Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Parents are the Primary Teachers

BY DOMENICK J. MAGLIO, PHD. Traditional Realist

A child’s education begins at home. Functional parents naturally provide role modeling that is fertile ground for the child’s moral, emotional social and educational development.  Children spontaneously imitate speech patterns, vocabulary, thinking and the value of continual learning of the parent. 

In the past families was a cohesive group that did almost everything together. Sitting down to meals, working around the house, recreation, visiting relatives, church attendance were practically rituals for the family.  It was the most important social unit in society.

Modern parents are often AWOL in crucial areas. Although parents work hard chauffeuring their children to extra curricular activities they miss the exposure to many of the child’s important behaviors.  Infants are often left in centers to be cared for by “professional” strangers. The majority of parents enroll their children in preschools instead of keeping them at home. Both parents often work long hours and are lucky to spend a few quality moments with their child.

Many parents take for granted the school is educating their child. This can turn into an educational disaster that can threaten the child’s abilities and opportunities to succeed later in life. Parents are the primary teachers. The abdicating of this responsibility is dangerous to society.

Parents are so preoccupied with their own careers that they assume their child is doing well in school since the report cards from early elementary normally indicate he is an A-B student. Often he is granted Honor Roll status. The child usually is a compliant child who stays out of any trouble at home and in school. 

This typical child’s academic, social and emotional issues are not being adequately addressed. Eventually in the transition to middle school or after a comprehensive state exam the parent becomes aware of a significant two-year or more deficit in one or several academic areas.  These problems prompt them to put the child in another classroom setting or school to avoid the stigma of being labeled or held back a grade.

Then reality hits them hard, the mother’s tears flow and the child realizes that his inflated grades can no longer hide the truth. The child does not know simple math no less algebra and/or is unable to write a coherent paragraph.  The student and parents are crushed knowing their options are not going to correct the errors of the past without a lot of work and pain.

Students being held back or labeled are only the tips of the icebergs. Both the parents and student have to accept they have been delusional. The child has to accept a drastic change in behavior and thinking to have a chance to rehabilitate himself as a student. The parents have to restructure their lives to make a total commitment to assist the child in filling in his academic and work ethic gaps. 

These incidents can be drastically reduced if parents would take the time to observe the child’s initiative, work habits and become aware of what the child actually knows. Reading the child’s reports and essays as well as reviewing math tests enables the parent to evaluate the child’s knowledge. Through daily monitoring and questioning the parents must maintain awareness of what the child is learning. There is no excuse for the parents not assessing their child’s education.

Modern parents can no longer rely on our dysfunctional education system to take over most aspects of their child’s life. We are supposed to protect and teach our children the things they need to know to prosper in life.

Casually leaving our children’s education to the schools is not a wise decision. Too many adults are more concerned with their pet’s grooming than with their child’s education. In school there are many social temptations, many opportunities to take short cuts such as cheating and little follow-up by teachers and administrators concerning academic deficiencies. Parents should more closely evaluate their child’s academics, social abilities and skills.

Parents can either shirk their duty to pass on their wisdom suffering the pain of a dysfunctional child or witness the child creating his own success.

The ability of their child to be self-reliant and successful lies primarily in the hands of the parents by training them to have positive habits, skills and values. The parents’ focusing on the children when they are young will reap them the satisfaction of participating in their success.  The legacy of their children is determined by how well they were able to train them when they were young.

It is not about spending more money on education but parents placing a great value on learning. Parental observation as well as direct involvement with the child’s academics and after school activities is powerful antidotes to preventing an inadequate and disabled human being.

Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at

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