Parents Stop Trying To Raise Another Einstein Pushing their child to accomplish things beyond their capabilities does not help in the long-term

In today’s competitive world every parent wants their child to be geniuses. They invest in educational aids hoping to raise another Einstein. Parents push their kids to learn, perform and generally perform beyond their interests or abilities.

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Einstein And Learning

Today, childrearing and education are scheduled for trying to create little geniuses. Parents want their child to be super-intelligent, super-accomplished. They hope their kid will become another Einstein. They invest in audio-video programs that claim to make their child super-intelligent. But sadly these artificial methods do not work. Disney who came out with Bady Einstein videos promising to turn children into geniuses had to offer refunds to millions of parents. who purchased these, hoping to give their infants an educational jump-start.  These videos have been discredited. and experts claim they may do more harm than good.

Andrew Malsof at the University of Washington debunks these programs where one tries to get kids to learn to read earlier and earlier. Babies learn language best from people, and interaction with their parents and other humans really shapes language development. So if they’re watching a video, what can they learn about communicating with people.

Moreover, Einstein was not considered very bright when he was a child. As a young boy, Einstein was a slow learner  He didn’t start speaking until he was 4 years old and he wasn’t fluent until age 9. Einstein later credited his theory of relativity to this slowness: “The ordinary adult never bothers his head about the problems of space and time. These are things he has thought of as a child. But I developed so slowly that I began to wonder about space and time only when I was already grown up. Consequently, I probed more deeply into the problem than an ordinary child would have.”

Not Hurrying Growth

Modern parents like to show off their children like they are things to be displayed and envied. It is sickening to listen to parents wax on about how their child can sing the latest songs or dance like Michale Jackson.  The poor tot is trotted for all to admire whether he wants it or not.

Unfortunately, hurrying the development of skills has a detrimental effect on a child’s innate development. Psychologist David Elkind in his book The Hurried Child gives valid reasons why children should not be pushed to learn skills and tasks before they are ready.

Children are biological beings. They grow at certain rates.  And kids need time to grow and to develop their motor, visual and cognitive skills.

A lot of a child’s learning comes through imitation – his likes, dislikes, interest or disinterest. Children are like sponges, they absorb all the environmental nuances through observation and assimilation. Kids grow up mimicking the significant people in their lives – parents, siblings, or whoever is on their immediate radar using their special neurons: mirror neurons.

Parents are the first teachers, and being good parents means giving your child a loving and caring environment to explore and experiment. This is what helps brain development.  Further, the latest research reveals the more you hug your kids – the smarter they get.

Learning Through Play

In the rush to create a generation of Einsteins, our culture has forgotten about the importance of play for children’s development. Recent scientific research proves play provides children with the opportunity to maximize their attention spans, learn to get along with peers, cultivate their creativity, work through their emotions, and gain academic skills. In fact, playing is the foundation for all academic learning.

Further, approaching life with a playful attitude is not only important for being a happy person, but it’s also important for being a creative person.

Children are very alert and are doing their own thinking from an early age. They are not passive, receptive vessels that the reigning paradigms of “parenting” and teaching assume. Kids learn all the time, especially through play. That learning process may be stultified by parents and teachers who impose too much structure on the process.

Parenting Should Be A Collaboration

Most parents create unnecessary stress for themselves and their kids. Parenting is not about control, it is collaboration. In Mayan and several other indigenous cultures instead of trying to control children,  parents aim to collaborate with them. It’s not letting the kids do whatever they want. Rather both children and parents work in tandem. In the Mayan culture, even the littlest of children are treated with respect.

Respecting Your Child As Unique Being

As parents, we don’t need to push our kids and drive their lives.  We need to love, care, guide, protect, spend time with them and be a good example. But the most  precious gift we give our kids is letting them freely live their own truth

Every child is a genius. Each child is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses. We should not force a child to fit into a perfect square, which we selfishly chart for them. They should be allowed to play and relax and be listened to and develop at the pace best suited for themselves.

Make childhood a happy time for your kids, that is what really shapes who they become as adults.

Further Reading

The Hurried Child by David Elkind

Miseducation: Preschoolers at Risk by David Elkind

The Power of Play by David Elkind

Play = Learning: How Play Motivates and Enhances Children’s Cognitive & Social-Emotional Growth by Dorothy Singer

The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children by Alison Gopnik

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