Kids are individuals, feed them well, treat them well
DURING the last thirty-two years while teaching kindergarten up to PhD¡ I learnt the most valuable findings and some bitter facts about shortcomings of our society.
Each child carries unexplored world with having a set of potentials and shortcomings whereas the existing schooling systems expose them to a set procedure of learning and a given drivers of environment which in most of situations are sub-standard, hence damage their own innate potentials.
In many cases their parents’ unrealistic expectations seed a wide range of problems indicating the need of setting an institute for educating parents what to expect from their children and how to deal with them.
Since many marriages in local culture are forced or are arranged out of financial need or social security hence parents are not adequately prepared to give their kids the needed love and care, instead they build unrealistic expectations from their kids.
The most common complaint I received was, why does my child not get good marks in spite of the fact that they are given tuitions by more than one tutor.
I found that whether a child is learning or not has never been anyone’s concern in most of the situations.
Other complaints include my child has not started speaking English despite being a student of English Medium School.
Kids do not obey us etc.The root of most kids’ problems was they could not stay attentive in the class for very long, whereas some of them used to lose interest in learning.
I found inadequate sleep and non-nutritious meals had been key reasons for staying inattentive and non-supportive attitude of their elders towards them had been the key causes of their non-motivational response hindering the learning process.
Most of the children could not sleep early because of their family activities.I could not help those students with their late sleeping problems but I tried to provide them nutritious food by buying some healthy food for them and offering them as treat frequently.
I introduced activities that helped me know about them besides helping them to use their potential in the learning process while dealing with their weaknesses.
The fact was, I could not take the place of their parents, hence whatever they were missing could not be compensated in a short duration of a class or two.
However, it built a strong relationship among us.The most difficult time for me used to be parents’ meetings.
Most of the parents used to merely make complaints about their kids for not fulfilling their expectations without realizing that kids are also individuals and do have expectations towards their parents more than merely buying expensive gifts for them or providing them luxurious life.
They need quality family time and want to see their parents as role model for them to follow which in my opinion is too much to expect from most of the parents of this era.
Many parents complain that their children do not obey them.For me, it used to be very difficult to explain to parents that a child is, in fact, an individual having his own mind to think, heart to wish, potential to reveal and weaknesses to overcome.
Kids are not your subordinates who are expected to follow you blindly.If you want kids to listen to their parents, parents need to listen to what their kids cannot convey to them first for which parents need time and effort to reach the kids’ hearts and minds.
Never compare them with others because they are not brands of objects; all are equally precious and rare.
Like we do not want to disclose our weaknesses in front of others, like us kids feel hurt when their parents disclose their weaknesses in public or prefer any child over others.
Deal them equally with love and care but never spoil them.However, dealing with boys is very different from girls and please sustain this difference during their upbringing.
Try to make them self-dependent right from an early age.In this Information Technology Age, people spend most of the time on mobile phones and computers whereas most of them hardly have time to spend to explore and understand their own selves, expecting them to understand what their children’s unsaid words are probably too much to expect: this prevailing situation is putting the whole existing kids generation on risk of being emotionally insecure though financially insecurity across the globe has also emerged as one of the main challenges during Covid-19 era.
Accept weaknesses and learn to live with them while being self-content is the need of the time.
On getting admission in a Science Undergraduate Programme in a University, I informed the Principal of the school that I am leaving to continue my studies.
On my last day in the school, when I went in the class all the kids gathered around my table and put their lunch boxes on my table to offer me to eat their lunches as a treat while giving me one of the most valuable lessons of my life eg.
Treat kids as you want them to treat you, particularly when they are grown-ups. Most of the kids belonged to poor families and did not had much to offer but the meal I had with those kids was the one I enjoyed the most in my life.
—The writer is Assistant Professor at Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Karachi.