The Revelation that her Award was not Meritorious was a Worrisome Development

I used to admire Gloria’s academic excellence each time she was called up to receive her award for best academic performance during her school’s end-of-year award ceremony. It was a private school. I was still basking in the euphoria of one of such awards when I engaged one of the teachers in that school in a casual discussion. I could not help but express my admiration for Gloria’s intellectual sagacity. In the course of our discussion, the teacher made a startling revelation. He told me in confidence that Gloria always got that award because of her mother’s insistence that the first position must be awarded to her daughter. Gloria’s mother was a close relation of the school proprietor.

This disclosure turned my admiration into worry. I was worried when I realised the extent of pollution and confusion her mother’s influence on the teacher’s assessment of her examination performance would introduce in Gloria’s developmental process. Of course, Gloria’s academic performance since she left that primary school is a clear evidence of the negative outcome of her mother’s action in ignorance. Gloria was haunted by that development even up to the higher institution. Children of school owners, administrators and teachers may be exposed to this challenge if their parents are ignorant of its damaging effect.

Reward is a motivator because awardees are encouraged to continue in the direction of the behaviour or effort that yielded success. Therefore, award will promote hard work and good behaviour if it is meritoriously given. On the order hand, complacency and mediocrity would be promoted if reward is received when it is not earned.

Children tend to develop well and gradually improve if they are able to relate their efforts and actions with the results they obtain. Great parents allow children to get what they deserve.

-Uchenna N. Nduka

Proper use of criticism as a parenting strategy

The brace of endless love is a parent with an unshakable resolve to continuously remain supportive to all aspects of the child’s development until the child develops into a disciplined adult. This therefore implies that a great parent is always close enough to observe and evaluate a child’s opinion, behaviour and contribution on all issues of life as a feedback for proper follow up. A parent’s feelings, opinion, commendation or reservation about a child’s behaviour must necessarily be properly and effectively communicated to provide guidance for proper development of the child. Criticism is therefore an essential instrument in a healthy parenting process.

If properly applied in its pure form, criticism is constructive otherwise, it can be destructive.The following contrasts are noteworthy.

  Healthy Criticism (Pure) Unhealthy Criticism (Impure)
1 Communication is interactive Communication is overbearing
2 It is done hopefully and faithfully It is done with despair.
3 It is done with self-control. Communication is clogged with manifestation of negative emotions.
4 Expectation of the parent from the child is realistic and corresponds with the child’s ability. Parent’s expectation from the child is unrealistic
5 The parent patiently explains a better approach or process in the language the child will understand Parents have little or no time for detailed explanation.
6 It does not condemn the child. The wrong action is condemned. The child is condemned and described with negative words.
7 It recognises that every child is unique and lives a space for the unique and positive expression of the child’s unique personality disposition. It expects every child to fit into the same personality mold.
8 It does not withhold praise or commendation when it is earned. It criticises almost everything the child does.
9 Achieves great parenting results with disciplined children. Creates resentment and rebellion. The child’s  situation usually worsens.

 

A parent’s ability to handle the instrument of criticism can make or mar a child’s future. Great parents criticise wisely for proper mental, social, physical and spiritual development of their children.

-Uchenna N. Nduka