Friday, August 31, 2012

Choosing A School  - Part 2 - Impact of a school on Child's Attitudes

All parents are responsible for the behaviour that is scripted psychologically into their children,  A child is born with some genetic or genealogical scripts and during their process of growing up, parents provide them with the new experiences or the so called psychic scripts. These scripts are picked up by children when they model their behaviour on how they see their parents and rest of the family.

The social environment further provides a child with the social scripts which determine how much my school, community, region or religion affects my attitudes. Since the school is capable of making deep impressions in a child’s mind, the role of the school in social scripting is not to be minimized.

The accumulated value of these psychological scripts determine our childrens views and attitudes. Some children grow up with a Win-Win attitude with a mentality of abundance.  Win-Win children are scripted to believe that my success is not necessarily at the expense of others and they constant seek mutual benefit in the interactions. These children grow up to be successful in the personal and professional lives and show leadership in their public and private life.

Unfortunately a majority of our social scripting is very negative. These negative scripts are those which create a  mentality of scarcity. A Win-Lose script says  ‘I Win, You Lose’. These children grow up as adults who believe that their sense of worth comes from being compared to others, that life is a competitive arena and they find it difficult to be genuinely happy for others or own successes. Their life is about possessing, comparing and competing, hence they are always insecure about themselves and do not have a deep sense of personal worth. Since their inner core is weak and insecure, they are unable to have meaningful and effective relationships with others. They usually end up being  ineffective in the workplace and in the family relationships as well.

What Script is the School Wiring in my child’s mind?

The role of the school is very important in writing these social scripts. As Covey says, the academic world naturally reinforces I Win- You Lose scripting which can be very damaging. A child begins to understand that the love and attention he receives is ‘conditional’- it depends on his performance in exams and the associated ranks, which is always in comparison to others.  

Our social systems further accentuate the problem of academics by engaging in more damaging comparisons. The child is often compared to his siblings and peers who are seen to be better in one way or the other.  Parents often see their children as instruments of winning social approval. When a child repeatedly sees his or her  intrinsic value is not recognized, and the seeds of Win/Lose scripting are deeply set.

Choosing the School With The Right Script

While choosing a school for your child it is extremely important to evaluate the schools academic practices.  Does the school have a reputation of being very demanding and setting unachievable expectations from the children and parents?  Most of us are familiar with the culture of parents trying to outdo each other’s child by doing the home projects on behalf of the child. There are schools which allow these adult intrusions into the child’s space. These practices make children feel unsure of their own worth and create negative dependence.

Is the school obsessed with results and ranks? At what age are children subject to formal examinations? Does the school try to do too much, or too fast and or subject young children to age inappropriate curriculum ? Will my child be always under scrutiny and live with guilt of underperformance? Will  a script of high self-esteem be written into my child’s mind?

How to Choose the School?

In the previous article we had looked the various types of schools and the Child centric school in particular and ways to identify such schools. Child centric schools tend to produce Win-Win scripted children and it is important to be able to identify these schools during our child’s admission process. 

Here are some ways to do so.

‘Listen’ to the culture of the school. Signs of humility are a great indicator of openness and win/win scripting. Authoritarian structures are typically win/lose. Try and gauge the nature of the relationship between the children and teachers and management. Does it evoke warmth and joyfulness? Are children and teachers treated with respect? What is the schools view on discipline? Is discipline enforced by authority or is it dependent on children creating their own notion of self-discipline.  Do you see or sense unconditional love for children?

Remember, your child will be scripted for many years in the hands of the school. These scripts must be the affirmative scripts based on the universal principles of harmonious living. They will make the crucial difference in the outcome of your child’s development.

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