Parents' aspirations for their children to achieve have become more intense - highlighting how today's families face a different set of challenges, Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said on Saturday.
"Competition is more intense than ever, the work stress is more intense than ever, the aspiration for our children to achieve is even more intense than ever," said Mr Chan, who was speaking at at a family empowerment lecture at the Singapore Expo organised by Jamiyah Singapore.
"In the past, it was first have the kid and then figure out how to bring up the kid. Now it's the other way around."
Speaking to 3,000 parents at the event, organised by voluntary welfare organisation Jamiyah Singapore, Mr Chan recounted how an elderly couple had told him how their six children grew up in a one-room flat before going on to become graduates.
Yet when asked if the couple had any grandchildren, they told him their children were concerned about the cost of having kids - despite being much better off today than they had been.
Mr Chan said another challenge faced by a small country such as Singapore is that its cultural values are affected by new value systems across the world.
"Then there will be new and evolving family structures. In the past, we used to have extended families, nowadays we have nuclear or post-nuclear families. Our family sizes are getting smaller and smaller over the years. All these will pose challenges to the family as a core institution for our nation."