The Challenge of Good ParentingAIS Admin
Recently a number of staff have become parents for the first time. The joy on their faces is simply wonderful, despite the lack of sleep! Although my own children are adults and I now have grandchildren, I remember the day that each of my children was born and the sense of overwhelming love that flowed through me. Yet as they grew, I realised that in all the challenges of life, being a good parent was one of the hardest for we want the best for our children, but we don’t always know how to make that happen. As I reflect on this, I realise that good parenting comes from two simple thoughts – the importance of spending time with your children and setting the right example.
But modelling the best behaviour for our children can be very challenging indeed!
An example of this is when our children become teenagers and we are helping plan their futures. Often children can say they want to finish their high schooling overseas (so they can be more grown up) and as parents, we think we need to support this as a demonstration of being a good parent. But is this the best choice?
When we send our children away, we can send them into cultures, which can have values that clash with our own. For example, some western countries may be more permissive about sex, alcohol and drugs. When we add the lack of supervision, this brings considerable risks. There is no doubt that some thrive in a new and challenging environment, but more just survive, and some finish barely alive. Research has shown us that as ‘parachute kids’ (as children who are parachuted into new cultures are known) are separated from their family and culture at a formative age, they are more susceptible to isolation, aggression, anxiety, depression and suicide. In fact, a reasonable number do not settle and end up returning to their families, which leads to further disruption academically, socially and emotionally.
As good schools know, the greater the cooperation between parents, child and school, the greater the outcomes for children. This is almost impossible when we send our children away. Yet excellent cooperation is a feature of AIS where we have such a high quality staff to support us, and that our children will have so many opportunities to grow.
If we want to help our children succeed – and isn’t that what we all want- then we need to find time to be with them, and model what we wish them to do. For me, time with our children passes too quickly, and so keeping a family together so that we can be there to support our children and help them make good decisions is too precious to give away. In the end, it wont matter what we say if we don’t live what we believe and find the time our children need to be with them.
Dr Roderick Crouch – Executive Principal