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

Raising Girls – Determination does pay off

My Missy 11 is not afraid or shy to meet her kindy teachers anymore. For 5 long years, she had refused to return to visit her childcare teachers while her brother visited them yearly. When I coaxed her to visit her teachers the first year she left the childcare centre, she shook her head and kept saying no, never providing a reason. I gathered she might be feeling shy.

While this may seem nothing much, it actually brings me to pause for a moment to think about how this little girl has gradually changed so much over the turbulent years. You might ask me what turbulent years when we are talking about pre-teen stage. Oh, if you do ask this question, then chances are that you might belong to the category of having kids below 7yo.

Recently, I met a 13yo sister of my son’s classmate who followed her mum around the guests when her mum hosted a playdate in her house. I was pretty impressed that at a tender age of 13, she was learning the ropes of mingling with adult guests. She stood confidently beside her mum and showed interest in our conversation. When we spoke to her, she looked into our eyes. Such confidence and good social etiquette, I thought to myself. Most kids this age would have shut themselves up in their room and immersed in technology. Most kids would have avoided your eyes when they speak. Yet, this girl bothered to spend her weekend afternoon to talk to adults. I marvelled to her mum on my observation. If only my children would grow up to be like her with a good set of social skills. Her mum whispered back,”She wasn’t like this just a year ago,” and winked at me. Now it is beginning to make some sense.

For those who have daughters especially, may face similar growing up pains that I encounter with my Missy. As a girl, she is fast in all her development from baby to toddler to 7yo to 9yo to now. The fast development includes talking back at early years, lying, being rude, confused and struggling to find an identity like a teen, except she is not yet officially a teen now.

I must say after all these years of handling these disciplinary challenges Continue reading

Keep Calm and Mother On

You would have known by now I write many posts on my challenges as a mum of 3.
And many would have remembered my FTWM (Full Time Working Mum) posts, including my A Working Mum’s Woes, Work and family – Are we placing the right priorities, A Laid Back Mum’s price – on academic and Daily routine as a FTWM.
I am happy to share that I am invited to contribute to the parenting book called “KEEP CALM AND MOTHER ON” by Pauline Loh, the editor and Armour Publishing Pte Ltd.

Keep Calm and Mother On

This is not a yet-another-parenting-book but a book that shares 21 mum’s stories and these mums have kids ranging from 1 year old to 21 years old, from babies to National Service Men (Grown up Kids). These authors are well-known mums which include award winning author, Emily Lim, The Straits Times Deputy Editor Clarissa Oon, Founder of Pat’s Schoolhouse Patricia Koh and many inspiring ladies.

I wrote about Staying Sane as a Full-Time Working Mum.
Continue reading

Things that I want my daughter to know about young motherhood

Dancing in the rain quote

Last year for Mother’s Day, I wrote a long long letter to my mum expressing my gratitude and love for her. I wish at least one of my 3 children will do the same and write an appreciation and love letter to me while I am still healthy to read or listen. Since I was “crowned” the MUM title 10 years ago, I appreciate my mum more than ever. Now that I am a mother of three, she has become my source of inspiration and guidance at every nuggets of mothering I come upon. I wish the same for my children, who will view me as a source of inspiration and good guidance to their future parenthood days.

Anyone who has stepped into parenthood will agree that this is no easy job. We all know that the portrayal in advertisements of a loving family featuring smiling parents and tender loving touch to each of the children lasts as long as that few seconds of air time on TV. More than half the time is disciplining the children, adrenalin levels shooting high, worrying about things that happen, will happen and will not happen, finally, shouting and fatigue surely make the chart. Continue reading

A working mum’s woes

I had started my new job in October this year.
I got accepted in a totally new arena and was never so happy in my whole career life to finally do something I like. I was even mentally prepared to do my best and work late because I am determined to excel in my work.

Then work started, and all my predictions came true.

It is a challenging job. It is a work late job. I work more than 10 hours most days, sometimes 12 hours. I resist bringing work home so far. And work began to eat into my time with my kids and family. When I said I was determined to put in effort and time, I really did. I employed a domestic helper (finally!) so that I can concentrate on spending time with my children after I get home from work and have the sanity to handle the pressure at work.

With lesser time with the family and great work stress, I find myself getting tired easily and lesser patience with the children who yearn ever more attention from me. I feel my guilt surfacing almost everyday whenever I lose my cool, and make the kids upset. Such a situation leaves me a total wreck and more guilty and the vicious cycle repeats. There are a few times a thought of regret leaving my cushion job (not high pay though) haunts me and that made me feel worse. Maybe a woman is suited to stay at home, or otherwise not be too career focused. My girl starts to ask me why I had to change my job. The feeling hurts.

This morning, my baby wanted me to sit beside him while he ate his puffs. He knew I was about to leave for work and insisted that I stayed with him longer. I was running late but I obliged and stayed with him for another 10 seconds, what seemed like 10 minutes. Then, I stood up, kissed him and told him Mummy had to leave for work. He then sat still, eyes glued to the Baby TV which I had switched on for him on purpose, and did not turn around to see me leave. Just before I left the house, I stood at the door telling him all the sweet nothings about how much I love him and saying goodbye to a back facing baby. All this while, he did not turn around. After a few seconds later when I was walking towards the lift, I heard him let out a loud wail and started crying “Papa! Papa! Papa!” to his sleeping dad. My heart flew to him literally but I stood rooted to the ground. I knew if I had gone back to him, it would be worse for him and me to experience the separation twice. Continue reading