PATERSON, NJ- With multiple demands on their time, and the over-abundance of readily available distractions right at their fingertips, it’s easy for parents to lose focus of what’s really most important, being present for our children.

That was the message delivered by Paterson First Lady Farhanna Balgahoom Sayegh at the 2018 Parent Conference hosted by the Paterson Public Schools’ Office of Family and Community Engagement on Saturday.

These “energy traps,” as Sayegh referred to them, and how parents navigate them, impact children who, even from a very young age, know whether or not they are being listened to. They also, she continued, effect the health and self-care of parents as well.

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“Let’s make the time count,” with our children, Sayegh urged encouraging parents to get more involved in their children’s education by attending PTO meetings, asking about their school day, or simply “creating a culture of reading” at home.

The mother of three started her address by admitting that she is not an educator or a parenting expert, rather simply a busy parent, like most others across the city, seeking ways to “make time count.”

Sharing her belief, as well as her own experience, that Paterson parents “juggle a whole lot more than parents in other communities,” the time and attention given to children directly links to improved executive functions such as impulse control, focus, and ability to sift through complex processes, and therefore needs to be prioritized she said.

Improving these skills at an early age, and carrying them throughout a child’s academic career, Sayegh said studies have shown, leads to more happiness, improved health, stronger relationships, and, ultimately, increased earning potential.

Sayegh was quick to point out that parental involvement matters just as much in the latter years as in the early ones, and for parents that feel that perhaps they haven’t been invovled enough,  “all is not lost.”

“Parents make mistakes, but kids are forgiving,” Sayegh said. “It’s never too late to be present.”

 

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