I fully understand the tremendous pressure of the Singapore's education system and your great love for your children, wanting them to excel and do well academically but life is so much more...
I just wanna share this with you:
Today, I met my ex-pupil's mum for lunch. She shared with me that her 17-yr-old son had passed away in August 2014. He had been unwell and having severe headaches. That fateful day, he went to school, fell and hurt his head...
With relentless tears in her eyes, she poured out her heart... I listened and comforted as much as I knew how... it is indeed heartrending to lose a beloved son... and definitely not easy to let go...
I hope that some parents can reflect and "repent" (in Hebrew, the word 'repent' means to change one's mindset).
Every now and then, parents whatsapp me about their multiple issues with their children, even those already in the uni... e.g. behavioural problems, the lack of discipline, insolence, indolence, indifference, etc.
Yet, after listening again and again to them, I usu. concluded with this statement: You have "overly" loved your child/teen. (In other words, I was telling them, they had loved in the way they deemed right but not necessarily "right" & probably, in a narrow-minded way... that's the root cause of those issues they were facing.)
Parents, if you are feeling stressed or even frustrated and unhappy... may i advise you this: please be mindful of what you are doing and saying to your younger ones every single day.
As an educator for nearly 20 years, I have heard many pupils sharing with me about their high-level of stress in schools and at home... they groaned that their teachers stressed them up with a plethora of home assignments, and then, their concerned parents (usually mothers) kept on "pushing" them to do their work and to excel... nagging at them to study hard, to work hard... admonishing them not to do this... cannot do that... and/or preaching to them about having a good education is the only way to a better future.
Before you have something to comment, let me share with you some students I have come across all these years...
A pri 4 pupil
"Teacher Jalynn, I really feel like committing suicide... life is so stressful... my parents are always quarrelling... my mum is always nagging..."
A pri 6 pupil
"Teachers pressure us... go home... more pressure from my mum... endless pressure from everywhere. I know she loves me but she simply doesn't understand..."
I can list down hundreds of other feedback I have heard from students of different backgrounds... (affluent families, average, typical middle-class & those from deprived, indigent or broken homes)
Children and adolescents... rich or poor... they have something in common. None can tolerate a nagging person. If nagging works, let's continue to do so... but it has never worked, as far as I know...
Parents, can you please learn to love with an open mind... as much as you want your children to learn and excel... we, adults gotta learn some things too.
Why are there so many unhappy children and teens in our country? Is it the faults of MOE, the school teachers, society or parents?
Well, there isn't a need to pinpoint who's right or who's wrong... just accept whatever it comes and live to the fullest every day.
If you truly love your children, pls stop saying, "If you don't do this or that... you will lose out... if you don't study hard, you will fail... if you don't finish your work, you will not get this or that..."
Worse, if you are one of those that say, "You will never do well... don't waste my time and money... you never study hard enough... you never... you never..."
A simple question for you to ponder: If your child received 3/10... would you focus on the +3 or the -7? A truly encouraging and wise parent would say or joke, "It's ok if you have done your best... at least you got 3 marks... surely you will do better. I believe in you and I love you... not your results."
Do you know that we all grow up healthier and happier (mentally and physically) when we know that we are deeply loved by our parents & even teachers etc.?
What do I mean by "deeply loved"?
In my own definitions:
Love is patient and kind... love gives no condition... love is not authoritative nor demanding, expecting another to do just our way(s)... love is enduring... not unmannerly... love always lifts up...
Learning is to be filled with joy, not by force... we cannot achieve effectual learning out of someone (young or old) by force... we can only use edifying, gentle, positive affirmative words, fun-loving parenting/teaching style to help the younger ones to learn what they need.
Fears, guilt and condemnation are the greatest enemies anyone can have... do not ever speak words to inject such negative, killing emotions into your kids (even spouse and others)...
Don't wait till you lose a child (in whichever way) to say, "If I have known... I wld... if only I knew... I wld..."
There's no turning back to yesterday... nor any need to worry abt the future. Just live for the present, to the fullest.
Love your children as much as you can but stop seeing yourself as the authoritative figure, trying to control their lives...
Guide them well, step by step... commune with them as good friends do... be there always no matter what kind of results they get... The roads are theirs... you cannot dictate them to walk the paths you want them to... even though you may think yours are better ways...
You are not almighty God... lean not unto your own understanding, learn to see different perspectives while you watch your children grow up to be excellent people (whole and sound).
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate this: Love is patient and kind... not demanding and nagging.
** Pardon me for such a lengthy letter... just sharing from the bottom of my heart for your sake and your children's.