Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

SMART PARENTING:Know your children’s friends

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

WE all think we know our children really well. That may have been the case when they were much younger and spent time exclusively with us. We fed and clothed them, and we were always there when they needed us. But as our children grow older, they begin to socialise with others their age.

Three of my children are in college so, in a way, we have “lost” that exclusivity with our kids. They now have other influencers in their lives — their friends. So, what should we do when it comes to our children’s friends?

Protective but not nosy.

While it’s important to protect our kids when they are out with friends, being too close and involved will make everyone uncomfortable. In other words, being nosy may even drive the friends away. There are many ways to get to know their friends better.

Interrogating them will just put you in a bad light in the eyes of your children and their friends (this is especially true for teenage friends). We must respect their privacy and show that we trust them. Always remind them that the trust is not a privilege but something to be earned and valued. Once broken, things will not be the same.

Set Boundaries.

Once trust is in place, we can establish boundaries. If they are a group of younger children, this is akin to supervision when there is a get-together. Make them comfortable with the presence of trusted adults.

Things are a little trickier when they are older and more independent. They want to hang out at a place further from home, for example, in a mall. That’s good for their social life but I know of some parents who discreetly follow their children wherever they go. Again, this shows a lack of trust.

A better strategy is to establish clear boundaries of do’s and don’ts. For example, let them inform you who their friends are. Ideally you’d have met them at least once. Remind them about appropriate behaviours between genders, and most importantly, agree on a safe and reasonable hour for an outing.

Invite them over:

Perhaps the best way to combine all the above is to invite their friends over for get-togethers. There are plenty of opportunities to do this — birthdays or open houses are some good examples. But the truth is, we don’t have to wait for special occasions.

Our family organised a “post-exam” party. The objective was to get our children’s friends over and get to know them better in a happy, informal setting. It works both ways — their friends also get to know us, and hopefully respect and mutual understanding are established along the way.

by Zaid Mohamad.

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Parenting in the digital age

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017
Technology has a generally positive effect on a child’s future, career and life skills. FILE PIC

IT was only just few days ago that we celebrated Mothers Day. Apart from handing them cards and flowers, we now take them out for a meal, snap wefies and post them on social media.

Technology has changed many aspects of our lives, including parenting. Parenting in the digital age has evolved quite a bit compared with a few decades ago.

Nowadays, we get parents saying that they feel that they are losing their kids to smartphones and tablets. Quite true, if I may concur. As seen in many public scenes, where parents sit down to a meal with their kids, yet everyone is glued to his smartphone or tablet until the food arrives.

To be fair, it’s not entirely the children’s fault. Partly, it’s the parents’; we are responsible when it comes to giving children access to technology. I am not saying this is a bad thing. In fact, it is good for them to gain knowledge of technology to keep up with the world. The fact that I am more concerned is the amount of technology access we parents give to our children.

As parents, we need to lay down ground rules when it comes to technology. Technology is like a coin. There are two sides to everything. It can offer so much to our kids and, yet, it can also be a hazard. There’s no way to stop our young from technology, so it’s up to parents to make the best of it and adjust to the best we deem fit for them.

Parenting on its own is not easy. In this digital age, it’s a new ball game. Parents have to grapple with technology before they can learn or understand how to deal with their tech-savvier children. Technology can have a generally positive effect on a child’s future, career and life skills. The number of hours a child or teenager spends on technology differs in every country, too.

Children today are not the same as children 20 years ago. Due to the changes in the environment and, to a certain extent, food, they are more active and inclined to learn or pick up things faster.

Children today also learn from their parents and environment. Due to these changes, children are exposed to technology so much more than before.

Honestly, there is no one-size- fits-all approach when it comes to parenting in the digital age. However, there are many ways we can adjust to cater to our kids.

First, we need to strengthen our connection with them. It’s the attention that kids want. If parents spend enough time with their kids, they really wouldn’t have to resort to be hooked on computers and tablets. Ask your child to be honest with you about what they want and they may just tell you that they want your time.

Whatever you may do with your kids, even when you both are on computers or tablets, make sure to do it together. It’s that important as not only will it strengthen your relationship, but both may just learn some new technology together!

As parents, we learn from our own journey in life, books and advice from others.

Technology can open up a whole new path of knowledge in parenting. One can Google anything, anywhere and anytime if you need to find out about something on parenting.

In fact, technology has allowed many parents to understand more than ever before.

Parents just need to do their due diligence to make sure that they get their facts from reputable sites.

Treat technology as a plus point. Apply the same parenting guidelines to real and virtual environments. Set limits in both worlds because your kids need and expect them. Know your kid’s friends, online and in the real world. Keep track of the software and sites that your kids visit, just like you would in reality.


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Heng: Don’t abandon children if unable to care for them

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

IPOH: Parents who are no longer able to look after their children should send them to Welfare Department-registered welfare homes, said Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie.

Heng said that parents should never neglect the welfare of their children, adding that it would be safer if a child was cared for in a registered home.

“Parents could also call MCA’s Legal Advisory and Women Aid centre to help get their unwanted child adopted. There are many couples that are unable to have children who are willing to adopt,” she told reporters during a feng shui talk at Wisma MCA Perak here on Sunday.

Heng said that there are alternatives to abandoning children.

“Malaysians are a caring society. Whenever there’s a disaster, they are always ready to spring into action,” she added.

Heng was asked to comment about a three-year-old boy who was found naked and crying alone in a house in Tampin, Negri Sembilan on Friday.

The mother, who was unemployed, is believed to have left him there alone while she went out to look after her mentally-ill mother and stepmother who was injured in a road accident.

The police have since remanded the mother for investigations.

Asked about stateless children, Heng said that those who plan to leave their children at welfare homes, temples or other institutions should leave them with the necessary documents for them to obtain citizenship.


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Parents, is your child being radicalised online?

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Lone cub: The 16-year-old youth who tried a kidnapping in Sungai Petani. — G.C.TAN/The Star

Lone cub: The 16-year-old youth who tried a kidnapping in Sungai Petani. — G.C.TAN/The Star

THE dreaded phone call from the police. Every parent knows the fear of receiving that “bad news” phone call – “your child is ill”, “was involved in an accident”, or even “caught shoplifting”. It is enough to make a parent’s heart stop.

Now we need to brace for ­another type of bad news call: that your child is a member of the so-called Islamic State (IS) terror organisation.

When Shafi Khan got “the call” about his son, it was a huge shock – they had just prayed together at the neighbourhood mosque early that morning.

After prayers, Shafi had gone back to bed as he always did, while his 19-year-old son, Hamzah, went to work at a nearby home-supply store.

That day, however, while Shafi was sleeping, Hamzah sneaked out of the house with his 16-year-old brother and 17-year-old sister to get to the airport and catch a flight to Turkey. Their plan was to fly to Istanbul, then drive into Syria to join the IS.

When the teens reached the airport, though, the authorities were waiting for them. As reported by The Washington Post, the FBI had been monitoring the Khan siblings’ online communications.

Shafi and his wife were left stunned. They had no inkling whatsoever of the abominable plan their children had been hatching.

happened in Chicago, the United States, but recent incidents show that it can happen in Malaysia too.

Early this month, a 16-year-old boy was charged in court in Sungai Petani, Kedah, for attempting a solo IS attack in January. Armed with a knife and fake pistol, the boy tried to kidnap a 27-year-old woman at a mall there.

The boys’ parents were by his side in court; we can only imagine how they had felt when they got their bad news call.


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Dad’s what all kids want

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Fathers have an impact – good or bad, intentional or otherwise – simply by what they do, and what they don’t.

TODAY is Father’s Day. There is no real significance to this date, other than the fact that it has become yet another day for commercial interests to make more money.

And so we are inundated with messages on what we should buy for our fathers – anything from a tie to a power drill is fine.

It is also interesting that many charity organisations have also got into the game, where you can give a donation on behalf of your father in support of various causes.

I won’t pour cold water on those who believe this day should be celebrated in such manner. Having been a father for nearly 30 years, I will say that a day’s celebrations can’t encapsulate the role of a father, which is both unique and challenging.

More so in our Asian culture where fathers tend to play second fiddle to mothers in a nurturing role, and may not have enough opportunities to exert their influence on the children.

But the reality is we, fathers, do have an impact – good or bad, intentional or otherwise – simply by what we do, and what we don’t.

I have written before in this column that the best times in my career were the six years, over two different stretches, that I spent at home as a full-time father.

I had a whale of a time, although my better half did find it tricky explaining to friends why she had to earn the bread and butter while I was gallivanting at home.


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Parents, guardians warned of drug-laced biscuits, sweets

Monday, June 15th, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: A new drug smuggling tactic has been discovered.

Police found that drugs were mixed in solid food such as biscuits and sweets and were then marketed through social websites such as Facebook and Instagram.

“The suspects only interact with the buyers through Facebook and the Instagram application for orders and delivery, which would be done via postal or courier service,” according to a statement by the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) on Monday.

Parents and guardians have been urged by PDRM to monitor their children’s social media contacts.

The police have also advised the public to be alert their family members and friends’ “unusual” behaviour, or any receipt of courier-delivered parcels.


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Parents, Teachers Urged To Foster 2R Concept Among Students To Counter Bullying In Schools

Monday, May 4th, 2015

KODIANG, April 26 (Bernama) — Parents and teachers have been urged to cultivate and foster the 2R concept – ‘Respect and Responsibility’ – among children or students to counter bullying in schools.

Deputy Education Director-General (Education Operations Sector), Datuk Ahmad Tajuddin Jab said the two aspects, if practiced by the students, could help counter bullying which is becoming a problem in schools these days.

“The seniors have to love and respect the juniors, just as the juniors must respect the seniors. Through respect, we can create a harmonious environment and with responsibility, the students will be accountable for their actions,” he said when officiating the excellence award ceremony for education transformation of schools in Kodiang here Sunday.

He said the ministry was concerned with bullying cases in schools and schools had a standard operating procedure to handle them.


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Don’t get pregnant at 17

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

PETALING JAYA: A teenager who found herself pregnant at 17 shared that she wished her parents had been more open with her and taken their time to talk about pre-marital sex.

“Every time I hinted about things relating to sex, my mother would look at me like I have sinned,” said the girl known as Ana, 19.

Recalling her first meeting with her 27-year-old boyfriend who was a lorry driver, Ana said they met when she was 16 at a restaurant near her school.

“I never noticed him until one day the waiter told me that someone had already paid for my meal. That was when everything started.

“He smiled at me and I went over to thank him and we started talking. I did not think anything was wrong with making friends until we were alone in the car one day and he slipped his hands up my pinafore,” she said.

She was caught off-guard.

Ana, who is from a small town in Johor, said: “I honestly did not know if it was wrong but I knew that it made me feel uncomfortable.

That evening, when I was watching a movie with my mum, I tried asking her about it by relating it to a movie, but she shut me off by saying I was being inappropriate.

“Confused by the whole situation, I continued to entertain the text messages from my boyfriend who comforted me by saying that he would never hurt me and that he loved me very much. I believed him,” she said.

Things “just happened” then, she said, adding that it was initially painful, but it changed after that.

“He always reassured me that he was never going to leave me. I was happy, until one day my classmates and I were talking about menstruation and I realised I was four weeks late.

“The thought of it scared me and I immediately contacted my boyfriend. He did not reply and had been unreachable since then,” she said.

Ana eventually told her mother but confessed that she did not entirely understand the seriousness of the situation.


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Why don’t they ever learn

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Over 300 children died in accidents in the first three months. Some parents are deliberately putting their children in harm’s way.

There’s an accident at a busy traffic junction. As the tow truck moves in, a traffic policeman directs traffic. A woman on a motorcycle ignores him and rides past. A lorry brushes her and she falls onto a pavement.

She’s fine. But not the three-year-old who was sitting on the bike in front of her.

He hits his head against the pavement and dies on the spot. He was not wearing a helmet.

Another woman fiddles with a phone, supposedly arguing with her husband. Her two children are playing by an escalator. She takes her eyes off them and one just slips over the escalator and falls five floors.

She dies instantly.

Two young lives gone due to carelessness.

I will not point fingers at the parents. God knows they will be blaming themselves and carrying the painful remorse for the rest of their lives.

Parents and caregivers, do need to be careful when children are around. No, more than that.

They have to stop putting the children in harm’s way. Or, as Federal traffic chief Datuk Mohd Fuad Abdul Latif says: “Parents have to stop killing their children on the roads.”

He was talking about those on motorcycles. There just are too many young kids zooming around on motorcycles with a devil-may-care attitude.

The statistics are frightening. Some 310 students have been killed in accidents in just three months of this year – that’s more than 100 a month, more than three a day! Thirteen of them were primary school ­children.

The other statistics are just as worrying. About 85 were critically injured and close to 22,000 summonses were issued to schoolchildren.


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Parenting lapses

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Grieving parents: Nurhayada’s mother being consoled by her husband at the KL Hospital while the younger daughter looks on. (Inset) The scene of the tragic accident at the mall.

Grieving parents: Nurhayada’s mother being consoled by her husband at the KL Hospital while the younger daughter looks on. (Inset) The scene of the tragic accident at the mall.

In this day and age of multi-tasking, it isn’t always easy to keep an eye on our children. Before judging others, we should take a look in the mirror.

I WAS in two minds on whether to watch the horrifying video clip that had gone viral. The chatter about the video was that it involved the death of a child.

However, I could not resist watching it. The black-and-white one-minute CCTV footage showed six-year-old Nurhayada Sofia Musa playing with her five-year-old sister near an escalator on the second floor of Kenanga Wholesale City Mall in Kuala Lumpur about 3pm on Friday, April 3. Their mother was seen on the phone and then texting.

The two girls were seen climbing over the banister and Nurhayada fell through the gap between the balustrade and the escalator. The mother, who was still fiddling with her phone, ran down the escalator with the other daughter trailing after her Nurhayada fell to her death.

Later, at Hospital Kuala Lumpur mortuary, Nurhayada’s father Musa said his wife was on the phone with him when the girl fell to her death. The father and mother were on the phone over a petty argument.

“We were still arguing when I heard a commotion and the line was cut,” Musa said. “Minutes later, my wife called back to say that Nurhayada was dead. I just couldn’t believe it.”

On social media, Nurhayada’s death was heavily debated. Some blamed the mother for negligence. Some defended the mother.

As for me, I don’t want to judge the mother. I know — as a parent of Apsara, my six-year-old girl, and Sylverius Junior, my 17-month-old boy — I have had lapses in my parenting. Let me tell you my lapses. Please don’t judge me.


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