Facts on School-Aged Children

I was asked by my colleague to help her in one talk show about children development, to be her partner. She’s the one who would do all the talking, and I will help her to answer questions from parents, as participants. During the talk show, I caught some interesting facts about school-aged children nowadays. Following are the description:

1. The responsibility has been transferred into parents/caregivers.

When children go to school, parents tend to worry excessively. This weariness due to their own pride and demands toward their children. Parents want the best for their children, and that’s a good thing. This ideal goal can brings children down when parents push to do it their way, and not allowing the children to be part of that ideal plan. Parents then control everything in order to sort things out quicker, compare to what their children can do. For example: when children haven’t finished writing down their diary for that day, parents will make the call to their children’ classmate and busily completing the information on homework and tests. This conditioning will make children learn that the responsibility of completing school work can be done by their parents/caregivers.

2. Children learn the self-helplessness strategy.

Following the first description, children will learn the self-helplessness strategy, in which, children will not do anything to help themselves. It could be started by small activity, such as: sharpen their pencils, writing down their diary or tidy-up their books after studying. And by the the time, this condition will be applied to more important activities, such as: being ignorance during studying time, because children think that everything will be handled by their parents. They do not need to think and analyze their math problems, because whenever they can’t do the problems, parents will give the answers, because parents want them to finish their homework soon.

3. Parents create a cranky and want-instant-success generation.

Children will soon lose their capability to fight harder in their future and they will find it hard to measure success objectively. They will be very dependent toward their parents in whatever they are doing, including completing their responsibility as students or adults, in later life. I remember when I was a child, my Dad was very hard on me. He used to watch me when I was doing my homework. He disliked any help given to me, from my mom or caregiver. I was not understand his motive at that time, but later on I become very grateful for that. When I told my relative about that experiences, she said that my Dad is an old-school (well, he is). She said that nowadays if parents do not help their children in compleying their school works, then the children will not get any awards at school, because all of their classmates are getting help. I wonder …

Parents have to work harder to fight the needs of themselves to show off through their children. Children have their own future and ways to gain their success. Parents need to guide their children, but minus their dictate ways to their children on doing things.

Way to go, parents!

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Talking to The Kids

I’ve been dealing with the children for a few years (not an expert yet) and I started to understand how children understand the meaning of whatever we tell them. Besides doing classes with my students, I also practice all the knowledge that I have regarding children to my little niece, Ellice. Since she was a baby (now she’s a toddler), she could give quick response to whatever stimulus around her. I love to talk to her as if she understands what I’m saying, and I know that she does. Even though she couldn’t say something back due to her capabilities at the moment, but her response shows that she understands. I also teach her English in her young age and now she kicks her English quite good!

My pinky niece

My pinky niece

Back in my early days as Psych student, one of my lecturers told me that the way most Indonesian parents treated their children were not right. They treat children as half-human, just because they couldn’t functioning as much as an adult. But children are not half-human, they are human. Their developmental process is on-going now, therefore they haven’t functioning as much as we do, yet.

I dislike parents or any other adults who keep on saying ‘Later’ or ‘wait’ to the kids when they ask for something. Sometimes the ‘later’ or ‘wait’ can become another day, another week or maybe nothing will happen. The promises broken and their kids lose their trust to the adults. So, next time, when you want to say ‘later’ or ‘wait’, please define it carefully…

Anyway, talking to children is easier if you treat them as your friends and they have the same level as you are, although you have to re-phrase the words that you would choose. I always amazed at how children understand the words we say and the meaning of our conversation, as long as you trust them and treat them equally.

Way to go, parents!

Children Under Threats

‘Don’t you play under the curtain, the spider might come and bite you!’

‘Stop running around when I said! You are naughty and never listen to Mommy’

‘You better listen to me, or Jesus will punish you!’

Do you familiar with that sentences? It could be part of you when you were growing up, or it could be part of how you rear your children. Young children are well-known with their unstoppable behaviors, uncontrolled talking session and crying moments. But that’s just how they grow, those moments are part of their being in the state of being children. My niece, 22-month-old, is one perfect example of an active toddler. She loves to dash whenever she hears the door bell rings, because she wants to be the first to open the lock (we lock the gate in Indonesia). We have to run faster the she does for many times in a day. She also loves to running around while playing, bring her books, trolley full of fruits and vegetables or just to show off her new clothes.

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As an aunty, beside that I’m doing child clinical psychology, I embrace those moments of growing up very much. I learn that every moment of her development is something precious and it will never come back in your eyes to see. That every moment is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. I believe that every child has a right to grow up with no fear, with no threats surrounding her.

Threats are common in our surroundings, and sometimes it happens under our roof. It may be started with small, but frequently delivered, such as: spider will bite you if you keep on hiding under the curtain. And it usually gets bigger, such as: Jesus will punish you if you don’t listen to me!

Oh, come on … what do they know of being punished by their loving God? All they know is doing what they think is fun and make them happy! My niece loves to play with my hair and sometimes put them into her mouth. She’d say, ‘It’s nice!’. I’d respond, ‘That it’s not good to put hair into your mouth, because it may be dirty and can make you have stomachache’. Simple and understandable. Well, children do not need lies. They just need a good facilitator to let them learn and discover by themselves.

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Other than threatened children with such false statements, parents also easily slip into physical punishment, such as spanking. Spanking is not necessarily the only way to punish your children physically. It may be done when the children are out of lines seriously, as a way to warn them that some rules are to be followed. But in some cases, parents use this method as the only way to help them deal with their children.

Spanking and verbal threats will show their effects days later. They may seem work on your children now, but you will pay the consequences later on. Your children may grow more uncontrollable, ignored you and even ignored the rules. They will learn the patterns you used, so they know that spanking and verbal threats are the only weapons you have. Beside that, for some children, being threatened that way will bring them down. They may grow as shy and have low self-confident, because they have concepts in their head that they would do everything wrong and their parents will hate the results whatsoever.

It’s in your hands, parents!

Way to go …

Parents Involvement in Child Achievement

During this semester break of my study time, I am busy with my work. I have to re-scheduled my students due to my tight schedules next semester and also do the training for my assistants. But I want to talk deeper than just my busy days. I am very interested in the involvement of parents in what-so-called their child achievement.

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Children nowadays are being pushed to the edge of their limits. Schools, homework, projects, tuition and studying. No more play or free time after school. It happens down here in Indonesia, and I believe in other Asian countries too. The load of curriculum and the demands of parents are taking almost all of their times as children. I can see the tired faces of my students who come down to my place in the afternoon. My tuition place is responsible to help them finish their homework and preparing for the upcoming test/exams. Each child will study for 2 hours and then go home. I never know what they will do after that…

One young mother is driving me insane. She keeps on asking and pushing me to put her boy on the top of everything that I prepared in the class. She wants the first available schedule, first available teacher and she wants them all without a care of others (me, the teachers and the boy himself). She insists to send her boy earlier than others and stays until everything is done. I just feel bad for the boy…. He has been with me for the past 3 years, since he was in Primary 1. He was in the bottom low on his class (20/21 students). Just 3 months before he did his final exams, her mom sent him to me. I worked so hard to make him pass the test. He did! He was on the 19/21 students. Then, he raised his position into 16/21 students from Primary 2 up until now.

Well, I know that parents have the biggest portion of taking care of their children. But most of the time, they translate ‘taking care’ as send their children to many tuition places or clubs at one time. You can hear them say, ‘Oh, my daughter is number one in her singing club’ or ‘Look! My boy is holding his trophy as the fastest swimmer in this club’ and so on. Parents are happy with those achievements, and that is very understandable. But, do they ever think about the children? Are they happy? Do they know what it means to be number 1? Do they know the meaning of being in the spotlight?

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As parents, we need to know about the limitation of our children. They are just children, who want to play out with their friends, who want to wake up after nap without a thought of going to tuition place. They really need a break, not just during holidays, but during their daily life too…

Let’s hope for the better life of our children!