Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Use time at home to teach life skills

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

Teach children life skills, like doing laundry, instead of just focusing on their academic achievements. – File photo

EQUIP and teach children life skills during the movement control order (MCO).

Educationists are urging parents to be proactive in ensuring their children aren’t only focusing on revising their academics while schools are closed.

Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam said it’s vital to train children to be self-reliant.

“Education isn’t only about scoring perfect grades, it’s about learning life skills to produce holistic children.

“Unfortunately, very little of this is taught in schools.

“The MCO has made people realise the necessity of preparing their children to be self-reliant and to not always be dependent on their parents, ” said the former National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general.

Prof Tan Sri Dr T. Marimuthu said parents’ are worried that their children would lag behind in school as the country’s education system is exam-oriented.

As a result, social skills aren’t given much attention.

“This MCO is an opportunity for parents to educate them on other value added skills.

“Parents have to be creative as education should produce an all-rounded individual.

“These extra skills will enrich the individual for their holistic development, ” he said.

Mother of two Christine Rowland held a family meeting on Monday to plan activities for her daughters aged 16 and 19.

Some of them include duties to wash, dry, fold and iron their own clothes, help prepare meals and learn to cook, home exercises, family reading time and gardening.

“My girls don’t know how to iron, how bad is that?

“I hope some good habits and skills will come out of this ‘stayhomecation’, ” she said.

The interior design consultant wants her daughters to learn time management so that they can balance their academic revision with day-to-day duties, survival skills for when they live on their own, independence and logical and practical skills.

A mother of triplets who only wants to be known as Chin, is teaching her teenage sons basic skills such as cooking and spring cleaning.

Teach children the importance of hygiene, Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said.

“This can include keeping their room and bathroom clean.

“It can be extended to caring for items that the family enjoy together such as the house and the garden while learning to grow herbs or plants, and washing the family car.”

Now that parents are their children’s teachers, it’s time to be effective ones, Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin said.

Do not take the “easy way out” by allowing children to be glued to their computer screens for online games and movies, he said.

“Apart from doing academic exercises, play board games like scrabble and chess, experiment with science projects and also gardening.

“These games and activities allow children to develop their imagination, creativity, increase family bonding and stimulate growth, both physically and intellectually.”

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin warned that should the MCO intended to break the chain of Covid-19 infection not succeed, the MCO could be extended beyond March 31.


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NST Leader: New dimension of parental responsibility

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019
The time has come for Malaysia to consider a new dimension of parental responsibility. -Pic source: Google Images.

THE NST Leader, in May, had advocated for parental guidance as a constant to monitor children, especially in today’s cyber world.

The trigger then was the 16-year-old girl who committed suicide after a poll on her Instagram showed that her “friends” were in favour of it.

On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said a “diversion programme” to address social ills among children would be implemented next month — an alternative approach to handle child offenders without them having to go through the justice system.

Details are not yet forthcoming, but narratives available say “diversion” refers to a range of practices to divert an accused child away from formal court procedures and towards a more constructive and positive solution

Based on principles of restorative justice, it “requires offenders to accept responsibility for the crime, make amends for their misdeeds, and hence, initiate a healing process for themselves, their families, the victims and the community”.

The objective — give a child offender a second chance through diversion or intervention. Among the benefits are it is a more appropriate and constructive response than confinement, and a more productive way of addressing and preventing future delinquency.

Studies have shown that diversion is less costly and can promote community engagement and social cohesion.

Diversion is not uncommon. In the United States and the United Kingdom, diversion is not limited to children. In Atlanta, Georgia, in 2011, a single mother who was charged with felony theft underwent pretrial intervention, or “diversion”.

After 12 weeks of classes and 24 hours of community service, her case was dismissed and criminal record expunged. She could start life anew. It was a big break for her. In England and Wales, diversion from formal criminal proceedings in the youth court is usually only available if an admission to an offence is made.

This proactive step by the government focuses on caring for, nurturing and rehabilitating troubled youths. It may just be the panacea to help them. However, diversion is for children who have committed a crime. How do we prevent those who have not? Children are the responsibility of adults.

If not parents, then their guardians. A child cannot be left to fend for himself. It is an obligation on adults under whatever system of order a community subscribes to. Diversion, therefore, should not be seen as the whole solution to the problem of juvenile delinquency.

A crime, no matter how small, is still a crime. There is still need for some form of punishment. At the heart of it are delinquent parents or guardians.

Parents or guardians must always be held liable. Parental guidance means participation and interest in a child’s life. A family should be “talkative”. Aloof is not commendable parenting. Children can be reasoned with. For instance, reading the right literature is basic to growing a thinking family.

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The rights and responsibilities of parents as educators

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018
(File pix) Parents play a key role in the emotional development of their children. Courtesy Pix

WITHIN many social areas, it is believed, with justified conviction, that parents are the first and main educators of their children.

Today, it seems that this is neither evident in theory nor in practice among parents and public authorities.

The rights of parents to educate their children are essential because it is they who have brought them into this world.

Moreover, children depend on their parents not only for sustenance and physical care, but also the acquisition of early habits of personal autonomy, which takes place within the intimacy of the family.

The role played by parents in the emotional development of a child in his or her early years is fundamental. Furthermore, emotional deprivation is one of the key causes of failure in school.

The right and duty of parents are primordial and original in respect to other people and institutions that are involved in education. For having brought them here, parents have the natural duty to educate them and this duty should be recognised by all.

Moreover, the right to education and the duty of educating are irreplaceable and inalienable.

Schools are collaborative entities that provide education but they can never substitute parents in this responsibility.

There is no rational sense to commentaries made by parents, such as: “I don’t know how to educate my children; I was not taught to do this; and could schools teach them instead?”.

Parents cannot delegate the duty to educate their children to others because the role of the family is irreplaceable.

Throughout history, there have been attempts by totalitarian states to separate children from their families by making the state responsible for the education of children.

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Some parents driving their kids to the edge.

Friday, October 12th, 2018
Expert views: Dr Andrew (left) and Ho.

Expert views: Dr Andrew (left) and Ho.

PETALING JAYA: At least two cases of students having suicidal tendencies are being referred to a psychiatrist every month.

Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj said the cases were usually brought up by schools.

“I am extremely worried over this rising trend among adolescents and young adults,” said the Malaysian Mental Health Association president.

“Parents unfairly expect children to perform well in school without realising that the very reason they are not performing could be a result of poor human interaction and the lack of parental role.

However, Dr Andrew stressed that teachers should be given some form of exposure on what to look out for in students who behaved differently.

“Even children as young as eight can succumb to depression. So, early detection can save lives,” he said.

Child therapist Priscilla Ho, however, feels different factors that cause students to take their own life must be looked into.

“If a child comes from a disruptive family and feels helpless, it is the supportive environment of the school that then becomes important.

“Teachers are required to teach and do many reports but it is so important for them to connect with their students and get to know them. It helps a lot,” she said.

The following are two sad cases of students being stressed due to their parents.

> LING’s* limp body laid face down on the kitchen floor.

Her father shook her vigorously and thankfully, Ling’s eyelids fluttered and she opened her eyes after a while.

This was a year ago when Ling – an average student from a top performing school in Klang valley – had to sit for her SPM trial exam.

“The only thing I remembered before fainting was dreading to sit for Additional Mathematics – the paper I feared most.

“I felt nauseous and there was like a great force pushing me downwards the floor.

“I blacked out and woke up to my dad’s frightened voice calling me,” recalled the foundation student, who is 18 years old this year.

Ling, who was constantly pressured to excel in academics, had thought of jumping from the school’s building so many times that she lost count.

“I always had the urge to leap off any high point when I was looking down from it.

“I would also daydream about the method I would use to die,” she said.

The youngest of three children said she was regarded as the “black sheep” of the family because of her average academic performance, which was regarded as far from exemplary by her “traditionally Chinese” father’s standards.

“Both my elder siblings were straight A scorers and were always top of their class. Also, my father has a tendency to use us (children) as his trophies.

“He was always upset that my report card was a mix of A, B, an occasional C for Chinese, and a constant D for Additional Mathematics – a vast difference from my siblings’ pristine records,” said Ling, who had to attend tuition classes that were “never-ending”.

Fortunately, Ling’s father became less demanding after the fainting incident and Ling scored well for her SPM (but not straight As) and is now pursuing a course she has an interest in.

> A NEAR perfect score of 96 marks over a hundred was written in red on the top right corner of a crumpled Mathematics exam paper 12-year-old Shanti* clutched in her hands.

With tears pouring down her face, the high-achiever told her friends who were consoling her that she would be getting the “rotan” from her mother over the few careless mistakes that lost her four marks.

As the only child, Shanti’s overbearing mother wanted her to be the best in everything academic.

“I was so terrified of disappointing my mother and also getting beaten. This often happened in primary school.

“Almost perfect was not enough. It had to be perfect,” recalled the Selangor lass who would soon be completing her tertiary education.

“I had a playroom filled with toys and the latest games and Playstation console of that time, which were kept locked.

“It was all for show. I never had the chance to even touch them,” said Shanti, adding that whatever spare time she had was to revise her lessons.

It took an emotional breakdown for Shanti’s mother to realise that she had pushed her daughter over the edge.

“It was about two months before PMR (now replaced with PT3) and my mother wanted to sign me up for an intensive PMR prep course.

“This was on top of all the other tuition I was taking.

“I snapped, broke down and tore the workbook I was working on at the time.

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Are parents to blame for their kids’ crimes?

Sunday, February 4th, 2018
Parental care, supervision, love and understanding will stop juvenile crimes.

I read, as a Children’s Court adviser, and with much unhappiness, the report “Parents would suffer if they overlook children’s formative years” (NST, Feb 1).

If we as parents don’t see to their upbringing, who can?

I have pointed out that it is parental care, supervision, love and understanding that will stop juvenile crimes.

And, today, besides errant kids, we also have errant parents.

Student crimes made up 0.12 per cent of the crime index

Teenagers who were no longer schooling contributed another 1.6 per cent, or 2,665 cases, to the crime index.

It is time we worked with the school authorities to stop crime among teenagers.

Recently, in my duties at court, I had to deal with six kids, ranging from 11 to 14, for allegedly causing a fight with cangkul.

We have kids indulging in drugs or selling pirated videos.

Children’s Courts are strict with errant kids, but is this an answer to their woes?

We can impose fines on children, meaning we make parents pay for their children’s mistakes.

At the Children’s Court recently, two teenagers were fined RM3,000 each for causing a fight.

The Child Act 2001 makes many parents guilty of a child’s crimes.

And several sections in the Child Act 2001 provide penalties for parents.

Under Section 33, it is an offence to leave a child without reasonable supervision.

Such an offence carries a fine of RM 5,000, and a jail term not exceeding two years.

Section 93 makes it obligatory for parents or a guardian to execute a bond for the child’s good behaviour, with or without security, and other conditions, like accompanying the child to report to the Welfare Department at regular intervals, or attend workshops for counselling.


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Only 24pct of M’sian parents check content of children’s gadgets: Survey

Sunday, January 21st, 2018
Less than a quarter of Malaysian parents check the content of their children’s electronic devices, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim revealed on Saturday. (File pix)

KUALA LUMPUR: Less than a quarter of Malaysian parents check the content of their children’s electronic devices, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim revealed on Saturday.

The worrying finding, for children aged between 3 and 17, was revealed by a survey of 1,165 parents who attended programmes carried out during the 1Malaysia National Family Month in November.

“Nearly 80 per cent of parents… allow their children to own and use electronic gadgets.

“However, only 15.1 per cent of them prohibit the use of gadgets if their children commit an offence (such as perusing forbidden content),” Rohani said.

The survey also found that only 48 per cent of parents limit the time their children spend on gadgets; while 3.7 per cent do not monitor their children’s online activities at all.


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Code of ethics for parents need to be implemented soon – NUTP

Friday, October 6th, 2017
The National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) wants the Education Ministry (MOE) to immediately implement a code of ethics for parents to protect teachers as well as to maintain harmonious relationship between both parties. NSTP file pic

KANGAR: The National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) wants the Education Ministry (MOE) to immediately implement a code of ethics for parents to protect teachers as well as to maintain harmonious relationship between both parties.

Its president Kamarozaman Abd Razak said the code of ethics for parents would also ensure that the teachers’ dignity and emotion would not be adversely affected by the stress caused by parents’ displeasure on things they were dissatisfied with.

“NUTP submitted a proposal to MOE a year ago but until now there was no development. Therefore, we have to take proactive action similar as the ones implemented by developed countries, and not scrambling to address the issue only after a mishap occurred,” he said.

He said this when met by reporters after the launch of CDERT-NUTP and the conferment of the rank of affiliate officers of CDERT (Civil Defence Response Team)-NUTP by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim here last night.

Kamarozman said the NUTP would take proactive action by obtaining feedback from parents, non-governmental organisations and to discuss the code of ethics with lawyers before submitting the proposal to MOE.

“A majority of cases involving parents attacking teachers occurred in the urban area. Although the numbers have yet to reach alarming level, they still affected the teachers and if not contained, it can spread to wider areas and ultimately causing discord between teachers and parents,” he said.

On the upcoming 2018 Budget, he appealed to the government to increase the allocation for schools, as many of them, especially in rural areas are mainly of old buildings, the majority are more than 20 or 30 years old, and they need to be immediately maintained or repaired to ensure the safety of students and teachers.

“In efforts to implement the transformation and to create quality human capital, education is very important,” he said, adding that the RM600 million allocation for the maintenance of 10,600 schools nationwide, tabled in the 2017 Budget, was inadequate.


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Code of ethics for parents needed, says NUTP.

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

PUTRAJAYA: The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) is urging the Education and Women, Family and Community Development Ministries to come up with a code of ethics for parents.

Referring to disciplinary issues in schools, NUTP president Kamarozaman Abd Razak said it was important for parents to cooperate with schools to ensure a harmonious relationship.

“Parents must behave professionally. There have been too many incidences of parents attacking teachers as they believe everything their children tell them.

“A code of ethics for parents must be implemented by the two ministries,” he told reporters after the NUTP’s 21st tri-annual conference.

“There are codes for teachers, so why isn’t there one for parents?”

Kamarozaman also said counselling was necessary.

“There aren’t enough counsellors in schools. In primary schools, every 350 pupils are assigned to one counsellor while in secondary schools, it is 500 students to a counsellor.

“If there are sufficient counsellors, bullying and disciplinary issues in schools will be reduced,” he said.

NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan Huat Hock said in schools, principals and headmasters have the power to allow teachers to cane students but this must be done in front of eyewitnesses.

“There is standard operating procedure to follow,” he added.

The union also raised concerns over a lack of uniformity in school timetables.

Tan said while some schools start at 7.40am, many tend to have activities before school hours.

“This causes problems for teachers and parents. We suggest all quarters follow the official time schools are supposed to start.


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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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