Questions parents should ask themselves – Part I
“Become the person you want to be” is a phrase that is often heard in classrooms of North America. However, how often is this truly the case, where parents let their kids freely pursue their true passion?
Many new Asian immigrant parents often don’t understand the Western philosophy of education having grown up differently. They either purposefully or unconsciously force their kids to attain their own expectations in deciding their future careers. Sooner or later, these kids will show resistance. Some, reaching high school, begin to develop their own opinion and to build up the courage to challenge their parents. Others succumb to their parents’ pressure and remain obedient for several years. In fact, the longer a child has to live under such pressure, the greater the hurt. Some kids, simply to obey their parents, enter a university that they do not like (even if it’s a top school) or choose a profession that is unsuitable for them (even if it comes with a high salary). Later on however, they change programs or jobs and lose enthusiasm for what they liked originally. The result is a waste of time, energy and money.
Some parents, due to the fact that their kids rebel against their will and desires, even end up with health problems because they fight so hard for something not meant to be. But even in the wake of tragedy, this issue is only raised for the sake of discussion but the root cause for this disaster is rarely sought out. Therefore within these next few articles I would like to raise some questions that all parents should ask themselves.
1. Have I provided equal opportunities for my children?
Most parents love and care dearly for their children. However, because each child is unique, parents should use appropriate ways in dealing with each one. The problem is that though the education methods can vary between the children, the starting point and opportunities given should be equal, meaning that parents shouldn’t show favouritism for one over another. Culturally speaking, most traditional Chinese parents tend to favour boys over girls, investing more in their education and providing them with more opportunities. However in modern society, the majority of parents do not follow this trend. Instead, parents tend to favour and respect the smarter and talented kids, otherwise known as the prodigies. This favouritism, in turn, leads to the ignorance of the mediocre kids or those with learning deficiencies. This unequal treatment creates a deep sense of unfairness. In some cases, positive incentives may be felt for the one being favoured but for the same incentives, negative effects on the other completely outweigh the pros. If the wrong education methods are used, one cannot expect great results to take place.
2. Do I know my child’s potential and interests?
Early educational theorists emphasized the importance of intellectual development for kids between the age of zero and three. This development, in reality, requires parent-child communication to better understand the child’s personality and potential. This does not include having them recognize words or to play the piano. However, many Chinese parents do not even know what their kids’ talents or hobbies are and hold onto the idea that the earlier you start to train them in a particular skill, the better they will be. At the end of the day, this causes more harm than good.
So, how can one discover their child’s talent? Other than constant care and observation, parents should provide opportunities outside of the classroom environment for their kids to display or experiment with all sorts of activities. In fact, this is the way Americans use to promote and to increase the overall quality of their children. When the kids reach a certain age and they really enjoy something, most will take initiative and request to want to take lessons. As long as the request is healthy and reasonable, all parents should give their full support. Also, by creating an environment where everyone’s voice can be heard, kids will be more willing and open to share their passion and requests. Although a child’s interest varies with time, parents should not force their kids to learn something that they have no interest in. On the other hand, they should encourage them to work hard and to positively guide them to truly find what they love hand to persist at it. At the end, it is better to be very good at one thing than to be mediocre at many.
How well do you know you kids?
How do you act in front of your kids? Does it affect them positively, negatively?