How Much Do Academic Grades Really Matter to You?

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“When your children fall short, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it is just means you’re not yet finished.”
~ Jaci Mun-Gavin

The stressful exam period is over, I’m sure all of you – parents with schooling kids – are rejoicing now. It’s a fact that exam period is exceptionally stressful for parents and kids. Many of us would go the extra miles to prepare our kids for their exam – be it major public exams, or just normal school exams.

From getting our hands on past-year papers from elite schools to stocking up bottles of chicken essence, taking leave from work for last-minute revisions, and drafting grand revision plans, we’re getting increasingly hands-on. Give me a high five! =)

People labelled us as “kiasu parents”, but who cares. The good thing is, it brings us closer to our kids as we tackle questions together, revise for exam together, encourage them through the little things, or simply being there for them. That’s the beauty of family bonding over exams amidst the stress.

When exam is finally over, we’ve to brave ourselves for their results. When the results are not a true representation of their hard works, we plunged into disappointment. And even so, we had to hide our feelings so as not to further discourage our children. We heard of news that kids commit suicide over poor exam results, and we feared losing our loved ones.

Every cycle, I went through shock, disbelief, denial and finally acceptance. It’s hard not to panic when Edison starts coming home with test results below expectations. How much do academic grades really matter to me, you may wonder. Well, it doesn’t matter as much as I thought it would be.

While walking home with Edison last week, I was listening with half an ear as he chirped on about his last day at school. Last day in P3, I mean. And then, something about his Chinese compo test caught my attention.

10 Ways to Savour the Moments of Your Kid’s Childhood

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You know those times when you look at your old Facebook photos and start to feel nostalgic? Well, Facebook wants us to be constantly reminded of our older days via their new feature “On This Day”. Basically, what it does is to pull out old photos, posts and statuses from the same calendar date in the past years and displaying them on top of your news feed.

By default, only you can see your “On This Day” post, although you can, of course, share it with your friends. I came across incidents where my friends shared their previous pregnancy announcement photos, and started getting false congratulatory messages. Funny, I know.

Just a few days ago, this photo popped up on my “On This Day” post and the moment I saw it, I had a mini meltdown. Darn you time. Why do you have to move so quickly? How does my baby grow up so fast? Where have all those years gone? It was all so unfair.

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I looked at my son today as he was playing volleyball at the same spot in this picture. Five years ago, he looked sooooo chubby and cute. I still remember how his curiosity went wild when he saw the giant grasshopper.

I wanted to cry, in fact, I did teared a little. I felt like such a fool.

At this point, I realized that I just have to accept the fact that my boy has grown up. Each and every day, he would grow up a little more. All children grow up, no matter how much we want to slow down the process. Thus, the key is savouring that every moment of your kid’s childhood.

Let’s do a simple exercise now. If you were given a time machine that allows you to go back and spend some time with your kids, what would you do? Get a paper and jot them down.

Interestingly, this exercise makes me realize that there are many things that I can still do to savour the moments of my son’s childhood. Perhaps those times aren’t gone after all. It’s more important to do it now before it slips away and never come back again.

Today, I’m going to share with you the list from my own exercise.

10 Ways to Savour the Moments of Your Kid’s Childhood

1. Start a memory box when you have your first baby. Take lots of photos and even videos, especially on important milestones such as first steps, first tooth, first day of school, and even losing their first tooth.

2. Kiss them. A lot. Never underestimate the power of a smooch or two. I must say that while they still allow you to do so, pepper your love nuggets with lots of kisses, and repeat it daily.

3. Hold them while they are sleeping. Touch their hands, cuddle them, kiss them (again!), and stare at their beautiful faces. Remember – when they’re older, you’re not going to get those hugs and kisses as much as you want to.

4. Spend less time on your phone and more time playing with your little ones. It’s easier said than done, I know. But if you really do it, you’ll be amazed by the outcome if you allow yourself to “disconnect” in order to “connect” with your kids. Remember that pretty soon your house will be quiet, your kids will be grown-ups, and you’ll be longing for those play times.

5. Write them a love note. I learnt this from actress Wong Li Lin, who occasionally shares snippets of her love notes to her kids on Instagram. Personal handwritten notes grow rarer by day as emails, tweets, and messages are more accessible in a wired world. However, handwritten notes show deeper appreciation that is far more significant.

6. Ask them for a daily recap. You may have a perception that your kids wouldn’t want to tell you much about their day. Ask them to share the best and worst parts of their day, and you may be surprised with what you hear. On the other hand, share your parts too. Seeing how you cope with your challenges can indirectly nurture their skills.

7. Collect your child’s artwork or other seemingly unimportant toys. Clean and preserve them so that you can look back and remember those wonderful years when your kids were younger. Until now, I’ve been keeping all the birthday cards and Mother’s Day cards that Edison made for me. I also have a folder to keep his artworks. They are treasure to me.

8. Bedtime snuggle and chat. Set your kid’s bedtime ten minutes earlier so that you can spend time snuggling with them in the dark. Listen to them, hear their concerns, acknowledge their feelings, and assure them that you’ll help them to solve their problems. You’ll be amazed how your relationship with your kids can deepen.

9. Create wonderful childhood memories. Go for a vacation, organize a birthday party or start a family tradition. It can be really simple if you’ve budget constraint. Most importantly, make it meaningful so that your kids will always look forward to it.

10. Live in the moment. Finally, the most important of all is to love them and enjoy the time you have with them. Slow down and savour every minute. Smell their hair. Listen to their laughters. Look at them in their eyes. Our kids are only little once, and we can never go back.

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Every parent says this; children grow up so fast before my eyes. That’s why we should slow down to soak up a few extra moments of sweetness while we still can. How do you savour the moments of your kid’s childhood? Give us more tips in the comment section below.

6 Ways to Stop Yelling at Your Kids

I love my mom, but there is one thing that I used to hate about her when I was a kid. She yelled too often, it was very annoying and I seriously couldn’t stand it. I told myself that as soon as I’m financially-independent, I would move out of the house. And I really did!

Okay seriously, I moved out because I went to study in a university, but not to avoid her yelling. My mom is 59 years old now, and of course, she doesn’t yell anymore. But as a mom now, I can really understand where the yelling comes from. A lot of times, it’s hard to keep our cool (although it’s not impossible to do so!).

In my parenting journey, one of my biggest battles was YELLING too. It didn’t have to be something major to set me off, but in fact, it felt quite good to yell sometimes (I feel ashamed to admit this). I began to feel like yelling is the only way to get my message across effectively. Whenever I shout, I felt that I regained control of the situation.

But when the moment passed by, I saw my ugly self. I saw ‘this person’ spewing angry words on the person that I love most in this world. I began to feel how much I hated it when my mom yelled at me, and how my son would hate me too. I regretted it.

It scares me whenever I think about that. Shouting is my biggest failure as a parent. I don’t want my son to remember me as a parent who shouted all the time (just the same way I feel for my mom).  Sorry, mom.

So, I vowed to change that, and I’m glad I did.

In this post, I’ll share with you six ways to stop, or at least avoid, yelling at your kids.

1. It’s often easier to stop something before it begins. So, find out what usually triggers your yelling. If you can identify those things, then you can work out ways to either let them go or deal with them better.

2. Take your time. Realize that you don’t need to react immediately in most circumstances (unless your kid is in danger!). When you give yourself time to think and decide on your next course of action, you’ll unlikely end up yelling.

3. Learn to lower your stress level. Trying to do so many tasks by yourself will cause too much stress. Just be there with your kids, and they will less likely to misbehave and trigger your yelling.

4. When you’re on the verge of yelling, just take a deep breath and walk away. It’s simple and yet I find it most effective. It’s okay to walk away, calm down and think things through. Perhaps it’s not a big deal after all. After you regain your composure, you’ll tackle the problem without an itch to yell.

5. Manage your wants and expectations. It’s important for us, parents, to know and understand our child’s capabilities – because this can help us to become more patient. Understanding equals patience. When we’re able to accept our kids as they are, we’ll love them as they are. We’ll then realize that the root cause of the problem simply lies with how we react.

6. Learn to let go and when to laugh it off. Along with understanding, learn to loosen up is equally important too. Do something that makes everyone laugh can really change the tone of the situation. It’s hard to stay angry when you’re being funny. It’s hard to yell when you’re busy telling a joke. Being funny is enough to remind myself to be the parent I want to be.

Sometimes, yelling or raising your voice isn’t all bad. When we need to raise our voice to keep them safe, such as when they’re running recklessly across the street, we just need to do it. Using a raised voice in this instance will prove more effective if yelling isn’t the daily disciplinary action for everything.

Remember this – if yelling is over-used, it will be ignored. Kids simply tune it (you) out. In addition, kids model our behaviour. Yelling at our kids also breeds a pattern of yelling at their own kids in the future.

If you have any wonderful tips to stop yelling at kids, I’d love to hear from you too. Drop me a comment here. And if you feel someone might benefit from this post, feel free to share it on your social media.

I end this post with a very interesting quote here. Have a nice week ahead!

“If it isn’t life threatening, if the house is not ablaze, if it is not an emergency, or if the child you are yelling to is not half a mile away, then yelling is the wrong choice in parenting.”  Anonymous

Taking Care of Our Children’s Safety

Two days ago, I shared this video on my Facebook Page. I hope that some of you have spared some time to view it. It not, let’s do it today. This video is from Vulcanpost.


Courtesy of: Vulcanpost

According to the article posted on Vulcanpost, 4,804 children were reported missing in Malaysia last year. This is an average of 3 children per day. It’s an awful lot of missing children!

When a child went missing, the heartache and worry are unexplainable. The fear of not knowing where the child is, whom the child is with, and what the child is going through, can drive the parents crazy. Even though there’s always hope and chance that the child will be found alive, but it’s just too traumatic to even think about it.

A moment of neglect is a lifetime of regret. This is the message sent across by this video to show us how easy it is for parents to lose their children in public places. Watch this video and you’ll see how easy it is for strangers to approach our children when we’re not paying attention.

Singapore, in general, is a safe country. But this doesn’t mean that kidnapping does not happen in our country. Apart from kidnapping, there are various aspects of children’s safety that we, as parents, need to pay attention.

Now, let me share with you these two cases of security lapses in parents. Yes, it happened to me as well.

Case # 1:

Edison was playing at the indoor playground in a shopping mall. I was seated on a bench, next to the playground, and reading a book. Suddenly, I heard a girl crying out loud.

“I want my mommy! Mommy, where are you?” shouted the girl repeatedly. She was around the age of seven. She was so scared that she cried loudly. A few passersby came to help, including me and V. But we couldn’t find her parents. So, one of them brought her to the information counter to make an announcement to contact her parents.

After that, I explained to Edison on what happened to the little girl. I told him not to wander around without my knowledge. Else, he will not be able to find us, and he will panic and cry.

Case # 2:

After our grocery shopping last weekend, we walked up the stairs to the car park. Edison ran up the stairs quickly, but both of us were unable to catch up as our hands were heavy on groceries. I shouted to him to slow down and do not dash out to the main road.

The moment he vanished out of my sight, I heard a loud shout. I quickly ran up the stairs. Apparently, a car that was parked in parallel to the exit of the stairs started reversing. The driver couldn’t see Edison from behind, and luckily, two young men pulled him to the side of the road.

As a driver myself, I can’t blame him as it’s impossible to see a small children from the rear mirror. Edison looked so lost and scared; he knew that I will definitely scold him. But I didn’t. In my heart, I knew it was my fault. I should have held his hand at the car park.

Until today, I was too scared to imagine what could have happened if the two young men were not at the scene. We thanked them for saving our son. After this incident, I told myself that I MUST ALWAYS hold his hand in the car park. I also explained to Edison on what could have happened to him, what his mistakes are, and what he should do in future.

As a parent, we can only do so much to protect them the best that we can. Therefore, teaching our children about safety measures is a very important factor to keep them safe. Clearly explain what a stranger is to our children. Explain to them what would happen if we have an emergency, and would not be available to get to him / her.

Above all, be a good role model. Put on seat belts in the car, avoid distractions, and drive in a safe manner. Always watch out for traffic when we’re crossing the roads. Listen to instructions and always be alert of our surroundings. Don’t forget to hold our children’s hands when walking in the car park and on the road.

We can build a strong safety culture that our children will value and perpetuate. I think this is the most important gift that we can ever give to them, that will last a lifetime.

Last but not least, keeping our children safe should always be first in our minds, no matter when and where we are.

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Parenting: Discipline Without Yelling

Few days ago, my friend posted this on her Facebook wall. I couldn’t agree more with her statement. Do you still remember those times when your mom yelled at you? How was your response?

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I grew up with a mom who yelled a lot. When I was a kid, sometimes I didn’t even know why she yelled at me and my siblings. We didn’t misbehave; maybe we were just slow or didn’t live up to her expectations. Maybe she was under a lot of stress. Or maybe we didn’t listen to her.

I agreed with my friend’s statement – I didn’t dare to ask her why. For sure, if I ask that question, I will get more yelling or even caning. So, I better keep my mouth shut and endure until the yelling is over.

While I knew that she loved us a lot, I felt insecure growing up with her yelling. Yelling can win immediate attention, but it does not encourage open communication between parents and their children.

A child who is yelled at once in a blue moon will stop immediately when yelled at. A child who is yelled at on a daily basis will learn to ignore their parents yelling. Therefore, yelling is not an acceptable form of discipline at all.

So, I grew up telling myself that in future, I will not yell at my kids for no apparent reason.

Now that I’m a mother, I must admit that one of the hardest things to learn is disciplining kids without yelling. Many people think that this is very simple, but when your kid is acting out and wearing on your nerves repeatedly, yelling naturally comes easier than you think.

We’ve all had our moments when the irritability button was pressed too many times. We lose our control and start to yell, whether they deserve it or not. How do you stop yourself from yelling?

I’ve vowed not to yell like my mom did. I do fairly well most of the times, but once in a blue moon, I slipped up too. When I’m about to lose my cool, I take a deep breath and think of those times when my mom yelled at me, and how I hated it. That instantly stops me from yelling. Yes, it’s true.

Talking about disciplining without yelling, most parenting books will tell us to send the child for time-out. Give them three warnings before sending them for time-out, either in their own room, a naughty corner or whatever you call it, so that they know that they have been misbehaving.

Personally, I prefer to use the “reasoning” method. Now that Edison is six, reasoning is easier than punishment, time-out, caning or even yelling. When I reason with him, he understands why he’s wrong and he will apologize to me.

Every day is an attempt at a better way of parenting. Calmness certainly works better than yelling in our family. The less yelling I do, the more my heart transforms, and I’m gradually becoming more loving and less angry.

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