Parental-child communication was one of the main issues that was discussed during the youth suicide prevention grassroots workshops. One of the many examples was the case of an adolescent who had attempted suicide. The case’s parents were both psychiatrists with busy lives and careers . As a result they showed their affection and communicated with their children by providing financial and material gifts. The suicide attempt occurred after the young man had received a sports car for his birthday. Catering for every perceived material “need” is no compensation for real family interaction and communication. The adolescent himself reasoned that he didn’t need a sports car – what he wanted was to be able to talk to his parents. There are many such examples e.g. see making it to adulthood and making it to adulthood (2).
So the issue is how we have lost the ability to have a normal two-way relationship with our children that is instinctively a natural human activity.
Regardless of the answers and explanations to the above question – here is one way of restoring and rebuilding a caring parent-child relationship. Professor Saxby Pridmore and William Pridmore have developed a children’s activity and story book called “Show Your Parents” for children to initiate family interaction – the design of the book is such that it also allows parents to use it to engage with their children.
“Show Your Parents” is designed to encourage kids to engage with their parents and discuss things of interest. There are 38 chapters as follows:-
1. We begin with an introduction to maps, and the black swan problem (i.e. problem of induction).
2. In this chapter we learn about some animals and magic squares.
3. Chapter 3 teaches us about bones and exoskeletons.
4. This chapter is about basic astronomy – we learn about the Mars rover “Opportunity”.
5. Chapter 5 is about the colour spectrum and formation of rainbows.
6. Here we revisit maps, and discover different coats of arms.
7. We head underwater and learn about some fascinating sea creatures.
8. In chapter 8 we discover some kangaroos live in trees.
9. A review of astronomy; we learn the planets and then discover volcanoes.
10. This chapter showcases some incredible optical illusions.
11. We learn about some important world “firsts” and some marvels of nature.
12. Marsupials are the focus of this chapter – we review a few different examples.
13. Chapter 13 uses solar panels to introduce some basic science concepts.
14. Here we look at biology, including the structure of flower and the process of pollination.
15. A look at evolutionary biology, and an introduction to gravity explained by waterfalls.
16. We look at single-celled organisms and what makes them alive.
17. This chapter teaches us about magnetism.
18. We continue our exploration of physical science, introducing “elements”.
19. We learn about some other interesting elements, and the process of respiration.
20. In this chapter we learn that dolphins are mammals.
21. A continuation of respiration and human physiology.
22. More geography in this chapter, learning about Australia and its neighbours.
23. We revisit elements and human physiology, then learn about different flags.
24. Chapter 24 discusses the movement of celestial bodies, and Stonehenge.
25. We delve into prehistory, looking at geological phenomena, and introduce “molecules”.
26. This lighthearted chapter uses “Lawn Chair Larry” to discuss flight.
27. We continue our exploration of floating, learn about airships, and revisit magnetism.
28. This chapter describes compass navigation and conservation of energy.
29. Here we further describe transfer of energy and profile Moscow.
30. Carbon is the focus of this chapter – we learn about its different forms.
31. More basic science, with carbon as the starting point. We return to compasses.
32. Chapter 32 teaches us about the amazing process of photosynthesis.
33. We learn further detail on atomic structure, and discuss a very important experiment.
34. Our discussion of energy leads into the uses of calcium in the body.
35. We investigate the role of water as an energy source.
36. In this chapter we outline three interesting craters.
37. Chapter 37 talks about nocturnal animals and the process of fossilisation.
38. Our learning journey ends by looking at some ancient structures and how planes fly.