Dec 11, 2010
Mrs Kumar brought her 10-year-old son Akshay to me. Her concern was that he often complained of headache, non-stop cold and cough. He did not show any interest in studies. He did not want to go to school and never completed his school work. Teachers also complained about him very often. Sometimes he would sit blankly, watching the sky and birds.
Both Mr and Mrs Kumar are working and they do not have time to sit with him for studies. So they send him for tuitions after school so that he does not waste time watching TV and playing at home. She also took him to the doctor where she found out that everything was normal.
Akshay had been a bright child and scored A+ in all the subjects earlier. He says that now he gets up at 7 am, leaves for school at 8.15 am and comes back only at 3.30 pm. He goes for tuitions at 4 pm which gets over at 9.30 pm. Then he comes home, has dinner and goes to sleep.
Deepthi, a std IX student was referred by her class teacher for counseling. Deepthi says she feels nervous to talk to anyone or to perform on stage. She also feels tensed as exams approach. Her parents expect her to score high marks. Most of the time, she forgets what she studies. She goes for tuitions twice a day and once back home she spends all her time on studies till she goes to bed. Her interaction with her family members is only during dinner time, weekends and holidays.
Carol, a 12-year-old girl was brought to me by her mother. She says that Carol does not show any interest in studies. Her grades are down in spite of having enough time for studies and going for tuitions. Carol says she gets up early morning to go for tuitions and after school she goes for swimming and for dance classes during weekends. By the time she reaches home she feels tired. When she sits for studies, she feels sleepy.
Do Akshay, Deepthi, and Carol need to study so many hours a day? Where is the time to play, interact with parents and do creative things which they would like to do – watch or learn something new other than academics?
All parents want their kids to be the best, perfectly behaved, well-dressed, competitive, top his/her class with A+ grades and so on. We seem to expect perfection. In pursuit of this perfection we pressurise and push the children beyond what they can cope up. As a result the child feels lost and confused. His/her self-esteem comes down and confidence is shaken.
These days kids have tight schedules like MNC executives. Today, most of our kids are deprived of being a kid and denied their ‘care-free’ activities. Where are the evening games which children used to play in the neighbourhood? Do we get to hear their laughter, screams, joy, cry etc? Where are the exploring ways of watching sky, birds, earth, ants, flowers, plants, trees, new roads and new games? All these are disappearing! Soon our children won't even have sweet memories of their childhood.
Evening play is as much important as studies. It provides a favourable atmosphere and an opportunity to socialize which kids require. Play provides physical exercise which is essential for growth – both physical and mental. It boosts their overall health and happiness quotient. It also helps children to do much better in school work.
A child’s first relationship in his/her life is with the parents. So have a family time. There are a lot of questions to be answered by parents. There are lots of experiences to be shared by your child about school and friends. They want ATTENTIVE LISTENING EARS! Take your kids along with you for simple tasks like washing, cleaning, cooking and also while relaxing. Reading small story books to them or sharing with them some inspiring stories, playing indoor and outdoor games and going for a stroll with them will definitely uplift them in no small measure.
For parents who often worry about their ward not doing well at school, it is important to discuss and identify the problem so that remedial therapy can be started at the earliest.
Set limits and boundaries and be consistent in following the rules. If your child makes mistakes let him/her face the consequences also. Don’t forget to appreciate their efforts. Respect their ability and interest and don’t take away their hopes. Express your love with hugs and kisses. Your child will grow up just fine.
A Few Tips:
- Let children make choices
- Show respect for child’s struggle
- Don’t ask too many questions
- Don’t be in a hurry to answer
- Encourage children to use sources outside home
- Don’t be too protective. Let children face disappointments
- Praise whenever children behave appropriately
- Listen to them attentively
- Empathize with child’s feelings and expectations
- Follow consistency in discipline