Character shaping of Children of Six plus to nine years of age.    

These articles written by Dr.Madeswaran

Dear teachers and parents,

As a Montessori facilitator, I often hear  serious complaints from parents who are literally scared about the Six years old children. They portray the children as if they terrors at home and school.

   After undergoing Montessori's guidance about this age group, I have realized the truth of life and beauty hidden inside this age group in past 7 years. If anybody asks me, ''  which age group of children you like ? '',  I would answer that it is of the age group six and plus.  Because as a teacher I see them as raw clay to be beautifully molded into great personalities.

1.Why do children question everything from age of six? 

From birth till 6 years, the child gathers information from the environment and implants them into his or her memory bank as seeds. From age six onwards they start to process the information they collected into knowledge by Questioning. It is through questioning the child decides which seeds of information they want to germinate in their mind.

   Without knowing this fact, many parents are irritated answering to their non-stop questioning of children. Another sad fact is that most parents are not available for children when they need. The children may be with a caretaker and they may not always cater to the need of the children. Until age of eight, it is good that one parent is available for the child to answer his enquiries my spending time with the child.

    It is good to explain children the "truth" and not lie about it. But there are situations where parents cannot give direct facts, merely the child is not ready to know it. This is how mythological stories come to help. Joseph Chilton in his great book "Magical Child"  tells "Give your child mythological stories which will help the child to develop creativity  through which they will find their own answers".

   It is good for parents sometimes to frankly admit if they do not know answers. They can tell the child that they will find and let them know.

   Sometimes children do embarrassing things seeing Television.   But as parents we need to realize they do not know literally what it means.

Example: Often one of my 2nd grade boy hugs his class girls and boys and kisses them telling  ''I love you''. Imagine what will be the situation in a conventional school?

   I saw that, many started complaining  about him and teased him. I just called him and asked why he did .He said.,'' sir, often many big boys and girls in TV do this, even I want to show my love and friendship to my group like that, I too  to do  like that''.

   I said,'' dear, it is so nice to hear that you like to hug., but there are friends who dont like touching them without their permission. They may feel stinky and sweaty. You all play under hot sun and come., please think. What ever big children do we need not do. If you want to show your love, better give handshake, or hug on shoulders, kiss your parents.''

[this happened in 2006]  This child have never made another issue like this till today.This is the how we deal with children with explanations that they will understand.

   Often I say,'' my teaching is my spiritual sadhana  [ spiritual practices ] to cleanse myself, it is not my profession''.

   I know about a parent who says that "Through Parenting my external child, I am parenting my inner child. Every time I advice my child, I understand that it is also for my inner child. By nurturing my external child I am nurturing my inner child. I understand that my external child is a reflection of inner child.  As my external child I make sure  my inner child matures".

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2.AGE OF DEVELOPING SELF CONSCIOUSNESS:

From birth the child has observed his environment and conserved many experiences. Now the child  starts developing those small experiences into  consciousness to build up the personality. So please give  the space, opportunity, time make the child to construct the child's own feelings to strengthen the personality.

   We have failed to do this in 6+age to our children, so now many personality workshops are happening in schools, colleges and corporate. If we cant construct our personality in 6+ how can we change in 3o+ ? If you have changed , I am sure it is to get good name from your boss and to add  to your increment.

''aindhil walai yaa dha dahu aim bha dhil wayai yaadhu''. [If you cant get shaped out in 5 ,then how can you change at 50?]-a Tamil proverb.

    Now the child needs our guidance without any dictatorship. The child  is no more a feeding bottle baby to be under your hugs. The child wants to try all experiments of life, to abstract and gain the nourishment to construct his self-confidence , so that his personality will be ideal.

    The child  wants to explore more and more, so there raises 1000s of questions with in the child's mind. For all we cant answer. There is no harm in telling the child that you dont know, or you will tell later or allow you to rest for some time.Try to talk to the child softly and explain why ,what ?

Example: Last year my friend's 6+kid came from America. We had a long journey to Madurai. On the way to Sendurai to see the lands for our school, after seeing the thick dense vegetation in hills, just the child asked whether there are any boars. When I said yes ,he threw more than 50 questions, when all were sleeping in car. The driver too asked him to keep quiet but  I was answering with patience. Later when my answer bank became empty I just told him,

'' dear, can maamaa[uncle] rest for some time? I feel thirsty. I need to go back to library to find more about boars and I will mail to your appa or talk through skype? please try to share whatever you knew about boars to your American friends...''

   The boy just gave me the water bottle and also 2 good day biscuits and he too slept on my shoulders.So do not be egoistic before them.

   Tamil  proverb says,"God is your child''. The reason is that they make us to shed our ego.

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3.HE HAS HIS OWN WILL AND JUDGMENT:

The main worry for a parent who have a 6+ child  is about the child's argumentative character. Suddenly the child who was walking by holding appa's  [ father ] hands, now do not  want him to touch even some times. For anything the child will argue.Parents need not worry about this because mentally and physically the child is changing.

  Till 6 years the child was a baby, the child  has gathered information about various things from the environment. Now the child has started building its own world where the child put its own wills and justice. The child will become a strong person to find fault, argue and also in other hand to thank and appreciate us.

   Now we are in the position to canalize his judgments, laws, ground rules  not by dictating, showing our power of physic and ego. But be a role model.

   The child is very keen in all happenings, trying to strengthen the emotions and laws. When we are mistaking, actually the child is confused. There comes the rebelling mind. Please accept it, allow to talk, argue but teach him how to argue, question without using abusing words and tantrums. Indians lack the skill of questioning and commenting because of fear. Let the child learn how to question in a proper way without rudeness, and hurting others.

Example: In my school when ever children want to just bunk the sessions, try to play dramas with us. Often they will say, ''the previous  teacher always used to allow us to play after sometime, why cant you too do that?''

Very often I say to my students,'' dears, it is so nice to play . But that teacher has recorded that she made you all to work first, then to touch the ball.,  after comprehending 2 pages.....''

No mouth will open, but the hands  will touch the study materials.

    Then we need to clearly tell them that our family, class, follows certain culture, behavior and slowly teach and train them to adapt to it. It is like a daughter-in-law's fresh married life ,whenever a kid travels through various ages of life.

   Parents must be the role models. Especially for boys ,from 6+fathers,uncles,cousins are expected to be at home often and live as nice role models. Do not misguide your kid.

Example: There is a couple who got separated, the child is with the mother. In grade 2 ,I gave the names lessons of Indian family. Next day the mother send a letter saying,

''  Please do not teach my son the term FATHER''.

Let me share an another example.

    There is a boy of 7 years. His note book is in a very damaged condition. I send a note to  the parents 5 times. There was no reply. Then I send a cover with chart paper. For a week there was no respond. Yesterday when I checked the class work the child cried. I asked the reason. He said that he felt guilty to face me that he cant get the help of anybody to help him to cover his note book  in his home even though I gave the materials to cover. Then I did the covering and rang up to his parents, they replied,'' sorry sir, we both are always in our car traveling across the states for for business''

Why they need to marry and have a child?

There are many children who refuse to come to class.  Let me share a nice example to show how we are living very very selfishly only for our comforts.

   When I asked 3 graders to make an album about the farm animals, one child did not do it even after 4 reminders. The reason she said was,'' my mother said ,we need not do all these work''.

I said,'' explain your mom that it will help you to draw, write and name the animals easily'.

She said,'' sir, I  have already explained, but mom said she do not believe in this work'.

   Dear parents, here comes the main problem between teachers--kids--parents. Please believe your child's school. For you it is easy, boring but for the 6+ it is the first experience. You are plugging away their roots of development and interest.

   Yesterday when a 4 year kid was just closing her palms, I asked what was there. She said that the teacher has asked them to bring dolls for Navarathry [ ten days festival in India at the month of October ] festival, she did not have a doll which can be brought and she picked up few pebbles from her garden and holding very carefully. This is  the order and law of the 6+ age children. For us it is very silly, but for her it is very important. It is equal to our golden jewels in the locker. So try to understand, please do not  apply immediately your adult development and judge them. If he picks up the bat and ball do not say'' haa...are you a Tendulkar. Go and study''. He need not become a Tendulcar , but on his own he will shine.

   So this age group is very very sensitive. we need to shed our ego and go along with them. Explain them the reality without bribing and when unacceptable behavior was expressed give them the consequences without hurting them. But do not withdraw away from your consequences.

   Let them know the family setup, culture, reality of finance.. but do not show too much of family issues. Let the parents handle very sensitive issues in privacy.

Dr.Madeswaran

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