"At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents," said Jane D. Hull, American politician and educator.
Parents begin the foundation of education for any child from the moment of birth. They teach their language, their behaviour, their way of living to the child. In addition, to the child, it becomes the norm. Children from an early age emulate things that their parents tell them to do or that the parents themselves do. They go to school and study because they have been told that it is their duty, and they behave the way their parents allow.
Sometimes parents become less involved in the child's upbringing and education along the way. However, a study done by Vanderbilt University on the effect of parental involvement in children's education has shown that children who get the support of their parents perform significantly better in academics, extracurricular activities, and sports. "Even verbal encouragement from my mom and dad before a test or a football match somehow makes me want to perform better, and I do perform better," said a student from a public college in Dhaka.
Teaching ethics and morality
Now-a-days, in Bangladesh, parents are often very concerned with the academic performance of children. Quite often, parents disregard one of the cardinal teachings that they are supposed to give their offsprings, that is, moral and ethical education. From an early age, parents are so concerned with their children performing well in their formal education that they overlook whether their children are doing things in the right way.
"I remember when I was in second grade, my mom had told me not to show my answers to anyone during an exam. She told me not to cheat. However, when I returned from the exam and told her that I could not answer a few of the questions, she asked me why I did not just ask someone around me. So this led me to believe for a long time that cheating was okay, as long as I was the one reaping benefits," mused a private university student in Dhaka. This goes to show that parents, however good their intentions are, can harm the development of a moral sense in their children.
A child does not develop ethics on their own; a child needs to be taught that there are right ways of achieving what they want. Lack of ethical teachings does not only harm the child. Many people do not realise the implications of raising a child without ethics, especially in a country like Bangladesh. These same children grow up to become the people who will someday form the backbone of this country, and they will behave the only way that they were taught from an early age. So children need to be taught not to cheat, to be truthful, to admit their mistakes, to take responsibility for their actions and to be true to their word.
Discussing about life skills
Parents are responsible for teaching their children a lot more than only what they need to know in school. It is vital that they share some of their years of life experience with their children, to make things easier. Many kids grow up in a sheltered life without knowing how to live outside their parents' wings.
Parents need to teach children basic household chores, irrespective of the child's gender, for their benefits. "I struggled a lot the first few months after moving to my dorm room because I did not even know how to wash my clothes or fry an egg. I wish that I did more chores from an early age," remarked a university student living abroad.
Being clear about socialising
Another vital life skill that parents need to pay attention to is conversing with others. Children should know how to keep up a conversation, maintain eye contact, and be socially adept. An easy way to teach this is to let children order their food at restaurants, or talk to the doctor themselves instead of having parents describe the problems, and to have regular and friendly conversations with parents and others. Parents can try to talk to children as if they were any other adult to help develop better social skills. "Beginning and maintaining good relationships are the key to leadership, growth and success," said Janet Perez Eckles, an author.
Every parent wants his or her child to be happy. However, sometimes, parents see their concept of happiness does not align with their children's. There comes the point when parents need to give their children the space to make their own decisions and to pursue their aims. The greatest gift that they can give their children is to be supportive in their pursuit of happiness.
The writer is a second year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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