AMAZING Tutors Children’s Foundation hosted a parenting seminar on December 21 at Strawberry Hill Library. Jamil Popatia, a licensed family counselor and mediator, guided parents with his expertise on this complex issue. It was intended for parents who believe that there is always more room to learn when it comes to raising children, especially in the Western world. There were a decent number of people who took time to attend the seminar and benefitted a lot from it.
Many parents think that they are already doing the best they possibly can for their children. But statistics are alarmingly stating something totally the opposite: most parents spend only about five to seven minutes per day with their children giving their full attention.
Here is a brief summary of the lessons learned during the seminar:
“Who needs help with parenting anyway?” “All parents need help, as their children’s teachers” is the answer. It is because of an increasingly changing world from one generation to the next, a multicultural society, and the question of authority in the family.
All parents fall in one of the four categories: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, or uninvolved. These days most parents are falling in the last two categories: permissive and uninvolved. Because of lack of involvement in their kids’ lives, parents tend to just give more permission to their kids to do whatever they want to do, be it watching movies, playing games on smart phones or playing video games on any other gadgets.
How many of us know their child’s best friend’s name and address? Many dads do not even know which grade level their child is in and who his or her classroom teacher is.
Why are we too busy to get involved with our children? Most of us say, “Who has time? We have careers, financial concerns, extended families, and we also need some personal time.” The problem is not just with us; our children are “very busy” too. Children spend about 40 to 50 hours per week in front of a screen (computer, video games, smart phones, T.V., etc.). Video games are a huge source of violence as kids who spend a lot of time playing (mostly violent) video games tend to be very impatient. Well over 50 percent of daily communication is done via social media. Here is a simple math question: when a child spends 40 to 50 hours per week in front of a screen, how on earth will he or she develop patience (while dealing with others) and good social skills? Bullying, sexual harassment, and violence tend to occur online before in-person.
Here is the list of most parents’ priorities for their children:
1. Financial Success
2. Education / Knowledge / Skill
3. Recreation / Sport / Arts
4. Religion / Moral Ethics
What about the care of our children? Do we want them to be a “money-making machine” or a satisfied and caring person?
Many people come to the Western world thinking of “making a lot of money and then going back to their home (country).” The reality is that once we have children who are either born here or are raised here, then this is the “home country.” We cannot deny this realty. If someone is still thinking otherwise, they are fooling themselves.
So, how do we become better parents? Jamil Popatia recommends Richard Grossman’s “Three Rules of Parenting”:
1. Assume that what your child has to say about the world is just as important as what you have to say.
2. Assume that you can learn as much from your children as they can from you.
3. Enter their world through play, recreation, activities, discussion, etc., while not requiring them to enter yours to initiate contact with you.
There is NO “one size fits all” kind of deal in this serious matter.
This is just the beginning of having talks on this crucial topic. Amazing Tutors Children’s Foundation intends to continue hosting more discussions on it. Email at AmazingTutors@hotmail.com for more information or to get emails about other community initiatives.
Jamil Popatia can be reached at FamilyCounsellor@shaw.ca.