SINGAPORE, 20 NOVEMBER 2008 — STRONG PARENTING IS IMPERATIVE in forming healthy mental and social development in children. It is easy to theorize that all a child really needs to have a wholesome and healthy upbringing is plenty of good, old-fashioned tender loving care. However, getting down to action proves to be more of a challenge.
At the Effective Parenting Session: Maternal Involvement, Children’s Achievement and Conduct, speaker Dr Carol Yeo addressed serious issue such as detrimental parental behaviors exhibited by Singaporean and Asian parents.
Among Singaporean parents, Dr Yeo said the one of the biggest problems is an overly high emphasis on academic performance and good conduct. “Parents tend to compare their children a lot, placing unnecessary stress on themselves and their children.”
The session was packed with helpful information: Dr Yeo displayed a wealth of facts and statistics from previous research and studies she had done, including the results of a survey she conducted with parents and children across nine primary schools.
Survey results pinpointed the consequences of parental behaviour such as the lack of affection, as well as psychological control such as the behaviour of using guilt to motivate children (something found to be highly common in Asian parents). For instance, Dr Yeo found that children whose parents did not exercise psychological control over them fared better academically.
|PHOTOS: Edmund Ong|
She pointed out three areas of parental involvement that had a powerful pivotal effect in developing positive results in children such as planning for the future, good school attendance, school completion and motivation. These are: parents’ behaviour at home, parental communication with school, as well as school-based activities. That is, when parents chose to be actively involved in these areas, children tended to have stronger academic behavior.
In essence, Dr Yeo pointed out that the most important aspects of parenthood were those that were more subtle, such as showing affection and spending quality time, over discipline and emphasis on results.
“There is a great need for understanding and communication with your children. You need to spend time with them. It doesn’t have to be on a two-week holiday in Disneyland, they just need to feel understood.”
On a reassuring note, Dr Yeo quoted her own life example. “When I couldn’t pick up the alphabet quickly enough, my dad told my mom ‘she cannot make it’. But look at me today, I have a PhD,” she laughed. “So don’t worry too much about your child’s learning progress.”
After an illuminating session, Dr Yeo spent time giving advice to concerned parents over parenting issues.
Says mother of three, Karin Ng, 43:”I found the session highly relevant. My only regret is not attending a course like this earlier.”