ARE ‘KIDDIE’ PROBLEMS REALLY KIDDIE?
As adults and parents, we have grand memories of our school days. Fun, pranks, games, competitions, exams, homework were all a part and parcel of the scenario. The bonds of friendship and respect that we forged stand us in good stead throughout our lives.
We conveniently forget all our problems, unpleasant memories and struggles because they belong to the past now. No one in their right minds would want to hold on to such things.
Such painful memories of failed tests, detention, bitter arguments with best friends, bullies, low self esteem, peer pressure, favouritism shown by teachers etc help us a great deal even after a couple of decades.
When our children undergo the same kinds of problems in school, or perhaps experience a totally different set of challenges – we are able to relate to their predicament with sensitivity.
School Problem: Signs To Look Out For
The other day my girl refused to talk about what happened in the school. She is pretty outgoing and jabbers endlessly about her day so it struck me odd when she refused to tell me. I asked her in a passing manner if there was some problem at school, she denied and I told her that she could talk to me or her dad if she thought there was anything she wanted to talk about. That was that, two days later she came and told me how this boy had been teasing her and how she absolutely wanted to punch him for doing that! We sat down for a girls talk session and resolved the whole thing.
Often kids won’t communicate so, as a parent, you will have to look for these signs.
- Sudden Withdrawal From Communication.
Your till talkative child has gone in a mute mode, warning sign. It could mean a lot of things so be on a lookout if you see your child doesn’t want or shies away or feels embarrassed to talk about school.
- Refusal To Go To School
If something is bothering them the first thing they do is to avoid facing it. Coax it out gently from them as to what is bothering them.
- Any Loss of Appetite
This may sound weird but as it happens with us adults when we have problems we tend to ignore food and brood in our endless miseries so this is kind of important. Again, it could mean a dozen things but try to gauge out the reason for loss of appetite.
- Drop in Grades
Studies suddenly don’t become difficult, if your kid was averaging B’s he won’t slip on D’s overnight, well there are reasons.
- Behavioural Changes
Any drastic change in behaviour coupled with other signs may mean problem at school. As any mother of teenager would tell you, drastic change only means you have a surly teen at home!
Here are three ways of encouraging children when they struggle in school.
- Get down to their level of thinking
We need to get into their shoes and think, feel and understand things from the ‘kiddie’ point of view. What may look like an extremely trivial thing to us – is of great importance to our children.
As parents, we often tend to casually dismiss their problems with ‘instant’ ‘practical’ ‘obvious’ solutions.
- Be a Good Listener
Remember the last time you vented to your best friend, how good it felt to just let all the anguish and frustration out, the kids need that too at times.
But do remember our children are not looking for solutions. They simply want our emotional, moral and mental support when they are confused and are struggling with some problem. Listen to them. Sit down with them. Leave all those umpteen chores that need your immediate attention. They can wait, your child won’t.
- Give Them Your Total Attention
You can shove away your phone for half an hour, nothing turns off the talking mood than the sight of the other person taking a peek at their phone. You won’t have you kid ignore you so do the same for them.
It is quite possible they will be as happy as larks the very next day and may have simply forgotten all about the problem because something good and exciting happened in school that day.
Unique child, unique situation, unique challenges:
Every child is unique. We know this for a fact but think and feel that our children will always struggle with the same kinds of problems that we grappled with. At a subconscious level, we need to accept that our children are inherently different.
They face completely different challenges.
The world is evolving.
We need to:
- Master the art of thinking differently and coming up of solutions that are applicable to current generation and present scenario.
- Update our skills constantly, in order to tune into their challenges at a micro level.
Share your past with them openly.
Mamma may be perfect in every way for dear Tommy.
- But once upon a time – Mamma too had a big argument with her best friend.
- Mamma too found it difficult to make ‘new’ friends and ‘let go’ of her previous home room teacher.
- Daddy too was nervous before the foot ball match.
- Daddy too had to ‘make do’ with worn out shoes because grand dad was broke.
Children are open and amazed to know that their idols and role models too struggled through school like them. In their own immature way, they now understand that their challenges too will get sorted out with time.
Once all that emotional, mental and moral baggage is out in the open, the burden is lifted off their tiny shoulders. They realize that they are faltering in some areas of their school life. They understand that this too is a part of the deal. Our quiet unstinting support and encouragement will help them take their own decisions. When we help them deal with the problem, they gain the courage to confront it and/or overcome it. They will come up with their own unique solutions. As parents, we too will be amazed and impressed with their thinking and their ability to resolve their problems in unique ways.
And then, we can smile and relax in peace!
Because our children have developed the ability to confront, deal and overcome their challenges – one at a time!
What more can we ask for?
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