What... (i.e. camp, dance class, birthday party)
        
 
Pick a NYMetroParents Region: All Regions   Manhattan    Brooklyn    Queens    Westchester    Rockland   Fairfield    Nassau    Suffolk  

Resources

   

SEEING THE WHOLE CHILD

     Home  >  Articles  > Child Raising
by Renee Cho

Related:


This month, Lori Goodman’s article, When Reading Is Just Too Hard, offers parents an important reminder that kids are more than the sum of the concerns we have about them. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in managing their disabilities, problems or issues — and forget to look at the whole child.




   The other day, I was riding the train into New York City, enjoying the peace and quiet, when a mother and her 5- or 6-year-old son entered the car.  She sat right across from me, talking to a friend on the hands-free cell phone which was strapped to her arm. She waved her son to sit across the aisle and to play with his Game Boy.  For a half-hour, this mom totally ignored her son while continuing her conversation with a friend about getting special services for him, how to get special services, who else had gotten special services, etc.  When the child tried to get her attention, she’d wave him back to his Game Boy.  Despite the fact that it was incredibly rude to be conducting this conversation in the otherwise quiet car where people were trying to read and work, I was interested in the dynamic between mother and son.  When she finally got off the phone, the boy came over to talk to her.  She immediately pointed out that he had said a word incorrectly, “No honey, ‘target’ has a ‘g’ in it.  You have to say the ‘g’.  ‘Ge, ge, ge.’ Now say ‘target’ with the ‘g’ 10 times.”  And then she coerced him into saying ‘target’ 10 times. I felt so sorry for him; another woman sitting nearby rolled her eyes at me. Granted, this mom was trying to get special services for her son, but who knows how much more good it might have done had she sat by him on the train during the ride and had a warm and playful conversation about what they saw out the window? Instead, it was obvious that, in her eyes, he’d been reduced to the sum of his disabilities.

   But this forgetting to look at the whole child can happen to all of us.  When my older son was a junior in high school and getting ready to apply to college, I focused totally on his grades, his SAT scores, his tutoring, his college applications.  College was the main topic of any conversation we had. He finally broke down under the pressure and accused me of being more interested in his college career than he was, and certainly more interested in getting him into a good college than anything else. I had to plead guilty.

   Of course it’s important to make sure your child gets special services if he needs them, or keeps his grades up, finishes her summer reading, gets on the basketball team, has tutoring on the side, or gets into a good college.  However, the precious years of childhood fly by, and if we forget to see our children as whole people, more than just the sum of our ambitions for them, we may not be doing them as much good as we think we are. In the long run, it’s just as necessary to share the excitement with your child when he sees an unusual house out the train window as it is to lobby for extra help, just as important to give a warm hug when your kid says something funny as it is to ask if he’s done his homework, and just as crucial to comfort your teen when her boyfriend breaks up with her as it is to find her an SAT tutor.


   Kids need to know that we accept them with all their flaws, quirks and special qualities.  And we need to let them know that we see them as whole people, because being seen completely is being loved.
 


Give yourself a free Holiday Gift

Receive our weekly highlights newsletter · Over 1,000 local activities

More Child Raising Articles

Three Tips for a Happier Holiday
Alternatives to Overindulging Your Child
Moments of Meaning During the Holiday Rush
Holiday Concerns for Special Needs
Beating Homesickness at Camp

Be a good fellow parent and share this with a friend who would be interested
Email Friend

Local Child Raising Sponsors


Long Island Stuttering & Speech Pathology,PLLC
1023 Pulaski Road
East Northport, NY
631-261-7740
It's back-to-school, and you may have concerns reg...

United Martial Arts
509-L N. Bicycle Path
Port Jefferson, NY
631-474-0844
At the United Martial Arts Center, our quest is to...
The Fashion Class
21 West 39th Street
Manhattan, NY
646-329-6663
...

New Canaan Nature Center Summer Camp (ages 3-7) & Adventure Camp (ages 8-14)
144 Oenoke Ridge Road
New Canaan, CT
203-966-9577
Treat your child age 2-15 to a unique and action-p...

Art League of Long Island
107 E. Deer Park Road
Dix Hills, NY
631-462-5400
Year round classes offered in watercolor, oil pain...
See Our Child Raising Directory

local zones

Nassau

Nassau cont.

Suffolk

Suffolk cont.

Westchester

Westchester cont.

Fairfield

Rockland

Rockland cont.

Queens

Queens cont.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn cont.

Manhattan

Copyright 2014 NY Metro Parents Magazine Site Design: THE VOICE