Many American parents are angry because of their belief that our public educational system is in shambles. In federal and state political arenas, education is a hot topic and emotions run high as parents, teachers, administrators and politicians wrestle with the issues, and sometimes it’s the children who get caught in the crossfire in the battle over education.
Many parents complain that political correctness, waning values, liberal philosophies and a lack of appropriate discipline has permeated our public schools, rendering them ineffective and even harmful to children and families. The news outlets publish attention-grabbing headlines about students who are severely punished for minor or unintended infractions and others that blame the failing schools for kids who inflict violence on their fellow students. There’s no doubt that our educational system has deteriorated and that it needs an overhaul. However, before we give in to despair about the effects that the schools will have on our children, let’s look at a real source of hope – you.
I believe that the most important educational setting has always been the home and unfortunately, many parents drop the ball by not parenting on purpose. No parent is perfect, of course, but the environment you intentionally create in your home will likely have a greater influence on the current and future well-being of your child than the school they attend.
So, what does that look like? Our homes need to be like greenhouses – nurturing environments that maintain just the right balance of love, discipline, and instruction in order to ensure healthy development and growth. Whether you are married or raising your children as a single parent, ask yourself the following questions in an effort to assess the quality of your family’s “educational system”:
Is the foundation of interaction in your home built on love, acceptance and forgiveness?
Is your home a peaceful refuge, free of destructive conflict and dissension?
Does your home foster a love and passion for learning and community service?
Do you consistently model the values you want your children to adopt and live by?
Are you consistently and appropriately disciplining your children when they veer off track?
Do you regularly encourage your children to be grateful, appreciative and content?
Do you take advantage of teachable moments that will impart valuable lessons to your children?
When you parent on purpose by taking primary responsibility for how your children are cared for, taught and disciplined you will be providing a powerful advantage in helping them become responsible, caring and productive adults. A strong home life will help your children develop the resiliency that will allow them to rebound from disappointments and struggles and make the most of their opportunities throughout their lives. It’s your best weapon against the negative effects your children will encounter in school and the rest of the outside world.
What helps you, as a parent, create a supportive environment in your home? What challenges do you face in creating a positive learning environment? Let us know what you think!
Live, Work and Relate Well!
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.