Psychology

  • Issue 69 / May - June 2009



    Tips on Child Education

    Zeki Aydin

    Preparing children for life is an art. There are many things that parents should know and do about this. One is to make children have the self-confidence that is bestowed by the Creator as a potential.

    The children who appreciate their talents and capabilities-believing in the importance of them-and have self-confidence become active agents in their personal improvement since belief and confidence motivate them. They do not feel shy when asking questions, trying something new, or exploring. Instead of waiting for an opportunity to knock at their doors, they take advantage of present opportunities. They act with courage in exploring life and joining in every aspect of life.

    If their thoughts and decisions are not valued, if they suffer from violence, are not taken seriously, if their excuses are mostly considered lies, if their confidence is generally thought of as a sign of know-it-all behavior, if their pleasure is seen as a sign of being pampered, then children will not develop self-respect and they will lose self-confidence.

    Another point that should be kept in mind is that children always want to spend some time on their special interests. Yet, if it is the parents who generally decide what the child should do and do not offer other options, the child becomes deprived of his or her interest.

    Since children are not very experienced, they can easily start to think that they are not capable. The most helpful action to remove this kind of feeling is to make them realize that there are some people who can understand them and have empathy with them. If the child experiences emotional support from parents, his or her chance of overcoming the anxieties of incapability and attaining a healthy character increases. On the other hand, if the parents do not pay attention to the complex feelings of the child and the reasons behind them, some new problems may arise. Things that are not significant for us may be very significant for the child; so we should not ignore the fears of a child.

    When children feel incapable of dealing with a new problem, the parents should reveal their belief in their capacity to overcome the problem and show their support. When children need the parents, they should be near enough that the children can find them as soon as they look for them. However, this “closeness” should not be limited only to physical occasions. There should be emotional support, too.

    The most important way for parents to supply this psychological support is to show their love to their children. Hugging, kissing and putting an arm on the child's shoulder can be much more impressive than saying, “Do not be afraid; I am here with you!” Nevertheless, to say, “I show my support through my actions. There is no need to state it,” is not true. Expressing, “I love you!” with the tongue may not be so important for adults, but it is a magical expression that every child wants to hear. In this way, the child feels strong and every duty turns into a pleasure for them. To make children gain self-confidence, the parents should first know them from every aspect, recognize their talents, and then should establish necessary environment to improve their abilities. Moreover, it is essential to give opportunity to children to express their thoughts very often, to try to understand their feelings by asking, “What do you think? How do you feel?” to look at their face while they are speaking, to say how much you love the child, to make them feel that you care about them and value their opinion, to assign them some works and responsibilities that are compatible with their age, and to appreciate positive behaviors and successes they have demonstrated. In addition, it is important to set some time aside for the child, to chat with them, to talk about their negative behavior and how it could be corrected, not to forget special days, to establish a happy and peaceful family environment, to strengthen family relations and to make children feel that they are an inseparable part of the family. Children who are socially active are more self-confident, and they can easily join in the social environment around them. In this sense, especially less sociable children should be encouraged to attend social activities, and, if it is necessary, the parent should accompany the child, and promote them in asking for permission to speak inside a community. Also, parents should neither humiliate their child among other people nor exaggerate his or her failures. In order to help the child to establish a strong character, the fears and concerns of the child should be respected; thus, the parents should avoid severely critical or judgmental behavior, and they should not compare the child with other children. Furthermore, children should be required to do things that are appropriate to their age, especially to do homework by themselves. The parents should avoid improper types of punishment and reward.

    Hence, children should not be belittled, and their presence should be respected; however, the parents should not expect extraordinary things, and keep in mind that the child has a different and improving character. The parents should pay attention to their school life, character education and spiritual life. Such prayers in action that are made through the tongue of necessity should also be supported with the actual prayers, and therefore parents should trust that God will arrange things for the best.

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