How to make a child turn to his study

Dr RK Lenin Singh *

Painting Competition at Earth Day :: 22 April 2008
Painting Competition at Earth Day on 22 April 2008 :: Pix - Jinendra Maibam

The responsibility and duty which parents consider as foremost and the most important is to give proper education to their children and to make them successful persons. As there are differences in complexion and appearance from a child to a child, no child is similar to another. Some children being conscious of their studies, without any command or reminding, do their routine works, study their lessons with attention, maintain regularity in work and do well in the examinations.

But, most children need to be reminded of and induced to do their works; and some, in spite of close watch and scolding, do not read their lessons attentively, watch T.V. till late at night, won't rise early in the morning, don't care about their lessons, don't bother about obtaining high marks in the examination; in doing talks and discussions they assume the wiser man and they are hard to convince or mellow down.

Some children, incompatible with their age waste away a lot of their time in the mobile phone, some while away their time in amorous talks in public without any shame and to the eye-shore of the spectators, take their liberty in loafing and the parents face a difficult and awkward situation in trying to conceal the ignoble and immoral conducts and deeds of their children from the knowledge of their neighbours.

There is no exact and universal formula which can make a child to be studious or to take greater interest in his books, but there are some plans or means applicable in such situations:

1. To know the talent of the child:

Children of the same parents, even, are different in appearance, bearings and skills. All the children, say 50 or 100 in a class are not similar in any respect. Some are rank holders; there are some mediocre, and some cannot get the pass marks even. Again, some children are weak in academic activities but good at games and sports, music, dance, painting and other literary activities beyond their curriculum. Parents need to know their child's aptitude. Most children take keen interest in the subject or work which they like and love, and they are not tedious of doing it. So, parents need to encourage and support their child in that regard.

The talents and abilities of children are not alike. When a child having the feeble ability of securing not more than 50-60 marks in the examination in spite of his maximum effort, is pressurized by his parents to become the topper and threatened with chastisement if the result is otherwise, it will not only overawe the child with an unbearable load, but may cause the child to be afflicted with mental ailments also. It will be a wise and proper policy if the child is allowed to show himself off and achieve according to his ability. What is required is appropriate care and support from the parents and guardians.

2. Not to make comparison with another:

Parents, without much thinking, often say, "Your elder brother is good, your friend can get high marks in the examination and emulate the good examples of your elder sister." Such words may despond him create inferiority complex and lead him to take himself as worthless. Instead, it is good to know the reality of the individual differences of children, the merit in him (and encourage him for it) and to make good the deficiency or weakness by a joint effort of their parents and the child, and in so doing the self confidence of the child is enhanced.

If a comparison is drawn in respect of the child's previous performance (say, the marks obtained) and the present one, it is healthy and purposeful. In doing such a comparison, no anxiety is created in the child and, on the other hand, it heightens the desire to work more with attention.

3. All efforts are to benefit the child:

To apply the daily lessons which are learnt by the child in practice, according to the age level of the child, and to make them know their relevance to real life, are beneficial to him. It is very good if the parents can give awareness to the child of the advantages and good prospects which will be ensured by his present studies and that his present hard labour will make him an excelsior and it is as if the saving of wealth for future happiness.

If the parents can convince their child that he is not reading his lessons for fear of his parents or teachers, on the other hand, he is reading for acquisition of his real wealth i.e. knowledge, it will give wonderful inspiration, encouragement and strength to the child.

4. To teach to build a hope and fix a goal:

It is good to make the child to envision clearly as to his future status and his desired work, to show him the callings or activities which will be suitable to him, to teach him the dignity of labour and to work on anything with sincerity, courage and steadfastness. He must be taught to endeavour to reap the fruit of any work he may undertake.

He should be let to know that though any work or activity is good in itself, he must not take up any which is not compatible with or beyond his ability, for, thinking about an unattainable goal is futile in most cases. Most children cannot say their goals when asked. So, parents should try to enable their child to see his goal clearly by open discussion, showing the different avenues in life and exposing them to achievers.

5. To praise a child when he deserves it:

Most of us are exceedingly happy when our children do a good work or succeed in an attempt, we always keep it unexpressed. But, in the event of error or failure, we shout at them, rebuke then and cut a sorry figure before our neighbours. Punishment only cannot correct a wrong. Correction in time is very good. We should think and find out means for correction. Giving appreciation or recognition or rewards at right moments gives them impetus to their harder labour.

The value or size of the reward does not matter; what is required is praising them before others, buying a thing after their hearts, taking them out for a stroll and most importantly, showing your cheerful faces at the time of their successful moment. Please test the efficacy of it once.

6. Not to lose heart at failures:

Life is a ceaseless journey onwards there will be moments of failure and success. We should not be despondent when we meet with a failure; though we stumble and fall we have to rise and go on. Mistakes and failures should be our teacher and we should learn from them a lot of things. In the lives of the people who were successful in their lives, we can see them to have experienced many impediments and failures. In a class of one hundred students, only three students will hold the first three top position, but the rest of the students should not be disappointed and on the other hand, they should put their utmost efforts in their studies.

The marks obtained in examinations only do not determine the success or the failure in life. What is required is the ability to adapt successfully to the place and the time you are put in.

7. Importance of rest:

What is important is not the amount of time you took in reading, but the number of lessons you have read and learnt. Most of the present day children do not find enough time for play and rest/leisure. Two private tuitions in the morning and in the afternoon each, to school during the daytime, to negotiate with the big volume of daily lessons they cannot find anytime to spare. When the physical body is tired, the mind becomes dull and inactive. We need to invigorate and refresh our body and mind, by eating good food and taking a good sleep of about 6 to 7 hours a day. Otherwise, if a student goes on reading for long hours without stop, his ability to learn the lesson will decrease, the power of memory and retention will be lessened and the things he has read will be jumbled up.

Prank and play is the birth right of a child. To deny and deprive him of the joyful period of life which will never return, is tantamount to committing a sin. And, when there is paucity of time for play, most children do not know what play is like. When mentioned about play, they take it as playing with the mobile phone or doing surfing in the internet. These plays neither refresh the tired body nor are salubrious. Therefore, it is good and advisable to give children some time at least for play and rest.

Over and above this, activities like outings in garden and parks, enjoying dance and music, visit to relatives and friends, participating in the social functions of the neighbours etc. may boost the child's appetite for reading after he returns home. Over confinement is bad, for in the situation the child may behave like an ox which goes release from confinement, when he is free from the watchful eyes of the parents.

Again parents should not be slack in observing and identifying the friends and acquaintances of their child all the time.

8. Good health:

In spite of the child's desire for serious reading, if he has some ailments he readily susceptible to fatigue and cannot concentrate on his book. The cause of the child's inattention to his study may be from the lack of balanced diet (some people through their ignorance of the idea of balanced diet, in spite of their affordability do not take it; and some children for their discrimination of food may prefer tasty snacks to the main food resulting in unbalanced diet), anaemia, impairment of eye sight, learning disability, mental retardation, depression, substance abuse, inability to manage the impact of love, mal-adjustment to changes (physical and mental) associated with adolescent and other illnesses.

It is very much imperative for the parents to find out the cause and give the remedy.

9. Repugnance to the method of teaching:

The cause of the child's indifference to their lessons/books may be from his repugnance to the method of teaching/instruction of his teachers in his school. Some teachers, instead of finding out the child's talent and aptitude and patronizing the taught, act on their own ideas and try to push the pupil along their whim and caprices, and they are never reward minded but always inclined on awarding punishments. In such eventuality, the parents should take the help of another teacher and try to make up the weakness of their child.

10. To treat the child as a friend:

Parents should enable their children to express their mind freely without hesitation, restraint and fear. In most families we often find their children to be afraid of speaking to their parents, to be incommunicable with their parents, to have different opinions, to have the feeling of estrangement and to think their parents as real strangers. Consequent upon the aforesaid mindset, the parents also think their children as arrogant, flippant and obstinate.

At the same time they also think their parents only scold them, are blind to their desires and wants. Children especially in their adolescence think in that way all the more. It will be very wise and good if the parents can hold talks and discussions with their child, short of anger and grudges, to identify their differences, dissatisfaction and point of views as well as to find out the reasons of his undutifulness to his study, inability to go abreast of his lessons, other weaknesses etc. and make up the wrongs.

Books and study alone do not constitute the life of a child. He should, as of necessity, play and visit his friends, but, most importantly he must not fail to accumulate his real wealth i.e. knowledge by carefully reading his lessons. What the parents like are their child to be willing and attentive in study which is not induced fear or other coercive elements, the child's awareness of his benefits from the study, and his study with a goal of his life. To achieve this, parents need deep pondering, self restraint, calmness, patience and deal their child with full knowledge of his nature.

* Dr RK Lenin Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on April 15, 2012.

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