In this article, we will discuss ‘how can parents partner to make children well prepared for the increasing pressure of academics and generally growing up and balancing things?’
In the 21st century, we are entering a fourth industrial revolution. Preparing ourselves for what the 4th industrial revolution will bring tomorrow, must begin with education today. The question before us is how do we guide our children to capitalise and innovate on the unforeseen opportunities and empower them to deal with the significant changes they will face in this lifetime.
To prepare our children for this change, we as parents and educators have to reinvent how we live, work and provide the socialisation patterns to our future generations. The demand of the job market is leading to the future generation to move towards a mix of both social and technical skills. These skills are not just critical to be a good employee or entrepreneurs but also imperative to be good citizens.
The radical changes in our society imply that our youngsters need fluency concerning interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, intercultural sensitivity, creative problem solving, situational analysis, empathy, accountability and resilience. These are skill sets that can be taught through contextual opportunities by questioning and challenging our perceptions and assumptions as parents. This simply means that we need to mould the discourse of teaching skills to enable the process that creates these skills.
It is imperative that parents use the hands-off approach favouring tough love instead of protecting the kids from the ever-changing dynamic world which can be daunting for the kids if they are not prepared.
Some broad strategies to move forward and get there are enumerated below;
- Adopting an Authoritative parenting style which uses reason, understanding and warmth, is better suited rather than a permissive parenting style, wherein parents fail to establish healthy boundaries and let each misbehaviour slide by, or even an authoritarian parenting style, where the strict iron fist can bruise the child’s self-esteem and psyche.
- Authoritative parenting patterns handle tough rules with gloved hands. It helps create a balance between being a friend and a friendly parent thereby laying down clear boundaries and realistic expectation for maintaining behaviours within the clear but flexible boundaries. It allows them to take chances with the safety net in place. This gives way to the emergence of strong identities, confidence and high self-esteem in children.
- Life is about team-work and cooperation which can be instilled early on by making them do their chores. Children should not be absolved from doing their work, even when the family has resources to help around the house. Learning that work has to be done and each one must contribute for the whole is an important life skill.
- Creating a world of accountability at home is essential. The word accountability in itself means taking responsibility for our actions. Preparing them for a world of deadline and assignments is important. It is understood that parents quiet often handle their kid’s activity schedules outings, birthdays, mealtime etc by themselves. But by doing so, kids do not learn how they can manage workload, prioritise tasks, and meet deadlines without regular reminders. This responsibility should be shifted to the child. This too is a critical life skill.
- Teach your children the true definition of happiness. Happiness is often seen as a presence of positive emotions and an absence of negative ones. This isn’t true in its absolute sense. Rather, happiness comes from having positive emotions, a meaningful purpose, and resilience to deal effectively with negative emotions when they arise.
- Teach them how they can meditate. We can all upgrade our brain in the healthiest and most natural way through meditation. Our level of attention, brainpower, memory, and focus are not permanently set levels. Meditation relaxes the mind while silencing the distractive thoughts and elevating our awareness. It can be just a 5-minute practice in a relaxed setting and that’s a good way to start. What’s more important is to be consistent and maintain continuity. The benefits are beautiful: improved brain function, decreased stress levels, string emotional control, and increased focus.
To conclude, Parenting is an art. It is to find a balance between over-managing and under-parenting. Instilling the attitudes and traits that make children responsible occurs over years and involves many different pieces that make up the parenting puzzle. The sign of true parenting is to always remember who you needed when you were young.