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Challenge Success Tackles Student and Parent Stress Concerns
A Stanford School of Ed project aims to redefine success so that families don’t get overstressed attempting to conform to a narrow definition of success.
Challenge Success was founded at Stanford’s School of Education in 2007 as an extension of the Stressed-Out Student Project. It aims to improve student health and engagement with learning with self-paced interactive classes.
“Parents today often feel overwhelmed by an incredibly busy lifestyle. These research-based classes offer practical solutions parents can implement immediately to promote a more balanced schedule and a happier home life where their kids can thrive.”
The non-profit group is spreading its message that a lot of parental and childhood stress is an unnecessary result of too narrow a definition of success, and aims to support parents trying to get away from what they consider to be misguided notions about the nature of success.
We live in a culture that increasingly insists that success is about numbers–test scores, acceptance rates, and salaries. All parents know better. We know that success is complex. It includes a wide range of skills and character traits such as integrity, creativity, and cooperation that can’t easily be measured but are critical for success in life.
One of the topics covered by the parental classes is called ‘the importance of play’, and Challenge Success believes that the most important job for young children isn’t learning facts and figures, but is actually unstructured play. They also preach a parental style that emphasizes family time together; at meals and while on vacation or at weekends.
Most of their recommendations can be boiled down to reverting to an older style of family life, where tv and computer gaming time is restricted to less than an hour a day, responsibility is taught through chores and communication within the family is welcomed.
Kids today experience unprecedented levels of adult direction and intervention. Whenever possible, let kids play and work on their own. Encourage appropriate risk-taking and allow kids to make mistakes–and learn from them. Self-direction and risk-taking breed resilience, creative thinking, and long-term success.
Last month, the Royal Economic Society in the UK estimated that parental effect on their children’s test results is five times greater than that of teachers, so it’s becoming clear that if people want their children to succeed in life then the television and internet are not appropriate babysitters nor adequate substitutes for parental time spent together.
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