The High Level Segment of the Annual Ministerial Review to the Economic and Social Council concluded on Friday, July 8th 2011 with the promulgation and unanimous consent for a declaration detailing means for increasing progress towards achieving the education MDG. Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang referred to the declaration as a “remarkable document – one which addresses important areas such as educational access, quality, funding and partnerships. He further stated that “enrollment alone is not learning”. What goes on both at home and in the classroom is what ultimately counts in order to maximize the benefits of schooling.

“We must reflect long and hard on what we teach our children – and how.”

Parenting Healthy Kids: the missing link in the education MDG

Barnett Koven, World Information Transfer.

Good afternoon Mr. President, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ministers, Ladies and Gentleman. Thank you for the opportunity to address this body.

“Every child’s education begins long before an individual enters a school.”

Emphasis needs to be on helping the parent develop key behaviors in their offspring that will enable a child to adjust and adapt to our fast changing world whether in developed or developing countries.  Appropriate child rearing – Parenting Healthy Kids – stems from the moral imperative that every individual has a responsibility, not only to oneself, but to the world’s inhabitants for present and future generations.  This moral imperative applies most directly to a mother and father who bring a child into the world.  We need to enable parents to raise children who are not only aware of their own needs but able to look beyond immediate rewards and take into account the needs of their friends, family, community, and – ultimately – the rest of humanity. The future of our world depends on it.

The fundamental concept of Parenting Healthy Kids is mastering the relationship between feelings and actions. The first step is guiding children to understand what they are feeling and why.  Second, the child has to be encouraged to think of ways to act other than lashing out on others or running away, but instead develop the capacity of thinking on how he or she might be more likely to produce the result they want. These suggestions are, naturally, presented in language that is appropriate for the child’s developmental stage and need to be taught by both parents, particularly the mother during the first years of life. Finally, the child puts his or her thinking into action. Over time, children learn the complicated process of replacing behavior based in a quick reaction to their feelings with a more thought-out action that will get them what they need and want.  Eventually they learn the principles that parents have taught them.

The accepted stages and characteristics of development provide a framework for parenting strategies: the fundamental unlimited love and attention offered in the first two years of life; distinguishing between appropriate and inappropriate behavior by adding choices for and restrictions on behavior from age two; allowing for imaginative play and exploration during the years between 6 and 13; and adding responsibilities with each new privilege as the child develops into adolescence and adulthood.

In the two-to-six year period of life, the child’s perception as separate from the parents takes shape, so beginning even in these years, the child can be slowly taught the complicated process of distinguishing between actions that are a direct expression of what one feels and actions that are instead rooted in thinking. When the child acts in ways that are beneficial and produce no harmful effects, then the parents can see the successful growth of a capable, responsible individual. 

Parenting Healthy Kids centers around three watch words for behavior:  Stop, Think, Love or STL.

People, in all countries can change their behavior when it is in their interest to do so.

“Parenting Healthy Kids centers around three watch words for behavior:  Stop, Think, Love or STL.”

Before I conclude, I would like to note that healthy has several meanings, referring to the mental and physical health of the child as well as the health of our planet. Thank you for your time and consideration, Mr. President.

Watch the Conference and WIT’s Statement at: http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2011/07/world-information-transfer-general-debate-high-level-segment-2011-ecosoc.html

Source: UN News Service.