Discipline #8: What do you do when your 2-year old lies?

I was caught off guard when Kate’s teacher informed me that she had told a lie. I have to admit that in my earlier years of parenting, when faced with such an awkward situation, I would have either fumbled for a reply, made some excuses or doubted the teacher. My kid? No way! There must have been some mistake.

Instead, I remained calm and wanted to know the whole story so that I could figure out how to deal with it. This was how it went.

Uh-oh

Kate had taken a new activity to play with, and her Chinese teacher asked if she had been taught how to work with it. Kate immediately replied, “Yes.” Her Chinese teacher knew it was not the case and asked who had demonstrated it to her. Kate responded, “Ms Sha”, without batting an eyelid. Ms Sha overheard the conversation and walked over. Kate knew her lie had been exposed and looked down, afraid to look into Ms Sha’s eyes. Her teachers took the opportunity to teach her that lying is wrong.

The thing was, we were shocked that a 2.5 year old knows how to lie so blatantly!

On the way home, I reiterated that it was wrong of her to lie. However, I knew deep down in my heart that the problem lies with us, not her. After all, little kids imitate and absorb what they see and hear.

At dinner, I told the rest of the family what had transpired that day. The kids were old enough to point out that “adults also tell white lies, even you and daddy, so that must have been where she picked it up from”. They recounted many instances where the truth was not spoken.

  • You always say, “Everyone is going”. (to a child, everyone would literally mean every single person. Ok, I’d better wipe that one off my list of constantly used words.)
  • Dad tells whoever we are meeting that “We are almost there” when we had just left the house. I heard Uncle T say that last week too.
  • Aunt J always promise us that she’s coming to visit soon. But she never does.
  • You said you’ll be back in 15 minutes. You lied.
With 5 “witnesses” to our daily behavior, the examples came fast and furious.

I had nothing so say. The kids were right.

The next day, I was on high alert to what I was saying and what others around me were saying to Kate.
  • Kate spotted the Crocs shoes her cousin passed down to her and wanted to wear it. As we were going to the mall (we try not to allow Kate to wear Crocs on escalators), our helper said, “Cannot”. Kate persisted. “I want”. She quickly replied, “Cannot. Got lizard poo poo.” Kate said “Where? Let me see.” (of course, there was none.)
  • The girls were eating sweets and when Kate asked for some, they replied, “No more.”
  • I went home and found #5 quietly giving Kate his snacks (which are too salty for her) and when I boomed, “Why are you giving her the pretzels?”, he said, “Just a few.”. I’m sure she had way more than a few.
  • There were countless instances where words came out of my mouth before I realised they were not the absolute truth.

I noticed a pattern here. We instinctively try to shade the truth to avoid her whining or crying, so that we don’t have to deal with it. Unknowingly, we taught her to lie.


It’s not about her.

It’s about us.

It’s about me.

So. Where do I go from here?

I’ve decided that I’ll start focusing on improving one parenting skill at a time until I conquer it. Then I’ll work on the next one.


Here’s the first:

SPEAK THE TRUTH.

Anyone joining me?



Here are some good tips on how to help your child deal with lying, over at Life’s Tiny Miracles blog.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

School Stories #9: I didn’t even know my child was being bullied,until…

You would have heard about the ex-RGS girl suing her alma mater for her suffering while studying there. Enough talk has been going around, but what surprised me was the narrow definition of bullying which the school adopted. The “school policy defines bullying as involving hurting, frightening or intimidating others using power of strength while cyber bullying includes the sending of hateful messages.”

I am glad that my daughter’s school held a broader definition of bullying and the teachers were vigilent in dealing with such cases.

When she was in P4, she was the victim of bullying but I didn’t recognize it. I associated bullying with being physically attacked or extorted from. Only after this incident did I learn that bullying can take on different forms, including verbal, emotional, sexual and cyber. Some of these can be just as, or more damaging to the victim, and usually harder to detect. I asked if she was ok with me sharing her story and she said yes.

In P4, she was streamed into a new class and started forming a close friendship with 3 other girls. Amongst them was a more domineering girl (let’s call her D) who became the ‘leader’. After a month or so, D started to ostracise her and the other 3 followed suit. They would gang up against her and talk behind her back. It got to an extent where D told the entire class not to let her join any of their groups, be it during PE or in class project work. She was treated like an outcast.

 
I listened to her tales and offered some suggestions on how to handle the situation. I guess none of them worked and it seemed D was adamant on making life miserable for her. I encouraged her to be strong and to be understanding. I explained to her that it was possible that her behaviour stemmed from her insecurities as D has a slight physical deformity. It dragged on for several weeks and she became more reticent. I thought it would blow over as it was common for girls to have such ‘friendship’ issues, but instead it got progressively worse.

 
Thankfully, I met her form teacher during the parents-teacher’s meeting and the topic happened to be raised. Her teacher was saying how quiet she was, and I mentioned that she doesn’t have anyone to talk to and the story unravelled. She got very alarmed and told me that it was a case of bullying and D was wrong to incite the entire class to alienate her.
 
Her teacher took it very seriously and dealt with it immediately. She had a talk with the 4 of them, with D individually, and with the class. She also told them that they were to welcome her into their groups. It was the boys who quickly included her and they couldn’t even recall how it came about that they joined in to exclude her.

I shudder to think how much damage could have been wrecked on her emotionally if the issue had failed to be recognised or resolved. Being the victim of bullying can lead children and teenagers into depression and even the contemplation of suicide.

As parents, we can help by having constant communication with our children and to take their concerns seriously. Some kids may not be willing to open up which makes it more difficult to address. We can only try and be on the look out for clues such as changes in their behaviour, frequent physical malaise like stomachaches / headaches, or a sudden reluctance to go to school. I am really thankful that her teacher handled the situation in a tactful, caring, and professional manner.

School Stories:

#1 – When your son gets into fights in school
#2 – My son the loan shark
#3 – So kids can’t play once they start school?

#11 – How #2 topped her level in English
#12 – DSA. Yet another initiative parents have warped
#13 – Tuition – First line of attack?
#14 – Why do exams have to be so stressful?
#15 – First day mix up!
#16 – The day I forgot to pick my son from school
#17 – No more T-score. Now what?
#18 – Tackling the new school year
#19 – She did it, without tuition.
#20 – So who’s smarter?
#21 – Why I do not coach my kids anymore.

 

About MummyWee

Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 7-turning-17 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in areas like resilience and executive function, to survive today’s volatile world. She is also a parenting coach and has been featured on national TV, radio and print media.

 

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Lesson #25: Do our kids even know we love them?

A reader wrote in telling me that she was inspired by my Lesson #23: To measure our lives in love. She said that it was inspiring but hard to do and asked if I could write about how to handle stressful situations, and how to lovingly set firm boundaries for her 2 kids.

I won’t go into details on how to do that as there are too many scenarios. I’m sure as mums, setting boundaries is something we all know how to do. The question is how to do it lovingly.


I will attempt to answer her question by sharing 2 things I think of to calm myself down whenever I am starting to get really angry with them.

One is to imagine them as teenagers. Well, I don’t have to imagine, as my 3 older girls are firmly ensconced in the ‘teenage phase’. I can tell you that this is the real litmus test of whether you have done your job well as a parent. They will be faced with peer pressures and negative influences and have to make many choices. What do you want them to be able to draw from? Many happy memories with the family? Being able to easily remember times when you loved them, cuddled them, showed them that you care? Or will they find it hard to picture such memories, and instead only remember that you were constantly shouting at them or barking orders and instructions to them?

When you are able to stop yourself in your tracks and picture your teen desperately needing to draw from a fountain of your loving relationship with them to navigate through the tough adolescent years, you will naturally know how to handle the situation in a more loving manner.

The second thing I think of is being on my death bed. No, I’m not being morbid but after volunteering at a hospice and seeing the realities of life at the end of our days, it has become very real to me. When I am close to death, do I want my kids to be there with me simply because it is their duty to do so? Or do I want to celebrate a life where we had a very close relationship. The older I get, the more I see that it is not a given that parent-child relationships are automatically warm and fuzzy. How will my kids see me? Will they see me as a mother who was only concerned that they went to bed on time, ate their veggies or scored good marks? Or will they see me as a mother who was patient and kind with them, who disciplined them firmly but with love?

There will definitely be days when you can’t find it within yourself to show them love. Days when you yourself are so depleted. Be gentle on yourself. If today was a bad day, leave it behind. Tomorrow will be a brand new day. Kids are such amazing beings. They forget. They forgive so easily. They have such a great capacity to love. Sometimes, we have to soften our own hearts to allow them to teach us. To teach us how to love so purely. Not to love them only after they have done what we told them to do. Not to love them only when they have achieved something great. Not to love them only when we are in a good mood.

Many times, we do things because we love them. We scold them, punish them, make them do things they don’t want to do all because we want the best for them. We tell them that one day when they are adults, they will understand that we are doing all of this precisely because we love them.

But while they are growing up, do they feel our love? Perhaps we should find ways and space to bring back love into all that we are doing with them and for them every step of the way. Let us strive to learn to love them in ways they understand. Let us not wait until they are parents themselves to realise how much we love them, but let them feel our love accompany them along their journey of life.


Other Thursday lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

6 tips to Really prepare your child for P1

You would have read many articles on how to get your child ready for the big transition from K2 to P1, about things like teaching them to take care of their belongings and buying food at the canteen. Besides those basics, let me share with you 6 essential tips to ensure mummy (that’s you) doesn’t break a sweat for the next 6 years.

1. Their school bag is their responsibility

When #1 started Primary 1 a decade ago, I bought her a school bag, handed her the whole stack of books and told her that she was in charge of it. I laid out all my expectations. She was to pack her own bag, finish her homework and listen attentively to her teachers. From the get-go, she had no problems handling all of it, and neither did her 3 younger sisters. I never had to nag them to do their homework nor help them to pack their bags. Don’t worry that they are too young to start managing on their own. When they are in P1, the teachers are more forgiving and it is the best time for them to make mistakes and learn the skills of being independent. #1 had a classmate who was so used to her mum packing her bag that when she went to Secondary 1, she exclaimed that she didn’t know how to pack her bag!

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to work for #5. I gave him the same instructions but his homework never gets completed and bag never properly packed. I have to double check every night to make sure his things are in order. The first time I peered into his bag, I almost fainted. I expected a neat, organised school bag with books properly placed according to height (that’s how all my girls’ bags looked), but his bag was in a complete mess! Worksheets were stuffed into the crevices (some even balled up), books were folded in half top down (don’t ask me how that happened), and there were bits and pieces of erasers, paper, and other rubbish in his bag. No wonder my friends with boys keep complaining and can’t understand how I can stay relaxed with so many kids. Anyhow, it is still important to expect the same for boys, but be prepared to step in to provide more guidance. A LOT more, if your son is anything like mine.

#4’s P4 unseen dictation

2. Learning their spelling is also their responsibility

In this climate of very involved parents, I constantly hear friends saying they have to hurry home to test their kids spelling. With 6 kids, my chance of having a life would be zilch if I did this. They know my expectations and will learn their spelling themselves and test themselves. I don’t like to molly-coddle my kids but try to encourage them to find their inner tenacity.

During the exam period, #4 asked if I could sit with her to supervise her revision like all her friends’ mummies did. Before I could open my mouth, #3 told her: “Don’t you know what mummy is trying to teach us? To be independent and self-motivated so that even when she is not with us, we will know what to do. If you need to rely on mummy being next to you, then next time how?” Ah, proud mummy moment.

However, this didn’t work for #5, especially for his chinese spelling. Why am I even surprised. I have resorted to bribing him with 30 minutes of iPad time if he gets it all correct. Works beautifully.

3. Allowance

Initially with #1, I gave her a daily allowance for recess and encouraged her to save the rest. I realised that after a few months, she worked out her own brilliant plan by ‘saving’ on food and using the leftover money to shop at the bookshop. I thought about this whole allowance business very seriously and decided to separate the school recess money (which is for them to eat a proper meal) with allowance for toys and their other wants and came up with a simple but detailed system to teach them how to use their money wisely.

Instead of giving them a fixed amount for the 6 years, I checked out the prices at their canteen and found out that $1 can buy them a plate of chicken rice or a bowl of noodles. Since they bring their own water bottle to school, $1 is enough for them as they are not big eaters. My kids think I’m Mr Scrooge as most of their friends get around $2 per day. I asked them if they are going to eat $2 worth of food, and if not, then they don’t need $2. What I did instead was to give them an incremental allowance based on their age. They get $1 per day for P1 and P2, $1.50 for P3 and P4 and $2 for P5 and P6. It gives them something to look forward to!

4. No TV / electronic devices rule

I used to allow them 1 hour of TV but found that they protested more when it was time to turn it off than when I set a blanket ban on TV during school days. Now, it’s not just the TV, but their iPads, laptops, computers and iPhones which robs them of time. They end up not having enough time for their homework and also resulted in them sleeping later. Besides, it’s hard to monitor their gadget use if I’m not at home, so it’s easier just to take them all away during the school week. Every Sunday night, they have to turn in their gadgets and they get them back on the weekends. Yup, I have to run my household almost like a military operation. If you need more tips on how to control their gadget usage, read my 10 house rules for digital use.

5. Stationery

It amazes me how much correction tape kids go through. Or how many pencils and pens go missing in school. At one time, Popular bookstore became our regular shopping destination. One fine day, I had enough, and made a new rule. We would go stationery shopping for school supplies once in December and once during the June holidays. They were to purchase the necessary items to last them through 5 months of school. Anything extra they needed would be out of their own pockets. (Unless of course they require ad hoc purchases for projects). Overnight, their stationery requisition reduced dramatically. Not only that, it taught them to plan, budget, and stick to their allocation. When they know their correction tape refill is running low they will be more careful and stop using it with abandon.

6. Early Bedtime

I can’t fathom how kids can thrive with insufficient sleep. Many of their classmates sleep at 10pm and wake up at 6am. For us, their bedtime is at 7.30pm, and it moves incrementally to 8.30pm at P6. When they are well rested, it is much easier to wake them in the morning, not to mention they will be more attentive in class. Our helper just has to call their name once and they are out of bed. She prepares their breakfast and they are on auto-pilot and out the house at 6am. And me? Still in la la land…

Hope these tips will ease the transition into formal schooling for your child and keep you sane!


Related posts:

6 tips to choose a primary school

6 things to do in the PSLE year


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~





Lesson #24: The day they fly

Yesterday was the first time #1 flew by herself. She left for Shanghai to spend 3 weeks with her aunt who lives there. We felt it was a good time as she had just completed her ‘O’s.

#2 sending her to the gate

Not only was she physically going away, but I knew that this marks the beginning of her flying away from our nest. When she returns from her trip, she will be entering a JC or Poly and that is a huge jump from being within arms length while in secondary school. 

Seeing her walk through the departure gates, the thoughts that filled my mind were not so much about missing her or worrying about her. Instead, it became apparent that what we did over the past 16 years of our lives were to shape her for today and the years ahead.

To shape her for the days when we are not there to guide her. To shape her as she enters the tumultuous teenage years, where possible bad influences from peers will test the foundations which we had laid for her.

It’s not easy to know if we have done our job well as parents. There’s also no turning back time, especially for the eldest when a lot of the time we didn’t know better, and parented her as best as we could. All we can do is to continue to love her regardless, as she walks her own journey. And to never cease in our prayers for her.


Other Thursday lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Lesson #23: To measure our lives in love

Last weekend, I went for a semi-silent retreat. I finally found the answer to a question that had been bugging me for a while now. After volunteering at the hospice, I knew that at the end of the day, all that mattered in life was people, not wealth, nor status. But how to go about my day loving those around me? With Kate entering the very (and that’s an understatement) challenging ‘terrible two’s and #1 moving full swing into the unchartered teenage years, I found myself living in compartments of ‘loving them’ and ‘not loving them’ moments. I was only able to love them when they were well-behaved, showing love to one another or being really cute/looking angelic while fast asleep (that applied to Kate). And for the past few weeks, it seemed like the ‘not loving them’ moments greatly outnumbered the times when I could really look at them and feel great love for them. And our house definitely didn’t feel like a haven of love and peace.

Beautiful quiet grounds

At the retreat, I learnt to ‘measure our lives in love’. That sentence spoke to me immensely. I realised that I was measuring my life by all sorts of yardsticks, so it was no wonder that at the end of the day, I was frustrated and felt like I had been a horrible mum. Especially if the siblings fought a lot that day, or if the whole day had been ‘wasted’ and we didn’t do anything productive. And I was really drained at the end of most days.

As I was writing this post, #4 came and wanted to show me how she braided her hair in a new style which she just learnt. Normally I would be annoyed because I was interrupted, and even though I would talk to her, deep inside I wished she would hurry so that I could go back to what I was doing. However, this time, I gladly stopped what I was doing because now I saw it as another opportunity I had in that day to love. So I turned to her and gave her my full attention. She gayly demonstrated her new technique, gave me a kiss then skipped away.

Just a tiny paradigm shift, but it has transformed the way I relate to the children and to everyone around me. With this sentence as my guiding principle, everything became crystal clear to me. If I could love them with all my heart each moment of the day, in all the good AND the bad, then those moments would become days, and the days become years and the years would become a life lived with love and in love.


Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort.    –Humphry Davy



Other Thursday lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

School Stories #4: Things teachers say

I wrote a post last week about #5 getting complained by his teacher almost daily, and her suggestion that I should limit his play time and start him on tuition since he is already in P2. I didn’t expect all the negative comments I received on my Facebook page regarding the teacher.

Before you think she is some mean monster, I have to say this in her defense. In the 2 years that she has been teaching #5, she has never treated him maliciously and I believe she said all those things in his best interest (even though her views may be wrong). The reality is that the majority of his classmates do have tuition (I guess it’s because he’s in one of the top schools and the parents are generally wealthy AND ultra kiasu) thus the teacher was quick to suggest engaging a tutor.

Photo Credit: Sheknows/JGI/JamieGrill

If you think her comments were shocking, my other kids have come back with worse things their teachers have said to the class:

“There is no way I will ever like anyone of you.”

“You are all not of normal stupidity. Your stupidity is extreme.” 

(translated from Mandarin)

“I don’t care what you all do, I will get my salary anyway.”

And things some of their teachers did…

One teacher made the whole class sit on their textbooks on the floor, and if you refuse to do so, she will fling your textbook out the door and chase you out along with it.

And finally, this one takes the cake.

#3 was in P1, and she was day-dreaming during Chinese lesson. The teacher must have told her to pay attention, but she did not hear (she was day-dreaming, remember?) The teacher stormed over, and with herculean strength, she flipped the entire desk over and it crashed to the floor with a loud thud that shocked the entire class. (I reported it to the form teacher and she told me that this was not the first case and the teacher was being counselled).

Sometimes I really wonder what do teachers expect from these P1s. Just 2 months prior, they were still little kids in kindergarten. Almost overnight, they are expected to morph into mature, sensible, silent little robots who will obediently pay attention during 6 hours of school. Poor kids. Especially the active boys.

I must admit that the first time I heard about such unexemplary actions from the teachers, I wanted to storm straight into the principal’s office to sort it out.  Thankfully I’m not a hot-headed person. However, after having 5 of my kids go through this stressful, competitive rat-chase-rat education system, and after speaking to so many teachers, I can see that it is not easy being a teacher.

So why am I writing this post?

For the parents, so that when your darling child comes home and tells you what bad things her teacher said or did in class, you won’t jump out of your chair and head straight to the principal’s office. Take a deep breath, try to get the whole story from your child, and imagine yourself in the same situation.

Now that I have desensitised you, you can gently and gradually prepare your child that sometimes the teacher might say mean things out of frustration, but tell her not to take it personally. Kids do look up to their teachers, and they might hold what their teachers say in their hearts for years (both the positive and negative things). It might be good to let your children know that if there is anything bothering them which the teacher had said, they can discuss it with you.

And to all the dear teachers out there, most times, I can totally understand why you say what you say or do what you do (except the flipping of the table). Already with 6 kids I yell at them things which I regret later. Don’t ask me what I will do with 40. However, may I humbly remind you that your words are powerful, and they can either be uplifting or demoralising to the children.

Having said that, I am still utterly grateful to all the teachers who have taught my kids over the years (especially those who have touched them in one way or another), and to all teachers out there. Because being a teacher these days is no walk in the park. For you to do what you do year in, year out, I salute you.


School Stories:

#1 – When your son gets into fights in school
#2 – My son the loan shark
#3 – So kids can’t play once they start school?

~ www.mummyweeblog.com –  a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~




So kids can’t play once they start school?

#5’s form teacher has been calling me regularly complaining of his bad behaviour. I know he’s a very naughty child, but I was wondering what sort of bad behaviour he was up to that she had to scold him almost everyday. I asked her if he had been getting into fights again and she said no. I decided it was time to nip it in the bud, so I asked her to text me daily after school with either “Bad” or “Good”. This was so that I could either punish him or reward him immediately so he knows what he did right or wrong, instead of waiting for a week or two to hear from her about his ‘generally bad and disruptive behaviour’.

I sat him down and told him Mrs Ng called me again and I was very unhappy with his behaviour. I asked him to explain himself but it seemed that he didn’t even know what sort of bad behaviour she was referring to. Finally after much thought, he ventured, “Is it because I always talk without putting up my hand? And I play with my eraser and frog pencil?” (I discovered that the frog pencil was a mechanical pencil his teacher gave them for children’s day).

The next day, I asked him how did he behave in school. He said, “Er, bad? Is it during origami class?” (He thinks I now have immediate information about his movements in school) I asked him to elaborate. He said that during Art lesson, they were given origami paper and taught to fold a dress. He did not want to fold a dress so he folded a crane, and the kids seated around him must have been watching and they would probably have talked. The teacher scolded him for folding his own thing and for disturbing his friends.

I explained to him that he could not have his way, as there are both boys and girls in the class. Sometimes it would be ‘girly’ stuff which he does not want to do but he still has to do it because it is difficult for the teacher to please everybody.

Even though I explained it that way to him, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and wondered if it should have been the way. Yes, I understand it is easier for the teacher to control the class if they were all compliant robots and followed step by step, but could she have been more open and receptive to kids with other ideas? Aren’t we trying to imbue creativity in our students? And it’s origami class for crying out loud, not Math lesson.

I spoke to some mummy friends about this and they said that most of the teachers they have come across in primary school expect such obedience. However, friends with kids in the international schools said that if you wanted to fold a crane, go ahead and fold a crane. The teacher might even have gotten the child to teach everyone to fold a crane. It reminded me of the enrichment class #5 went to during the June holidays and when he was not able to fold the dumpling the right way, he invented his own way and the teacher was flexible enough to allow him to do so.

Some of the mummies shared even more absurd stories of how some teachers insisted all the students paint the picture using the exact same colours. I guess now we know why Singaporean kids are not creative and can’t think out of the box. At the time when their creativity should be allowed to blossom, it is stifled. I wonder if we can find a way to marry the two, where we can encourage creativity and individuality within boundaries, in a setting where teachers feel able to handle the class.

The next day, the teacher texted me that he behaved badly again. She said that he was disruptive in class, talks unnecessarily during group work about unrelated topics and doesn’t put up his hands before speaking. Or if he does put up his hand, by the time he is called, he would say that he has forgotten what it was that he wanted to say. And he makes strange noises while lessons are going on. (Ok, I have no idea why he makes such noises.. perhaps he’s bored?)

I told him that he has to put his hand up before talking and to stop making strange noises. I didn’t know how else to deal with him so I spoke to #1 and asked her what she thinks (I was sure she has seen these sorts of issues with the boys in her class).

She looked up from her revision and said, “You know mum, this system is very strange. In primary school, we have to be quiet and raise our hands before talking. Spontaneity and creativity is not encouraged. But in secondary school, it’s the reverse. They want us to shout out the answers and contribute. He would fit right in where I am now, and the teachers would love him, but sadly, he will be pressed into this mould and over the years his desire to speak up will be curtailed as he is repeatedly punished for it.”

I was mulling this over and mentioned it to a teacher friend I bumped into in the market and she said that it was probably more the individual teachers, not the system. She lamented that #5 is the type of student the system is hoping to produce. Creative, out-spoken, courageous kids. Kids who dare to be different. However, some teachers do not support it as it is harder to handle.

 So much learning going on in free play

A few days ago, his teacher called me again, saying he was extremely naughty during recess. He and another boy shot rubber bands at their classmate. I questioned him about it, and in all earnestness, he tried to explain to me that they were trying to protect their friend (the king) from the enemy (the boy who was shot) and the rubber bands were their weapons. Sigh. This boy of mine. He sticks out like a sore thumb in this rigid sterile school environment. I’m sure he would feel right at home a generation ago where the boys happily caught frogs and fought one another with twigs during recess.

His teacher was exasperated and asked me how was his behaviour at home and what was his schedule like. I told her that after lunch, he spends his time playing with his baby sister, then does his homework. He goes to the playground every evening for an hour to play with the neighbourhood kids, usually soccer or ‘catching’. I could hardly believe my ears when she said “I think he’s playing too much. You should limit his play time. And you should start giving him tuition. He’s already in P2.”

I was speechless.

I think his teacher and I, we’re from a different planet altogether.



Related posts:

I did not give any of my kids tuition until the P6 year, as I believed that if they were of average intelligence, I expected them do relatively ok for the exams if they pay attention in class and hand in all their homework. However, this is not the case. They ended up failing just about every subject in P5. Read about it in “Why parents are forced to spend on tuition”.

6 tips to choose a Primary school, click here.

6 tips to choose a secondary school that is right for your child, click here.

Why we went on holiday just before the PSLE, click here.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~