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Every parent is a self-professed expert of the parenting game. “Online PhD degrees in parenting?” you might ask rhetorically, answering yourself with: “But I earned mine by having kids!”
Take it from me, becoming a parent is a natural way to become a wizard at teaching kids right from wrong. But it's not automatic, nor do we all learn everything when it comes to parenting. Our learning experiences are reactive, not proactive; we only become better parents if our children incite us to raise them better. That works, but it's not optimum. The much better method would be establishing an academy where mothers, fathers, and aspiring parents all come together to learn an established science of parenting. That way, all the bases are covered before a baby learns how to walk.
The United States of America has a serious problem. Our children are behind in every measurable way when compared to the standards of education established by the remainder of the industrialized world. Many people blame our education system. These people are mostly right. There needs to be a serious change in the ways our schools operate. Yet that's ultimately only a symptom of a larger problem: parents just aren't as concerned about their children as they used to be.
Before you panic, let me explain. It's not that parents are more negligent these days: they're just not focused on the right things. They can hardly help it. Most parents are busy working one or more jobs to make ends meet in the middle of an economic slump. In return, the TV and the Xbox have taken a dominant role in a kid's life. Now, another line of the “TV and games are bad for kids” cliche isn't about to be spit at you. Kids need entertainment. They just also need other things.
Kids need role models. Parents spend too much time trying to enforce ideals rather than live up to them. “Turn the TV off and do your homework!” is a standard command shouted in most American living rooms around 7:00 PM. The parent, after a long day of work, immediately sits on the couch to take over the kid's warm spot. The long day at the office means you earned it, right? Well what about that long day your kid spent at school? Does she now earn the right to work more?
Parents can learn the value of setting the right example, which when it comes to making an impression on the mind of a child, goes a lot farther than telling them what to do. An online learning environment that focuses on parenting can help get parents and would-be parents to realize that their children are much more observant than they realize. They see the pile of unopened mail on the table, see you on the couch watching TV, and think to themselves, “Why do I need to do homework when I'm just as tired and behind on responsibilities as my mom?” Whether you explain to them or nor the ins and outs of your difficult job, a much simpler solution would be to open mail and pay bills while you watch TV, demonstrating that you too do your chores and side-tasks after work.
If you didn't have an online academy for parenting, would you ever think to do something like that?
But the truth is parents don't need to be told what to do, especially by some college boy who's only experience in parenting entails a few times baby-sitting his nephews. That's why if parenting is ever offered as a PhD or some other degree, the program should be entirely dependent on the volunteered services of qualified parents. Not only that, but such an academy should incorporate team-based parenting lessons. Students should share with each other particular pieces of advice on how to tackle certain aspects of parenting.
After all, every parent is an expert at parenting already, right?This is a guest post written by my friend Maggie.