Forum: Parents should not impose their high expectations on children

As a Merdeka Generation citizen with two married daughters, I was impressed by and fully agree with Minister of State for Education and Social and Family Development Sun Xueling's well-thought-out points (Why we should redefine happiness and success for our young, March 2). I would like to add some points from my own experience.

In a meritocratic system like Singapore's, people progress based on their ability and talent. In pushing their children to succeed, parents tend to put too much pressure on them.

Faced with this pressure, children may struggle with mental health issues or silently revolt by choosing to "lie flat", as described by Ms Sun.

During my two daughters' formative years, I gave them guidance and financial aid. I encouraged them to study hard and do their best, sent them for tuition in the subjects they were weak in, and did not reprimand them when they did badly.

My wife and I also let them choose their desired junior college and university course. My wife took good care of their daily needs and physical health.

My two daughters grew up healthily, and are now married with their own children.

As a parent myself, I do understand the anxiety parents have for their children in Singapore's competitive society. But they should bear in mind that each child has his own ability and talent.

I therefore urge parents not to impose their high expectations on their children.

Give them proper support and guidance, and focus especially on building their resilience, as Ms Sun describes doing with her five-year-old daughter.

Each child has his own unique character; never compare your children with others and give unfavourable comments.

Ng Choon Lai

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