Adapt Your Parenting Style To Your Child's Growing Needs

I am not weighing in on the debate Pro-Drilling or Against-Drilling. Because, I do both depending on the situation. I rather suspect that most Mommies here do too. We all do a bit of both I think. I am also not telling other mommies/daddies what best they should do because I am not in their situation.

I went and dug out The Daughter's report book. Here is my story.

The Daughter scored 79 for English, 88 for Math in P1. She placed in the bottom 25% of her YEAR. However, in P1 she scored 99% for Chinese because Grandma plied her with assessment books. Little Boy's grades followed the same pattern.

English, Math and Science were my subjects to coach. Chinese was Grandma's. We took very different approaches. I looked past the grades in P1 & P2 for both my kids. In P1 & P2 my objectives were (1) they get used to school, (2) they adapt well socially, (3) they learn basic self-management skills, (4) the kinda keep up, (5) they like learning (6) they understand the value of diligence and discipline, and (7) they take full ownership of their studies.

These were all specific qualitative aims I had in mind. Not quantifiable but I wanted to focus on laying this foundation so that I would have a strong foundation of work ethic and self-management skills to build on in Upper Primary.

P1 & P2: Foundational Study Skills

I expected my kids to pack their bags, take notes, keep track of homework etc... That's tough you know for the little ones. So many times, they forgot their books. My son lost his exam schedule and I didn't help him get another. For 3 weeks, he went to school with his transparent exam pencil box because we didn't know when exactly his exams where and which day was what exam.

How to get good grades like that?

Nonetheless, whilst they were thus struggling, I was always warm and supportive ... and I gave a lot of loving advice. Next time, you need to remember this and that and the other. I had high expectations (about specific behaviors, not grades) but I tried not to help. I didn't gloat or say "Hah! You deserved it!" That's very mean and discouraging. Every boo boo was an opportunity to talk about how my child could manage himself better.

I gave very little drills at this stage. If they remembered to do their homework, I was happy. My kids "failed" at this stage but neither really failed as in score below 50. I did not allow that to happen. Their lowest grades were still 70+. I reckoned that that was what I could live with... believing that catch up was imminently possible from a 70s range.

P3 & P4: Transiting From Skills Focus to Grades Focus

By P3, they pretty much got the hang of the skills required to keep one's head afloat in school. They took notes, their bags were neat and they owned their study process completely because whilst I was encouraging and free with my advice, I tried not to help too much. So, about P3, I began to set grade goals (90+ for every subject).

At first, neither kid believed they were capable (since neither had ever scored in that range before except for Chinese), but I told them that I knew they could do it.

I began to PROPOSE drills, and because both are close to me, they do bend to my wishes even when gently proposed. Mostly I gave them past year exams from other schools. I planned the schedule and checked in every weekend to see if everything was done, and done well. At this stage, I was still refining study skills. I wanted to see careful work, good handwriting... I was less fussy about grades than I was about general work quality. I threw absolute hissy fits when work was shoddy and careless, but looked past genuine errors and absolute scores.

By end-P4, they were hitting the 90s in English, Math and Science. Strangely though, their Chinese grades dropped to the 80s. I kept telling Grandma that the way she taught the children Chinese made them feel like they didn't own the process. When they did well in Chinese, Grandma felt proud that she was a good teacher and hardworking too and conscientious. But my kids felt dispossessed of their glory. Their Chinese marks belonged to Grandma. Also, as you move into P4, the syllabus changes. Whether Chinese, English, Science or Math, the kids nowadays are no longer tested what is in the textbook.

By P3 & P4, kids are tested OUTSIDE of what is stated in the textbook. Grandma was still drilling textbook material. To score in the 90s for Science, Little Boy had to do independent internet Science research! We constructed Powerpoint slides, put him in a Professor's geeky glasses and made him present his findings. To score in the 90s for English, we were reading tons of storybooks and practising how to create metaphors, analogies and alliterative effects (e.g., Pretty Puddle of Pungent Poo). We read poetry. Basically, there was no way to drill our way to success because there was no way to predict what would be tested. Anything could be tested, and so I took a blunderbuss approach - LEARN EVERYTHING INTERESTING and HAVE FUN. Look at what teacher taught, ask questions of yourself and look for the answers on your own. Never mind if not in syllabus. You learn more and you won't die, and you'll have fun.

"The grades will come" I promised them. Back then, it was me putting on a brave front and being a brave mother so that my children would have the strength to carry on and keep trying. I couldn't tell them I didn't believe in them. In this way, I concur with Amy Chua... the best thing you can do for your child is to believe in him.

Meanwhile, Grandma went on drilling from the textbook. And whatever I said to her, she wouldn't budge from her time-tested method. She had been a Chinese Teacher in the past and had tutored even Mrs Carmee Lim's daughters (ex-Principal of RGS). She thought she knew best but her methods were outdated and designed for a syllabus and an approach that was past.

P5 & P6: ABSOLUTE Grade Focus

In P5 and P6, I became Tiger Mother. The Daughter came home one day in P6 and waved a Science paper scored 98% in my face. I said "It was an easy exam. The PSLE won't be this easy." The Daughter has never forgotten that scathing comment.

I reckoned that by P5 & P6, my kids had amassed enough resilience and process skills to take some knocks and I did knock them about, though never as hard as what Amy Chua seems to have done.

Starting P5, there was a consistent practice schedule which intensified as we moved into the 2nd quarter of P6. I devised the schedule collaboratively with my kids and I was sensitive to their mental and physical states. I had no qualms about deleting work if I thought it was too much. I wanted to manage my kids energy levels. Must always have time to recharge even if grades suffered meantime. The rule in the house is to NEVER TOUCH BOOKS 3 days before and exam paper. And I made sure I allocated whole days or whole weeks of NO BOOKS so that they could play to their hearts' content.

There was a constant process of watching and adjusting. There was a lot of trust and dialogue. I worked them hard but I made sure that I was there to encourage and listen to their problems. But they still owned their study process. I proposed a work schedule and they decided if they could manage. More often than not, they would ADD in stuff and tell me "Mommy, I can try." They knew that the PSLE was an important exam.

I also built in a natural reward into the work schedule. If they somehow did their work fast and well, they had that extra time to play. I never gave more work when they finished theirs earlier than I had expected. And whenever I could, and they had finished earlier than expected, I would take time off work to play with them. Go somewhere they wanna go... do something they like... together.

Results

The Daughter placed consistently in the top 3 places from P5 to Sec 2. In Sec 3, she was handpicked for an accelerated program where the others were smarter and just as driven as she. To keep up, she really pushed herself. End Sec 3, she was in hospital with pneumonia, a result of 2 months of flu and insufficient rest. She was so motivated that it had become a problem. I went to school and got an exemption for one month of homework... plus I locked up her laptop. She vegetated at home that month.

Little Boy is now in P5. He looks at the work schedule that we worked out and if I decide to delete an item, he will say "Leave it in Mom. I will try."

Unfortunately, The Daughter's Chinese marks at 'O' levels went down to the 50s. She hated Chinese and rebelled completely against Grandma's micro-managing ways. Little Boy's Chinese dropped to 79 for the first time in end-P4. So, I've taken over Chinese from Grandma too... and I'm doing it my way now. Read a lot, have a lotta fun, and to hell with textbook. I will be introducing exam practices later in the year however. Learn and have fun first. Drill later.

Both drill and no-drill are important to me.

My Objective

I don't need my kids to be the best in class... but I want them to be the best they can be. If what they can be is 80+, then fine... and seriously, The Daughter's class now is full of people who are so smart she and I feel stupid. That's fine. We're not as smart. And we don't need to be.

She got where she was not because she was smart, but because she was motivated. Motivation can get a child farther than a parent's best wishes and most beautiful dreams. The Daughter is no longer at the top of her class anymore, but that is fine because I know she has reached her potential and maybe even a little beyond. The same with Little Boy. I know he can manage 90+ in every subject if he wants to. Even Chinese.

The trick is to make them want to. And the first step is to turn the ownership of the study process over to them... and make them own it. This should be done early enough (I think). I have just sacked Grandma and turned the ownership of Chinese over to Little Boy. He used to roll his eyes when Grandma complained he was slow. Today, in the car, he said "Mom, I have a problem. I am slow in my compo. Others have done 1.5 pages, I've only done 1."

He now owns his problem and I play the familar supportive role "Oh never mind... you keep on reading those books and one day, the grades will come. I promise" and I look at him with a confident smile. This way, he will keep on trying... and he will end up where he ends up in Chinese. And I will still be happy even if it isn't 90+.

Not the Only Approach

I consciously took an approach where I focused first on Foundational Study Skills to the detriment of grades. It worked for me. I am sure there are other parents who focused on both at the same time quite successfully. I am sharing my story because it isn't a usual approach, but it worked for me.




Tags:

Thank you.

Thank you for your generous posts. I enjoyed reading them. 

sembgal | Mon, 29/09/2014 - 6:50pm

A BIG Thank you!

Thank you so much for sharing..

Love all yr wonderful tips from the forum and I am reading yr book now and enjoying to the max!

Both my kids are totally different and your sharings just come timely...

 

Mummy_Tang | Thu, 14/11/2013 - 9:38am

Something for me to adopt!!!

i am hot-tempered so when my kids tend to do repeated mistakes, i tend to scold them tat they r stupid, nvr use brain...so on... and now my kids hv hate on education...:(

from ur letter, i learn that i m the 1 who is stupid, cos i didn't impose the skills to make my kids love education or look education in a fun way...

Will hv to work something during the nov/dec school holidays.

Thanks for sharing

Fun Fun Fun | Mon, 04/11/2013 - 2:14pm

Floating Memories of the Past

Reading your article somehow points to my shortfall in parenting. My girl is now going for her PSLE in less than 1 months time. So far, my approaches has more of misses than hits. What you wrote really nailed down my so-called "lapses". My girl seems to accept that she is just an average learner though she is rather discipline. That alone is my heart-warming consolation.

kancheongpapa | Thu, 22/08/2013 - 10:52pm

Wow, this was a very

Wow, this was a very encouraging and timely read for me... esp as my girl prepares for P1. I am very inspired by your methods.. not so much to replica to the T, but how systematic you are. Thank you for sharing!

byfaith | Mon, 31/12/2012 - 12:11pm

love your writing and

love your writing and insights. remind me to read up and educate myself more as so to be a better parent. especially to think of a better approach in each situation before reacting.

rachin | Sun, 07/08/2011 - 12:48am

Thank you for your article

Dear Chenonceau

Just want to thank you for the insightful article.

I have been having a really hard time managing my expectations of my daughter who is going to P1 next year. She is very resistant toward changes and new concepts and I can see my Tiger Mum tendencies rearing its ugly head, which in turn, is making things worse.

My hubby and I just want her to grow up to be a happy, confident child who has good work ethics and character. She is a happy-go-lucky child but totally not resilient to real world situations out there. I worry for her at every turn, whether it is academic, social or emotional. But being protective is not going to help her and I have to let go.

 

 

 

kit2405 | Mon, 11/07/2011 - 10:49am

Thanks for sharing! Defintely a good read :)

Is so tough being parents nowadays!

leekien | Fri, 08/07/2011 - 1:15pm

This is so timely

This is so timely for me. Was about to get into the rut of micro-managing DD1 who will go to P1 next year.

I hope i can be as disciplined as you. BTW, are you FTWM or SAHM? Am contemplating quitting my job but its not an easy decision!

genie23 | Wed, 29/06/2011 - 5:55pm

Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for sharing!

smartmummy | Tue, 28/06/2011 - 3:44pm

Thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing

WCW | Tue, 07/06/2011 - 11:04am

Very good article

My DS will be going to P1 next year. I'll adopt your idea. Thanks for sharing.

botakgundul | Fri, 15/04/2011 - 7:42am

Maths Assessment for P1

Can someone suggest a good assessment book for P1 Maths. There are so many to choose frm that it confused me!

Nonie | Mon, 31/01/2011 - 10:48pm

Nonie... maybe you can

Nonie... maybe you can start a new topic in the forum? You're likely to get more responses there?

Chenonceau | Tue, 01/02/2011 - 8:56am

Thanks for sharing

Hi chenonceau,

Thanks for sharing.  I've been very lax in my kids, more like let them be, let them have a good childhood.  Think I've been so lax that my P2 boy is very lax and very non-chalant with his work and in school and everything he does.  He daydreams in classes and he is very forgetful.  Now I'm starting to receive complaints from his teachers that he is not paying attention in class and so on.  Naturally, his grades are not fanastic... 

I need to change him and quite urgently too.  Not sure where to start.  How to get a day dreaming boy to pay attention in class and get him interested in learning?   Any pointers?

I still have two younger kids that I need to guide and use the right methods.  Some times, I felt very sorry for my first born...  he is like an guinea pig...  ...

I'm still digesting your article and your replies.  had a heavy lunch and brains not working properly yet.

tree nymph | Mon, 31/01/2011 - 2:57pm

Wow... Tree Nymph... I am

Wow... Tree Nymph... I am not sure I know how to advise you. I have never met your child and as such, I cannot evaluate all the other important variables. What is your relationship with your child like? How have you been disciplining? What have you done till now to help him? What is his personality... IQ level... confidence? Any siblings? So many many questions.

I wish I could sound like an expert and help you but I am only an expert on my own kids, and I dare not tell you what to do. Even with my own kids, I am often wrong.

I am so sorry. I don't want to be responsible for giving advice that would damage another child and if I advise blindly, I don't get hurt. You and your child does.

Forgive.

Chenonceau | Mon, 31/01/2011 - 5:37pm

Thank you very much,

Thank you very much, Chenonceau!

Somehow reading your article and replies leave me a little teary and emotional.  So much wisdom needed to bring up a child well! 

It is really valuable for us novice mums to read from experienced mums who have been there and done that, tried and proven.   Each of these sharings help me formulate my own convictions and clarify my thinking regarding issues faced.

Much appreciated!

 

DesertWind | Sat, 29/01/2011 - 9:35am

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeks! Oh dear!

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeks! Oh dear! Now I am feeling very stressed. I am not an educational psychologists. I'm more confident of resolving organisational turnover than I am of bringing up kids.

You probably need to take what I write as experience sharing, and read the situation and your child. There are so many variables in parenting that what worked for me may not work for you so, you know.... Enjoy your children. Love them. Have them love you back.

Chenonceau | Sat, 29/01/2011 - 9:43am

Heyya Chenonceau..

Hi Buds,

Thanks lots! However, just to qualify, I never got angry about grades as long as there was ample evidence that Little Boy or The Daughter had done all due diligence. The process of studying mattered more to me. 

>You're welcome! Agree with ya.. it surely cannot be all about the grades that we're promoting here ain't it... for we at some point couldn't have aced our grades either then. Blaah.. :P

Grades became an excuse (a logical trigger point) only when I saw poor study patterns. At that point, even good enough grades weren't good enough. If they hit 90, then I wanted 100.

>Hahaa.. this is the point where when a parent realizes the child CAN actually do pretty well cept some careless mistakes here and there which in actual fact they CAN do and not dunno how to do... the chase begins. Kekekee.. Human nature, aye?

If they persisted in NOT following due processes in studying despite having been gently reminded over a few months, I grab on to the end-result (i.e., poor grade) and I do a "hair tearing explosion" that lasts at least 2 hours. I walk up the stairs and down the stairs and into the kitchen giving a loud and colourful (sometimes tearful) oratory about "Hard work... focus... do structured practices weekly and with discipline..." I throw in bits about ungrateful children and that I have wasted my life and that it is so shameful to get such grades and how dare they waste their potential... and I bemoan the silent husband who then feels compelled to speak some words in support.

Quite fun. I wasn't really mad. I intended all during their lazy period to get mad when the results came back. I start and then work myself into a real fit. I don't think Tiger even begins to describe it. Maybe a cross between a banshee... a virago...a weeping pontianak. and a T-Rex.

Gosh, i LOVE this part! I've fallen outta my chair reading this reply.. Bad lah you! It's the drama naggy performance i did myself too. It was a silent-demanding-zero-response-performance, instead of a standing ovation one... as it served mainly the purpose of me being the screaming-tarzan-cross-bred-pontianak. I too am guilty over the bits thrown in similar to yours. So... i'm not the odd one out after all.. Kahkahkah! Mothers eh? Bwaah.. In my case the husband DARE NOT be silent in this instance.. yeah... fun awrite!

In my life, I think I've done not more than twice with The Daughter and once so far with Little Boy. I figured that if I was gonna get angry, I would make sure it was the performance of their lifetimes. And because the normal me is so different, so cheerful and huggy and patient... the kids subsequently went to great lengths to keep the Evil Mother from making an appearance.

Truth be told, i'm not proud of it but i'm still making those appearances esp of late... i guess with baby #3 and in post natal recovery, i have less tolerance these days which i try to snap out of... by that i mean real quickly when i do realize where i was heading and try to ensure each day starts on a good note so they can focus fine in school and ends well so they have sweet dreams to face a new day.. the next day.. Guilty road here.. but at least i owned up, right? Knowing it is half the battle won? Or so they say, no?

However, if there was due diligence, I was even happy with 79.

Hear hear.. oh well.. there are days when all that can be achieved is really 79 uh.. hence my girls know as long as effort and also diligence is 200%.. there can be no fault with 79 could it? Ya know the drill... tough paper... careless mistakes... etc etc..

 bÜds

buds | Sat, 29/01/2011 - 1:49am

Nice article and full of

Nice article and full of wisdom. It is so difficult for us to pick the right teaching method and I'm glad yours worked well for you, and I'm sure will work well for many, because it contains well-thought out immediate actionable items for long-term goals.

Though I'm a little too late in this, my kids are pretty big already, I still found this so useful. Wished I chanced upon something like that earlier!

Thank you for sharing!

2ppaamm | Fri, 28/01/2011 - 8:48pm

Thank you 2ppaamm.

Thank you 2ppaamm.

Chenonceau | Fri, 28/01/2011 - 9:31pm

Hi Chenonceau, This is a

Hi Chenonceau,

This is a really great article, thanks for sharing! 

Could you share with me what is your approach, philosophy in managing your kids from 3 yrs old to 6 years old ie. preschool?  My boy is now 3+ and in Nursery.  Already pressure from various areas are choking if I let it be ie. enrichment, phonics etc.....and I have not done anything except hunting for good pre-schools for him and hoping he can fit in, like what you have described for P1 & P2 for your kids.

I am really interested to hear your views.

Thanks!

DesertWind | Fri, 28/01/2011 - 8:05pm

Also, Desertwind, I am a

Also, Desertwind, I am a bit not sure about my approach then... It was not as deliberate as the primary school strategy. The were so small. I didn't think it important to breathe on them. I liked too much to play with them and watching them do stuff for themselves. They liked to test the boundaries. If I said put on table, they would suggest put on chair. And I would give in. It's tiring to fight with a terrible 2 or 3. As long as they stayed within stated no-nos, I pretty much left them to explore the world and make decisions about what they wanted to eat or not.

Chenonceau | Fri, 28/01/2011 - 9:41pm

Hi Desertwind, That was the

Hi Desertwind,
That was the age I built self- efficacy. This construct that possesses a whole lot more actionable research than self- esteem. Whilst self- esteem is a sense of self-worth, self-efficacy is the belief that one can effectively do something. Self- efficacy is tied to a specific task. I have high self - efficacy in making butter cake but low in changing light bulbs. The more tasks the child feels self- efficacious in, the more confident the child... And it'll be the sort of confidence that is robust because it is built on a series of small achievements like tying shoelaces, feeding the self, climbing up and down... I once waited 20 minutes for The Daughter to buckle one shoe. In those days, it was a real buckle, not a button buckle. She felt a great sense of achievement. The habit of achieving can already be developed at that stage.

The school system is competitive. It makes sense to develop a deep well of confidence before the have to tackle bullies, schedule, teachers... It was also bonding time. A strong mother- child relationship is a good foundation for the later challenges in primary school.

My kids went to PAP. At that age, I did not care what they learnt in school about writing etc... I was interested in all the complex learning that came through play and social contact. I organized play dates with neighbors in the playground etc... I gave computer games to teach phonics and counting.
Unfortunately, I did not think of Chinese then. Other than that, I really didn't care about content. My kids played a lot and learnt social skills. I chose preschool for hygiene and patient teachers... Didn't even look at program. Kids have developmental stages. I didn't need geniuses but I wanted resilient and well adjusted kids. Preschool is where you first relate to people. The Daughter had no problems. People love her somehow, even in preschool she was popular and she still is. Little Boy was quiet and we had to discuss kindergarten politics with him to help him socially.

But mostly, I was busy and I wanted them to have fun... And so I left all the important and boring stuff out and only started to pay attention to content in primary school... Especially in P 3. I neglected my kids quite a bit. When you come back from work. You wanna do fun stuff with the kids... Not tear hair out because they can't spell.

We paid a price. Little Boy's teacher called him gong- gong in P1.

Chenonceau | Fri, 28/01/2011 - 9:30pm

Kudos!

Heyya Chenonceau, firstly i luuuurrrrve your tongue in cheek styled writing! 

You have flair for writing and it is awesomely written i just had to re-read it again and again. I particularly liked the reference to The Daughter and Little Boy. 

I suppose we ain't alone in this quest of parenthood where the dilemmas of drill/no drill WILL eventually surface whether we like or not and in simple terms we play by ear lah orh.. kekekee..  .. For one we oredi know, each child is born unique to his or her own learning styles and multiple intelligences that we as parents (and of course also the educators) can tweak to the best of their potentials. After reading your article, i pray too that my approach almost similar sounding to yours would reap the "The grades will come..." whenever that it is coming...

Cheerios.

 bÜds

buds | Fri, 28/01/2011 - 9:23am

Hi Buds, Thanks lots!

Hi Buds,

Thanks lots! However, just to qualify, I never got angry about grades as long as there was ample evidence that Little Boy or The Daughter had done all due diligence. The process of studying mattered more to me. 

Grades became an excuse (a logical trigger point) only when I saw poor study patterns. At that point, even good enough grades weren't good enough. If they hit 90, then I wanted 100.

If they persisted in NOT following due processes in studying despite having been gently reminded over a few months, I grab on to the end-result (i.e., poor grade) and I do a "hair tearing explosion" that lasts at least 2 hours. I walk up the stairs and down the stairs and into the kitchen giving a loud and colourful (sometimes tearful) oratory about "Hard work... focus... do structured practices weekly and with discipline..." I throw in bits about ungrateful children and that I have wasted my life and that it is so shameful to get such grades and how dare they waste their potential... and I bemoan the silent husband who then feels compelled to speak some words in support.

Quite fun. I wasn't really mad. I intended all during their lazy period to get mad when the results came back. I start and then work myself into a real fit. I don't think Tiger even begins to describe it. Maybe a cross between a banshee... a virago...a weeping pontianak. and a T-Rex.

In my life, I think I've done not more than twice with The Daughter and once so far with Little Boy. I figured that if I was gonna get angry, I would make sure it was the performance of their lifetimes. And because the normal me is so different, so cheerful and huggy and patient... the kids subsequently went to great lengths to keep the Evil Mother from making an appearance.

However, if there was due diligence, I was even happy with 79.

Chenonceau | Fri, 28/01/2011 - 10:06am

Thank you Chamonix!

Thank you Chamonix!

Chenonceau | Thu, 27/01/2011 - 8:12pm

Thanks TrapWithin... This

Thanks TrapWithin... This is a nice forum to be in. It is full of warmth and collegiality... even towards someone so new here. Thank you!!

Chenonceau | Thu, 27/01/2011 - 7:23pm

Wonderful post

Another excellent post. It is a joy reading your experience and learning from you. Thanks  for the sharing.

Trapwithin | Thu, 27/01/2011 - 7:19pm

Teehee! For languages, I

Teehee! For languages, I think you gotta ask Tamarind... She'll point you to many resources.

Chenonceau | Thu, 27/01/2011 - 4:00pm

Thanks for sharing. I

Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading your article.

I am pretty quick temper when comes to teaching my sons. I will be even more mad - when I am trying to explain to them how to derive an answer, on their end - playing with their stationary.....

Both my sons - Pri 1 & 3 are pretty weak in their languages. Any advise? Reading?

Thank you.

 

 

 

juz_me | Thu, 27/01/2011 - 4:01pm

And I guess Grandma's

And I guess Grandma's doubting comments also ensured that I made an effort to be there after he/she fell down to dust them off and give them energy to try again.

Chenonceau | Thu, 27/01/2011 - 10:08am

Hi Chenonceau, It was

Hi Chenonceau,

It was definitely not easy, especially for you with Grandma's doubts. But you have proved everybody that it worked. Your kids have flourished into highly self-motivated individuals. Great job!

metz | Thu, 27/01/2011 - 7:43pm

Actually, when I was at it,

Actually, when I was at it, it felt like I was all alone... Grandma disapproved thoroughly... and sometimes I doubted myself. But it seemed to have all worked out.

I think some self-doubt is good because it ensured that I was vigilant enough to not allow the child to fail so badly that there was real damage. The experience had to be painful but not damaging. And I

Chenonceau | Thu, 27/01/2011 - 10:06am

Excellent Sharing

Hi Chenonceau,

Thanks for sharing your experience. I find much comfort in your sharing as I adopted a similar approach as you when my son started his Primary School journey last year.

From Day 1 of school, he was left on his own to find his footing. It was his responsibility to pack his school bag, to ensure his homework were done on time and so on. If he forgot a piece of his homework, he would have to explain to the teachers himself. If he forgot a book, he would have to face the music himself. Not once did I help him with his work, be it homework, tests, spelling or ting xie.

He was rather complacent initially. He would glance through his spelling list (last minute) during the breaks and still do well. Though everything looked perfect, I was, secretly, hoping he would meet some setbacks soon. What a horrible mommy I must have been! I just couldn't agree to his last minute learning attitude, but neither did I want to nag at him. One day, he came home with only 14 out of 20 for his ting xie. He was deeply shocked himself. From then onwards, he was more conscientious towards his work.

As a mother, it wasn't easy for me to let go and see him stumble. But I am glad I did. It was a great learning lesson for him and me. I hoped to do the same for my daughter who will be starting her primary school journey soon.

However, I do have my moments of doubt now and then. After all, my kids are just embarking on a chapter of their life, shouldn't I, the mother, hold their little hands and guide them along? I am glad to read your sharing and see some parallels with my approach. My kids are still in lower primary, but your sharing on upper primary will serve as good reference for me in the years to come. For the moment, your sharing is helping me to keep my head cool - something very crucial to keep oneself from joining the race!

Thank you!

metz | Thu, 27/01/2011 - 6:52am