Child Centered Parenting versus Parent Centered Parenting

Proud Mommy Moment Naomi Mc Laughlan 14 June 2017

To be or not to be….or the chicken and the egg question comes to mind, doesn’t it?

Since my son Jason has turned 20 yesterday, I have reflected upon the past 20 years of parenthood and the experiences I have accumulated over the years…

His first smile, first word, first step, first birthday, first day at kindergarten, first day at school etc. So many pressures memories, almost unbelievable how fast the time has passed!

I also noticed how many other parents I have encountered; during pre-birth classes, at nursery, kindergarten, school and hobby groups, as well as my son’s friendship cycle. Many different approaches to parenting, many little lives influenced on how their parents conducted the ‘parenting game of life’.

I have learned that some focus their approach around the child, value the little person as a unique individual who cannot conform to ‘norms’, but rather allow them to flourish and explore the world, while the parent (s) organise their lives based on their child’s needs and wants.

Meanwhile, I have also met many parents who ‘add their child on’ to their life, life style and general way of approaching their day-to-day. By for example, continuing their life’s pretty much as prior to having had the child; they continue their work schedule and leisure time and manage their child’s day by delegating childcare either between each other and also towards family members or childcare providers, friends and other children entertaining activities. They continue to meet up with friends and when they go out as a family they base their choice on what they (the parent(s)) would like to do, not their child. Interestingly, those parents often wonder why their child ‘misbehaves’ e.g. can’t sit still in an adult centred restaurant and even doesn’t like the food served or during a show that they are not interested in.

In my opinion, there is no ‘right or wrong’ type of parenting, as each child is so different, even within the same family. My three children are entirely different and truly need and want very different approaches, not just based on their age, but also based on their individual interests and personal preferences.

However, I do think that parents need to pause and reflect on a regular basis, to spot issues asap, to avoid taking a route that is damaging for the child or even for themselves.

I have met mums who constantly hover over their kids, completely lose their sense of self and practically live solely to please their children. Or mums and dads who feel burdened when they ‘should or have to’ spend extended times with their kids, buy as many toys as they can and yet still find little to no connection, while those children have no interest in their countless toys and are constantly bored. Both are unhealthy in my opinion, as both will lead to heart ache in the long run, for all involved.

In my parenting, I have always tried to balance between the two and learned that this approach is best, not just for my eldest, but also for my younger two girls. For example, when we want to eat somewhere together, we choose a buffet (most often Chinese) or simply McD’s (although their veggie menu is limited), as the first offers the option to choose food everyone likes and the second that the children (almost) cannot ‘misbehave’ (be a child, move around and not noise restricted), as it clearly is a child centred food outlet (balloons, crayons and paper and toys included). Another example is that while I drive and drop my kids to their hobby sessions (ballet, judo etc.), I either take a book with me and read while they enjoy their sessions, chat with another mum while drinking a nice cup of coffee or listen to an audiobook. I use these pockets of time to also enjoy the time, so that I don’t feel that I am ‘just the Taxi’.

I do have to admit though, that if I had to honestly evaluate which side I am on, I would consider my parenting approach to be child centered, and I guess that has come from learning experiences of the past 20 years; If you try to enjoy an adult type activity, don’t force a child to enjoy it and vice versa. Although, I do actually enjoy many child centered activities, e.g Disney and Co.

I had my son very early in my life, so I guess that is another reason why I enjoy the child centered approach, as I was so young I had not yet established a ‘me first’ e.g. ‘selfish way of life style’ that may have led me to feel ‘disturbed’ by my child’s needs and wants. Instead, as I wanted to traveled the world, for example, I chose places and hotels etc. which would entertain both of us. In addition, as I had my second child 5 years later and then my third another 6 years later, the child centered approach made even more sense, the bigger the family became. Which led to many decisions, including to homeschool, to start my business six years ago, working from home serving customers around the world and writing business and children books.

I would love to read your thoughts on this! Have you found a parenting approach that works well? If so, please share it in the comment section below. Thanks 😉

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

P.S.: Enjoy every second of being a parent!

Homeschooling and Socialization – YES it works!

 

Toys on a Bench Naomi Mc Laughlan

When I initially started home educating my three children, many people asked me repeatedly whether my kids lack socialization due to being at home. After some time it really drove me nuts, having to explain to everyone that first of all they are three anyway, so they obviously have each other at home to start off with, and in addition even when they were younger they had quite an active day including being outside. I taught them in the morning, so we were either at home or we would make trips to the local zoo, beach, forest, park or swimming pool, depending on how it fit into their lesson plans.

Kitchen Toys Naomi Mc LaughlanWe lived in a large neighborhood, so after the mainstream schools finished in the early afternoon there were plenty of children outside, so of cause my kids joined them as well. In addition, I organised plenty of playdates, we organised the neighborhood Halloween party one year and my kids had sleepovers with their friends. In addition, each child has found a hobby club, so again a great opportunity to make friends and socialise, while doing something they love.  At weekends we would have family over, for example my sisters and their kids, and we joined the local family church morning session.

So overall, I believe children have endless opportunities to socialise whether they are in a mainstream school or are educated at home. After all, children do not get to choose who their classmates are in school and may only pick one or two kids as their friends anyway, while  homeschooled children have the option to socialize solely with children they really like. As talking during classes is prohibited by teachers with a ‘Shh, we don’t talk during lessons’, main-streamers are left with recess (break time) only to socialize which accounts for few hours a day at most.


 

Here are 8 Ideas on

How to initiate new friendship opportunities for your home-schooled kids:

 

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate mainstream schools as well, as I believe that each child is unique and may blossom in different environments at particular stages in life. And while I still teach my youngest daughter at home and my son studies at University online from home as well, my oldest daughter has joined the local high school.

If you are thinking of starting your homeschool journey, I invite you to check out the Professional Home Educator Academy, which is an online based training that shows you how to get started or organised, if you have started but feel lost.

Let me know what you think,

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

 

How to promote expected behaviour, values and attitudes in a home school environment

In order to demonstrate expected behaviour, values and attitudes it is important to be consistent in every aspect of the home school environment.

Palytime NaomiMcLaughlan

Make your child or children aware of the expected behaviour, rules and sanctions.
As a teaching parent or carer, promote a positive behaviour yourself by treating every child with respect, without favouring one child over the other and by promoting equality and accepting a diverse capability of your children. Children often feel treated unfair if a younger child is allowed to take more breaks, for example, this can be avoided by explaining to the elder child the reasons for it.

Desk NaomiMcLaughlanHere are three major things to consider:

1. Keep the teaching area ‘classroom’ tidy
2. Be well prepared at the beginning of each lesson (lesson plan, required books etc.)
3. Keep interruptions to a minimum (phone calls etc.)

You could create a visual reminder for your child or children by making a poster of your desired behaviours. Include aspects like: Good behaviour is seen as being friendly, kind, polite, and careful, during lessons children should be working in a quiet manner and children are asked to being helpful to each other, to consider and accept the different needs of others.
Remind your children often of what is expected of  them, by using prompts to assist them to remember your rules etc.
Praise good behaviour in front of siblings in your ‘classroom’ and treat your child with special certificates as well or other prompts like sticker charts, or the possibility to collect team points to get a rewarded.


How do we deal with unacceptable behaviour?

Sad NaomiMclaughlan

In the case of unacceptable behaviour there have to be sanctions in place and your child or children should be aware of them.
At the end of the lesson speak to your child, which can mean that the child loses some of his/her free time. In some cases a detention / extra work can be given, for example if the child has not done his/her work or has repeatedly disturbed the lesson.
If normal systems are not successful an Individual Behaviour Plan (IBP) could be a way to monitor and evaluate the situations and behaviours of your child. An easy way of drawing such a plan is to list negative behaviours over a period of time, then to think of reasons which might have caused the undesired behaviour and lastly to make a plan on how to address these behaviours appropriately.

The most important aspect though, is to communicate with your child on a regular basis that good behaviour is highly valued by yourself and therefore give more attention towards good behaviour then towards bad behaviour. This will automatically reinforce your child to behave him/herself better.


If you are not a homeschooler yet, why don’t you sign up for The Professional Home Educator Academy online training?

It will teach you everything you need to know to start home schooling your child or children!

PHEA Pic

PHEA info

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All the Best,

Naomi xxx

How to contribute to maintaining and analysing records of your Home-schooled child or children

Teach PHEAEven though as a home educator you are not legally obliged in the UK to keep records of your child’s progress or take tests, it might still be highly valuable for you and your children.

In other countries, like in some states of the US you do have to keep a log book / portfolio of your child’s home-school journey. Whether you decide to keep records or not, please regularly check with you local educational authority whether any requirements have changed, for example on an annual basis.

Records and tests do not have to be as stressful and formal like in mainstream schools and can be part of a regular routine without being as pressurising as usually for children in mainstream school provision.


By incorporating worksheets that you either design yourself or buy in form of test books etc. could become a part of your home-school structure, for example at the end of each month, or before you take a holiday- or term break several times a year.

During the lesson you can monitor your child or children by;

  • Observation,
  • designing tasks and tests
  • keeping work samples, portfolios and projects
  • use standardised tests books or print-outs (SAT’s, GCSE, A Levels)
  • take notes of incidents and monitor your child’s responses to activities and modify approaches accordingly
  • peer and self-assessment

You can then evaluate and analyse the progress. You can use your findings to designed follow-on lessons and provide focused support and feedback to your child or children.


Having written records can sometimes be helpful, if you either reintegrate your child back into the mainstream school system or if the local educational authority requests to see evidence of actual home education. Both instances might not be applicable to you at this point, but I believe being prepared might be best in any case.

And not to forget that your child or children might want to apply for an apprenticeship or at University one day and require some form of written portfolio of their past education.

Tell me NaomiMcLaughlan

If you are thinking of starting to home-educate your child or children, I invite you to visit the Professional Home Educator Academy, which is an outstanding online training programme, which gives you everything you need to create a successful homeschool environment.

All the Best,

Naomi

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Home Schooling Q&A

Every year more and more families decide to home educate their children around the world, studies estimate between 5-20 % per year. As for most countries it is not compulsory to register with the local educational authority, the number of home educated children is just an estimate. In the United States there are between 900,000 to 2,000,000 home scholars, in the UK about 50,000, about 30,000 children in Australia, and over 50,000 in South Africa.

Home Education naomimclaughlan

Reasons for their choice of education varies from family to family, while some home school because their children have special educational needs (SEN) that cannot be met in a mainstream school, others choose homeschooling because their children have been victims of bullying, or they live in a rural area or they have religious reasons for choosing home education. And a growing group of home educators fear the danger of a new shooting spree and just want to be sure their kids are save.

If you are currently trying to decide whether you should or shouldn’t go down the route of home education, here are my;

Top 5 Q&A  about Home Education

1. Do I need to be a teacher to homeschool my children?

No, in most countries there are no requirements at all. In some states of the US homeschooling parents need a high school diploma as a minimum qualification. Make sure to check with your local educational authority, if you are in doubt.

2. Can I teach my child with additional needs or special educational needs (SEN)?

Yes, absolutely! The tailor made curriculum you can choose when you are home schooling, can be of great benefit for your child.

3. How much does it cost to home educate my child?

Depending on how much you are willing to spend on books and other materials you can homeschool for the same amount or less that you would spend on school uniforms, transport and the contribution on materials of a mainstream school per year.

4. How do I choose what to teach?

In most countries it is your choice what subjects you include in your child’s curriculum. You can use the national curriculum of your home country as a guide. If your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Individual Education Plan (IEP) you could use it as a guideline for your choice of curriculum subjects.

5. How do I get started?

You need to consider all elements that might affect your choice of education for your child or children. In order to do so, I have created the Professional Home Educator Academy for parents and carers who would like to learn how to create a successful home school environment. The online training program, includs 9 modules of video training, plus a workbook and template book on:

1. Introduction,

2. Curriculum & Teaching Approach,

3. Organizing your home school,

4. Routines,

5. Special Education Needs & Learning Difficulties,

6. Friends,

7. Motivation,

8. Tests & Exams

9. Work

After completing the modules, which you can do over a weekend or several weeks if you prefer, you will have an individual plan for each of your children at hand to get you started!

Find out more at: http://professionalhomeeducatoracademy.com/

P.S.: Buy ‘7 Ways to Make Reading Fun for Kids’ for only $3.09 / £1.93 at Amazon or sign up for the Professional Home Educator Academy Newsletter to receive the PDF version for FREE!!!

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All the Best,

Naomi