Your children will almost certainly never be perfect. To expect perfection is to invite emotional pressure for them and you.
From about 3-years-of-age kids appreciate what they should and shouldn't do based on their parent's actions and reactions. Approval-seeking behavior is absent only when they're tired, hungry, feeling unwell, or when they've learned that to get your attention, they need to misbehave.
Children begin to mold their behavior early to seek your approval.
Life at school begins a new phase of learning the behaviors that earn their teacher's approval. They know that coming home with high marks makes their teachers and parents happy.
From an early age, your child's life is almost entirely about being compliant and pleasing adults. They rarely have an opportunity to experience creative freedom and explore their true selves.
Then in their teenage years, they may subconsciously or consciously rebel and push back hard against parental and teacher expectations. This rebellious phase is a tipping point in their life, a fork in the road—a time when poor choices can easily lead to poor outcomes. Outcomes that might make life miserable for all concerned.
Teenage males often see contact sport as a release, an opportunity to extinguish their frustrations on the field or in the ring. Adolescent girls often seek freedom by making their mothers' life a misery.
The scenarios I describe have plagued parenthood and family life for the past two thousand years.
Twentieth and 21st-century school curricula are designed on the 19th-century philosophy that the primary emphasis of education ought to be on the socialization process and the acquisition of practical knowledge and functional skills.
Since the 19th century, the overarching goal of school curricula was and still is to provide the individual with the means to be economically self-reliant. We all know that life is more than just economic independence.
These age-old models of parenting and teaching are well overdue for an overhaul, and parents are in the box seat to become agents of change.
Parenting styles are infinitely variable, and many parents indeed believe unconditional love is all that matters. The truth is, unconditional love is just the foundation for the real work of developing a person with the skills required for a fulfilling life.
It's common for parents to outsource this work to their child's school, believing the school has the job of developing their child's character. It's an unwise approach given that schools have changed little since the 19th-century, and the child's development is highly dependent on the quality of their teachers.
I recommend parents learn how to become their child's skills muse to remedy these uncertainties and learn how to develop the inner character of their children proactively.
By the end of the workshop, parents will have knowledge and tools they can immediately apply to help build a strong skills foundation for their children.
Participants in the "Build foundational skills" program experience an innovative learning workshop with a proven impact.
Parents want to move the needle for their children, and they have the arduous task of giving them every opportunity to explore the world and find their "why."
My philosophy centers on parents guiding their children to develop and refine skills that propel them confidently in the direction of all that life can offer. It's even more critical for the parents of girls.
Girls in co-ed schools tend to be more self-conscious and less confident; they are less likely to speak up in class, ask questions or take on a leadership role. They are also more likely to have a negative body image and more likely to experience sexual harassment or bullying. In contrast, girls in girls-only environments participate more freely in discussions, are more competitive, and take more healthy risks with their learning — skills that are advantageous for life success.
Girls aren't innately less confident or less assertive than boys. They aren't less capable in maths and sciences. They certainly don't have more body image or mental health issues than boys as infants. Our patriarchal society stereotypes women and leads to diminished self-belief and self-efficacy, suppressing their voice and, ultimately, their power.
It's even more critical for parents of girls enrolled in co-ed schools to be directly engaged in evolving their daughter's skills.
Given the vitally important role of parenting, and given that parenting is not a rehearsal, we all get one shot at being the best we can for the sake of our children.
Why not invest one day to learn how you can have the most positive impact on your child's development?
© Copyright Greg Twemlow 2022