In the last article, I talked about why children and students don’t want to study. I also mentioned that it mostly has to do with feelings.
Just like how adults want to feel these 3 feelings at work:
1) A sense of achievement
2) Feeling good about yourself (through praise or self efficacy)
3) Knowing that you are trusted and appreciated
Children, both primary and secondary, want to feel these feelings to, in order to start focusing and working hard.
But before all that…
No one likes a pretender. Someone who is pretentious and superficial just throws us off.
As adults, we know this, yet we keep doing it. We pretend and behave in a certain way to get what we want. We do this because we’re not patient enough.
Psychologically and innately, we know this isn’t good for the child: it’s terrible modelling of adult behaviour!
But I can’t handle my anger!
Trust me. It’s not because you’re angry. There is other deeper feelings involved.
You lash out in anger because there’s anxiety, insecurity, and the uncertain future.
Admit it. You’re really angry at your children simply because you are worried that your child won’t make it in the future. It’s already tough now in the present and you foresee that it will get tougher in the future.
And that’s normal! Most parents feel that way!
But the last thing to do is lash out at your kids.
And you know this.
It gives a bad impression about parenting, and your child will mimic that parenting style with their own children: your grandchildren.
So what can I do?
There are 3 key ideas to what I am going to tell you: love, nurture and sincerity.
You are going to need to be honest about how you feel. I promise you that it will feel awkward if you have never done this, but I always believe in communicating your feelings, without the anger.
It can go something like,
“Son, let’s talk. I want you to understand that this is going to be awkward for me, for us, to speak from the heart but I did some reading and I think this will be better in the long run.”
The parent here is doing a few things. First, the father admitted his feelings. Second, the father showed that he actually studies and reads for information for some form of improvement. And third, he explains that he is worried about the future.
“I want us to communicate from now on and be honest about how we feel. I know that I have some expectations for you, and you may or may not completely understand it because I’ve been angry at your marks. It’s just that my work has been hard and I’m just worried for your future. Whatever I’ve done for you, is so that it’s easier for you to study.”
Here, the parent sets the tone and expectations. He apologises for what he’s done and explains why he had done it. He then explains what he has done thus far and why.
“I know sometimes you put in effort to study to do well, and sometimes I don’t pay enough attention when you do. But I’m going to do better. I’m going to be involved in your studying and understand what you go through. We’re a family so we should always try to help each other out. Now, it’s your turn to speak. It’s alright. Just say what’s on your mind.”
Acknowledging from a perspective that your child has truly been putting in effort to study and that yes, sometimes you don’t acknowledge that enough, makes your child feel the promise for change. He/she will start to have hope that you will be involved and understand how difficult studying really is and that you will support your child mentally and emotionally.
Then, you offer your child the opportunity to talk and make sure it is a mentally and emotionally safe environment for your child to express how he/she feels.
You mean I have to apologise?
You are going to have a hard time apologising. Especially to your own child. But you must remember something that is very crucial:
You are the adult.
You need to model to your child the best way an adult would behave, think and speak. If your child has never seen you apologise, how would your child ever know how it’s like to apologise?
I understand what I am asking is not easy.
But trust me when I say that once you are able to muster up the courage to speak from the heart, things will start to change for the better.
Start today. Take one day at a time. Muster up the courage. And continue the effort.
And see the change.