Posted by: SDN Pondok Bambu 10 Pagi | September 8, 2009

Minimizing role of strict disciplinarian, maximizing role of a counselor

by Evaries Rosita

Most parents are probably unaware that they are the best “teacher” their kids have ever had.

They have run the gamut of joy and pain in assisting their kids to mature socially, intellectually and emotionally.

Experts in childhood education agree that parents’ role as the best teacher the kids have cannot be replaced by somebody else.

School teachers surely can help a child grow intellectually, socially and emotionally, but the importance of parental guidance still stands out.

A child finds it hard to be motivated in school if they don’t feel good about themselves.

Positive parental guidance in this respect can inspire a kid to see themselves as potential beings capable of learning and solving problems posed by their vicinity.

No matter the best school teachers, tutors and other educational tools a kid has, they are for naught if they have no parental assistance in coping with their educational needs.

How can a parent best kindle their kids’ basic educational needs? Insights from research in the field of psychology and early childhood education are particularly revealing in that providing kids with nonjudgmental guidance and playing to their strengths and equipping them with a tolerance for frustration are the keys to helping children mature cognitively, socially and emotionally.

These insights unfortunately contrast sharply with the reality we’re facing in this post-modern world. For one thing, parents are too ambitious to push their kids to attain academic success by sacrificing other important factors as cognitive styles, learning problems, motivation and other psychological traits.

Parents are also losing sight of the fact that their children may enthusiastically develop non-academic interests at school. They may find interests in music, community organization and other extracurricular activities not related to academic skills.

In monitoring their children’s success in school, parents are eager to become a strict disciplinarian to their kids, demanding more than their kids could perform in school. To make sure their kids do what they say, parents often exercise their authority over their kids, showing that what they advise to their kids is always right.

In many cases, parents strictly set standards of academic success: Their kids should excel more academically than their peers and they should be held accountable for what they do in school by showing their parents (at the end of a school term) a good academic record.

For many kids, such standards are unrealistic. The consequence of setting such standards is often deleterious rather than beneficial.

Unable to meet their parents’ demands, kids show indifference and even a hatred toward learning, which in the end result in academic dread and leave emotional scars. Creating standards one-sidedly is the wrong way to encourage children.

The universal principle of motivation, according to Lyn Corno, professor of education and psychology at Colombia University, is that students seek pleasure and avoid pain.

Thus developing a tolerance for kids’ frustration is necessary to help kids cope with their learning process.

For another, parents take the wrong way of showing their empathy and tolerance to their kids by “bribing” them and offering rewards.

Though this may initially work to force kids to do their homework and to sit for hours in front of their PCs browsing for the learning materials and even to get good grades, the effectiveness of such an effort may not last long.

In certain cases where children feel grouchy because of, for example, unfair treatment they receive from their peers and teachers in school and a loss of writing competition, children may no longer be tempted with the rewards and “bribes” their parents offer them.

Children may think that getting rewards cannot solve all the problems they encounter in their academic environment.

Rewarding and “bribing” are by no means effective in instilling positive habits of minds into children as they exhibit external, not internal motivation.

They are not natural or genuine ways of motivating students to develop attitudes and ways of thinking that foster academic achievements.

Supervising our child’s education is no easy feat; indeed it is a demanding challenge. In playing our roles as the best teacher, we parents still need to monitor the path our children are taking by minimizing our role as a strict disciplinarian and maximizing our role as a counselor.

The writer teaches English to young learners


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