The ‘O’ level exams are over. I am disappointed in #1 because she didn’t give of her best. I am also wondering if I should have done it a different way. For their PSLE I had a good strategy, but this is a whole new ball game altogether. In the short 4 years of secondary school life, the kids grow up very quickly and become more independent, more opinionated, even rebellious perhaps. I left it mostly up to her, and gave her some guidance and monitored her from arms’ length. I thought it should have been ok as she had her goals and seemed motivated to want to get into the JC of her choice, and she had her study time-table meticulously scheduled. However, she lost steam halfway and didn’t study as hard as she could have. On hindsight, these are some of the areas I should look into for the other 5 kids when it’s their turn.
1) Use of gadgets
As she’s already in Sec 4, I thought I should be giving her more freedom. I did consider putting a curfew on her phone use, but she said that she texts her friends when she has questions and thus needs her phone. Her classmates also have group chats where they discuss school work and for this generation of teenagers, the phone is a major part of their lives. Something I think is detrimental, but what to do? (please enlighten me if you’ve got it all worked out). I’m sure she did spend unnecessary amounts of time using her gadgets instead of studying. Even adults find it hard to exercise self-control with regards to phone use, what more teenagers whose social lives are played out via their phones.
Then there is the issue of sleep. During their PSLE, I ensure they get an adequate amount of sleep. However, in Sec 4, everything seems to go haywire. They get home late after school, and by the time they shower and have dinner, it is not unusual to sleep at midnight. In the days leading up to the exams, sometimes she studies into the wee hours of the night as she finds it more conducive then. However, her sleep pattern ends up topsy-turvy and that would have had a negative impact on her ability to concentrate.
3) Relationship issues
In my time, we’ve all seen friends breaking-up with their boyfriends/girlfriends during the crucial exams which affected their ability to study properly. Now, we are the parents having to worry. It is alarming how many secondary school kids are in relationships. Even if they are not in a relationship, the teenage years is a time when their hormones are running wild and they get easily attracted to others, which becomes a distraction. Again, I have no answer to this.
4) Prom night
I wasn’t so pleased that her prom night fell on the day right after her last paper. Being girls, they spent a lot of time stressing over getting the right dress, right shoes to match, and what to do with their hair and make-up. And she spent a considerable amount of time discussing this with her friends, surfing the net, and shopping. This distracted her from the last few days of revision. I wish the school could have spaced it out further.
I am pondering how to guide the rest of them better, and how to balance my input while giving them the trust and space to deal with it on their own. Because at 16, they are not young anymore, yet not matured enough.
What are your thoughts? Any advice?