A child's potential is not defined by his grades

As a parent, I was saddened to read of another young life lost ("Death of boy who fell 17 floors ruled a suicide"; last Saturday).

Last year, there were 27 suicides among 10- to 19-year-olds ("Schools step up focus on students' mental health"; Oct 10).

We cannot afford to lose yet another life.

As mothers, when our children were conceived, our biggest hope was that they would be born with no abnormalities and could grow up as normal children.

Along the way, that was somehow forgotten, and demands on what they should grow up to become seem to have overridden the concerns of whether they have a happy childhood that is about learning, discovery and adventure ("Parents must manage 'kiasu tendencies'" by Mrs Joanna Koh-Hoe; Tuesday).

Not all children will or should become doctors, lawyers or engineers. It is perfectly all right not to do as well as someone else.

There are multitudes of possibilities, and success and a child's character and potential are not defined by grades.

Failing, building resilience and knowing how to bounce back and not give up are all part of learning.

I appeal to teachers not to keep pushing up the difficulty level of exams and to let students have access to counsellors when they show signs of distress ("Action needed to curb unnecessary stress" by Lee Song Yang; Voices of Youth, Wednesday).

As parents, we should encourage, motivate and support our children as they learn and grow with optimism and a sense of positivity.

They may have a slow start, but that is fine. The world is their oyster. Our children's potential and prospects are limitless when we, parents, can see a wider world with possibilities.

Angie Chew Gim Leng (Ms)


HELPLINES


Samaritans Of Singapore:
1800-221-4444

Tinkle Friend (for primary school-aged children):
1800-274-4788

Singapore Association For Mental Health:
1800-283-7019

Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin):
1800-353-5800

Institute Of Mental Health's Mobile Crisis Service:
6389-2222

Silver Ribbon:
6386-1928

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2016, with the headline 'A child's potential is not defined by his grades'. Print Edition | Subscribe