Maria Kemp, headteacher at St. Bede’s College, Alexandra Road South, is excited to lead the school towards its 150th year. With extensive experience in both primary and secondary education in Oxford, London and Madrid, Maria sits on the board of the International Federation of Family Development, which offers parenting courses in over 60 countries and has General Consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
How can parents help their children achieve successful results without damaging their relationship?
I would recommend parents to remind themselves that their family is unique. As parents, our children need to know that we are their stronghold. Our children may interpret our desire to create as many wonderful future possibilities for them as a desire to control them or impose our life choices on them.
It is essential that our children understand that our concern comes from unconditional love and a steadfast belief in them. In exam revision periods, when stress rises, it is important to agree on a timetable and to differentiate between incentives and treats.
If we give them something promised before they achieve their goal, the message we are giving is that perhaps we don’t expect them to reach the goal. If we feel that they are losing confidence, a small treat can put them back on track.
Can our children be free and committed to their responsibilities at the same time?
Our challenge as parents and educators is to help our children grow with true interior freedom. No matter what life throws at us, we can always own our responses. How we act and react depends only on our moral, emotional and intellectual strength. True freedom is the capacity to love.
Growing strength in these three areas in a balanced manner, through good habits, will enable our children to realise that fulfilling responsibilities only increases their freedom, opening future possibilities.