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

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

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

How to ensure 8-10yo child safety when I am not by their side

how to keep kid safe

From the second semester onwards, my 10yo girl has to stay back for classes or volleyball training for 4 times a week. That means she goes out the house before 7 and is only back after 4pm daily by school bus. It is like an 8 hour job, isn’t it? We are thinking to let her take the public transport back on her own. But without a phone, I am worried about her safety on the road and also safety in general. Continue reading