Encouragement goes a long way

In Singapore, it is common for parents to place great emphasis on academic results. Consequently, teenagers like myself feel stressed as we try to meet their expectations.

When I do poorly in a test, comments such as "you need to put in more effort" - though well-intended - make me feel inadequate and leave me unmotivated to continue putting in effort. It is important that parents realise that a little encouragement goes a long way.

When my parents encourage me and affirm my efforts, it lifts my spirits tremendously and motivates me to work harder. They help me to see that, despite the poor results, I still matter.

I urge parents to be as generous with their encouragement and affirmations as they are with their criticism and concerns. This will draw out teenagers' passion, help them quickly recover from setbacks and motivate them to scale greater heights.

Lam Yu Han, 14

Secondary 2 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 13, 2017, with the headline 'Encouragement goes a long way'. Print Edition | Subscribe