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We are not an alternative school.
We are the alternative to schooling.

Wait, watch, wonder: learning about your teen

SJ

Sudhakar Jeeva

Sep 08, 2020

The new school year is upon us again! With it, comes a sense of optimism that our children will thrive and take a step closer to their Ikigai. However, it is equally important to step back and examine if our children are in an environment that allows them to do so. Finding the best high school for your teen is not just about finding the best high school in the market. It is about finding the one that is a perfect fit for your child. While change may feel daunting during teenage, it can be rewarding if done right. In this second season of Out of the Box with Beyond 8, we intend to take you through this process, play by play.

In our maiden episode, we started with the essential groundwork: learning about your own children and their personalities. According to renowned emotional intelligence consultant, Mrs Usha Ramakrishnan , parenting as a whole is the continual process of promoting the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. The key lies in parenting is not merely knowledge but a form of unconditional love. In case you missed this episode live, here are the highlights!

Demystifying teenage

From birth to 12 years, parents give their children roots to grow and freedom to explore what they are good at. Teenage is the time when children begin the quest for their own identity. Mrs Usha compares it to the chrysalis stage in a butterfly’s life cycle. Newer studies are showing us that between the ages of 12 - 18, newer connections are being made in the brain, heralding a possibility of extended development.

At this stage, teens are finding ways to be comfortable with difficult emotions. There is a great shift in the way they communicate and establish their need for privacy. They get impulsive, rebellious, and emotional - it is completely normal because emotional regulation is still being formed. But the way we parent will make all the difference in how our teens emerge. It is important to understand that our teens do not need fixing. Instead, they need an empathetic and supportive ear from their parents to feel a sense of belonging and comfort.

In Usha Akka’s words:

"Parenting also means getting ourselves ready. Even if I have the best car, and I don't know how to drive, I would crash regardless."

Multiple intelligences: it is not about how smart you are - it is about how you are smart

After 10 years of research, psychologist Howard Gardener came up with the theory of multiple intelligences . It is a very relevant theory to apply to teenagers as it helps us identify the areas in which they will do well. The main areas that Gardener elaborates on in his theory of multiple intelligences include:

  • Linguistic intelligence - people who are able to use words well when writing and speaking like writers and speakers
  • Musical intelligence - people who have strong musical intelligence and are good with rhythms and sounds preferably composers and musical personas
  • Logical & mathematical intelligence - people who are good at reasoning and patterns and analyzing patterns like inventors, logical thinkers like judges
  • Spatial intelligence - People who are strong at visualizing things and some examples would-be architect, artist and engineers
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence - people who are said to be good at body movement, performing actions, and physical control like gymnast, dancer, builder.
  • Naturalistic intelligence - people who focus on the environment, nature and feel empathetic towards nature like biologists, environmentalists

Additionally, parents also have to incorporate:

  • Interpersonal intelligence - being good at understanding and interacting towards others
  • Intrapersonal intelligence - being good at being aware of emotional states, feelings, and motivations.

Every child is a unique combination of these multiple intelligences and the onus lies on parents to recognize which ones their children are best at. Grades are important - but they are not the only determining factors to a child’s progress and success.

Understanding your child through the quad framework

Mrs Usha introduced a quad framework that is a handy guide for parents to understand their teens better in the long run. (Please feel free to print out the image below and write down your reflections.

4 quads

Be kind to yourselves

Parenting a teen has its fair share of highs and lows. The best way to enjoy the process is to have faith in ourselves and being kind to ourselves for the effort we put in every day. As a first step, it is important to be conscious, mindful, and be able to accept feedback from our children, being kind enough to apologize when we are wrong.

In essence, learning about our children comes from showing unflinching support and open lines of communication at all times. As the great poet Kahlil Gibran once said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,

But seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Kahlil Gibran

Let us wait, watch and wonder at the wonderful human beings our children will unfurl to be!

Watch the entire recording of the session on our YouTube channel here . Join us for the second episode on Saturday, September 12 live on our Facebook page , where we will be talking about the red flags that indicate it is time for a change of school for your child.

About Out of the Box with Beyond 8

Be it the way we learn or teach, there are always better ways to do it and often they lie out of the box, on the paths less taken. Out of the Box with Beyond 8 is an initiative that encourages the education fraternity to push the boundaries and challenge the status quo.

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We are the alternative to schooling.

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