Parents should adopt a comprehensive approach to children’s educational development.

The fact that I make a lot of effort to explain this issue each time it is discussed exposes the extent of the learning gap to be filled in order to make parents have the right focus on their children’s education. One therefore needs to apply self-restraint in order not to be swallowed up in the heedless crowd.

Stories have been told of parents who deny their children certain basic necessities of life such as food or clothing and give them ugly names because the target of taking the first position was not achieved by the children in their classes. It is common for children to return for a new term with ugly scars of the punishment inflicted on them because they could not achieve the desired position in the previous term. Desperation for children to get the best grades in class even pushes some parents into engaging their children’s class teachers as home lesson teachers. Such lesson teachers may be tempted into awarding unmerited scores to the children in order to impress their parents and justify their pay.

I feel for children each time I see them get hysterical after collecting their termly results for fear of the calamity that would befall them when they get home. No wonder some of such children would resort to unholy practices to get the kind of grades that would impress their parents. Schools have also been accused of awarding unrealistic scores to excite parents.

The resultant anxiety and inconsistency are unnecessary and ineffective in achieving the desired academic excellence. It is unrealistic and contradicts the principles of healthy competition to expect that a bright child would always come first in class. Parents should ideally aim at raising children who are developed to take right actions that are driven by a good balance of mental ability and a conscience-driven attitude. In order words, the child’s academic performance should be as much importance to the parents as his feelings and behaviour generally.

A child’s termly performance should therefore be wholly evaluated. This evaluation should give fair attention to the child’s development in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of learning. Improvements, no matter how little, should always be commended. Thoughtful parents don’t just evaluate the child if he fails to meet expectation. They also evaluate the child’s school for qualified and supportive staff, sound school policy on discipline as well as reliable organisational structure for quality maintenance.

The unique strategy to apply in order to surmount any parenting challenge would always be revealed by prayerfully getting closer to the child, while loving more, listening more and talking more. Unnecessary emphasis on position should be avoided because it frustrates children and puts stress on parenting relationships.

-Uchenna N. Nduka

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