Disclaimer: This blog post is my opinion based on my experiences and understanding. It is not intended to offend any reader. We can all have our own opinions.
As a teacher, I see many personalities of parents. It is so interesting to see how the personalities of parents affect each child in every single way- academically, socially and emotionally. I am a Kindergarten teacher and I am so blessed to have an amazing group of children between the ages of 4-6. It doesn't take a university degree or years of teaching experience for anyone to know that the pre-schooling age is when children develop the most and in many ways, sets the path for their future. Not to say that everything that happens at this stage is concrete and nothing can change. But it is the foundation of how children will interact with others, understand others, understand oneself, cope in situations and manage emotions. In the present and for the future.
If you are a parent and academics is all you care about, if getting anything less than 80% is unacceptable, if not getting into the best school is regarded as failing, please stop reading now and go hug your child. I understand the want for a parent to have a high achieving child, but if it is all you care about, you are missing out on providing your child with so much more that education can bring. If your child is currently struggling in school, don't fret. It is not the end of the world. It is not the end of having a successful future. It is not a reason to punish your child. It is not an indication for enrolling in daily tuition classes. I understand that in every education system, there is an emphasis on different parts of education, and therefore the need to keep up with peers or even the system but just know, education is not just the academics. Education is also the soft skills that develops respectable, decent human beings. Human beings that input and impact more into society than just graduating on the Dean's list. That, in my opinion, is the true meaning of education. And quite frankly, take a look at newspapers or the news each night, there is a lack of morals and values amongst the society we live in- both young and old.
Getting the right answer is one thing but explaining how you got to the answer is another (irregardless if it is right). The latter being more important. Communication is so important in learning and it is not based on how smart you are. Communication in this day and age is so crucial. In a society where almost everyone is graduating with a college degree, what will set one person apart from another is their soft skills- their communication skills, emotional capabilities and social adaptability. No amount of studying will help you develop those skills. They are developed throughout your life, through family interaction on a daily basis, friends you bond with in school, challenges set up to improve your thinking, and strategies to improve decision making and dealing with adversities. So please, spend time with your child. Not doing homework, not tutoring them to do long division, but to just spend quality time with time. Even if it is playing lego, going to the park for a picnic and kick a ball around, visiting the zoo, going grocery shopping. Never underestimate the power of play and everyday, simple activities shared with your child.
As I started off earlier, I see many personalities of parents. Not to say that one is better than the other or that any of the parents I speak with on the daily is 'bad' but there is one type of parent that I would suggest to avoid being- The Helicopter Parent. A very well-used term in schools to describe the parenting style of a parent who pays super close attention to every detail of their child's experiences and problems. Parents who implement the helicopter parenting style is often one who thinks they are just doing what is best to ensure their child is happy all the time and makes sure that they are always ok, etc. I understand that all parents want the best for their child but there is a fine line between wanting the best for your child and being a hindrance in your child's development. No parent would ever purposely hinder their child's development, but it does happen. They would never admit to being the hindrance, but they are.
If your child if having a bad day at school due to the inadvertent 'friendship issues' of adolescent, especially amongst girls, do not get directly involved. Do not go directly speak to the other child's parents or the child. Do not ring up the school worried sick. It is so important to note that, like adults, not all children want to be friends with all children. They will develop overtime their close group of friends based on personalities and characters they get along with the most. It is normal, is it natural and it is not bullying if one child does not want to be friends with your child. Your child will be fine. It is life. Better they learn it now than to be coddled by mummy dearest and think the world is perfect. Instead talk to your child, find out how they are feeling, what has caused them to feel that way. And most importantly, give them strategies to get around it. If a group of friends doesn't want to play with them, give them the strategies to approach another group to make friends with other people. If they are being bossed around, give them the strategies to stand up for themselves and to speak out what they want. How you handle the situation is so crucial is helping to solve the issue. It is not a nice feeling to know your child is perhaps lonely in school or perhaps is not happy for one reason or another. But it is in these moments that parents can really help to develop their child emotionally, socially and psychologically.
If you go around being the Helicopter Parent, trying to solve all your child's problems directly with the school or the other party, you are not giving your child the opportunity to develop self confidence, self awareness and socially. It is honestly one of the saddest mistakes parents often make in the early stages of a child's education. If you set your child up with good strategies to overcome obstacles, it will have a direct affect on how they handle everything in life - friends, school work, family, oneself. You would be amazed how providing and developing soft skills can have a real, positive effect on the academics.