The Empowered Parent: Six Simple Steps to Help Your Struggling Child Succeed

The Empowered Parent: Six Simple Steps to Help Your Struggling Child Succeed

by Beverly Maitland

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ISBN-13: 9781475975048
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/17/2013
Pages: 198
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.45(d)

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The EMPOWERED Parent

Six Simple Steps to Help Your Struggling Child Succeed


By Beverly Maitland

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Beverly Maitland
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4759-7504-8



CHAPTER 1

THE REALITIES OF SCHOOLS

You send your child to the schoolmaster, but 'tis the schoolboys who educate him.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


In every corner of the universe, where there is a school, there is a struggling child. From Boston to Bangkok, from New York to the New Delhi, from Costa Rica to Canada, and from even the best schools in Singapore to the worst schools in Africa, students struggle. Life, by nature, is a struggle. Schools and the school systems are part of living, and hence, derive their struggles from the political, economic and moral struggles that are in our society. The evidences have never been more vivid that schools, as educational entities are places of struggle. Schools, just like the outside world, are places of where students compete for success and compete for survival. As academic facilities, ideally, schools exist for students to get an education. However, the elements that design schools need in-depth analysis and understanding. On the surface, the assumption is that schools are good places.

Through the positive eye, we may see schools in the following ways:

* Places of nurture, discovery and excitement.

* Within schools, students gain lifetime experiences and create lasting friendships.

* The school is a place of transformation, a mighty hand that shapes and molds the child into a positive and productive citizen in society.

* The path of schooling gives parents hope that children will turn out to be something in life.

* Schools also cultivate character and build leaders.

* Schools also cheer and encourage students throughout life's inevitable journey.

* Schooling helps to lessen the struggle up the social ladder.


These familiar statements echo the theorized philosophy, mission and vision statements of many schools. This is the norm, the expectation of schools. However, there are deviations from the norm, too many to ignore. In actuality, the makeup of schools and school systems could be more detrimental than beneficial to your child. Consequently, we have to examine schools though the lens of the negative eye. An in-depth scrutiny of schools would therefore reveal that:

* Schools are not only places to get an education.

* They are the construction houses for poor character building.

* They challenge willpower, and they profile and label the child.

* They can sometimes operate as factories for poor character building.

* Within schools there are instances of suicides and homicides, gangs are present, bullying is common and depression and low self-esteem are prevalent.


If one can find it in the street, he can find it in the schools. The school is a microcosm of its local society. Therefore, whatever happens in society happens inside the school. In other words, the society translates its atmosphere to the school, both in the positive and negative light. Still the school is a place of promise; concurrently, I am sure you will agree that the abundance of dichotomies makes it a scary place as well.

Nevertheless, despite a problematic education system and the issues surrounding our schools, as parents, we can still mitigate the negatives in order to direct the success of our children. In fact, over the years, there have been many desperate calls for parents to take charge of their children's education. This is another attempt to encourage parents to realize that schools are the testing grounds for moral stamina. In order to succeed, children need parents with a participatory purpose because the future of children rests heavily in the victories of their schooling experiences. Parents with such a purpose may be the only factor that can counteract the negativity that is inherent behind the walls of schools. Active and involved parenting makes the only difference between the positive and the negative attitudes that children can assimilate from schools.

Analytically, the call for parents to take charge has echoed over the years. Unfortunately, not many schools provide strategies that induce parental involvement. Some schools do not realize that many parents need lessons on parenting itself. The society expects parents to know what to do in every situation, and how to handle these challenges. Therefore, to help parents learn more about struggling children this discussion has the following objectives:

1) To explain who are struggling children.

2) To identify the reasons children struggle.

3) To share strategies that parents can use to promote success.


The answers to the countless issues in school systems and families are innumerable. The book's intention is to be a quick parental guide. For parents who are struggling with parenting, for parents who want to become better at their responsibilities, for parents who have a struggling child, and for parents who have no idea who they are, or what else to do, this is the place to start. Simply put, there is something here for every parent.

CHAPTER 2

POWERFUL PARENTING

Let him that would move the world, first move himself.

Socrates


Children can succumb to the negative or the positive extremes of school. Besides yielding to the positive or the negative, children can also become neutral. The latter is perhaps worse than being positive or negative because passivity does not create leaders. In other words, students can yield to the pressure of gangs; they can drop out of school. Students could also yield to the positive side by achieving good grades and exhibiting leadership skills in school. Then there are those students, who seem to be in a trance. They walk around the school like zombies, having no definite purpose or rationalization for their circumstances, and no vision or dreams for a path in life. What makes the difference in these students' attitudes is often the parent.

Therefore, from a parent to a parent, where your child ends up, depends more on the parent, and not so much on the school or the society. This is because; a child can succeed in any environment when nurtured by a strong and positive parent. That is why, I can say this with all certainty, no matter how terrible a teacher is, it is not only the teacher's fault that your child fails or struggle. Parents have the power to be the most influential element, when they are alert and involved from the very beginning of their child's education. Moreover, the work of parenting begins from the womb, and includes both the mother and the father to be.

However, let us be cautious that being the conduit of birth does not satisfy the requirement for parenting. Any male or female with health and physical capabilities can impregnate, or become pregnant and bear a child. That is motherhood and fatherhood. However,

* Parenting is a higher, nobler and more spiritual task.

* Parenting is the sweetest endowment of ownership. It is honorable when a parent can say with pride, "that's my son" or "that's my daughter."

* Parenting gives off the comforting incense of immovable commitment, unconditional but firm love, and genuine praise.

* A parent is the solace during failure, the hope during dismay, and the tower during weakness.

* A parent is friendship when the world becomes the enemy.

* Parents criticize so that their children can grow.

* Parents break down and build up their children as they pass through the phases of life.

* Parents do not give children the easy way out of problems; they provide guidance to the sensible way out of problems.

* Parents do not always provide answers; they give direction.

* Parenting is not perfection. Parenting is a promise of permanence; a vigil lit in the background signifying constancy that I am here no matter what.


Here is the crucial question, have you been a parent to your child? Have you taken this dignified duty to heart? Parents are like servants in the king's castle. Just as servants serve the king, so parents serve their children, respectfully. Simultaneously, parents are also the kings and queens in the castle who take care of citizens, provide guidance and ensure that residents are happy in the kingdom. Parents switch roles, depending on the situation. Parents are not just teachers. They are also police officers. They work the night shift; they are designers, economists, politicians, etc. If you name a role in the respectable professional arena, you can match it to parenting.

Now, are you fathoming the extent of power and responsibility inherent in choosing to become a parent? Why then, do you take it so lightly? It is now time to change the path if you have not been travelling the right road. Parents, if you slipped off, get back on the path now; and for those parents who have steadily travelled the road, through hail, snow, sleet and thunderstorms, good job. The reward is in the future. For those who want to step up to the task of parenting, join the race, take the baton, and never lose the baton. Your reward is also forthcoming.


Questions Parents Should Ask

As parents, let us then analyze what we are doing for our children. Some parents are doing super jobs as parents. Some are trying hard, but failing; some do not know where to start, and some just do not have the will power. Therefore, it does not matter that a parent has excellent parenting skills, there is always something to learn to enhance these skills, and as I said, this is a good starting place. If parents want their children to end up reaping the benefits, instead of yielding to the negative, this is the time to turn around. Let us look to see as parents what you are doing for your children. Even after abandoning parenthood, it is never too late to assume your parental responsibility. The task will be more difficult, but it will never be too late; the power is still yours.

Before we begin, parents need to answer some pertinent questions. Go ahead and write down the answers to these questions.

1) Which child are you representing? Think about your child or children. It does not matter how many children you have; that is not the point. If you are reading this information so that you can become a better parent, then who are the children who need your help? What are the characteristics that define them?

2) Where do you see that child 3 years, or 5 years, or 10 years from now? Do you see him completing school successfully, having attained certain skills, and satisfying a fulfilling role in society? Do you see your child out of your house into his own apartment, working, earning, finishing school, etc? What are your hopes for your child?

3) What do you see your child overcoming? Think about it because this will be indispensable to the rest of this discourse. Remember this question is not asking if you envision your child being a doctor or architect. Question 2 is asking what parents would want for children. However, this question is asking, what kind of personal achievements would parents hope to see in their child. Perhaps it is being more self confident, choosing better friends, becoming more organized, overcoming a fear, etc.

4) Have you done everything to help your child meet these goals in questions 2 and 3? Are you engaged in the events of your child's life, steering him towards success?

5) What is preventing you from helping your child to succeed?


Parents, if you have not answered these questions, do so and come up with some answers. These guiding questions will dictate your actions towards your child's success. Some parents may feel that they cannot answer such questions because life may sometimes be a mixed up combination of haphazard outcomes, but that is hardly the case. Life is also an ordered process of structured outcomes, but the life we lead is up to us. How structured your life is, depends on you. Yes, we know that unexpected events happen beyond human control, but in the average situation, life, when ordered, yields fruitful outcomes even amidst tough challenges. The struggle of Olympians is the perfect parallel to the struggle of academics. Many Olympians experience harsh struggles and make numerous sacrifices just to win a medal. Likewise, in order to achieve academic or any personal success, struggle and sacrifice is inevitable. Have you read or heard someone say, "From I knew myself I wanted to be a policeman" or "I knew I wanted to be a doctor?" Some people just know where they are going in life, and nothing hinders their journey.

Each man, each woman, each child may ask himself the same questions, but the answers typically vary. Therefore, in parenting, there is never a single path for your child, a single process and a single result. Living is a race against time that everybody runs, but winning or losing is a personal decision. Please understand that no one can win the race against time itself. The myth society believes is that we are racing against each other, hence, our attitudes towards one another. Living is not a race against humankind because it is impossible for everybody to win the same prize. It is impossible for everyone to be at the same point in the race. The nature of humanity dictates otherwise. However, living, which is the race against time, is a daily competition with self. Every day we age and we try to accomplish certain goals before a given age. Hence, we race against time. This competition encourages us to become better than who we were yesterday. This competition motivates us to achieve more than we had yesterday, to progress with age so that upon death, we would have lived the fullest that we allowed ourselves to live. This is one of the reasons for existence, to live a full and meaningful life until the inevitable hands of death summon us to the grave. That is why true education does not end after high school or college. True education begins at birth and ends at death. Once birth occurs, the hands of time start clicking, and competition with self begins.

Parents who are already in the race are there to train and coach children for this competition. When we have families, the race becomes a relay. Parents fall out the race and pass the baton to their children. If parents fail in the arena of coaching and training their children, they lose time. With time the competition against self becomes harder to win because, training began late. Bad habits already take root. Children do not learn self worth; they do not learn their value in the world. They develop low self-esteem; they get low grades and the list continues.

Each person is in a personal competition, a personal race with time. The beauty is that we can achieve so much with every minute we have. The sad part is that we do not use those seconds well. However, those minutes are what parenting is about. Customize your time based on your child needs, not based on mine, or somebody else's. Amidst our similarities, our differences separate us into individuals with individual goals. Therefore, we need to ask questions for the purpose of self-evaluation and to guide the future. In this way, we can win the race against time, and beat the competition against ourselves. The problem in this world is that people think that the competition is against somebody else. Yes, there are shortages, unemployment, sickness and poverty, which are common hurdles in the race. However, the following statements will become the motivator, bear them in mind and teach them to your children:

* Obstacles are part of life.

* A competition is not a competition without a challenge.

* Overcoming challenges is the heart of our victories.

* The more challenges we overcome, the better we become.


This is a lot to chew. Parents, it may take time to reshape your thoughts, especially when your natural thought is to teach your children to become better than someone else. No! Teach your child to become better than his last self, which is why every human has his own path to travel. As an example, let us look at the steps of progression for two children.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from The EMPOWERED Parent by Beverly Maitland. Copyright © 2013 Beverly Maitland. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

INTRODUCTION....................     ix     

SECTION 1: EMPOWER YOURSELF....................     1     

Chapter 1: The Realities of Schools....................     3     

Chapter 2: Powerful Parenting....................     7     

Chapter 3: The Truth about Struggles 14....................          

Chapter 4: The Reasons Students Struggle—I....................     20     

Chapter 5: The Reasons Students Struggle—II....................     27     

Chapter 6: The Reasons Students Struggle—III....................     35     

Chapter 7: Discouraged Parents....................     40     

SECTION 2: EMPOWER YOUR CHILD....................     53     

Chapter 8: The Breakthrough....................     55     

Chapter 9: Gather Data....................     69     

Chapter 10: Develop a Plan....................     73     

SECTION 3: STRATEGIZE....................     81     

Chapter 11: Strategies for the Pre-Elementary Student....................     83     

Chapter 12: Strategies for the Elementary Student....................     94     

Chapter 13: Strategies to Help the High School Student....................     108     

Chapter 14: Teach Good Habits....................     118     

Chapter 15: Challenging Children....................     130     

Chapter 16: Spirituality: The Other Side of Academics....................     149     

SECTION 4: WITNESS SUCCESS....................     157     

Chapter 17: Embrace Success....................     159     

Chapter 18: The Triumphant End....................     165     

APPENDIX....................     175     

Assignment Track Sheet....................     177     

Organizational Checklist....................     179     

Internet Resources....................     181     

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