The Tween Years – How to talk to tweens

The Tween Years

As my kids grow up, I am gaining interesting experience by and by with each day. Someone told me the new teen years are between 10 to 21 years old. I prefer to refer the years of 8-12 as tween years when the kid is not so much a child anymore, yet not exactly qualify as a teen.

As a FTWM, I only have weekends and holidays to spend good bonding times with my children. It doesn’t have to be outdoors and excessive treats to MacDonald’s or spending on entrance fees to qualify as good bonding time. Many of our good bonding times are quiet times spent at home, so I realized. With the kids’ homework increasing by the level, sometimes they may even ask if our weekend programmes can be shortened so that they can have enough time to finish their homework. The first time my girl requests for homework time, I was pretty shocked and reminded myself that I need to plan around their schedule and cut down blog events or be more selective in our weekend places to go. Kids are growing up fast. At this stage, they need more down time and private time to do their own stuff. That indoor playground or art museum may not be their thing anymore. I need to be sensitive to their growing up preferences. Continue reading

When Mum Reads, Kids Read

You would have thought that if my kids were read to every night when they were young, they would be avid readers when they grow up. I can tell you that in our family, we are living proof that this is a myth! When my little ones were one year old and fidgeting about, I would bring a book to him and try reading out loud in the most interesting way to capture his short attention. Then, I found out the best time to read quietly to babies and toddlers was when they were drinking milk. I made it a habit to read to them every night and even had to negotiate with my kids on the number of books. They love my reading even up till today. While I thought once they reached Primary 1, they should be reading a book on their own. Reading chapter books. But Primary 1 came and went, they were still not so interested in Chapter books and hardly followed a series.

Most kids around us are reading, some voraciously. Their cousins finished Harry Potter series at age 9. I was so impressed! I was getting worried about my kids who were not so interested in picking up books. Most of all, I worried for their English language. The only way to improve English is only to READ, READ and READ! No shortcuts!

I tried all sorts of methods to get them to read. Mind you, it was hard work and futile work! I printed reading charts, gave reward stickers, allowed redemption for a small gift upon reading X number of books, brought them to the library every 2 weeks, nagged at them, cajoled, encouraged, left books lying around, did book exchange, and many more. All these failed to get them to read. Sometimes, I wondered whether I was such a good story teller that my kids refused to read by themselves.

Finally, one day, I started to realize there was one common thing these avid reading kids have! They all have mums or dads who love to read! Maybe that is it! Continue reading

Train the kids to handle failure? Let them be raised by the Dad

A few weeks back, I attended a parenting talk by David Seah, Family Life Educator and Counsellor, engaged by my kids’ school for parents. The topic was on IQ, EQ and AQ. I really took away some very interesting points that made me think hard about our parenting style at home. He said,”If you want your kids to have adversity quotient (the ability to deal with failures), let them be raised by the father.”

Before you go all out to protest against this seemingly racist statement like how we mothers felt at the talk initially, you must give a chance for the humorous speaker to make his stand.

1) Mothers are protective by nature

Have you seen mothers throw up babies in the air for fun? Usually the image of fathers doing it will surface when you think of it. In fact, we mothers are good in churning out academics due to the fact that we are competitive by nature. Think of how we react to exam results vs the fathers. Once the child comes back with less than 100 marks, mothers’ first reaction is probably to furiously flip through the pages and scrutinize those questions with marks deductions and then do a fast calculation and conclude that without such CARELESS MISTAKES, the child could have gotten so and so marks. So well-observed and that’s ahem saying about me too…

When our child runs or cycles or moves at fast speed, or any actions that risk falling on the pavement, we are the ones who shouted instructions from behind like “Watch out for the pillar!”, “Beware of that little dog’s tail in front!” Fathers are rarely the ones who shouted warnings or maybe they do, under their breath. But you get it, the Fathers are usually the cool ones. They are less inclined to fret over small injuries. Similarly, kids’ cry harder when they see Mothers rushing to their aid than when they see Fathers strolling towards them.

2) Fathers are natural risk-takers

Get Dad to be involved more if you wish to instill some toughness and the ability to handle adversity in your child.

I guess this is hard for mothers like me to teach adversity toughness. When I saw how my son at the age of 1.5yo, my hubby allowed him to walk up and down the overhead bridge by himself with him being an arm’s length away, I almost freaked out but decided to cross my finger and watched in fear. I trust my hubby to be taking controlled and supervised risk but I definitely would not risk it myself. I am often been chastised for doing too much for the kids. Hence, I certainly agree that with the Dad around, Continue reading

To give or not to give – smartphone

Steve Jobs’ invention of the iPhone is probably the number one devilish invention in this modern day in my own opinion. I love it and I hate it. But the hate factor is much higher than the love factor. I love it because it helps to move the world so much faster in terms of news outreach. It rekindles long lost friendships. It helps people to stay in touch with family and friends. It provides entertainment to young and old. It saves time for people on the go answering mails, tabulating spreadsheets and reading up news. It boosts sales, boosts blogs, and it even plays a big part in rallies for international support for humanity cases, swayed voters in presidential elections. It also replaces the need for another gadget- the camera, to pack in the bag, serves as a calculator, etc etc etc.

But with it, comes many problems that I hate to deal with and many social ills too. While it gives a chance of socializing on the go via apps, it inhibits human face to face interaction. It causes compulsive disorder Continue reading

No Longer A Laidback Mum in Academics

Being a mum is a constant learning journey.

Each child is different and I have to craft my mothering skills differently on each child, be it nurturing his/her character or be involved in his/her academics.

I used to think that I will be a Laid Back Mum in Academics for as long as I like and my children will turn out fine studying by themselves, just like how I did it myself. How wrong I was.

After my girl failed her P3 Math exam last year, it was a kind of wake up call that my child may need me to be involved in her studies to some extent. I will not hold her hand forever and still will not load her with tuition and endless helicoptering over her studies such that she will be turned off by me. But I will guide her along when she needs my help or if I see that she NEEDS my help. Children may not know and may not always be so initiative when it comes to academics. I need to be more aware of their signals for help.

Imagine my elation when she came back to tell me she had scored 84/100 for her P4 SA2 Math exam!

This was from a “F” in P3 SA2 Math to a pass of 54 marks in P4 SA1 Math exam to an Ace (in my own mummy ranking) in P4 SA2 Math exam!

Not only that, she scored well across all subjects this time round and her friend actually told her that she should get the BEST IMPROVEMENT award 🙂

Best part is Missy 10 said this one evening when I was at the dining table: Continue reading