Formulating Successful Students: Listen To Your Children

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - by Lisa A. Di Rosso

It is undeniable that we would like our children to be “Straight-A” students.  A popular belief is that full concentration on schoolwork along with disciplined study habits is the winning combination for academic achievement.  Parents often lecture their children to study harder and they will acquire the key that opens the proverbial door of success.  Barking such orders as a means for ensuring a child’s scholastic achievement is not the equivalent of effective parental guidance. 

It seems as though many parents just don’t take the time and/or have the patience to get thoroughly involved and listen, really listen, to their children.  This is a skill that parents must practice in order to increase effective parenting.  Adults are only human and carry their own problems, issues, and faults.  However, every effort must be made to avoid passing paralyzing burdens onto their children.  A lousy day at the office is not an acceptable excuse for unconstructive criticism and verbal abuse that many children, teenagers, and young adults endure time and time again.  “Power trips” executed by adults for no other reason than because they simply can only serve to chip away a child’s self-esteem.  This behavior is counterproductive and detrimental to overall development and achievement.

While attending high school and college I had met a number of peers who seemed considerably intelligent, developed good study habits, and possessed excellent memory recall abilities.  Nevertheless, I noticed that the majority of them did not accelerate educationally to the same degree as the small remaining percentage had.   I frequently pondered what particular influence gave these few students an edge to cause them to excel in leaps and bounds over the others.  I eventually uncovered the influential factor that I had previously overlooked. 

Throughout observation and personal insight into several of the high-achievers’ home lives, the missing link was found:  Their environments were extremely conducive to promoting well-rounded, successfully-educated people.  I witnessed first-hand the interaction that took place between these students and their respective parents.  The freedom to express ideas in an atmosphere of mutual respect was the prominent component I noticed.  These parents listened to what their children had to say and valued the intended messages conveyed.  Individual views were appreciated, considered, and encouraged.  Achievements were consistently praised.  Importantly, conscious effort was made to alleviate as much unnecessary stress from life as possible, allowing undistracted full potential to surface.  Education was a collective family effort, a unified investment that proved to yield great rewards.  As a result, these students appeared confident, optimistic, and well-spoken.  Seemingly high levels of self-esteem were noted within this group.

Successfully educating our children is a compilation of variables including academic abilities, self-discipline, and environments that effectively promote learning in both school and home.  It is vital that the two-way door of communication is permanently opened.  Parents must do more than talk.  They must willingly get out of the spotlight and take more than the basic amount of time to be able to listen attentively. 

When we nurture, support, respect, and listen to our children, positive self-esteem flourishes and the belief in unlimited potential allows for its reality.  When combined with the omission of nonsensical stressors and distractors we build so much more than immensely successful students.   As a result, we generate happy, secure, and productive members of society.

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