Rafed English

Treat the Child as an Adult

A child on his first day in the school leaves his desk, walks to his class teacher and whispers to her something which she fails to understand until later. The child was using that funny word which was coined for him by the parents for "toilet" since he was a toddler.

Perhaps the child even at the schooling age was still being soothed to sleep with the lullaby songs! He was not let to grow up mentally also. It is a real problem facing the child if he is the only child in the family.

Talk to the child -almost - as you would to an adult. Do not under-estimate his grasping power. Even if. his grasping level "seems" low, this approach will trigger it up. It will develop at a greater pace.

When the child inquires. as he would often do as any inquisitive child, about the natural phenomena or historical events or a simmering political issue or a debate raging among adults on a social or communal issue or any aspect of Islam, do not ignore him believing that they are beyond his grasp; nor provide a cursory or simplistic explanation to reveal that you find him not worthy for a full and sincere answer.

By doing so, you will be impressing upon him quite disastrously that he is mentally too far behind for this "information" or that the subjects inquired are the exclusive purview of the adults and that he should not be trespassing such mental domains of "others". When the child catches up as an adult, he will be having too many other new and intimate things to inquire and know about and.

perhaps not any more those that he had asked about and was spurned. Is it wonder therefore, that we have among us adults who have shallow or no knowledge about the causes of the natural phenomena!

like earthquake, volcano, eclipse, lunar vis a vis solar calendars or the two world wars or slavery or the origin of his sect, etc. An inquisitive mind of a child is also retentive. It is a different mind when he is later in a primary school.

Never ask the child to leave the adults' company in the lounge and go to his room when visitors have arrived on a courtesy call or a social visit. On the contrary, grab the opportunity by asking him to leave the recluse of his room and join the group. The purpose is manifold and the results diverse. Develops Personality.

Let the child witness and learn what the adults talk about and how they talk or argue. He will find that they do not interject, they do not all talk at the same time. they do not raise their voice, they do not swear. In fact the child may find that the behaviour of the visitor or visitors is refined and polished as compared to that of his parents! Do not fail to introduce him to the visitors if they are meeting him for the first time.

This gives him a self-confidence and with it, develops his personality. His presence in the adult group will create in him an appetite for adult-subjects.

In the course of talk, create a suitable opportunity of raising a subject of the child's interest, like his studies, school, madrassa, sports and ask him for a latest information in order to join him in the talk of the group and break the ice. Or ask him for information which will be of interest to the visitors and which you know he has. like:

"what do we have for our guests -hot or cold"? or "I forgot, who preached last Thursday"? or "What was the subject of the preaching"?

In fact there can be a number of likely current and pertinent information that the child can be asked. The psychological effect is startling. He will perceive himself a knowledgeable part of the, adult group. But at the same time do not detain him longer if the visitors are boring f or the anchor types!

The typical child's shyness will evaporate paving way for the in-flow of self,-confidence. The child on approaching the youth age is most likely to engage in matured conversation on his own right with the adults who are a generation or two ahead.

He will have broaden his horizon and enhanced his vision of what the world is all about and tailor his social inter-action accordingly ahead of his age.

How disturbing instead to find some parents still using that funny word coined for "wash-room" for the child when he was a toddler! The child is not allowed to grow mentally.

Adapted from the book: "Child" by: "Mohamed A. Khalfan"

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