THE METHODIST WELFARE SERVICES’ Covenant Family Service Centre has been operating a Parenting Hotline for the past 20 years. It is the only helpline in Singapore manned fully by social workers and counsellors.
Many of the callers seek advice and counselling on managing and disciplining their children and one of the key causes of stress between parents and their children is schoolwork. Most parents in Singapore aspire for their children to achieve good grades and academic success; this in turn can place undue pressure on them.
Parents can play a significant role in helping their children do their best. We may want our children to come out tops, but we must remember that each child is created unique and we need to temper our expectations according to the gifts they have been endowed with. What can parents do to support their children?
While many parents may be able to teach their children as they prepare for the PSLE, many will struggle or find they are unable to do so when their children are sitting for the “O” levels. But as not all of us are able to teach, we may get extra help for our children.
Do not stress yourself out trying to be the “teacher”. Instead, it is more important to play the role of Supervisor.
The very important role of supervising their studies should not be overlooked because even at age 16, many children are not mature enough to be left totally on their own.
To make sure that your children are keeping up with their studies, here are some ways you can supervise:
Check to make sure that homework is done and handed in – it should come back marked.
Keep in touch with their teachers regularly, especially if their work is not up to standard.
Know what your children are doing. Find out about the extra activities the school has and what they are involved in. Monitor their use of the computer and time spent on TV or handheld games.
Check that your children spend at least two hours a day on their studies, homework or tuition and increase this to three to four hours a day when examinations are approaching.
Allow them enough time to relax and engage in their favourite activities.
Many parents overlook this because they think that it is the duty and responsibility of children to study. While this is largely the Asian viewpoint, many children do need that extra incentive to put in the eﬀort. Here are some ways to motivate your children:
Provide a suitable reward for your child, focussing on the eﬀort and not basing it solely on the grades to be achieved.
Be careful not to do it the wrong way, for example, by telling your children that they can play computer games or watch TV all they want when the examinations are over. is method fails because the children do not get rewarded despite all the hard work they are putting in, and end up demotivated instead.
Accept that your children are not strong in everything. is will help to relieve some of the pressure on them to succeed in every single area.
Recognise the successes that your children have attained, no matter how small. Encourage them to apply the same eﬀort in the areas they are weaker in.
While society may place certain expectations on our children academically, we need to search deep into our hearts and recognise that they may not be so inclined but are gifted in other areas such as music, the arts or even in technical areas. Children are gifts from God and deserve our support and love so that all their other gifts are allowed to flourish.
Parenting may be challenging, but help is available. If you have parenting concerns, please call Parentline
(Tel: 6289-8811). It is operational f rom Mondays to Fridays, 9 am to 5 pm.
Sim Ngee Mong is the Senior Social Worker of Covenant Family Service Centre and Pearl Lee is the Communications Consultant of the Methodist Welfare Services.