From the get go, Barack Obama made it known just how important his family is to him. Despite being the busy guy that he is, he always makes it a point to set aside time and resources for his wife and two girls. It looks to me that he is quite successful at what he is doing.
Recently, he was interviewed by Essence Magazine, and he talked at length about his stand on parent involvement in regard to raising children. Let me share with you some of the points that struck me the most.
Regulate TV time. So what does the first couple do? The president says that the girls are not allowed to watch TV during school nights. Instead, they have to do their homework first – as soon as they get home actually. When dinner time comes around and they’re still not done, then they continue after. Naturally, this requires diligence AND patience on everyone’s part. I understand this, though, as my parents did the same thing with us, and I’d like to think it worked out pretty well!
Set educational expectations. I think this is one thing that many parents need to work on. We have to draw the line regarding what is expected of the children and what we can do to help them. I have heard about (and seen) so many parents take on the school workload of their children just so things can get done. I can also recount a lot of stories about parents who set very high (often unrealistic) expectations. The trick is in finding the correct balance between giving the child responsibility AND supporting him when necessary. Unfortunately, this is a gray area. Who is to say what the balance is? Here’s a rough guide, according to the President: children must take responsibility for waking up and getting to school on time. They also must take responsibility for routine homework. When it comes to extra projects and other non-routine tasks, perhaps parents can lend a helping hand.
Communicate. This is a way of monitoring how your child is getting along in school. You need to make it a habit to spend time with your child regularly, if only to talk about mundane things. Even better, make it a point to set goals with your child, and then celebrate milestones together.
Isn’t that just a wonderful thing to hear from someone of such stature?