Teach kids how to handle socio-emotional problems

Young children between two and six years are still struggling to read, understand and manage their own emotions.

Therefore, teaching them to seek consent before showing affection, if done inappropriately, may confuse them and hinder their natural ability to show empathy, like comforting a friend with a hug (Educating kids about sex early - at home and in school; March 11).

Instead, I think we need to teach adults to ask for a child's consent before showing their affection to him, such as asking: "May I give you a hug?", rather than having a sense of entitlement as an adult.

Parents need to respect a child's withdrawal from any adult who makes him feel uncomfortable, even a close relative.

We need a curriculum that teaches young children to explore and handle socio-emotional problems.

Teach children self-regulation skills in coping with frustration and anxiety, give them knowledge of the body and self-protection, as well as how to identify inappropriate touching that makes them feel uneasy.

In fact, some young children even have difficulty identifying and reading what "uneasy" feelings are like. Therefore, we cannot leave such education to chance.

Parents and teachers need to work in partnership to enhance children's health and safety by equipping them with social competency and problem-solving skills so that they can establish meaningful relationships with others.

Rebecca Chan (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 25, 2018, with the headline 'Teach kids how to handle socio-emotional problems'. Print Edition | Subscribe