Celebrating your Child’s Academic Achievements
In 2011, after the Wall Street Journal published the essay “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior: Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids?” by Amy Chua, people around the world went wild on the web reflecting on their own parenting and judging the parenting of others. The question of how and when parents should support their child’s academic achievement seems to be an on-going controversial topic. The debate still remains unanswered – How do we support academic achievement without creating undue pressure and comprising independence, confidence and self – esteem?
Recognise ALL achievements of your child
Tutoring is there to assist children to achieve within the education system and that is where we as tutors can provide immense support. However, acknowledging other worthy achievements is just as important for the child’s emotional development. As parents, we need to recognise that the effort that our children put into achieving should be rewarded. If it’s sport, music or performing – whatever it is, your child has displayed effort in some form and this distinction needs to be recognised. They won’t succeed all the time but they have tried their best. And this is an accomplishment that should be acknowledged.
Create an educational environment
There is no better way to get excited about your child’s education than to see them engaged and immersed in learning. It is far more rewarding to see your child express an unbound enthusiasm for something that they have recently learned. As parents creating a high energy learning environment that is inspiring and encouraging is a constant reminder that the idea of education is an investment, not an expense. The “Did you know that…?” or “Look what I learnt…” conversations that flow grows your child’s awareness and appreciation for the world through educational experiences.
Parent for character and not for grades
A study of Year 12 students from a range of schools in Sydney did not paint a happy picture of life for the students. Of the 722 students surveyed, 42% registered high-level anxiety symptoms, high enough to be of clinical concern. In general, 54% of students felt that too much was expected of them in Year 12. The main causes of pressure identified were workload (50%), expectations to perform (26%) and importance of exams (22%). This unhappy picture of student life begins during the early stages and becomes unmanageable as the years progress. As parents we need to recognise to take a stand by making a simple decision to focus on character development and not grades. Children who grow up in a home where character and responsibility are valued and enforced are able to manage successfully during school and their adult lives.
Always encourage your child
It’s as simple as “Wow, you worked really hard,” “Tell me about your project” or “You are doing so well, keep it up” – that makes an influential difference to building your child’s intrinsic motivation as opposed to becoming dependent on external rewards.
Whatever your style of parenting is, getting excited about your child’s educational future and achievements – academically and non – academically, will provide a window of opportunity to child’s personal and professional development and overall enthusiasm for learning.