EDUCATION expert Kevin Donnelly may have it right when it comes to teaching and raising children today.
In his new book, Educating Your Kids: It’s Not Rocket Science, to be released next week, the former teacher with 18 years’ experience and founder of the Education Standards Institute, outlines his “10 Commandments” to raising children, which cover everything from teaching them respect, morals and letting your children take risks.
Donnelly’s book takes aim at the so-called helicopter parents, those who hover over the children in an effort to protect them from whatever harm may come their way, whether it is the playground, the workplace or the classroom.
He wants Australian children to be unwrapped from their cotton wool that is their parents’ protective nature and be allowed to take risks, make their own mistakes and get hurt. For that is one way that children learn.
Donnelly believes that sheltering our children does them a disservice, because it doesn’t teach them resilience, or how to deal with fear and overcome adversity. He believes that teaching children how to stand on their own two feet is just as important as teaching them the three Rs at school.
And while he believes parents should closely monitor bullying, he says mums and dads should resist the urge to immediately intervene, but rather let the kids try to resolve the problem themselves, if they can. This, in turn, will give the children coping mechanisms for situations which may arise later on in life.
Gone are the days when children spent the entire weekend riding their bikes with their neighbourhood friends, or building billy carts to race down the hill. Many of today’s parents are too fearful to let their children walk alone to school, go to the playground with their friends, or even cross the road unsupervised.
Today’s children would prefer to stay indoors in front of the TV, their computer, their phones or the myriad of other gadgets than play outdoors. And there are many parents who would also prefer it that way, so they can keep them out of harm’s way.
While it is only natural for parents to want to keep their children safe, is over protecting them from today’s nasties putting them at risk of growing up without the necessary skills and coping mechanisms to meet future challenges?
Modern technology has made it easier for those “nasties” to come into contact with our children, but weren’t those influences around in previous generations?