Ask any parent and they can tell you of a time when their child did not want to do their academic studies, even to the point of absolute avoidance. It is nothing to be worried about or cause to label a child for such behavior. This a normal part of a child’s growth, his stretching and learning, simply stepping stones.
Because your child is in an environment that supports his well being, you can walk beside your child as he crosses these stepping stones. This is where a parent partnership can embrace your child’s growth. Consider his position and the learning he embarks on daily. Would you be willing to do the work you expect from him?
Instead of demanding he do his work or dishing out ultimatums, inspire him.
Recently my 12-year-old son was avoiding a book he had begun to read. Once he got to chapter three he put it down. When we were reviewing his academics (a mentors regular check point of progress) he told me that he just couldn’t get into it.
How many times have we said, “Okay honey, if you don’t like it then you don’t have to read it?” When books are skipped, how many important lessons are missed, pieces of history overlooked that can help make him a greater person? How many of the books your child reads are you willing to read? Just food for thought.
I picked up the book, Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington, and empathized with my son. I started reading aloud to him at a random spot in the book. “Wow! This is really interesting. What must it be like to be in Booker’s shoes?” I said. And then we started to talk about that period of time and the way things were. How different it must have been.
When you hand your child a book to read sometimes it may not be a subject that is of interest. As a parent we must demonstrate the benefits of being open to reading books that are not always of our own choosing or favorite subject matter. Suggest he put himself in the shoes of the story’s character. Perhaps it is relevant to a personal experience. Get into the feeling and ask yourself what you would do in his shoes. Help him connect with the characters as fellow humans, brothers and sisters for we are all related, in more ways than we know.
I truly believe in my children and see them as the geniuses that they are. Actually, all children are geniuses when we allow it. Who better to know what your child can and can’t do than you, their parent, the very person they were born to and have spent the most time with. Let your children know that you believe in them. I find myself often telling my children, “I know you can do it otherwise I wouldn’t have given it to you to do.” They have to know you believe in them, it empowers them.
After some encouragement the next day my son approached me and began narrating the next chapter he had read in the book. It was so perfect because it paralleled some character lessons he was receiving from his dad. My son felt better and was proud to have crossed his “stepping stones” and began enjoying the whole book.
Do you use narration in your academics? It is when your child simply re-tells what he has read. It not only indicates that the child read and understood the content but it also solidifies the information in the child’s mind, while building skills in thinking, speaking, writing and vocabulary. I don’t tell my child to narrate rather, I encourage (inspire) him to share what he read today. Over time since I have shown great interest in their readings and share what I have read, they just naturally come to me and start narrating. It’s all natural! Checklists, “class time” and tests are unnecessary. Be the example you want to see in your children.
“Give children an opportunity to be unique and special persons. Acceptance by you as a parent for what they are and what they enjoy in life is a big factor in building a healthy self-image.” — Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Encouraging your children, taking time for discussions, being fully present and listening to what your child has to say about school can be extremely rewarding. Not only do you have a parent-child relationship but you build a beautiful relationship that is more than a friendship, rewarding you, your whole life. Now who doesn’t have time for that! With such a gift to your children as your time, you will not only be rewarded with strong family ties, but it will carry forward to your future generations, rewarding you, rewarding the child and rewarding the world.
Baby steps everyday and next thing you know they will be grown and living their own life. It happens faster than you expect so savor every moment you have to hold them, hug them and remember to look daily into their eyes with love and gratefulness. They are truly the greatest gift you can ever hope to receive.