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The Elementary Years – Guide With Care

by Gary Hays | November 4th, 2015 | Elementary, School

elementary girl smiling (400x400)Much of a child’s early development takes place not at home, but rather at school, where they spend a great majority of their time, hopefully learning the academics, but more so learning the socialization skills that will ultimately carry them through into their adult lives. Elementary school is where they choose sides for a rousing game of kickball on the playground. It is where, in the upper grades, girls begin to notice boys, and vice-versa. It is where friendships are developed, some lifelong. And it is where the very stage of who they will become, and how they will adapt in society, is beginning to be set.

Though it has been stated that by our very human nature, we learn better from making our own mistakes, it raises the question of when parents need to be more forceful in their guidance, and when they need to silently step aside, allowing their kids to experience the good, the bad, and the ugly, as a natural process of development, and there is a fine line between being overbearing and being too far removed.

Children are going to fail. There, I said it. But, they are also going to experience great successes. They may not get chosen first for the kickball team, but once up at home plate, they may kick a home run. They are going to fall, but they are going to stand back up. They are going to on occasion lose, but even more so, they are going to win. Just remember, every mishap, scrape, and disappointment has a purpose, and it’s all part of the normal growing process. The best we can do as parents is to provide consistent and continuing encouragement, always remaining observant, and as difficult as it may be, not always interfering.

Please do not misconstrue a lack of interference as a lack of guidance. By remaining observant, you will know when your child is going through a rough spot, and it then becomes your obligation to inquire of them if they need to talk about anything. Forcing them to talk about things will yield few results, but offering an ear in a gentle understanding way will. Be prepared. Even if your advice is sought, it may not always be followed. But at least now you are aware of what they are experiencing so you can “check in” with them from time to time to see how things are going, and get your two cents in once again. Even if they roll their eyes, what you are saying is penetrating their youthful mind, and they are soaking in more than you might realize.

Growing up isn’t always easy, but hey, we did it, and we turned out sort of okay.

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