There are many theories of child development. However we consider the child’s development as self-liberation. A child is liberating himself from dependencies and fears moving toward freedom. He goes through the infant, toddler, preschooler, school-age, and teenage stages. In this article we discuss the major challenges a school-age child faces in his self-liberation: testing social skills and making study joyful.
Your child goes to school. What an exciting event! Now, your parenting supervision is almost zero. Your child is on his own. For many students this is a time of survival. Will teachers be kind to him? Will peers be friendly to him? Will bullies avoid him? It is not a question of whether or not there are bullies. It is a question of how will he develop his own tactics to avoid them or deal with them. Every group of people forms their social hierarchy and time to time rank their members. The school environment is no exception. Let’s be aware of this instead of being ignorant.
The more your child is internally secure by your love and support the more he will feel good about himself and adjust to the new environment. That is his way of liberating himself from fears and negativity, moving toward his internal freedom. What can you do to help your child develop positive social skills? Every day you can meet him with a smile and unconditional acceptance, no matter his school achievements. Every morning you can see your child to the school with faith in your eyes, that you believe that he is a good and honest person, and that that is enough for you to love him.
The main job of a school age child is to study. School material is growing in volume, consuming most of the child’s time. Hopefully he has talented teachers, who make the hard work of study a joy. What if he is not that lucky? Simon Soloveychik, in his book Parenting For Everyone, gives good advice: “If joyful study doesn’t depend on us, if the study is difficult for a child, let’s connect the joy with the study itself, not necessarily with its success.”
Unfortunately, many parents think that school success and achievements are the only criteria for happiness, and that is a mistake. The joy of studying and learning itself is the real result of your child’s efforts in school. Not only does the child develop his knowledge of the world by studying at school, he develops the love to the world itself, the desire to live in this world and be happy. “Don’t be afraid of bad grades, don’t force your child to be an excellent student, but be afraid to grow a joyless princess. Life will give your joyless child bad grades,” Soloveychik says.
In the school-age stage your child self-liberates himself from insecurity and fears in her heart, from confusion and darkness in her mind. The only thing you, parent, can do to help him on this journey is to love and give unconditional support. If you can help with his studies, then help. If you cannot, you still can lift your child’s dignity by being cheerful and joyful about his life at school, his peers and adventures. Don’t be his judge or home-work manager. Be a happy parent! This sounds simplistic because it is. What you cannot impart to your child, he will acquire himself, by his self-liberation toward freedom. The stronger your faith in him, the easier this process will be.