Your child comes home from school with an assignment sheet for a school project. They are very excited about the project and begin work immediately, doing research on the Internet and gathering materials. You read over the assignment sheet and notice that your child is not including all of the required items in the project, and you have some ideas for how to improve the quality of the presentation. You recently read an article in a parenting magazine about the importance of a child developing responsibility for their own learning. You recall the many ways in which your parents took over your school projects. You, on the other hand, want to encourage your child’s confidence in their ability to complete a project independently. The next day, you are at the grocery store when you see a parent of a student in your child’s class. That parent has spent over $30 in supplies for the science project and is taking a day off work to put the pieces of the project together.
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The present scenario refers to the situation that often happens among children and their parents. It is ambiguous for both participants, and it is hard to solve it without hurting anyone’s feelings. On the one hand, there is a child who is eager to complete his school assignment on his own without his parents’ help. On the other hand, there is a parent who sees clear ways of improving the child’s assignment but is afraid of intervening because he does not want his child to feel incompetent.
The situation described above is quite common for many families. The problem here lies in the fact that parents often either do not help their children to raise responsibility in them or help so much that later children cannot do anything on their own. The situation mentioned in the scenario complicates with the fact that the parent sees another parent who will be likely to do the whole task for his child and cannot decide what he himself should do. Thus, if all the circumstances are combined, the challenge the parent should overcome concerns the way to help his child improve the result of the assignment without making him feel irresponsible and dependent on others.
The best way to solve any problem is to analyze it and guess to what consequences any of the decisions may lead. The analysis of the problem is aimed at figuring out why the problem may be considered a problem (The problem-solving process, n.d.). in this particular case, the main difficulty lies in the parent’s uncertainty about his actions. On the one hand, he wants to help his child perform the assignment brilliantly and without any mistakes. However, on the other hand, the parent understands that he should not intervene if he wants to develop the feeling of responsibility in his child, and that is why he must perform the task himself. The situation becomes more complicated when the parent understands that other parents will help their children or even do the assignment instead of them. He understands that their work will be better than the one of his child, and he may be disappointed and will not have the desire to do such assignments in the future.
In addition, the parent may be afraid of the fact that the teacher and other parents will speak poorly about his methods of bringing up a child without helping him perform difficult assignments. Hence, any of his decisions and actions will disappoint his child either by showing him that he cannot complete the task without the parent’s help or by demonstrating that his classmates did it better. That is what makes the problem almost unsolvable for the parent since he wishes best for his child and, by no means, does not want to hurt his feelings.
However, even unsolvable cases may be solved after deep analysis and deep consideration. There always exist decisions, but they may be non-obvious or unpleasant for one or both parties. This particular situation does not presume a wide range of decisions. Moreover, there exists only one that may not hurt the child’s feelings and give the parent an opportunity to offer his help. The parent should speak to his child about the project ask about the details of the assignment and the way he is going to perform it. After that, the parent may ask if the child needs help with anything or suggest the options he considers beneficial for the project.
The most important detail of the decision described above concerns the manner of speaking the parents should observe. They must not speak condescendingly as if he considers his child and his ideas unintelligent. He also should not try to change his children’s ideas on performing the project or do everything on his own. He must cooperate with the child and or let him do everything himself while he will only guide him if he needs help. The development of children’s responsibility through their own learning is a good thing, but the child should not feel lonely as if he has no one to ask for help. Apart from that, the responsibility does not presume the absence of any help. It is rather about the awareness and acceptance of the consequences of one’s actions.
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In this particular case, the children may feel responsible after completing the task and getting a mark for it that may be significantly lower than the ones his classmates got. Thus, they will feel that a lower mark is only his responsibility since they did not ask their parents to help them as their classmates did. However, this decision will make the children feel insecure and inexperienced, and, as a result, they will lose interest in the subject or will have a fear of making mistakes. That is why teaching responsibility through children’s learning on their own may be bad.
If the parent, on the contrary, will do the assignment for the child, they will get a high grade for it but will not feel involved in the great result. The children will think that they do not deserve an excellent mark as they did not do anything, and it was his parent who completed the assignment. Thus, they will always ask for parental help and will not be able to live without it since they cannot do anything on their own.
After the analysis of all possible scenarios, it seems that offering help but, at the same time, letting the child do everything on his own is the best option for solving the problem. The parents, in that case, should be the teacher and adviser, whom the children ask for help if they need it. If the children do not want the parents’ help or do not admit that they need it, the parents may say that their assistance does not mean that the children cannot do anything himself. They may draw a parallel with the teacher’s help and say that their actions are equal and a little piece of advice will not diminish the child’s contribution to completing the assignment. Thus, the children will not feel insecure during the presentation of the assignment and think that it is them but not their parents who did the major part of the work.
To conclude, it is necessary to state that teaching the child responsibility by letting him complete his school assignments in his own way does not presume the absence of a parent’s help. The children should see that they are not alone and they have a person who will always assist them if they cannot do anything. The parents, however, should not try to do everything for their children, so they will make they own mistakes and learn to take up responsibility for them.
The problem solving process. (n.d.). Web.