A PAPER PRESENTED AT THE INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY ANTOSCIENCE EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANCY ON 12TH JUNE, 2019.
Child Psychology and Parenting. by Nnenna Chukwubuike; a teacher of reading. I studied Education English and Applied Linguistics. I have been working with children for 16 years.
Child Psychology has been extensively defined by scholars. In the context of this paper, Child Psychology is perceived as a behavioural science that studies the mental processes and behaviour of children.
Mental processes is concerned with what goes on in the mind of a child.
Behaviour is the way someone behaves.
Subsequently, the thoughts that go on in the mind of a child drives the child to behave in a particular way.
Child Psychology is a broad concept that covers various topics about child development. In that regard, it encompasses, physical development, personality development, cognitive development, social development, language development, moral development, intelligence and many others.
DEFINING A CHILD
In the context of this work, a child is a little human being. This suggests that a child has all the qualities of a human but he is very tender.
There has been various age descriptions of children. These age descriptions of children vary among scholars and educators. Jean Piaget a notable psychologist classifies children to be between ages 0 to 12years.
Children exhibit some attributes that define them. Some of their characteristics are described below:
They are very active and boisterous,
They like play,
They are inquisitive,
They learn by exploring their environment,
They learn with their senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste). The most active is the sense of sight as what they see creates an impression on their minds,
Their attention span is very short. But if you must maintain their attention, there should be a variation in the activities provided to them,
Children are highly perceptive.
RELATING WITH CHILDREN
A newly born child is yet to understand the environment he finds himself. It is true that they can not talk at this stage but they have a way of communicating their intentions to the parent or caregiver. This they do through crying or move parts of the body like hands and legs. Children at the above mentioned stage need to be watched closely to understand their needs at any point in time.
Sequel to the above, when children are between ages 3 and 12 months, their minds can be conditioned to learn some behaviours. A school of thought known as the behaviourists are of the opinion that a child's mind at birth is a blank slate on which anything can be written and erased. His mind can also be conditioned to behave in a particular way through constant practice.
Situating the above in real life situation, when a child exhibits an action, a response from the parent or caregiver follows. This response determines if the action would be encouraged to keep repeating it or discouraged for it to be eliminated.
For instance, if a child bites his mother's nipple while sucking and the mother frowns, the child does this repeatedly and the mother frowns, the child interprets frowning to mean 'not happy'. The child would gradually reduce the biting until he stops. The child understands that the action of biting his mother's nipple was wrong
However, if the mother smiles each time he bites the nipple, the child feels encouraged. He thus forms that as a behaviour. From the foregoing, the medium of communication for children between the above mentioned ages is facial expressions, body language and sounds.
Furthermore, children between ages 5months and 2 year, can be taught actions, sounds, short expressions that he use to communicate his needs. For a child that has not started talking, some parents teach their children to express themselves when they want to do a poo by snorting. As this is done constantly, the child learns to snort as a way of expressing that he wants to poo. When a child begins to talk, the caregiver or parent should make a conscious effort to say things to him whenever a specific action is happening and ensures he repeats after you. This is how the child learns to express himself. The language the child is taught should be consciously selected. Also, the ought not to be exposed to vulgar or nagging expressions. This is because the caregiver or parent is a model. Whatever they say or do, children imitate. It is important that you know the character and language of people within the child's environment to ensure that the child does not pick up bad language and character.When a child begins to talk, the caregiver or parent should make a conscious effort to say things to him whenever a specific action is happening and ensures he repeats after you. This is how the child learns to express himself. The language the child is taught should be consciously selected. Also, they ought not to be exposed to vulgar or nagging expressions. This is because the caregiver or parent is a model. Whatever they say or do, children imitate. It is important that you know the character and language of people within the child's environment to ensure that the child does not pick up bad language and character.
As the child develops a language for communication, it is very important for the parent or caregiver to keep having a constant discussion with the child. This is how you would understand what they think about a thing. Do not shut them up. It makes them to withdraw from you.
Constant discussion with the child cultivates friendship, trust and security in the child. Parents should learn not to tell lies about issues because as they grow, they would discover the truth and begin to lose confidence in the parent.
Encourage them to make suggestions in matters about your home. This act helps to develop a sense of creativity even as he grows to adulthood. Always listen to them when the speak.
Moulding a child to become responsible starts at this tender stage. The parent or caregiver should assign the child duties no matter how little they are. From age 3, they should be given simple chores as washing socks, handkerchief and others.
Character formation starts at this young age. As a parent, you have to learn to make rules with the children and when they are made, stick to them. Children would flout the rules deliberately to know your reactions. If you punish them accordingly, they realize you are serious.
To discourage or eliminate a deviant behaviour in a child, does not require flogging. There are many methods you can adopt and the aim is achieved. Telling the child he is not your friend is one, asking him not to come to your room is another. Whatever one you adopt should be such that the child would understand.
Children and Academics
Sending a child to school to learn is determined by maturation. It is unfortunate that most parents here want their children to jump classes and get to a class they ought not to be. This has a negative effect on the child as some of them can not cope with the class. Some of such children get frustrated and dislike going to school.
Most parents scold their children for not taking the first position in school. This is not right. Every child is a genius in the area he has a natural interest in. Observe your child, to discover that talent, help him develop it and you would discover that your child is a genius.
PARENTING AND A BETTER SOCIETY
In the context of this paper, parenting is the science and art of bringing up a child to become a functional member of the society. Hence this work is very much interested in good parenting. However, to achieve good parenting, one has to be mindful of the attributes of bad parenting such as child abuse, carelessness, domestic violence, nagging, keeping late night, drunkenness, exposing your child to drug abuse and immoral acts, encouraging them in exam malpractice and all other forms of irresponsibility.
For good parenting to be effective, a parent must learn to be observant, patient, honest, sincere, transparent, modest, tolerant, confident and proactive. Your child look up to you as a model to function in the larger society effectively. If you exhibit good qualities as a parent, the society would be a better place
In conclusion, I wish to suggest that parenting be introduced in secondary schools as a subject as this would help make our society a better place.
What are those odd behaviours we notice and wish to eliminate or discourage? Pilfering, telling lies, laziness, headiness, bullying, cheating, fighting and many others.
At what age do we encourage a child to make suggestions in matters about the home?
Because we were brought up not to interrupt or make suggestions when the elders are talking as it is a sign of disrespect. It begins when the child is still in the womb.
Does it mean that children below 5months can't learn or communicate ? They can. They can be conditioned to learn to communicate.
you said, ..."For good parenting to be effective, a parent must learn to be observant, patient, honest, sincere, transparent, modest, tolerant, confident and proactive".... does it mean parents ought to attend lectures, school to learn effective parenting inorder to get the job done?
My question. Sorry for using this example. Spiritual leaders ( Pastors and Imams) often feel they have answers to every questions including child training but you discover that even their own child are deficient in many areas. I believe there should be regular training from professionals
I think parents are already aware of good parenting. Some of them learn about it different organizations like churches, hospitals, social groups and chat group.
I think that adolescents should be exposed to it early that's why I suggest that it be included in the curriculum. …..Not really a school in my opinion. Seminars like this one, awareness programmes and symposia should be organized for parents regularly, at different levels and avenues. Most parents are not grounded on parenting. Most became parents out of child birth,and so not prepared. And most parents act from what they learnt from their own parents presuming is the way to train their own child…. Yes. Include in the corriculum just like entrepreneurship. It will help them adolescents themselves…
What is the threshold for flogging as it appears private primary school don't flog again at all because of the fear of parents?
The ban on flogging of pupils should be for a better reason other than fear of parents. Just thinking loud. How many schools do send their teachers to organised trainings on parenting? They are like the school parents.
Out of fear of parents, yes but also some teachers abuse children in the name of flogging. There's something called flogging management. If flogging is done to correct and it a non abusive way it helps to keep children on track…
Rod in that sense is figurative.
Flogging can't be erased in disciplining children either at home or in d school....spare d child and spoil the rod . Here i stand
.. It is not literary rod. Any method you use to to eliminate deviant behaviour in children is a rod. It is wrong to flog children, explore other methods.
"In my own opinion, flogging as a corrective measure is effective when use mildly, nd not abuse. Students don't respect teachers in schools where flogging is prohibited, Just like my School students have lost sanity just because they feel teachers can do them nothing."
"Flogging is about the only language most children hears. So I flog from time to time. If you rule it out totally, today's children will indirectly flog you.. Some schools where flogging is prohibited student misbehave to the extend of abusing their teachers… My 7year old daughter smiles and plays a lot. I see her as a distracted child, I approached her teacher who confirmed that my daughter is highly smart and intelligent but easily distracted. Distracted to the extent that while playing, she will mis spell simple words. I gave the teacher the license to flog her but only when she talks or play while lessons are going on. I learnt my daughter uses her teacher's desk when lessons are going on just to help her concentrate. Now, the girl has changed a lot. So my stake is this, if a teacher flogs my child out of wickedness, I will come after her but if its for corrective measures, then its okay."
Please don't flog use what they like to scare then pending on the child age anyway also punish them instead of flogging all the time because they can grow thick skin to that which it will now b meaningless
… When?I flog when am happy ooo. I do that when I must have talked, warned, advised and the person remains adamant. I flog to send stronger message….” Flogging by proxies (teachers, acquaintances, relatives etc) is debatable. But for parents who are the primary caretakers and child's bringer into the world. IT IS COMPULSORY. Frequency, method, severity is to each, his own!”
..how? Flogging with the controlled temperaments. No transfer of aggression or frustrations. No beating with anything I see. No closing of eyes while flogging. No beating on sensitive parts of the body. Self control is key for the corrector…. Exactly! Flogging should be done systematically not out of provocation. Also not when it is a genuine mistake. Some cases you should apologise to the child when you are wrong too…” How many hours do parents have for their child? Most children learn discipline frm their teachers and caregivers. So if flogging is left for parents alone then the children may get lost.” “Telling a child he is not your friend, giving other children a hug and you don't give the deviant child. Telling a child you wouldn't take him. Asking him not to sit beside or come to your room. Buying biscuits for other children and eating the beside before the child. There are a whole lot of them”
“From the definitions earlier on, children are full and complete individuals with emotions just that they are tender and still growing. They can play on the parents intelligence too if we are not experienced and firm. You need to see some BOSS CHILD controling their parents. In public places like malls, hospitals and parties such children will embarrass there parents clearly.”
“I seen this overtime. The one I can't stand is seeing a child beat his mum in public. I keep wondering how parents of such children correct them when they err as children.”
“I quite agree to this especially in Nigeria, personally I'm of the opinion that flogging should be done once in a very long while and in moderation.
From my experience as a teacher, I hardly flog in fact I can count the number of times that I've done so in my years of experience. I remember vividly when I flog my pupils (the whole class) for being so rude to a colleague of mine, in fact that was the only time I flogged in that particular academic year/session and that was third term (around this time that year), after flogging them to my greatest surprise, this child starting writing a sorry note to me seriously apologizing. One of the child told her mum at home that she was so surprised that I flogged them and she's scared that I might refuse to be their teacher again, her mum actually called me next day to apologize on the child behalf.
So my point, flogging shouldn't be removed outrightly (especially in Nigeria) but should be done once in a very long while and not at the slightest provocation.”
How can you distinguish between a punitive and corrective flogging in the case of an accident... Say, while mildly flogging a piece of the wood flies out and pierces your ward's eye? And you were not there to witness how exactly it happened? Better avoid a potential evil than manage it.
If we can tell ourselves the truth, the cane dehumanizes... The slave masters used it effectively. It was perfectly deployed by our neocolonialist brothers to force to discard our native languages in preference to foreign tongues. It took a lot from most of us to emancipate ourselves from the debilitating effects of flogging. It creates a timid personality with an inferiority complex.
A child stole a huge amount of money and later came back with the money to apologise. How will a parent handle this kind of situation.
How old is the child? Where did he steal the money, is it at home, at school?
Responses from different participants:
“If he returns the money and apologise, that means he has repented and realized that what he did was wrong, I will forgive him and continue praying for him untill that kind of spirit disappears from him completely, thank u
“I really think this is a hard scratching problem. I need to know at what age is this kid, that is stealing...different strokes for different folks...
Frankly speaking, if it's a kid of 5 - 10, then, it is a harder problem to deal with, because it's more a danger rather than a problem itself.
But it's more of a thing that can be resolved but will take gradual process...
What do you do to the kid, after returning the money?
Do you spank the kid of stealing?
Do you shout on top of your voice on the kid, brag and do all the gra gra?
Will you act a scene before the kid to show u r scaring d kid?
So, the better way or approach to solve it is to reason with the kid n know why the kid had to do what he did n then criticize d kid gently by telling the kid d danger in it.
As parents, one ought to set a good example to the kids, because you don’t know where that is coming from, ensure to communicate with them more often.
And above all, when you notice such an act, you need prayers for the kids, you need God.
But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself.John Frank