As living expenses increase, more people, especially parents, are forced to work harder to sustain their household’s needs. Some would put in more hours to get overtime pay, or even devote their weekends to work because their financial obligations just seem to add up endlessly.
If you are a parent about to send your child to high school or college, you can surely relate. You are lucky if you have a high-paying and stable job at a well-known company, but during your kid’s teenage years, your income won’t be the most important for them, believe it or not. Rather, it’s your guidance and involvement in their education.
Despite a teen’s natural detachment from their parents, your availability still matters to them when it comes to their studies. You can enroll them in a school with the best IB programme to ensure their success, but without your presence, they might not feel as motivated to study hard.
That said, working parents often feel conflicted in dividing their time. When they are too tired working, they may lash out at their kids or simply shut themselves out to have some me-time and rest. If you are also guilty of having observed those behaviours at least one, know that you are not alone; other parents are also struggling, and they regret not being as involved with their kids as possible.
That said, here are the challenges working parents face in monitoring their kids’ education, and how they can mitigate them:
1. Being Involved
We’ve already established that being involved is difficult, but this challenge is experienced differently by different parents. Some would make up for their lost involvement by participating in their children’s extracurricular activities, while some would hire tutors to help the kids with their homework. But there are also some who would sadly resort to pressure.
These types of parents emphasize achievements over well-being, constantly pressuring their kids to get straight A’s or win every competition. Such upbringing tends to be common in affluent families, in which both parents are running a family business.
But focusing on achievements and disregarding a child’s non-academic talents and skills only diminishes their motivation. According to a study, children who saw their parents as putting more emphasis on achievements rather than kindness to others are more likely to experience poor mental health, low self-esteem, behavioural problems, learning problems, lower grades, and criticism for their parents.
Therefore, if your child seems to only perform worse after being reprimanded for an imperfect score, try to pause and assess what’s really hurting their performance. Think back to the other times you’ve heavily criticized them; did you only comment on their lows and ignored their highs? If such was the case, try to compliment them on a great performance next time without comparing it to their less-successful days. You’ll be surprised by how much it would empower and motivate them.
2. Communicating Well
Some working parents, especially those of children with special needs, jeopardize what could’ve been a close relationship with their kids because of their lack of effort. Though we can’t entirely blame them, what with the demands of work and such, it’s still their obligation to support their children and be available for them.
The truth is that, no matter how busy you are, there no such thing as “not enough time.” Giving an hour of your evenings for your children already makes a big difference. And if you have a special needs child, research is key to communicating with them easier. Use your free time to educate yourself about their condition, and you’d barely struggle to communicate with them effectively.
Healthy communication between you and your children enables you to tell when they need you. It will hone your instincts so that when your child is having some problems, you’d immediately trace it even if they didn’t talk to you directly about it.
3. Being Consistent
Parents who resort to pressure usually have issues in staying consistent. One day they’d act doting and encouraging, then become overly-critical and hard to please the next day. If you admit to having this tendency, you might think it’s working in developing your child, but chances are it’s actually bearing the opposite effect.
When you obsess over your children’s achievements, you set the stage for stress, anxiety, low-esteem, and other emotional and mental problems. And such burdens on a child, which can affect those as young as six-graders, aren’t something to be underestimated. They can carry the baggage in their adulthood, causing them to become underachievers.
Therefore, shift your strict methods into an encouraging, uplifting, and empowering parenting style. No matter how busy you are, if you give your child a pat on the shoulder for a job well done, they will return that praise with more amazing results. But more importantly, they will grow up happy and confident.