Educators' growing-up experiences affect how they react to children

Collaboration in early childhood development and education between parents and care providers has to be the basis of providing care to young children (When teacher's punishment crosses the line; Sept 10).

Parents cannot just leave everything to the institution to ensure that their children are appropriately cared for.

Neither can the facility providers supply everything that a child needs.

This brings two important areas of concern into focus: parenting philosophy and methods, as well as early childhood educators' training and readiness to provide care.

Do parents attend workshops and classes to learn more about effective parenting or do they just depend on their own childhood experiences to guide them along?

Would-be educators must not only have the requisite knowledge and skills in early childhood development and education, but they also need to be screened psychologically to determine their suitability for the job.

One thing that every early childhood educator must pay attention to and become aware of is his own childhood experiences.

He must go beyond recognising such experiences, and reflect on how these experiences, embedded in his subconscious, could affect his response to children.

People who experienced harsh parenting growing up should be especially wary of the baggage they carry when they become early childhood teachers or carers.

People who have perfectionistic tendencies that verge on obsessive-compulsive traits need to deal with their own anxieties by receiving systematic therapy.

Likewise, people with anger issues may have negative responses to children's noisy and disruptive behaviours, and they have to honestly face their capacity to handle frustrations from their own personal emotional handicaps.

Parents should accept that early childhood development is a process that provides an environment for a child to socialise with his peers and teachers, and is not for hothousing their kids.

A well-adjusted child is characterised by his ability to relate to other children and adults without constantly demanding attention.

Children who have been cared for and loved unconditionally tend to be secure in their ability to socialise with others and are generally happy and well self-regulated individuals.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2018, with the headline 'Educators' growing-up experiences affect how they react to children'. Print Edition | Subscribe