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Five parenting opportunities from the world cup

By Vision Reporter

Added 29th June 2010 03:00 AM

World Cup is here. Amid the sounds of vuvuzelas and deafening shouts of fans, the world cup is more than just a game. It is a social magnet that pulls together people from all walks of life.

By Jamesa Wagwau

World Cup is here. Amid the sounds of vuvuzelas and deafening shouts of fans, the world cup is more than just a game. It is a social magnet that pulls together people from all walks of life.

It provides a fun filled forum in which people relax and vent their emotions. At family level, the game provides more than entertainment. Let us explore some golden parenting opportunities that you can tap from World Cup.

1. Family bonding
With the increasing social and economic pressures, it is becoming difficult for families to share quality time.

Given the timings of the matches, the World Cup provides a convenient family get-together.
Did you know that many times it is hard to find the ‘right’ time to schedule quality time? With the World Cup, you scream, jump and laugh together when your team makes progress.

You also give each other a shoulder to cry on and express your disappointment when the game is not in your favour. These moments when family members swing in intense emotions in front of the TV set are golden.

You can utilise such emotional moments to bond with your children.

Let the children talk freely about how the match makes them feel and do not judge their feelings.

Allow your children to exercise their freedom of choice. They are different individuals and it is okay for them to support a team different from yours.

World Cup can help you break communication barriers with your children if you allow them to express themselves without inhibition.

2. Learning experiences
With 32 countries involved, World Cup is like having the entire world on the TV screen.
The different countries represented by different teams present a learning opportunity that you could utilise to expand your child’s knowledge.

Talk about the teams and the countries they come from.

Discuss this, not as a task but as a fun activity. Find out where the countries are located on the world map, their population, heads of state, flag colours, climatic conditions and any other information the child might find interesting.

Resist the temptation of spoon feeding the child with information and task them to find it on their own.

Let them research, gather the information and discuss it with you.

An up-to-date world map would make it interesting.

How about organising a family ‘know your world’ contest in which the children test their knowledge of the different countries where the teams come from?

You could consider awarding some points and buying prizes for the winners.

3. Winning and losing is part of life
Like any other game, there is winning and losing in the World Cup, but winning is not all there is in a game.
Connect this concept to the game of life where goals are good, but the process you go through to score matters more than the goal.

At the end of the game, 2 - 0 is just a score which does not make the winner better than the loser. In order to come up with the score, the winning team has worked hard to scoring while the losing team has worked hard defending. Both of them are achievers.

In a classroom context, children need to attach greater value not on the grades but on the learning process. They need to understand that their team does not have to win for them to enjoy the game.

Have you witnessed fans scream in excitement or weep in disappointment during a football match?

Winning or losing often evokes powerful emotions that can get overboard if poorly handled.

Use this opportunity to help the child understand that it still remains just a game, whatever the outcome. Let them know that supporting different teams does not turn you into enemies just like it is normal for friends to disagree in principle.

4. It takes persistence to score goals
Just like players chase the ball, we need to chase our goals in life. If you have set your eye on something, spend your time chasing it.

If you aim at scoring division one, do everything that can lead you to that goal.

Have you noticed that time management is important in soccer? Help your child know the significance of every second in their life.

Ten seconds can determine who wins and who loses a game. Help your child apply this time factor in everything they do. Spend your time chasing the right goals; not chasing everything.

5. Identifying your best slot
Have you noticed that every player has a slot in the match?
On the football pitch there are three major positions: defenders, midfielders and strikers. Apart from the goal keeper, every player can score a goal but the positions from which they score vary.

Teamwork is an essential component of a good game. Therefore, your child needs to appreciate the importance of other people and that no man is an island.

Success in academic work also requires team effort where students have to consult teachers as well as other students.

Help your child understand their individual uniqueness and how this uniqueness gives them a special slot in life. Your child is endowed with unique talents that they should put to use. They need to identify what they are good at. Each person is a player with their own slot. Defenders are not better than midfielders; they are merely playing different roles.

Even as you watch the World Cup with your child, keep in mind the fact that children learn more from the game by playing, not just watching. Provide your child with an opportunity to play and if possible, play with them.
The writer is a professional counsellor

Five parenting opportunities from the world cup

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