Befriending your adult child

The most frequently asked question by many parents is why they need to have a parents-teachers meeting when the parents have interacted with the teachers during the interview for admission.

Date: 14 December 2010; Time: 3.30 p.m. - 4.30 p.m.
Venue: St. Joseph College of Commerce; People present: 200 parents
Topic: Befriending your adult child

StJosp_clg_2Fr. Daniel Fernandes addressed the gathering and welcomed all the parents. He mentioned that the most frequently asked question by many parents is why they need to have a parents-teachers meeting when the parents have interacted with the teachers during the interview for admission. Fr. Daniel told that the reason he gives significance to the parent-teacher meeting is because they get an opportunity for input and feed-back for nurturing the young students. The nurturing is possible only if there is mutual collaboration. He also mentioned that he was not only interested in the academic excellence of the students but also in the grooming the students to become responsible citizens.

Dr. Ali started the session welcoming all the parents especially the fathers who have taken time off from their busy schedule and attended this meeting. He also mentioned that usually it would be the mothers who come to these parent-teacher meetings. He said that parenting is both fathering and mothering so both have equal importance in parenting, one cannot compensate the other person.

St.Josp_clg_3Dr. Ali mentioned that the most difficult stage of their child i.e., P.U.C has passed and now they have made their decision of taking a suitable group. If the parents think that they can relax for these three years of their children studying degree they are wrong. This is a good time for the parents to work with their children. They can help their children choose the right career and path.

The staff and the Principal of the college were appreciated by Dr. Ali for recognizing and praising the students' performances. He also mentioned that he was very happy to see that the teacher and principal had accepted and appreciated the academic performance of the students without mentioning 'Can do better' in their report cards.

St.Josp_clg_4The IQ i.e., Intelligence Quotient is losing its importance as there are machines that are taking over this work, the most important factor that one has to focus on is the EQ i.e., Emotional Quotient because it takes up 80% of the role that an individual will play in the society. The five important pillars of EQ are:
  1. Understanding yourself: is first pillar. This is important because he should know what he is and accept who he is.
  2. Management of Emotion: The next pillar of EQ is to manage emotion. To manage emotion one should recognize the emotion like anger, jealousy etc. they should also know how to use these emotions and understand them.
  3. Motivation: One should know what motivates them the most. The words of Dr. Abdul Kalam "Ignite the minds of Children" was also mentioned by Dr. Ali.
  4. Empathy: Empathy is a word which has been misunderstood by many. Empathy is not Sympathy. Empathy is to put your self in the other person's shoes. Dr. Ali gave an instance of his daughters were upset on he working on a Sunday and not sticking to his commitment.
  5. Social Skills: The fifth pillar of EQ is to have social skills.

St.Josp_clg_5Understanding what your child is interested in and what he wants to do, is very important for parents. The parents should try and have a plan B while talking to their children about their career. Telling them and making them aware of various career options is also as important. The parents should make a plan that is suitable for the child and also work with him towards fulfilling his career.
Dr. Ali gave an example of how children can fantasize about a career even without knowing the work that it involves. He talked to a few children from Mysore Rotary club and one of the child mentioned that he wanted to become a IAS officer. When Dr. Ali asked him for a reason why he wanted to become only an IAS officer and he did not have one, but he was very determined that he wanted to become an IAS officer. The reason why the child could not answer is because he did not know what an IAS officer's roles or responsibilities, and he does not know what kind of administrative and paper work has to be done by an officer at this position, what he only know is that when the IAS officer is traveling a red light is glowing on top of the car and he is received with high respect wherever he goes. Now when the child can see only the red light and the respect given to an IAS officer, he is fascinated and is very sure that to receive this kind of reception he has to become an IAS officer. Understand if the child has the aptitude to take up the career that he has chosen.

There was another example where the child wanted to become a CA. The parents were did not understand and were also worried why their child was so adamant to become only a CA. When Dr. Ali finally spoke to the child, he mentioned that a person who lived in their same area who was a CA had bought a new Mercedes Benz. Here the child was thinking that to buy a car he has to be a CA and his aim was not becoming a CA but the Mercedes Benz.

The parents should make sure that the child understands the actions and its influences. Spending quality time and proper communication with children is very important. The spelling of communication according to Dr. Ali is 'LISTEN'. Learn to listen to your child, only then will you be able to understand what he is thinking or what his plans are. Also create an atmosphere where the child can talk to the parent one to one, both the parents should spend separate time with the child. If there are two children the parents should make sure that they talk to both the children separately.

Question 1: How to make your child to go to school on time?
Answer: The parents should become the role models for the child, this is because the child learns many things from the parents. Do not lecture to your child, listen to his issues on daily routine. Workout a plan together with your child, for example ask him if he can wake up early in the morning by setting an alarm. Try to have different methods that can motivate your child to go to school on time, and give him incentive when you see that he has made any kind of efforts. The incentives will act as a motivation for him.

A parent said that he had set a target for his children who were waking up at 6.30 a.m. to wake up at 5.30 a.m. He mentioned that to achieve this he first ask them wake up at 6.15 a.m. this did not seem to be a very big task for them because it was only 15 minutes early. When they achieved this then he would set a target for them to wake up by 6.00 a.m. and this went on until they had started to wake up by 5.30. he also mentioned about the whole family having dinner together. They discussed various topics during this time and made it very enjoyable to everybody. He said that they would start with a prayer and then each family member would say talk about how they spent their day at work or college, through this everyone on the family knew what the other person was doing.

Dr. Ali said that this was a good strategy and this can also be followed in improved their marks. Through this slow and steady the children will also not feel the pressure.

Question 2: What are your thoughts on usage of cellphones?
Answer: The parents should act as role models for the children. This is because when the parents give a lot of importance to a cell phone, the child will also think that it is very important to have one. Hence the parents should make the child understand why he is not been given a cell phone. The parents should also keep in mind not to take back anything once it is given to the child, it is always better to not give the child these things than to give it to him and then realize he is misusing it and then take it back.

Question 3: What are your thoughts on single parenting?
Answer: Parenting is both fathering and mothering. One parent cannot compensate for another. So if its a single father, he should see to it that the child can get the warmth of a mother through a relative and for a single mother, the father's attention can be give by her brother or another relative.

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