All of us must be sure that when we are working with a student who is the target of a bully that they know everything that is listed in this collage of words. Not sure what it says? Join us at Bully Prevention Partners for the complete list and more information on what parents, teachers and students can do to create the culture of peace in the classroom.
In a study done by a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, Harold Stevenson, it was found that children in the United States, China, Japan, and Taiwan had marked differences in their achievement levels. The question that was asked was “why the difference in American children and those from Asian countries”.
The answer lied in what parents emphasized with their children’s learning and parenting styles. Now before you think this is a vote for the Tiger Mom mentality, it is not. But here are the differences in the parenting styles.
The Asian parents emphasized the value of effort with their children. Their message was that if you stick with it, work hard on the problem, you will be successful. Their expectation of the student was to not give up – and they would get the good grades they were expected to get. The result was that the Asian children worked longer and harder because they believed that their success was based on how hard they worked.
Contrast that with the American children, whose parents were more likely to place emphasis on a child’s innate ability, allowing them to under perform as their parents lowered their academic expectations. Couple that with the questions American parents are more likely to ask, “Did you win?”, “How many A’s did you get on your report card?”, we end up teaching our children that the end product – the grade, winning, getting the trophy or belt in martial arts – is more important than the journey and the effort and process that got you to the point that you were able to achieve.
What would make a difference in our children’s success in school and in life? What if instead we emphasized the long term effect of putting forth your best effort, and sticking with a problem till it was solved and to learn from the mistakes we make along the way as we reach for our goals. If our children learn from an early age that if they put their hearts and souls into whatever they need to achieve, they will be successful. No more excuses permitted. Yes it may take us a little longer, but in the end the satisfaction of the journey and knowing that it is the effort that counts the most – that it is not just the end goal, and we will find satisfaction in our accomplishments.
This is so in line with how the martial arts is taught at Balanced Life Skills. While there are many martial arts schools that sell black belt programs (you put in 2-4 years and we will give you a black belt), Balanced Life Skills is based on putting in the work and seeing the results of the effort each student makes. It is a journey that we can learn so much from as we travel the road to being a better person. It is a journey that every student and parent can learn from in other parts of their life. We are not going to get it right the first time or even the 50th time. But if we put forth the effort and do not quit, we will be successful.
When a martial arts school talks about perseverance you might think that it would be about doing push ups without stopping or some other kind of physical activity. While learning not to quit, even if you get tired, is one way of learning about perseverance and reaching goals, developing perseverance in ourselves and our children is one of the factors that will determine future success.
The ability to stick to our goals until they are reached along with the effort and hard work required, has more to do with accomplishments than does getting into a prestigious university. Children do not learn this all by themselves. As parents we have a great influence on what our children will value, whether it will be effort and hard work or in getting the perfect grade or winning.
Think about what the effects on ourselves or our children if we were not afraid of making a mistake, and saw that if we stuck with something that we could make a success of our efforts and reach our goals. Unfortunately too many parents only ask the questions about ‘what is the grade you got’, ‘did you win’? Imagine if the effort and perseverance a child or ourselves put into a project or goal was just as important to us as the end product of what grade or score we ended up with?
During this month we will discuss what it means to keep going and not quit, when is it reasonable to allow a child to quit an activity, what gets in the way of persevering, what keeps us going and what the benefits are of not giving up. This month is not going to be just about not quitting on our push ups and sit ups, it will be about setting goals for ourselves and finding a way to reach them – even if it takes more effort than we thought.
If you don’t think your child is being harassed take a note of this:
50% of people ages 14-24 have experienced digitally abusive behavior. *
61% of those who have sent a naked photo or video of themselves have been pressured by someone to do so at least once.*
*2009 poll conducted by MTV
Digital harassment is when technology and electronic communication devices are used to “stay in touch” – but the relationship has become manipulative and controlling. If someone is feeling badgered or threatened this is a form of cyber-bullying and many times takes place between two people in a romantic relationship. Many times there are demands for passwords, inappropriate photos, requests for one of the parties not to be a friend to another on a social website or it may become a time when lies / rumors are spread or someone is being impersonated.
In the 2009 poll conducted by MTV it was found that those being targeted by this sort of harassment may not want to come to school anymore, may engage in risky behavior or even have ideation of suicide. For parents this is a time for you to stay close to your teen and support them, with discussions about online safety and reminding them that you are there for them. You may also want to encourage your child to be willing to talk to other trusted adults such as a teacher or counselor at school. Help them to to set boundaries that they are comfortable with. Most of the time when photos are sent, passwords shared or other inappropriate acts take place on line it happens after there has been pressure put on the student by one or more other students.
When I think about excellence in leadership one of the persons that come to my mind who was able to achieve excellence in his field and from his team members was John Wooden. What he was known for was stressing excellence to his players, working hard and doing so to reach their highest potential. This is an important lesson for leaders in the work world and in parenting.
Our children, if we have more than one, will all be different. One may be the easiest child to be around. They listen, accept correction, work on making changes that we would like to see in them. Then we have our second or third child and they are oh so different, and we are at a loss. What did we do different, why are things so much harder with this child? Continue reading “Parents & Leadership: Focus on what you can do.”