Know Your Child

Engineer Naveed Qamar

  • Director Foundation of Effective Education and Learning (FEEL)
  • Motivational speaker. Conducts workshops on
    • Parenting
    • Husband-Wife Relationships
    • Time Management
    • Strategic Vision
    • Leadership Qualities
    • Current Affairs

Childhood experiences have a deep effect on an adult human being’s personality. Unfortunately, many parents don’t have the necessary guidance or training to deal properly with their children. A father doesn’t know exactly what his children expect from him and a mother barely knows what she should do to become a good mother. Since no guidance of this nature is given at any level in our educational system, well-educated families also face a lot of trouble. The behavior of children with their elders or with people their own age is getting worse with every passing day. It is very common today that children insult their elders and beat others.




Most of the problems are due to the flaws present in our schooling system. A school is chosen for a child based on the appearance of the school building, not the character of the teachers, etc. By sending their child to the best available school – buying a uniform, books and shoes – parents think that they have done all that they were supposed to do and now all kinds of education, including ethics, norms, values, beliefs or everything else is now the sole responsibility of the school. In this way, we handover our children to someone, who is now expected to teach them how to live a good life.

After this “great favour”, we expect our children not to disturb us because we are too busy. A mother is busy in the kitchen, TV, shopping and at the parlour, so the children need to be engaged somewhere else. And the father is busy earning “for his kids” from 8 to 5, so after his work he deserves rest; therefore, the children should not disturb him. So, what should be done to engage them somewhere? The usual Plan is; Qarisahb after the school, then head over to tuition academies, after which they should go to the park, do their homework, watch cartoons and go to sleep…! Parents are not comfortable with their kids and kids are not comfortable with their parents. That is why Saturdays and Sundays are the most disliked days for the mothers.




Now let us think, whether this lifestyle fulfils the emotional, social, physical and psychological needs of our children? There is a huge gap between us and our honey bunny kids. Homes are just like hostels where people live in their cubical rooms and see each other in the mess hall only. The situation is even worse in most cases where meal times are not same.

We should realize that the home needs to be the first educational institution and the mother is to be the first teacher. Sadly, we have snatched this from today’s children and made it nothing except a place to sleep and eat. Parents need to ask themselves; what are the topics on which they should talk to their children? Is it good parenting when you handover your innocent children to someone else for their upbringing? We are doing everything for our children except what they actually need from us. We are working for their wants, not their needs. And we are very much satisfied saying that we are working very hard for our sweet children. Your child needs your love, attention and your time.

With whom do you share your inner thoughts and secrets? This question was asked in a survey of 3000 school students in Karachi. The majority of them didn’t reply, “My mother/father”.

A father should focus on becoming a loving, friendly father instead of becoming an ATM machine. To become a good parent, one must know what the child actually needs. The following are the basic needs of a child:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Intellectual

Physical Needs

Physical needs include diet, sleep and sports.

Diet:

Diet should be good and healthy. Good parents should have an idea of what a growing child needs. Growing bones need milk, not soft drinks. Soft drinks are a major cause of kidney failure. Dialysis machines are now available even in very small cities and small hospitals. Why? According to SIUT, Karachi, no kidney patient was lower than 50 years old, a few years back. But now this age has decreased to 30, which is continuously decreasing with an ever increasing pace. And all this is due to soft drinks, which our children drink almost daily at school and at homes.




We like fast food and packaged food, like chips, biscuits, etc. What do we think about packed chips? 6 months old potatoes, with artificial flavours, processed with preservatives, transported on hot sunny days, would help your child grow healthy and strong? The nearer you are to nature, the healthier you will be.

Similarly, the diet of the mother should also be healthy. How can a weak mother give birth to a healthy child? Often due to poor diet of mothers, doctors suggest to switch baby diet to artificial diet.

Sleep:

For better growth and good performance, sleep is necessary. Children having improper sleep are neither fresh, nor energetic. They should be provided with a comfortable and peaceful environment to sleep properly. An afternoon nap should also be taken, especially during the summer.

Sports:

Games should be tough so that all body parts move enough. At least one hour a day should be given to physical activities because it affects physical as well as mental growth. Children, who have no such activity, become dull, frustrated and depressed. Video games are rarely beneficial, and certainly not a replacement for physical activities. It would be great if you play with your children, thereby, bridging the gap between you and them, and it would be of tremendous help in creating a friendly relationship. In fact, sports itself is an education. Almost all physical games involve concepts of Physics, Mathematics, etc. Games teach languages, social behaviour, public dealing, making rules, following rules, managing time, being quick, being responsive, being responsible, decision making, judging things, and the list goes on and on…




2) Emotional Needs

A child should be loved unconditionally; this is the right of every child, whether the child is intelligent or not, beautiful or not, tidy or untidy, innocent or naughty. Love your child without indulging into comparisons. “I love you, my son because you have got good marks in your school test”. If you appreciate and hug your child who has got good marks, in the presence of another child who has got a poorer grade, what are you really suggesting? Do love your children, not their grades. Hug and kiss your children daily, without any obvious reason. This love shouldn’t be formal; rather, it should be full of emotion.

Respect is also a need of children. Never ever insult them. If your child does something really wrong, sit with him/her in private, have a discussion with him/her and tell him how he/she is supposed to behave. If you want them to be respected in the society, you must respect them. Likewise, if you want them to respect you, you should give them due respect.

3) Social Needs

It is the basic need of a child to have friends. A child should know how to make friends and how to value friendship. Giving gifts to friends and sharing things with other children, is the beauty of life. If a child has no friends then parents should be worried and try to ascertain the causes of this problem as early as possible. We all need to express our feelings, our good and bad experiences, our ideas, and many more things. If a child has no partner to speak to, this thing could cause a lot of psychological problems. So, parents should create an environment frequently that allows children an opportunity to interact with new people, belonging to different backgrounds and different ages.




Nowadays, if a child has no friends, he/she tries to quench his/her thirst through social media where he/she makes hundreds of fake friends and shares his/her secrets with them. These fake relationships then create a lot of problems.

4) Intellectual Needs

This includes writing, reading, language, intelligence, etc. Sadly, our children just surge through their text books, cramming information in their minds, instead of having exposure to many other informative books. For their intellectual growth, parents should try to develop their children’s reading interests because our text books are diluted. Text books have more exercises and less information. “Just memorize it…! You have to get good marks in tomorrow’s test. You got only 7 out of 10 in the last test,” mom yells. With what interest would the child read this text book? How do we expect our children to love their books?

We should understand that if a child doesn’t get good marks then it doesn’t mean that he is unintelligent and dull. Likewise, a topper is not necessarily at the top in all areas of life. Many famous people in history including leaders, scientists and businessmen were not good students at school. Just to name a few, M. Ali Jinnah, Einstein, Newton and Bill Gates. So, we should focus on providing a rich learning environment for their intellectual growth with the help of stories, drawing, arts, games and interesting reading stuff. Add as much fun to their education as possible.




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