have to learn the techniques how to be a veritable touchstone so as to transform all children, even those labeled dull, lazy, naughty or difficult into good learners. At the same time they have to make the gifted children scale greater heights preventing them from being bored and allowing them to fully utilize their innate potential.

First and foremost, parents should come to terms with their children and understand their behavior. They should deal with children in a friendly nurturing way by making them be conscious of their environment and promoting their coping skills and strategies. Children have to be taught to be good communicators which would break psychological barriers and facilitate emotional bridge building between parents and children. On the other hand if parents become threatening, coercing or intimidating then the children's healthy mental growth becomes stifled. So building children's self-esteem is highly essential. Then children can get the best out of the school. Homework can thus be fun and adventure, an exciting exploration rather than a dull exercise.

Parents are children's best friend, philosopher and guide. As such, they can work together, learn together and can have fun together. Children learn best if they are confident of parent's love, support and sense of purpose. Between birth and 10, children should be helped to learn how to cope with everyday life, how to cooperate with other people in a variety of situations, how to think and how to learn. If we make sure of this, we lay the foundation for children's more specialized learning at secondary school.

Commonly parents don't have time enough to spare for children to supervise their home task. This is particularly so in urban settings and if both the parents are working. In such cases, parents need to carefully decide how much time they have and ration it judiciously. They may have time only to chat and not concretely help the children. They may just give tips that would enable the children to do the home task.

It is generally seen that home tasks are completed by parents. This is harmful for children. Parents should not overstep their limits and deprive children from getting the learning experience. If the children engage themselves in the activity, they will feel confident that they can do. If, however, the task is too difficult, parents can ask structured questions that can lead the children from the familiar to the unfamiliar. We should never leave them with the feeling that they are not capable of being successful.

Usually children return from school fatigued. We should help them recreate themselves by means of energy-boosters such as food, exercise, sleep, chat, TV viewing, etc. and then let them go at their own pace and own rhythm.