21st Century Parenting Magazine

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A collection of Articles written by L. Robert Furman http://www.furmanr.com

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2013 copyright furman educational resources all rights reserved furman educational resources inc presents parenting in the 21st century included in this issue i am a parent 5 myths about technology and parenting educational accountability what about the parents 10 common core academic standards for parents a parent s unconditional love e-tools for parents written by l robert furman ed.d

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i am a parent it is monday at 5pm i just got home from work my wife 9-year-old boy 4-year-old boy and i sit down to dinner we eat until 6 hurrying to get to my 4-year-old s soccer practice by 6:30 i m his coach my wife is the assistant coach we return home by 7:30 my oldest is in 4th grade and gets home from school around 4:30 so he and mom got some of his homework done already but we still have a lot to do i help him with his math and check over to study it is now 6:30 and we have boy scouts at 7:00 we may be raising two eagle scouts here we return from boy scouts at 8:30 with a derby car in hand we sit as a family and read our choice of novels/books a picture book with beginner words works for the 4 year old i enjoy reading but more importantly i am modeling for my children the importance of independent reading it is now 9:00 and time for our nightly routine all tucked in at 9:45 i now have some quiet time with my wife and time for myself it is a long day when you don t get time for yourself until 10pm but it is worth it i am a parent am a parent it is thursday at 5pm this is a day where we have no place to be my son has three tests tomorrow so we start to study right after dinner it is 8pm we spend the next hour playing family games and reading a bit before bed after our nightly routine it is now 9:30 i now have some quiet time with my wife and time for myself it is a long day when you don t get time for yourself until 10pm but does my week sound familiar of course it does because as parents we know that giving our children every opportunity to explore their strengths and supporting their needs is our parental responsibility and our passion in a little over a decade i will have my wife s undivided attention and all of the time i want to myself some readers may be thinking that i must be looking forward to those quiet days ahead but i am not all i can think of is that i hope that the time that we spent together meant as much what he did before i got home it is now 9:00 i take the boys up to bed after brushing their teeth and finishing our nighttime routines it is around 9:45 i now have some quiet time with my wife and time for myself it is a long day when you don t get time for yourself until 10pm but it is worth it i am a parent it is tuesday at 5pm our oldest starts his homework while dinner is being finished he needs some help on a reading comprehension assignment the 4-year-old wants his brother s attention but brother still has spelling words it is wednesday at 5:00 i do not go home i meet my wife at the music store where my eldest son takes piano and vocal lessons we have a quick dinner while we are out we get home around 7:00 my eldest son has at least 2 hours of homework while my youngest wants to play my wife takes the older boy and helps him with his homework while i get to play skylanders it is now 9pm we start our nightly routine i now have some quiet time with my wife and time for myself it is a long day when you don t get time for yourself until 10pm but it is worth it i it is worth it i am a parent it is friday at 5pm my eldest son wants to go to the high school football game we decide after dinner to support our school district and go to the game we get home from the game around 9:00 after our nightly routine it is 10:00 i now have some quiet time with my wife and time for myself it is a long day when you don t get time for yourself until 10pm but it is worth it i am a parent to my boys as it did to their mother and me i hope they call and visit often after all i am a parent forever making the decision to have a child is momentous it is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body ~elizabeth stone

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5 myths about technology and parenting as if parenting is not difficult enough we now live in a world where our 2 year old children know more about technology we do let s face it technology has dramatically changed the manner in which we are able to parent let s take a look at some of the parenting fears we have classified as technology myths myth #1 if my child uses the computer every day he/she will become addicted it is very true that children often feel magnetized to the computer especially if they are playing a challenging game parents who structure time for their child to use the computer and use it wisely have found great benefits laying out a two hour schedule for computer use can aid in enhancing the child s sense of self-discipline it is also recommended that parents continue to encourage outdoor play and activities good parenting with appropriate supervision will combat technology abuse myth #2 if my child goes on the computer he/she will be cyberbullied or get in trouble in a chat room cyber-bullying is a growing concern but then bullying at school is also a growing concern there is always a chance that your child could encounter a bully on the computer but with parental supervision and some safety tips for children this can be minimized or even eliminated parents should not let their child have a computer in their bed room or in a room where the child is alone with the computer have the computer in a location where the family has a tendency to congregate parents should have conversations with their children about all bullying not just cyber-bullying most rules will apply to both also use the various parental controls on most computers to lock down the computer so your child can only get on sites with which you approve myth #3 my child is too young to be on a computer only a few years ago it may have seemed absurd to be discussing computer use for two and three year-old children today it is a different story because the use of computers has flourished in our environment and because of the natural curiosity and experimental risk-taking ability of our young children computers are now a staple in our preschools and schools alike thus at a young age they are really exposed and well-oriented on how computers operate research suggests that 3 and 4-year old children exposed to computer activities that reinforce major educational objectives have greater developmental gains than children not exposed these gains occurred in areas such as intelligence nonverbal skills structural knowledge long-term memory manual dexterity verbal skills problem solving abstraction and conceptual skills clearinghouse on early ed parents should take part in training children on how to use the computer responsibly by providing educational sites that can develop their scholastic ability and creativity many of these sites have great educational value like www pbskids.org and www.starfall.com when children are able to use the computer at this age expect that they will have a higher sense of self-concept exhibit leadership potential demonstrate cooperation and open communication and a more positive attitude towards learning haugland,2011 there is no reason why our children cannot have face-toface interaction with peers all around the world sites such as skype and www.epals.com can let children interact with other children just imagine the social skills one can develop when having a discussion with another child from another social culture the global connection is a form of social interaction which strongly contradicts what most parents think about peer interaction and technology this connection with people is in fact a great source of information just remember · make sure your family has a computer-use plan · talk to your children about issues like cyber-bullying · supervise online activities · become better educated about the many technologies your children are using myth #4 there is no educational value in my child playing video games there is a wealth of educational video games on the internet this playful learning experience is steeped in positive research stating that there can be great educational benefits playing computer games is now considered a part of modern childhood according to an article written by cheryl olson entitled 8 reasons video games can improve your child she further noted that computer games are effective tools to assist children in enriching certain practical abilities as long as parents know how to choose the educational games for the child myth #5 if my child uses the computer he/she will not develop social skills face to face time with peers is always important however sources haugland s 2000 computers and young children university of illinois eric digest http healthland.time.com/2011/03/25/dealing-withcyberbullying-5-essential-parenting-tips http www.livestrong.com/article/132325-what-are-benefits-computers-younger-children ixzz20a74vpv9 http www.yourlittleprofessor.com/fixations.html http www.themagicsunglasses.com/childrens-news parenting/are-tv-computer-games-and-social-websitespreventing-our-children-discovering-the-joy-of-reading http www.bluekids.org/parentsandcaregivers/pap_computeruse.asp http www.furmanr.com/parent-academy

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a parent s unconditional love as a building principal i have often heard parents defend their child s inappropriate behavior regardless of the severity they are often more concerned about the teacher s behavior or the other children rather than their child s behavior these parents frame their position under the guise of unconditional love for their child the term unconditional love is a wonderful way to think about a parent s love for his/her child it conjures up visions of limitless support of advocacy protection absolute and beautiful love as educators we certainly hope that all parents indeed possess an unconditional love for their children but does that equate to parental guidance i think not unfortunately sometimes parents feign unconditional love to make up for the fact that they are not willing to give their children the valuable time needed to properly parent they are not willing or able to work with their child to listen to their child to talk to their child or really get to know their child these parents are simply too busy to properly parent and appropriately support their children literature refers to these parents as free-range parents then let s turn to what has been termed the hovering parent or helicopter parent the helicopter parent is that parent who is over-involved in his/her children s lives they interfere in all decision-making and take pride in the parental guidance they provide they have their children in every possible after school activity and sport they miss work to come to school to be there for their child they also come to defend their child when their child has done something wrong they are their child s best advocate and willingly share the many sacrifices they have made in the name of parenthood all of this is wonderful and absolute but is it healthy psychologists warn us that children of helicopter parents lack confidence in themselves they lack any sense of independence and are often unable to make logical decisions children of helicopter parents share that they are sometimes embarrassed by their parents over-involvement college deans describe students of the helicopter era as teacups ready to break at the tiniest stress children need balance in their lives good parenting is certainly not a simple task but here are some to-do s to finding a healthy parenting pathway give your child a sense of uniqueness let your child know that he/she is special and wonderful you just can t love a child too much this is where the unconditional love comes in to play send a message to your child that you respect them as human beings praise and reinforce your child appropriately give your child models let your child know the expectations for his/her behavior and establish appropriate consequences model that which is morally and socially right let your child see and experience good behavior and appropriate response to situations the old adage do as i say not as i do just does not work children will model what you do not what you say give your child a sense of power give your child an understanding of the structure and boundaries you have created for him/her and then allow your child to experience the needed independence which gives them a sense of power and control over their lives allow your child to participate in the family decision-making process i.e what color to paint the room where to go to eat out what dessert to have help guide your child through a logical problem-solving model give your child a sense of connectiveness provide strong family traditions for your child help and guide your child s involvement in being a part of a group or team sports church clubs etc feeling connected to others is an important psychological need but there is a point of diminishing returns prioritize your child s options and then choose an appropriate number of outside activities to complement his/her life three outside activities is the limit do not over-book your child parenting is the most important and difficult job for which we will ever apply the best advice i can give is to lay the strongest foundation for your child s healthy development and then get out of the way and trust your child will make you proud

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e-tools for parents we have always known that parents are a key factor in the success of their children in school parents are the first educators for their children and provide the foundation for solid learning in the years to come both parents and educators are always looking for that magic element that will help children maximize their learning solve problems effectively and act as that motivational pathway to learning enjoyment perhaps we have found that magic element in today s educational technology many experts predict that technology will increase academic skills reduce dropout rates eliminate the racial divide in academic performance and increase sat scores while making our lives easier and more efficient haugland 2000 in truth technology may not accomplish all of these objectives but technology certainly does have a place in education both at home and at school before we begin exploring the many uses of technology in the home we must first discuss the term edutainment this term literally means educational entertainment defined as the act of learning through a medium that both educates and entertains but i like to think of it as playful learning or learning enjoyment the national advancement of the education of young children naeyc has long understood and shared the need for play in our children s lives play is very selective for children it can be perceived as just fun or very serious there is no reason why learning cannot be enjoyable we know that the children about whom we are speaking are the first generation of digital natives these children will grow up with technology from birth to death although there are some out there that criticize computer use we know that our 21st century children are programed technologically experts in the field of early childhood such as elkind and haugland believe that children can begin to effectively explore and use computers at an early age many of the developmental needs of young children match up well with appropriate use of technology exploration manipulation of symbolic representation matching alternative learning styles quickly changing learning modalities that individual students can control and pace to meet their individual needs wardle 2008 technology is already an integral part of our learning landscape as parents we need to ensure that our children are using computers in developmentally appropriate ways an appropriate use of technology is to expand our children s horizons and enrich their learning format in a playful learning environment when seeking appropriate sites for children pre-k grade 6 edutainment appears to be a standard format looking at the two major subjects reading and math there are many sites that support academics the following are a few sites that i have found to be exciting for children while enriching their learning http www.arcademicskillbuilders.com is a site that has a variety of games from grades k-6 that are based on basic reading and math skills for the chosen grade level http www.scholastic.com/kids/stacks is a site from the leaders in children s literature scholastic book company the stacks are entertaining mini games that help children dive deeper into their favorite books the scholastic web site has a wealth of wonderful resources for parents teachers and students http www.starfall.com is a site dedicated to phonemic awareness phonics and early reading this would be a great site for pre-k through 1st grade students http pbskids.org is a site with a variety of games videos and resources for students this is more suitable for pre-k through 2nd grade students this is a great site because the characters are all from popular pbs kids tv shows it gives the child an instant interest in learning what these characters want to teach them of course the use of technology will never supplant quality time with you the parent but giving your children the opportunity to enrich their learning through appropriate technology at home can only serve to enhance their academic success in school references elkind d 1998 computers for infants and young children child care information exchange 123 44-46 haugland s w 1999 what role should technology play in young children s learning young children 54 9 2630 haugland s w 2000 early childhood classrooms in the 21st century using computers to maximize learning young children 55 1 12-18 naeyc 1996 position statement on technology and young children ages three through eight young children 51 6 11-16 wardle f 2008 the role of technology in early childhood programs early childhood news excellence learning corporation.

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10 common core academic standards for parents in an age where the word accountability is swung around like a baseball bat at fenway park it is interesting to note which groups of people are actually struck with the word and which are not you hear about teacher accountability all the time but what about parent accountability when teachers are certified we are told that we are in loco parentis or in the place of a parent but what are the parent s responsibilities when it comes to educating their children what would parent accountability look like if it were to be measured if you had to create the 10 common core educational standards for parents what would they look like i decided to do just that this is part a of my list stay tuned for part b soon in the age of accountability what about the parents wrong and can be talked about in a negative way you and the teacher must be a team if you disagree with the teacher discuss it with them privately and away from ear shot of your child you entrust your child to this person for eight hours a day you want your child to perceive the teacher with the highest amount of respect with discipline it would be that they do not want to offend their child hurt their child s feelings or otherwise have the child mad at them you must remember that you are the parent first it is your job to choose consequences for your child so that they learn from their errors and will not make the same mistake twice it needs to be understood that there is a difference between a consequence and punishment a punishment does not necessarily come with an education and a lesson a consequence should teach the child about right and wrong and how that applies to what they did wrong a consequence takes time and effort sadly some parents just punish and never get to the teaching part the child misbehaves again and the parents are stunned as to why they would do the same thing twice it is because you did not take the time to teach them about what they did wrong and how to avoid the situation next time here is a statement i use often when discussing discipline as a parent i love my child the consequences i give my child for his infraction will probably break my heart too when they cry because of their consequence i will be crying inside as well because we never want to hurt our children we establish consequences for our children because we love them we want to teach them right from wrong i tell my son that because i love you i have to give you consequences for your actions is too hard for you find someone who can help the parent must set up home time to complete homework create a desk space and a consistent time frame for completing homework hold the child accountable for completing homework before extra activities can be attended i am sure everyone has heard of the tv show are you smarter than a 5th grader if the homework that is brought home with your child is too difficult for you think about that show and get some help homework can be hard and there is no reason to be embarrassed about not knowing how to answer the questions as the parent what you can do is help the child learn how to find the answers either using the internet or asking someone who may know there is never anything wrong with asking for assistance it is a good lesson for your child to see you using resources 5 require your children to be better than you were at their age i always thought of this as a good indicator of the success of a parent are their children held to a higher standard not that this is always attainable but none the less a good practice for which to strive i fear that a lot of times especially in the urban sectors parents will say that they did the same thing their child is doing and it didn t hurt them typically this is a comment related to poor behavior my thought is always don t you want better for your children didn t you learn the lesson that poor behavior leads to negative consequences parents need to hold their children up to a higher standard if for no other reason than to improve our society 6 do not live vicariously through your children so many times i hear dads talking about their son s sporting event as if it were them on that field we have dance moms and cheer moms that are taking their 6 and 7 year old daughters and painting their faces for competitions now i am not opposed to extra-curricular activities what i am opposed to is seeing parents get upset with their child when they don t score 6 goals that day or when their daughter does not execute a perfect performance as a principal it saddens me when the students tell me that they really don t enjoy the activity but their parents make them go because their mom or dad used to participate in the same activity when they were young parents you had your chance when you were a child give your children the chance to find their own passion it may not be the same as yours but how will you know if you are drowning them in what you think they like if your child tells you they do not enjoy the activity listen and evaluate your decision have you been pushing this on them if you have it is ok to change 3 create teachable moments for your children be legitimately interested in helping your child learn if you are active in your child s education then they see the value in their efforts a teachable moment is when out of nowhere an opportunity presents itself to teach your child something for example you are cooking and you are adding ingredients use that opportunity to ask your child about fractions and get them involved in using the measuring cups use vacations to work on geography make your child pay for dinner with cash and see if they can figure out if they got the right amount of change or figure out a 15 percent tip there are so many teachable moments out there don t miss them 8 do what you know is best for your child not what the child thinks is best nothing upsets me more than when i am in a meeting with parents and a critical decision must be made and they say i need to ask my child no wrong you are the parent and you need to make decisions for your child the child does not have the experience or the maturity to make important decisions about academics etc sure there are times the child can be in 1 make education a priority over extracurricular activities it is essential that parents place a priority on education so many parents place priorities on sports and extra activities that they forget that an education is what their children really need to get ahead in life if the parent places priority on the extra activity they are teaching their child that the extra activity is more important than education this may very well come back to haunt those parents later in life when they cannot convince their child that education is important 4 support your child s teachers if you disagree with them discuss it privately away from your children your child needs to learn about and respect authority if they see and hear you not supporting their teacher then the teacher will lose credibility in the eyes of your child your child has now learned that teachers are 7 be their parent first friend second discipline is always a hot topic with parents when i tell my parents that i am going to do a presentation on discipline the room is standing room only if i had to say what the most common problem was that parents face 2 help your children with their homework if it

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cluded in decision making actually that is a great practice for parents to implement where to go to dinner which movie to watch tonight these are all great opportunities for parents to let the children stretch their decision making skills should the child be retained should we test the child for special services these are parental decisions also don t always take the easy way out when it comes to doing the right thing for your child yes your child would probably pick video games and tv over a good book or an arts and crafts activity but parents know the value of reading and the power of the arts these are those types of decisions that must be addressed by the parent early and often as a parent to ask questions you are the only advocate for your child so be that advocate for those of you that work email in the age of technology there is no reason to not reach out to your school and say hi i want to know how my child is doing in school 10 your children must come first over anything else in your life they are your priority given the demands in our society today we have a tendency to reorder our priorities our work our careers even membership in our clubs start to take precedence over attending our children s events or getting involved in the school s volunteer programs or more importantly spending that quality quiet time with our children that which is best for the positive development of our children must come first your life will be judged based on the quality of what you leave behind namely your children let s plan to leave behind healthy well-adjusted children secure in the knowledge that they are loved by their parents more than anything else in this world there is no book to read or video to watch on how to be a good parent these common core standards for parents may not do the trick for you as a parent however many of these standards do imply one major point put your kids needs before your own needs that may not be easy to always do and as a parent it is easy to lie to yourself and convince yourself that you are in fact putting your kids before you if you always take just a brief moment and check your decision about anything against how it is going to benefit your child and his/her education then you will be doing your kids a benefit dr l robert furman ed.d is the principal at south park elementary center in south park pennsylvania he is the author of instructional technology tools a professional development plan and the editor of leading and learning quarterly magazine published by the education administration program of duquesne university pittsburgh pa he is a blogger for the huffington post education division and writes for scholastic book fairs his new column login for leaders can be found in the scholastic reader leader monthly publication contact information l robert furman ed.d south park elementary center principal south park pa w 412-655-8510 c 412-999-0449 email rob@furmanr.com website http www.furmanr.com social media connections twitter drfurman facebook www.facebook.com/rob.furman2 linkedin robfurman foresquared robfurman google hangout l.r.furman@gmail.com current publications dr furman s current book instructional technology tools a professional development plan is available in stores now www.amazon.com kindle and print editions www.barnesandnoble.com nook and print editions dr furman s blog on the huffington post www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-furman dr furman s monthly column for scholastic books http www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/experience newsletters.asp 9 get involved in your child s education at school it is frustrating as an administrator when parents know nothing about their child s academic life it is even more frustrating when that child needs academic help and we must go to the parents to discuss options and then they realize they know nothing about their child s life in school it even gets worse when it becomes obvious that they don t entirely care either if you want to get involved in your child s education pick up the phone and call the teacher be proactive and call the school it is your right

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