There are many theories of child development. However we consider the child’s development as self-liberation. A child is liberating herself from dependencies and fears moving toward freedom. She 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 her 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 her own. For many students this is a time of survival. Will teachers be kind to her? Will peers be friendly to her? Will bullies ignore her? It is not a question of whether or not there are bullies. It is a question of how will she develop her 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 she will feel good about herself and adjust to the new environment. That is her way of liberating herself from fears and negativity, moving toward her internal freedom. What can you do to help your child develop positive social skills? Every day you can meet her with a smile and unconditional acceptance, no matter her school achievements. Every morning you can see your child to the school with faith in your eyes, that you believe that she is a good and honest person, and that that is enough for you to love her.
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 she has talented teachers, who make the hard work of study a joy. What if she 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 her knowledge of the world by studying at school, she 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 herself from insecurity and fears in her heart, from confusion and darkness in her mind. The only thing you, parent, can do to help her on this journey is to love and give unconditional support. If you can help with her studies, then help. If you cannot, you still can lift your child’s dignity by being cheerful and joyful about her life at school, her peers and adventures. Don’t be her judge or home-work manager. Be a happy parent! This sounds simplistic because it is. What you cannot impart to your child, she will acquire herself, by her self-liberation toward freedom. The stronger your faith in her, the easier this process will be.