Parenting for two worlds:
As parents we seem to have to have two jobs these days. Parent our children in the real world where real people with real emotions exist, and prepare them for a world that exists only online and is constantly changing. That’s enough to overwhelm us to feel like we’ve little control over how things are going for us.
Add to that we are constantly battling through worry, doubt and anxiety of whether we’re doing a good job of this parenting thing. Because we get immense joy and delight also in equal supply, there are days we might be feeling we’re actually not winging this!
What is missing?
First, thanks to our personal devices, we’re living lonelier and more fragmented lives. What has happened to the concept of our collective potential?
Second, there is so much help all around in the form of physical sports activities and mathnasiums to help our children shine in schools. There are metrics that can tell us how their grades are and which skills he needs to be working on.
But, we need infrastructure in the area of developing our children’s emotional and social wellbeing. There is a great need for places where we can send our children to pick essential life skills like empathy, collaboration and resilience and personal management.
What are the implications?
As a result of this lack in social and emotional education, we’re seeing how children who are not taught the value of reading emotions, understanding empathy and the ability to collaborate are becoming leaders whose moral character and conduct is being called into question. We need to teach our boys how to treat girls like equals and we need to teach our girls how to stand up for themselves.
Moreover, machines that we’re building using our spectacular Science, Math and Engineering skills are dictating how we must think, feel and act. Remember, this was our unique value proposition as humans to begin with – our mind – that can help us think, feel and act and we’re allowing tech distractions to cloud over it.
What can we do?
In a world where super-intelligent machines built by us are dictating our emotions and predicting our desires, we must raise our children to deal with unpredictable change and information overload. With tools that develop mental flexibility and emotional balance, we can ensure that they learn to listen to themselves first and use their power to choose with integrity and responsibility.
There is no question that our children are not just GPAs and for living a well rounded life, they need skills to manage their emotions, time and energies.
More than ever before, social and emotional learning in addition to academic learning is more relevant now in the digital age where distractions and addictions are just a click, swipe and a hashtag away.
What are life skills?
Essential life skills teach children the value of confidence, collaboration, persistence, attentiveness, communication and resilience.
Both inside and outside of classrooms, the development of life skills helps children to:
~ Develop Self Confidence and a Positive Outlook
~ Inculcate Self Engagement and Self Motivation
~ Prioritize Tasks Without Losing Momentum
~ Recognize and Regulate Emotions
~ Develop Gratitude and a Sense of Appreciation
~ Learn to Listen First and Communicate with Confidence
~ Develop Diligence, Integrity and a Personal Value System
~ Manage Time, Stress and Relationships
~ Cultivate Personal Accountability and Impact of their Actions
~ Think Critically and Make Responsible Decisions
~ Work Towards Mutual Understanding and Cooperation
~ Develop Resilience and Learn New Ways to Problem Solve
Bottom Line: SEL skills are essential.
As humans, we’re thrive on connection and find meaning in life through contribution. Our success in school and beyond depends on how we associate ourselves in the context of others.
There is no question that young children who are better at self control, taking others’ perspectives, resisting digital distractions, regulating their emotions and recognizing emotions in others fare better in their academic development, relationships and their careers. Read more here on the research.
Every day we don’t begin this journey of taking back control of parenting our children intentionally, we’re are losing precious time to teach our children life changing strategies.