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Scolding won’t make children excel

By - | June 2nd 2012

High-achieving children don’t forget when term papers are due or arrive at a class without writing materials, writes GARDY CHACHA

In this era where competition for survival is cutthroat, it’s only proper to prepare your children for a future where they’ll be required to fend for themselves and be the steers of their lives.

Jean Piaget once said, “The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done — men who are creative, inventive and discoverers.”

The statement captures the essence of providing motivation and a conducive environment for your child’s brain to attain an affinity for knowledge.

Families have a huge influence on children’s achievement in school and throughout life. Research has proven that when families work together to support learning, children perform better in school, stay in school longer, and enjoy their education.

Eight-year-old Hegel Muriuki is in Class Two, but already speaks Swahili and English with ease. His diction is above par and when speaking to him, you realise his IQ (intelligence quotient) is way up the scale for a child his age.  He can manipulate a computer without a whiff of assistance and is able to execute digital commands and prompts on a desktop.

Looking at his report cards, he hasn’t scored less than 82 per cent from the time he began going to school.


His parents, James and Josephine Muriuki, are elated with his progress in school and level of understanding. They are happy, not just because of the positive aspects that come with excelling academically, but also because they’re playing a big role in carving out a well educated, knowledgeable child who will have a positive impact in society.

“High-achieving children don’t forget when term papers are due or arrive at a class without writing materials,” James remarks. “Children also learn good organisational skills from their parents. When my son sees me dusting the computer keyboard and wiping the monitor, he does the same with his calculator,” he says.

Hegel’s mother, on the other hand, has taken the task of showing her son when he has gotten a sum correct or if he committed a mistake. She does it with care and a lot of consideration so that the boy learns instead of feeling humiliated. She does not scold him or yell at him when he seems to be slow at understanding some facts.

In their guidebook Positive Parenting: Make Your Children winners, BK Narayan and Preeti Narayan advice that scolding is not known to convert children into good performers.

However, transformation of poorly performing students into top performers occur when they are made to realise that good performance in studies leads to a lifestyle free of problems while poor performance leads to poor living.

At the same time, it is advisable to know your child’s state of health so you don’t push so hard when they might not be able to deliver on that front.

Affinity for numbers

Like James and Josephine, Paul and Evelyne Okoth have a child in kindergarten who seems to be blending with her academics. Though relatively young, their daughter Elizabeth has a love for numbers, calculations and drawing alphabets. Her zest is so high that when done with her homework she asks for more schoolwork from her father.

As her parents, they often sit down with her at the reading table. While they read newspapers or magazines, their daughter immerses herself in her schoolwork.

When they realised their daughter was inquisitive about her environment, they utilised that aspect by feeding her the information she wanted to know. They also motivate her to read and do her homework by taking her to a game park every month since she loves animals, a privilege she only gets when she maintains a satisfactory level of completing her homework. At the same time, visiting the game park serves as a learning opportunity for the young girl.

Father Peter Mwangi of Holy Cross Catholic parish in Nakuru says that motivating a child to perform in school is encouraging since the child learns that having positive results in their academics has benefits. However, he warns that this should be done in moderation so that the children don’t not interpret it as a bribe.

Nurture talents

He also says parents should concentrate more on the abilities and positive attributes of a child. This means focusing more on how they perform to the peaks rather than what they are poor at.

He notes that a child might be having a talent, but because parents want to dwell more on conventional education, the talent is masked in the pursuit for good performance.

Pastor William Odero of International Christian Centre points out that it is also good for parents to maintain a certain level of communication and relationship with their child’s teacher(s). He cites the fact that teachers spend a good amount of time with the children, hence it puts them at a position they are able to assess the child’s behaviour, relationship with other children and general speed and accuracy at performing in class.

If parents have a mentally challenged child, Pastor Odero advises that they first seek the opinion of a qualified expert and get directions on how to go about educating the child. Being a parent himself, he says that he has experienced the power of helping his children learn how to do it right instead of scolding them when they haven’t delivered as he expected.

Rick Schroeder, a famous author said, “My parents always told me I could be anything I wanted. When you grow up in a household like that, you learn to believe in yourself.

“Children who perform well in studies have more advantages than others. They get a vantage position at excelling in many other sectors of life. Therefore help your children maintain a good academic record.”

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