“While parents have a lot to teach their children, they should learn from them, too” (Parents’ Support Crucial To Children’s Education, Miss Nur Suhardi Mohamed).
I refer to Mr. Mohamed’s letter, “Parent’s Support Crucial To Children’s Education” (December 24, 2009), that provides advice with his personal anecdotes on parenting and educating children. Without doubt, the collection of pointers are certainly well-intentioned. Parents are important agents in moulding their children’s character and development; especially when the parents are the individuals who would chiefly make the decisions in their kids’ formative years.
However, parenting is a conflicting science; in the sense that different recommendations and actions illicit varying responses and ramifications. Parental corporal punishment works for some, but backfires for others. The same goes for tuition, music lessons, cognitive enhancements, stress, groundings et cetera. Parents should not be too eager to dive into parenting books and suggestions, treating their dependents as some sort of experiment for trial and error. The most foolproof methodology – which Mr. Mohamed poignantly pointed out – would be to regularly interact and converse with the kids, so as to comprehend their mentalities and seek the most appropriate way for resolution or engagement. It should be understood that compromise and consensus should drive the way forward, not blind insistence and rigidity.
Even as peer pressures and peripheral influences begin to make their presence felt, parents should not be afraid to shake off the “Asian” stereotype and make the effort to engage to a greater extent. Every kid is special and unique, so naturally methods would vary from one to the other.
Mr. Mohamed also makes the excellent point that parents should not assume the role as all-knowing prophets; rather, they must develop the humility and ability to learn not just from their children, but also from their counterparts. Mistakes are bound to be made; but instead of remaining insistent, acknowledge and correct yourself each and every single time. After all, parenting is not meant to be a perfect journey, but one that is fraught with challenges and pitfalls; and ultimately fulfilling and wholesomely satisfying for both parties.
A version of this article was published in My Paper.