Jan 12, 2009

Seems Like Everybody Needs Some Kind of Training Nowadays

A few days ago, the Straits Times published this letter:
Jan 9, 2009
Help parents too

LAST Friday, my daughter entered primary school for the first time. Like any eager parent, I oversaw her first few days in school, including orientation, and attended a curriculum talk by the school.

During this talk, the school emphasised the role of parents and its importance in the child's development. While some parents listened attentively and even took notes, some actually dozed off.

It then dawned on me that, after spending hundreds of dollars on books for my child, I did not buy a single book about parenthood for myself or invest any time or money to be a better parent as my child goes on to the next stage of learning. I felt slightly better when I could not find any book for parents on the booklist given, but I still felt something is wrong.

Primary school is a big step for a child, so I searched the Ministry of Education (MOE) website for anything to help clueless parents like me. I hoped to sign up for an intensive parenting course or at least find a recommended reading list on parenting, but I found only information on the education system.

Parenting is a learning journey for both parent and child. When parents are highly involved with the teacher, the school and the child, the result is a more successful student and learning journey.

I hope MOE views education as a tri-party effort involving teachers, children and parents. A strong parent programme will ensure a stronger casting of character and upgrade the current academic system. While you may not need to win a prize for best parent, seeing your child grow up to be a successful and capable individual is the ultimate prize.

Syu Ying Kwok
An "intensive parenting course" organised and taught by the Ministry of Education? Heheh. To each his own, but this one is not for me.

And anyway, the principles of good parenting are very simple. You don't need a course to teach you those principles - some common sense would take you a long way. The real challenge is to consistently apply those principles in daily life.

And no MOE course is going to help you with that.


Anonymous said...

An intensive parenting course sounds like just the thing prospective parents should be put through BEFORE they have a child, so they know exactly what they're in for. Then maybe more people will think twice about producing children, so the ones that actually make it into the world do so with parents who are prepared to give them a proper upbringing, and hopefully we'll have fewer children running wild and generally growing up to become menaces to society.

I think MCYS should be put in charge of the matter.


P.S. This is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. In all likelihood this will never happen.

mr.udders said...

But Syu Ying Kwok has always been a champion!

kayangmo said...

There are tons of books on parenting, but most of them are based on American upbringing or sometimes European-based child raising.

Singapore is unique and there is surely a market for a Singaporean-style discipline and upbringing guide for parenting skills.
One sure place to look is the PAP archives or LKY school of "disciplining all citizens in Singapore, 1942 -2099".
I will surely buy this book for vacation reading, makes my day.

蝴蝶思语 said...

This is the REAL problem:
"It then dawned on me that ... I did not ... invest any time or money to be a better parent as my child goes on to the next stage of learning"

If it was that important, just do it. Human kind has been doing it for how many years?

Anonymous said...

Oh the insufferable Syuing Cock again. LOL

Anonymous said...

He is the typical product of the Singapore education system.

He needs someone to tell him how to do something that comes naturally.

Kaffein said...

Well said, Mr wang.

The sad thing is we are so brainwashed and 'just follow law/process' Singaporeans that we can't think for ourselves.

Gee, when did my parents who were lowly educated had training on how to adapt towards me going to school?

I don't think so many parents are such. But I reckon there is a growing number like this "Syu Ying Kwok" who has had a history of kiasu-ism and kiasi-ism. Do a quick search on the name and you'll see what I mean.

Syu Ying Kwok is the kind of role model citizen the PAP will like.

The worse thing is the MSM is publishing such letters whereas I believe there are better written ones.

Anonymous said...

Hahaa, Mr Wang, I just noticed that your picture is of a mother HEN looking at some baby DUCKLINGS. How apt .... for parents who feel they need an intensive parenting course. :)

yamizi said...

I just find that the Singaporean mindset is that 'there will always be a course or workshop to pass down the knowledge'. Sure that knowledge can be passed down but the wisdom to apply is a totally different issue.

Anonymous said...

about local books on parenting, I come across some relevant ones,

1. By an author like "sunandas". He is also a natural therapist practising in singapore

2. Adam Khoo's books on bringing up children is also good and localised in context

Anonymous said...

Wang, this parenting thing last time already discussed. In another light. Now then MOE think of it ah?


I am bemused at our obssession and wories on seemingly "better" quality of foreigners in our schools. The mediocore highlights of how many foreign borned won high honours against Singaporeans, cannot justify the views and wories if our own offsprings are inferior compared to imported genes.

We should compare the performances of adopted foreign babies nurtured by Singaporean parents against those who were imported wholesale. This will indicate if the "foreigners are better" statement can be qualified. A comparison within Singaporeans and foreign groups' performance in percentages will also indicate if the gap is as wide as protrayed.

Singaporeans should seek to understand the dynamics behind the perceived relative poor performance against foreign borned and improve on what may be our own poor parenting skills and education assumptions, than subscribe to the mass hysteria of shallow observations.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a parent (and don't think it's going to happen to me anytime soon) but I think parenting is a skill, and skills can be learned.

Making a child is probably what comes naturally but not so for parenting. I don't think common sense is good enough; either that or as they say common sense is not that common. Look at the ill behaved monkeys in public these days. How does one cope with kids who are constantly growing and exposed to all kinds of influences way before the kids can see it in perspective?

Jimmy Mun said...

Parenting is not something non-parents can easily understand. And few parents can honestly say they mastered parenting. Just take a look at the grandparents. Do they handle their grandkids the same way they handled their own kids? Most likely, no, which exposes the fact that with the benefit of hindsight, they would have been a different kind of parent. And as a parent myself, I generally think most grandparents take a turn for the worse, at least in the eyes of the parents.

Parenting is a natural journey every human should go through, if only as a penance for the pain we inflicted to our parents. It is a constant learning process, but having been a misunderstood child before, it helps tremendously in understanding at least the genetically inherited idiosyncrasies of our own children.

And Adam Khoo books on parenting? Why not, with his decades of experience raising his and *your* children ...does he even have children of his own?

Denzuko1 said...

By 7, the character of the child is already formed. It is too late for the parents to change any thing.

Anonymous said...

Is it my imagination or we seem to have truckloads of self help books nowadays? Apparently a lot of people, even with their all high education, can't seem to think or do almost anything without training, books, research, etc. We seem to have an epidemic of helpless people in this country. God forbid relying on hands-on experience, learning the hard way. Why do that when you can take shortcuts? For lost parents, every kid is different. most of the authors of self-help books don't even live here. They don't know how the schools here works, or what society is like. Granted, you have the generic methods of handling the common situations, but, for the most parts, you're on your own. Nobody is ever fully prepared to be a parent. It's a leap of faith. The wonders, the horrors, the confusion, it's all a part of the package. You learn everyday, and you adapt, because kids change too. Don't be afraid of going in blind, we all don't have a clue on this one