As parents, it is natural for us to have high hopes for our children and want them to succeed. Unfortunately, we do not consider whether they are equipped with the abilities to meet our expectations. When they fail to fulfill our “standards”, we are too quick to point it out as a weakness.
In an attempt to remediate, we push them harder. The thing is, when children are pushed beyond their limits, they get dejected if they are still not able to achieve. Learning then becomes a chore, as they are no longer motivated.
It is unfair to the child if we, as parents, simply assume that they can meet our expectations as long as some help is provided. We must attempt to understand the child as a whole.
Learning should be fun – Keep it that way
In a highly competitive society, children are expected to learn more at a younger age. For instance, your neighbour’s daughter picked up the piano when she was four, and your six year-old nephew attends creative writing lessons. A word of caution; don’t jump into the bandwagon!
Children will only be motivated to learn when they understand the need to learn certain things. Signing them up for one too many enrichment classes will do more harm than good. Children will not develop an interest in something just because you tell them to. The child is more likely to enjoy the activity if the desire to learn comes from within.
More often than not, we are too preoccupied with our child’s weaknesses to notice their strengths.
Wait another year
According to Piaget’s Constructivism Theory of Learning, children learn in stages that are closely aligned with their age. This suggests that children cannot be filled with information they are not ready for. It is believed that learning takes place when we construct our own knowledge through experience, and we cannot grasp the next level of thinking until we have mastered the step before it.
These days, parents try to move ahead too soon. Learning beyond one’s stage could jeopardize the foundation of learning. The child may get lost, confused, and eventually lose interest in their learning.
Know your child
A child’s strengths are not for their parents to choose. Do your part as parents by providing a variety of activities for the child to explore. On the contrary, forcing them to do too many activities may dampen their spirit. Thus, an understanding of the child’s limitations is beneficial for their learning.
More often than not, we are too preoccupied with our child’s weaknesses to notice their strengths. Our parental instincts kick in and we start to remediate, instead of trying to understand our child.
Discovering their strengths is an ongoing process. Children should be encouraged to discover and develop their strengths, with support and reinforcement from the parents.
How can we do this? Parents can ask questions about the child’s feelings and preferences. Listen carefully their responses. Observing them through a variety of activities on how they respond and interact will also give parents a clearer understanding of their children.