From the desk of a psychologist!

Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

Is learning only retaining?

With each passing day, I am getting more & more convinced that what we test is the merely the retention power of our students. Is that what real learning is?
To be honest we don’t know better. Stuck with the teaching skills of the 70s, we blindly follow.We claim that we are preparing students for the 21st century but refuse to equip ourselves for the same.

You would be shocked to know that instead of empowering our students, we are crippling them more. We try our best to make them the best learners but restrict them to become inadequate rote learners .

To understand this, lets first try to understand what is learning?

The most simple explanation is very well depicted through this diagram.

 

We have conveniently stopped ourselves in the first step of procuring. I strongly think the biggest hurdle, in our smooth movement to the next phase, is our own RESISTANCE. We are so comfortable in checking the procuring ability of our students that we refuse to change and move forward. We are failing to make learning meaningful.

I don’t think that our students are failing us, but it is we who aren’t able to make them understand their own potential & worth.Go ahead, challenge yourself…get out of your comfort zone. You have the power to make life long learners, making relevant transformations.

TIME TO CHANGE US!!!

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Indisciplined Demons

 

If we don’t shape our kids, they will be shaped by outside forces that don’t care what shape our kids are in. ~ Dr. Louise Hart

This lead to me reading and working on understanding discipline and annotating it in a positive aspect. Authors, Psychologists,Researchers have shared their profound knowledge & experience with us. They have provided us with various ways for positive discipline. It is definitely insightful and empowering, gearing up with these useful tools.

Parents & educators feel ready & groomed to take the plunge. They, equipped with their new found understanding  start implementing these strategies to the tee but most of the time their skills & efforts go in vain. The real change in behaviour is a far cry from the expected guaranteed one. Often blame goes to the expert but the simple reason is our naivety in not being conscious of the relevant protocol.

Read books with a plethora of strategies and ways to positively discipline your kids or students but realized a major ingredient of a successful recipe missing from the best there. You expect individuals to implement the strategies but what happens to the flavors they are bringing with them. There can’t be a blank sheet as we are human beings with our individualities, our strengths & our challenges.

How do we expect to implement the strategies with our subjectivity?

Our life’s journey fill us up with resentments, anger, grief apart from tons of other emotions. We carry the baggage. If we aren’t able to identify and deal with the things in our baggage, our perspectives will be colored. We will deal with our children with these shaded emotions making the questionable behaviour worse if not better.

I feel the sharing on discipline and behaviour modifications are great but for doing so one needs to deal with one’s demons first. One has to think, if I have my own insecurities, how am I going to be non judgmental in my approach which is the biggest pillar of positive disciplining. hqdefault

I would say learn, imbibe, implement but be aware of your own challenges otherwise your education is futile. Your angels & demons live inside you, choose to excel or fail. When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.

“We like Batman – we understand him, we suffer with him. On the other hand, we want to be Superman. But they’re conflicting philosophies. Let’s bring them together in one movie and see how we, as an audience, wrestle with our inner demons.”-Wolfgang Petersen

 

Its only the mould which breaks them!

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. – Dr. Seuss

I am a true believer of the uniqueness of each and every individual. We differ in a lot of ways from each other and this certainly affects our learning too. Some lessons work for us while some fail miserably, why is it so?  1for-a-fair-selection-everybody-has-to-take-the-same-exam_787144ec8906c416d5b842d5d9412257

I won’t give the whole credit to the instructor of the class but the power is in the hands of the learning environment. I am going to explore three learning environments, which according to me is instrumental in deciding the future of an individual learning outcome.

1. **A learning environment which encourages the right way of using multimedia**:
This environment provides educators with an opportunity to engage learners in an immerse and interactive environment that requires knowledge, decision making, and information management skills.

( http://www.educause.edu/eli/programs/learning-technologies)

The world is changing and how? Being in India, we are living with technology. I work in a school where we are preparing our kids to be successful in the next decade. We still have no clue what advancement in technology would be there by then but one thing we couldn’t deny is the growth of multimedia.

I have seen children who learn genuinely through games, simulations & virtual world. They are excellent in it and any given day could teach you skills you can use life long. But they aren’t learning the way we are teaching them. We become too instructional with something which is made to be explored & experimental.

I have seen special students doing fairly well and learning effectively when given the opportunity with multimedia.

My only, but not trivial concern, with this learning environment is the inability of children to stop and draw the line when requires. It still needs vigilant supervision.

2. **Learning through Nature :**

My next environment is just the opposite of the first one. I have never seen the happiness and contentment in learning than when students return from a field trip or external learning environment.

Play expert Stuart Brown ( 2009) provides compelling evidence that a ” play deficit” exists. It is sad but true and if you are blessed to be in an educational environment you can actually feel it.

The brain develops in a healthy way and it also enables creativity. The addition of fantasy also encourages students to role play and conquer their fears. The flip side actually emerges from here when it goes beyond learning and the child is unable to come back to reality and the practicality is lost.

3. **Sociocultural Learning environment:**

To meet the goal of “preparing people for an ever-changing world”, instructional programs need to apply strategies that focus on the development of critical thinking, problem solving, research, and lifelong learning.

Every day you learn something due to your individual, social & cultural factors. The best learning is when you recognize these factors and make full use of it while most of the time sadly it goes unnoticed. If properly used and made an aide to learning, it impacts our growth for life.

So, my whole point is wear the suit which suits you the best. No need to run after what works for the people or what is in these days.

Remember most of the time ““Its only the mould that breaks them!!!”

“We apathise they abuse”

I read a book today. It is called “The Kid Trapper” by Julia Cook. I need to share the jist of it and the situation of this boy ( being a counselor even I know someone like him).

This boy who was trapped in a sexually abusive situation.

How did he get into it?

Simple easy steps which works every time

A friendly stranger makes you feel special

Invite you for a fun time in his place ( or a secluded one)

Let you do something, you always wanted to, but your parents never allowed you to do so

And once you are done, his game begins

Because you did something, you don’t want your parents to know you have to fulfill his wish

The wishes will grow & grow

This is the moment you know, you are TRAPPED

He will make sure you never talk to anyone about it and feel dirty and responsible for the situation. Trust me, that is his power and his biggest weapon. Your fear and shame. picture-to-represent-child-poverty-581748424

You feel your parents/loved ones will hate you if they would come to even know about it but that is your biggest mistake. They love you and they would never be able to forgive themselves if you won’t reach out to them. The moment you’ll talk, the web will disappear.

Parents/ Adults/loved ones:

Do you know?

There is no specific description of an abuser. He could be anyone and anywhere and most of the time he is a very close one.

Be there for your child. Give him the strength to reach you. Be a friend, who doesn’t even need words to feel the pain of his loved one.

Sometimes, because of our own fears, we convey this message to our children that talking about sex ( or sexual abuse) is unacceptable. We believe in the ostrich syndrome…lets dig our heads in the sand rather than looking at the problem.

Though it sounds rare but this is the most common type of abuse which exists anywhere & everywhere!

Please, lets accept this as a fact that sexual predators do exist among us, rather than feeling ashamed and going in a cocoon about it because without this acceptance we will never be able to feel comfortable in talking to them about it and consequently will not be able to equip our kids with the necessary skills to identify and deal with them.

 

 

Gifted or Galling?

 

It’s amazing to see that there is relatively a lot more awareness for differently abled children than those who are gifted. I am not saying it is right or wrong but it certainly puts a question mark to our whole struggle of equality. If you are one of those who swear by the philosophy of  giving ‘ Equal Rights’ to all the children/ people under this sun, I am sure you would understand the place I am coming from.

I am in the field of education and sometimes we come across children who are disruptive, seem disinterested and ask the teacher questions which make them look like a novice. These children are generally labeled as rude, arrogant, lazy or sometimes even harboring behavior problems. The problem is we know so little or nothing about a ‘ Gifted Child‘ , let alone identify and appreciate them.

The main problem with this whole concept is the idea of ‘ Giftedness’. In this world of ‘multiple intelligences‘, you can’t limit yourself to IQ. You have to come out to the whole arena of various intelligences and then perceive a child’s capability and his potential.

Is the child who seems to be getting bored during your lecture about life actually way ahead of you spiritually more connected to himself. May be he already has established the whole meaning of his existence. You find him lazy and unmotivated and he finds you boring because the information you are putting in front of him has already been figured out by him and he expects validation not introduction from you as his teacher to keep him interested

The term ” Gifted” was first used by Francis Galton. He used the term for adults, who showed exceptional talent in any specific field. Understanding this is very crucial. We have somewhere lost this whole essence and now we only refer to those who are intellectually superior as ‘ Gifted”.

What about the child, who made a whole new music instrument from his toy car?

Time for us to reflect, be honest to ourselves and change the way we look at our child, who irritates us because we somehow aren’t able to keep up with him/her.

 

Why RESPECT?

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”
~ Jackie Robinson

What is it that differentiates us from animals?

According to Kazimierz Dąbrowski, the ability of humans to inhibit and transform our lower animal instincts into “higher” forces is what separates us from animals.

Going by this definition, I understood one thing, that we are born with too many basic impulses. These need to be trimmed and tamed to form a beautiful personality. We are also born with a disregard for oneself, others and our environment. As we grow and start building our identity, we start realizing the importance of RESPECT.  It is a major building block of our character.

We are nobody without our self respect. We demand respect from others to make our self esteem grow. If we actually observe our actions on an everyday basis, we will realize that they are governed by the need to be respected. We do our best to earn it whether through our intellect, behavior, heritage, strength or sometimes even try to buy it.

But, this reasoning is at an advanced level, sometimes people aren’t able to understand it. They try to gain respect without bothering to actually pass it on. They aren’t able to appreciate the cycle of respect. It is not a material gain but like all other human values, it is spread through sharing. If you like to be respected, you need to start respecting others without considering their background.

What is RESPECT?

Respect is a need which comes from within, influenced by the way you are treated. It comes from  achievements, contributions & merit. It is not a feeling of fear or obedience. It is a regard of honor which no one could force to happen, but oozes by itself where it is due and then no one could stop it.

Respect is when we show a significant amplification of attention and care through words or actions towards people or our own self.

Respect is when we modify our behavior or choice of words in such a way that it exhibits  a significant increase in attention and care and is supplemented by a feeling of admiration for their suggestions, abilities and achievements.

While researching for respect, I realized one vital point. The meaning of respect varies with age and so does its treatment.

For a child, we generally think that it is as simple as being polite and courteous but actually it is much more complex. A child is very well conscious of whether he is respected or not?

Children deserve to be heard & be dealt in a thoughtful, civil manner. Disrespect a child and he will wait for an opportunity to do the same or worse with you. A child also learns the way he is treated and the way he sees others being treated. The seed of respect starts from childhood. It can’t be taught but it certainly could be shown.

For a teenager, Respect is basically when you consider their decision. When you show them your regard, value their point of view, give them the place of a young adult. Disciplining is not being disrespectful. Don’t ever think that if you will point out their wrongs, they will stop liking you. May be they will but they will definitely start respecting you!

For an adult, the definition of respect goes to a different level altogether. It is not merely a value or attribute but a self fulfilling process. An adult learns to start respecting oneself and takes it forward to other individuals, society and nature. It is a journey of self actualization, finding oneself!

Why RESPECT?

Because we all have worth and value as human beings.

Respect is talked about a lot, people use the word all the time to generate authority, fear, love, obedience but actually it is a culture. When it is present you take it for granted but the moment it is lost, every minute is a slap in your face!

Respect is a healthy choice. Now, we know that it is a cycle, you get respect when you give it. So, for inner peace you need to be respected and your worth as a human being need to be appreciated. The mere thought of being disrespected is intolerable by all of us. I would say start respecting each human entity. Resist your basic nature of payback.

Let’s start the culture of respect by being an example… BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE!

Good touch, Bad touch!

If you are a parent or a caretaker of a child, You should stop and certainly read this!

Being a parent, I know we just wish that there is no word as danger in their world but we know it is not possible. So, we should do the next best thing of either keeping away our kid from danger or make them ready to face it. Again the latter is only possible if we restrict our child at home, which consequently would stop their growth.  

If you think or even want yourself to be a good parent, you make your child prepare for this world in each possible way.

Now the question, I want to ask you today is, have you thought about making them strong enough to deal with a sexual predator?

I always say shutting our eyes doesn’t infer that the problem is not there. It just means that we refuse to deal with it. If you are one of those who believe that it can never happen to my child as we live in a protected world, I am sorry to break it to you but you are living in a delusional world.

I am not only talking about the evil-looking ‘wanted’ individual, whose very look starts ringing alarms but I am trying to bring your attention to the friendly, safe and nice looking individuals. Those uncles with whom we know everything will go just fine or that neighbor who takes care of our child, when we have to run for an errand.

How are we so sure that nothing bad is going to happen?

Do you know that statistics prove that more than 70% of the times, assaulter is a well-known person of the child.

Are you comfortable that you have a son and they are not the potential targets. You need to wake up, as the boys are as vulnerable as girls in getting harassed.

God forbid if it happens, our child will be able to handle it and also let us know about it? Are you sure that you have imparted sufficient knowledge for your kid to actually not feel guilty about it and have the confidence to share it with the right person?

The world is a beautiful place but we all know that bad exists with good. There are people who are mentally sick . The problem here is no one can look at a person and say that there is something wrong with him and my child is not safe with this person. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you haven’t yet started, begin it today. Talk about the real evil of this world and talk in their language. Some tips to get you started:

  • Introduce them to the dangers of this world and then move to this particular area.
  • Tell them the ‘ Must say NO areas’, which are a strict NO. No one could or should touch you there. These areas are the chest, the area between your legs and your bottom ( bums). If you have are difficulty in explaining it to your kid, show them this picture and tell them to make sure no one touches them in the areas covered:

Please make sure that the kids understand that any touch which feels uncomfortable or leaves them confused need to be discussed with you. Make them comfortable with it. Tell them, it is not and never going to be their fault if a person touches them in the inappropriate places or ways.

  • Teach them how to shout NO. If a bad touch happens they should repeat No and run away from the place as fast as possible.

From childhood, somehow we have conveyed this message to our kids, that saying ‘No’ is not a good thing. You should listen to adults and do what they ask you to. We need to make them understand that sometimes you need to say ‘No’ and stick to it. Mom is not going to be upset if she finds out about your ‘No’, in fact she is going to be proud of you.

  • They should identify a ‘Safe Adult’. Someone with whom they are able to communicate and feel safe. If they face any such circumstance, they should find their safe adult and share the experience with them.

Children take secrets too seriously. They seldom break them. Make them understand the difference between a good secret and bad. Any secret, which makes you uncomfortable or sad need to be only shared with your safe adult.

If you are a parent, see the signs. Children are like flowers, you can see them withering if tampered!

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