Dear Family Life Ambassadors and Friends,
We often hear stories about ‘kiasu’ parents, committed to providing their children with the best education possible and prepared to make all sort of sacrifices to get their kids into a premium preschool or elite primary school which they consider as winning half the academic battle.
But is being ‘kiasu’ really the best thing to do? Are parents too obsessed in getting the ‘best’ for their children that they sometimes neglect the other important aspects of parenting, such as spend time building strong and trusted relationships with their children. Building trust in parent-child relationships especially during the pre-teen years usually pays off later, as the children grow into teenagers.
According to a 2011 survey by the National Youth Council, youths feel happy and contented when they have strong family support. 72% surveyed also put maintaining strong family ties ahead of other life goals such as having a successful career and making more money. It is good news for parents that the youths are family-oriented.
However, they are also increasingly spending more time in cyberspace with the rise of the Internet. As baby boomer parents try to keep up with technology, the youths have already become so adept at using social networks such as Facebook. Somehow, this makes it difficult for the parents, many who are unfamiliar with how life on the web works, to keep up communications with their teens.
Maybe it is this lack of common communication platforms that is breaking down communications between parents and teens. Maybe this is why helpless parents are lamenting they can’t understand what’s going on in their teens’ minds and how they can change from a cute little thing to a rebellious stranger overnight!
When I was a teen, communications between parents and children were much simpler. Computers and mobile devices were not common. When we talked, it’d to be face-to-face or over phone. Perhaps it’s those regular face-to-face conversations that kept us close and helped me earn the trust of my parents, who gave me the autonomy to do what I deemed appropriate. Their trust in me had made me want to excel and be the son they can be proud of. I thank them for trusting me to do the right things and, if I may say, helped me grow into a responsible person.
A healthy communication builds a close bond between parents and teens, and helps the teens develop self-esteem. This is why for the 2nd year in a row, the National Family Celebrations will focus on ‘Connecting Youths with Their Family’! to encourage individual family members to put themselves in the shoes of other family members to understand each other better. Find out more on www.NFC.sg .
In this issue of ‘Behind Every Success’, we share with you, especially parent readers, information and tips on engaging the youths in this complex digital age. Read on to gain more insights on how the youths can be better engaged and what parents can do. Enjoy!