Teaching Children part 2

After reading my blog about what children need, a mother wrote to me: “It seems that you do NOT recommend children to learn computer programming. What is the best way to raise successful children in this Fourth Industrial Revolution? Please advise.”

Answer: “Every parent wants their children to be successful and there are different opinions. Language schools advise parents to have their children to learn a foreign language. Coding schools recommend parents to send their children to learn how to code etc. However, as a parent, it is your responsibility to raise your children, NOT somebody else. In my opinion, your children learn best from you, they want to be like you, to connect with you and spend time with you. If you are busy and do not spend time with them, your children will not be able to build that connection so they will connect with somebody else, maybe some characters from the TV shows, or the video games. If you are unhappy and stresses all the time, your children will learn that from you and become stressful and anger. Whatever you do at home, your children will learn from you. Whatever you treat others, your children also learn to treat them just like you.”

“According to Dr. Jean Piaget, a famous psychologist, a caring and loving parents who invest in time with their children are more likely to have successful children. Dr. Piaget has conducted many studies on children behavior. He asked thousands of children the same question: “If you have one wish about your parents, what would it be?” The answer is always the same: “I wish my parents are less busy and spend more time with me.” This study is conducted in several countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The answer is always the same. Children want to spend more time with their parents. They did not ask their parents to buy them toys, clothes or other things but ONLY TIME. He concluded: “How many parents understand this? How many parents know what their children really want? How many parents would rather send their children to special schools to learn coding, music, dance, foreign languages, or math to make sure they will be successful without knowing the real needs of these young children?

One of the advice from Dr. Piaget is for parents to Read books with young children. However, reading should not stop when the book ends but parents should have a brief discussion with their children about the book, the story, the lessons, good or bad, and what they can learn from the book. Young children (2 to 4) prefer mostly fairy tales. Children from 5 to 8 often prefer other topics such as animals, dinosaurs, and historical tales. Children from 7 to 10 begin to have their own interests, and they may ask for different types of books. However, parents can select the right educational books for their children. The important is NOT about the content but the discussion afterward where they encourage their children to think, to analyze, to understand the morals, and draw a conclusion. Dr. Piaget said: “This is where a real education is, where parents help their children to explore, to discover, and to build their interest in learning. It is also the foundation for more curiosity and deeper learning of children when they grow up.”

Another best advice from Dr. David Code, another famous children psychologist is: “To raise successful children, put priority in your marriage first.” He explained: “Families focus too much on children often create anxious, exhausted parents which lead to the demanding and spoiled children. Many parents are too quick to sacrifice their marriages for their children by spending all their time to take children from one school to another school, from math tutorial to sport activities and children never spend time AT HOME where they build a relationship with their parents. When parents are tired and exhaust it is easy to get into arguments and fights and their children often become stressed and depressed. He concluded: “The greatest gift parents can give your children is to have a happy marriage at HOME with their children.”

“Children by nature are very curious, they always want to know more. When they have questions, parents should give them the most attention because communication is very important if you want them to be happy and successful. The best way to do this is to give them your full attention whenever they speak to you. This means putting aside your newspapers, your book, your electronic devices, your TV show and really listening to what they have to say and answer them with your best attention, which will encourage your children to learn more from you.”

“I am NOT an authority in child education but as a professor in technology, I understand that some of you are worried about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and what it brings. The fact is technologies change fast and by the time your children grow up, in the next ten or fifteen years, I am sure that technologies will be different from today. Computer devices and programming languages will be different from today. Do NOT be afraid that your children cannot code now or cannot speak a foreign language now. They still have plenty of time to learn. But they only have a very short time to spend with you so take advantage of this precious time to spend with them and teach them what they need so they can grow up to be an ethical, responsible, and honest person who can contribute to our society and humanities.”


  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

You may like