Forum: When parents' tough love during exam period may backfire

I found the report, "Speaking the 5 love languages with one's kids" (Sept 11), to be a timely reminder for parents to use love languages with their children who are facing stress and challenges during the PSLE, O-level exams and A-level exams.

Every child needs love, and as parents, we can show our love during this examination period by providing our children with care, encouragement and support.

Generation X parents may have been influenced by our strict upbringing. We may express tough love by using harsh words or a discouraging tone, by reprimanding the child for not meeting our academic expectations or by comparing our child with other children who are doing better.

Parents mean well when they show concern for their child's academic grades, but tough love may backfire.

The child may wonder if his parents are more concerned about his grades than about his mental and emotional well-being during the exam period.

Parents can replace tough love with the five love languages during this period.

Under the language of affirmation, they can give words of encouragement and motivation to their child for putting in effort in learning and revising, and showing progress and improvement in their grades. Words of affirmation can be expressed verbally, in writing or in text messages.

For the language of quality time, parents can check on their child by talking to him, and being non-judgmental and empathetic.

They can also offer a listening ear to understand his issues and challenges.

For the language of acts of service, parents can be proactive by offering to help their children in their studies or revision.

The language of gifts can include their favourite food, for instance, as eating prompts the brain to release endorphins, which are "feel good" hormones.

The last love language is physical touch that expresses parental love through hugs and kisses.

The period of exam preparation and revision is a great chance to strengthen the parent and child relationship.

Jasmine Liew Chia Wei

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