Sex Education – when?

Sex Education, when is the right age to start? I was caught by surprise and didn’t know what to do when my 9 year old Genz Kid asked me a few “sex” related questions recently.

Sex Education, when is the right age to start?

I was caught by surprise and didn’t know what to do when my 9 year old Genz Kid asked me a few “sex” related questions recently.   

While walking to a bus stop, we saw two teenage girls hugging and kissing each other lips to lips in public and my Genz Kid asked, “Mummy, what are they doing? Why do they kiss each other?” I was like “Errr…” and then speechless.  I really do not know how to answer himIf you do, please let me know.

On another occasion, the mobile TV on a public bus we were travelling was showing a drama series.  In the show, a man has AIDS and there he goes again, “what is AIDS and how does he get infected with it? Will I get AIDS too? Is it like H1N1?”   I am speechless. Am I suppose to tell him that one of the main reason people get HIV virus is when they have sex with an infected person so it’s safer if one only have one sex partner?  If I do, I bet the next question from him would be “what is sex?”  ….  To save me from the awkward situation, it was our stop soon and I told him, “time to get down the bus.”  He didn’t prompt further after we alighted from the bus so I go “PHEW”! 

Now I’m seriously thinking whether we should teach our kids what sex education is about.  However, even if we do, how should we start and when is the right time?     

Oh yes, before I forget, there is something I think all parents should talk to their children on, i.e. certain body parts of ours are private and shouldn’t be touch by others.  For boys, its penis and for girls, they are breast and virgina.   I remembered this incident when Genz Kid was in K1, his school principal told me that one of the K1 students like to caress a female teacher’s breast.  It was an innocent act of course, but the female teacher was quite embarrassed by the act.   The principal then told all parents to cultivate the ideas to their children that certain parts of the body are private and shouldn’t be touched by others, which include children.

News articles on sex education: http://www.asiaone.com/News/Education/Story/A1Story20090601-145319.html  http://www.asiaone.com/News/Education/Story/A1Story20090601-145317.html  http://www.asiaone.com/News/Education/Story/A1Story20090601-145319.html

A good resource article for your pleasure reading: http://www.essortment.com/family/parentingadvice_smpl.htm

8 Ways to Foster a Joy of Learning in Your Children

When you foster the love of learning in your children, you set them up for a lifetime of happiness and success. Children are born with a drive to learn and explore the world around them, and parents have the ability to nudge them in the direction of continuous learning.

When you foster the love of learning in your children, you set them up for a lifetime of happiness and success. Children are born with a drive to learn and explore the world around them, and parents have the ability to nudge them in the direction of continuous learning.

Your ultimate goal as a parent should be to discover your child’s preferred method of learning. You can do this by encouraging them to pursue hobbies that they find exciting and enriching. You also need to maintain the wisdom to know when your children might need an extra push in a certain area or whether they need to change their course entirely.

Consider some of these simple strategies to foster a joy of learning:

1. Reading Stories. Your children are never too young to enjoy a story. Start reading to them when they’re babies and you’ll foster a lifetime of love for the subject. When it comes to reading, as long as they keep practicing the skill they’ll keep getting better at it. Encourage your children to read more, regardless of their age or topic of interest, as long as it’s age-appropriate.

2. Get Excited About New Things. It’ll help if you maintain a certain excitement about the things your child discovers. When they’re babies, cheer when they learn to walk or roll over. Cheer as they learn to ride bikes. Continue to show excitement every time they start something new.

3. Be Inspired Yourself. It’s important to remain inspired and continue to go after your own wants and dreams. In life you never stop learning. If your children see your personal love of learning, they’ll be inspired, too.

4. Give Your Child a Choice. While you don’t have to allow your child to do whatever they want, you can still give them a choice in what they’d like to pursue. When children have a choice, they feel like what they think makes a real difference, and it does! Let them choose their own books, hobbies, and so on.

5. Stay Involved with School. Make sure you stay on top of the topics that your children are learning in school. You kids will like the attention and they’ll appreciate that you’re involved in their life. You can go over assignments at home or you can even have frequent meetings with your child’s teachers.

6. Field Trips. Maybe your children will be scheduled to go on field trips with their school. If not, you can always create your own field trips for afternoons and weekends. Schedule field trips that pertain to your child’s personal interests. They will certainly be inspired to learn more and you’ll still be personally involved in their lives.

7. Show Your Support. It’s always important to show your children support no matter what. Even if they’ve chosen a subject to pursue that you don’t enjoy, as long as it’s appropriate, it’s important to be there for your child. If they suspect that you’re unhappy with their personal decisions, they may be less likely to continue with their studies.

8. Provide Resources. While you may not always have a great deal of cash available for your children’s hobbies, it’s a good idea to provide them with the necessary resources to allow them to fully pursue their interests. When they’re toddlers and young children, it can mean just providing them educational and age appropriate toys. It may be more of a financial burden when they’re older because you may need to invest in advanced training or camps.

You really only want what’s best for your children. You’ll soon realize that as long as you remain loving and accepting, your children will continue to come to you for guidance and advice. When you start learning with them while they’re young, fostering a love of learning will come naturally.

Exams Over, Fun is In

Hoo….ray… FINALLY, exams are over and play is in for my 9 years old genz kid.

My 9 years old genz kid told me that he is the happiest human being on earth now. While I’m typing this post, he is happily playing his DS besides me. Tomorrow he will have fun exploring his new xbox game, Halo 3 ODST, with his daddy.

Hoo….ray… FINALLY, exams are over and play is in for my 9 years old genz kid. 

My 9 years old genz kid told me that he is the happiest human being on earth now. While I’m typing this post, he is happily playing his DS besides me.  Tomorrow he will have fun exploring his new xbox game, Halo 3 ODST, with his daddy.     

I am so delighted to see my genz kid so happy and I’m definitely also relieved myself that the exams are over. In fact, I am so relieved that I decided to give myself a little “treat”– a good karaoke session with my friends that evening.

Oh, did I mention that we will be going to Hong Kong for a short trip during this school holiday?   While my two genz kids are looking forward to their trip to DisneyLand, I am looking forward to haunt down all the “good and nice” eating places in Hong Kong.  I have compiled a list of “where to eat / good food” in Hong Kong that genz dad commended that my main and only purpose of this upcoming trip is to just “EAT” ;-p   If any of you are happen to be going to Hong Kong during this school holiday too and share the same passion in food like me,  I would be more than happy to share with you my list but just a note of disclaimer – the list was compiled based on information provided by my friends who have been to Hong Kong (some many years back) so the places / stalls they’ve mentioned might not be there any more. 

So …. Bye bye exams!  Hong Kong here we come !!!!!

Gifted Education Programmes (GEP Programmes)

My 9 year old Genz Kid just took his GEP Selection Test. In case you are wondering what is GEP Selection Test, it’s the Gifted Education Programme Selection Test by Ministry of Education in Singapore to identify those highly intelligent individuals when they are in Primary 3 so they could nurture these individuals to their fullest potential.

My 9 year old Genz Kid just took his GEP Selection Test.  In case you are wondering what is GEP Selection Test, it’s the Gifted Education Programme Selection Test by Ministry of Education in Singapore to identify those highly intelligent individuals when they are in Primary 3 so they could nurture these individuals to their fullest potential.

In order to sit for the GEP Selection Test, you need to be first sit for the GEP Screening Test (sometime in August).  About 4000 of those Primary 3 students would be selected to sit for the GEP Selection Test.  Of those 4000, about500 would be selected for the GEP Programmes.  These selected individuals would be given a choice to either continue with their current primary school education in their existing school or join the GEP Programmes in the GEP schools.   The GEP Programmes, from what I understand from friends who have children in the GEP Programmes, are more project and research based.  They do not rely so much on textbooks.                              

The selection is based on 3 papers, namely English, Mathematics and General Ability, spread into 2 days.  Genz Kid was unsettled before the tests; he asked what if he doesn’t know how to answer the questions.  I told him that as long as he has put in his best effort, it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t make it to GEP Programmes. 

My friends asked me what preparation works have I done to prepare him for the test.  My answer is none. The revisions we have done so far were for the preparation of his SA2.

What do we expect from his GEP test?  Well, let’s put it this way.  Genz Kid is smart but I would not say he is highly intelligent so we do not have high expectation that he would make it to the GEP Programmes.  So if he makes it, he makes it.  If he doesn’t, life still goes on…. 

If you like to know more about GEP Programme, please read: http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/programmes/gifted-education-programme/

Suicide and Children

Singapore – I read a piece of sad news yesterday morning. A 11 years old school boy jumped to his death after his school English oral examination two days ago.

Singapore – I read a piece of sad news yesterday morning.  A 11 years old school boy jumped to his death after his school English oral examination two days ago

A sad piece of news indeed!  What had happened? Why did he jump?  Isn’t there any tell-tale sign before he jumped?  I kept asking myself these questions.  The fact that he jumped immediately after his school English oral exam made me wonder if the pressure he was facing during exam period was just too much for him to handle.  Did we parents put so much pressure on the children nowadays? 

To be honest, I think today, most parents are “kiasu”.  We are “kiasu” not because we want to be “kiasu”.  We are “kiasu” because if we don’t, our children will be lagging behind and will not be able to catch up in this competitive world later.  You tell me, how can they survive 20 years later with no “paper” qualification?    Even today, an adult with no “formal” education is struggling to earn a living.     

Parents, I know how hard it is on us but we do not want things like this to happen to our children, do we?  While we want them to do well in school, we have to be careful not to impose too much stress on them.  It is very important that we pay attention to our children behaviour.  If you notice any sudden change in their behaviour and are disturbed by them – don’t wait, ask for help!  It’s always better to be sure than sorry…..

Here are some hotlines you can call:

  • Fei Yue Counselling Hotline – 1800-565 6626
  • Institute of Mental Health – 6389 2222
  • Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) – 1800-221 4444
  • Touchline – 1800-377 2252
  • Tinkle Friend – 1800-274 4788
  • Touch Youth Community – 6377 0122
  • Youth Guidance – 6552 6477
  • Youthline (Youth Challenge) – 1800-336 3434

Website – http://www.samaritans.org.sg/index1.html

Me-The-“Kiasu” Mom

In case you do not know what “kiasu” mean. By definition from Wikipedia, “kiasu” is a Hokkien word that literally means “fear of losing”.

I once asked my son’s tution teacher if I’m a “kiasu” mother. She is honest enough to say, “yes, a little.” but added that now she is a mother herself (her girl is 4 months old), she finally understand how I feel. She admitted that she is thinking which pre-school she should place her girl 3 years later.

In case you do not know what “kiasu” mean.  By definition from Wikipedia, “kiasu” is a Hokkien word that literally means “fear of losing”

I once asked my son’s tution teacher if I’m a “kiasu” mother.  She is honest enough to say, “yes, a little.” but added that now she is a mother herself (her girl is 4 months old), she finally understand how I feel.  She admitted that she is thinking which pre-school she should place her girl 3 years later. 

Well, school exams are round the corner (to be exact, in another 2 weeks).  For those parents with schooling children, you will know exactly what I’m going through now.   I guess parents are more stress than their children during exams period.   Exams are usually a “testing” period for most parents.  It is a time when parents lose their “cool” easily.  My son once questioned me why am I so impatient with him especially when I am teaching him.  There are just too many things to do with too little time so when he kept silence after I asked a question; I started questioning him if he was listening to me just now or when he made the same mistake twice, I would impatiently ask if he had learnt from his previous mistake.  I once overheard a colleague telling his son that she was very disappointed with his exam results because he had not put in his best effort for the exams (how can we be so sure that he had not tried his best? Maybe his definition of “best” is different from ours).

Okay, I am a “kiasu” mom but how am I not to be “kiasu” when the world has become so competitive.  You might have read my previous article on “Children have Stress Too!” posted on 8 October 2009.  I am trying and learning (very hard) to “relax” myself and not to stress my son too much.  As such, besides the much needed 9 hours recharge sleeping time and meal time, he still get to enjoy his TV time and play time despite exam period.  And may I add that he gets really upset if I were to cut his TV time and play time, especially on Sunday, when he can play x-box with Genz Dad.   So as much as I’m tempted to, I try not to take away his treasured 2 hours x-box time with Genz Dad. 

You may ask how “kiasu” am I.   Well, this is how “kiasu” I am.  Besides the usual school routine and school homework, my son has 1½ hours tution classes every Wednesday to Saturday; 45 minutes piano lesson every Monday; and 1 hour swimming lesson every Sunday. 

Not “kiasu” enough?  Maybe but for now, I think it’s enough for my 9 years old Genz Kid.  Sorry my darling Genz Kid, Genz Mom is still learning how to relax here!

Want to read more about “kiasu” parents? Visit http://kiasuparents.com/kiasu/

Children and Television

Shall we allow our young children to watch television programmes? This is one of the most common questions asked by most parents nowadays. I was told by some parents that they do not allow their young children (mostly below the age of 4) to watch television programmes. To them, watching television is not time well-spent. They prefer their children doing something more meaningful such as reading, drawing instead of spending their time in front of the “box”.

Shall we allow our young children to watch television programmes? This is one of the most common questions asked by most parents nowadays.  I was told by some parents that they do not allow their young children (mostly below the age of 4) to watch television programmes.  To them, watching television is not time well-spent.  They prefer their children doing something more meaningful such as reading, drawing instead of spending their time in front of the “box”. 

My 2 years old girl is a fan of Playhouse Disney on cable TV.  Though she can’t tell the time, she knows exactly when to turn on the television so she won’t miss her favourite programme (i.e. Mickey Mouse Club House).  My son, now 9 years old, used to be a great fan of Playhouse Disney too.  His favourite programme then was Rolie Polie Olie.  I still remembered that when our family travelled to Korea when he was 4.  What he missed most was Playhouse Disney programmes!  Today, my son watches programmes such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and News.  Of course, kids being kids, he watches cartoons as well.  His favourite? Ben 10 and Mr. Bean on Cartoon Networks.   

To clarify, I am not here to encourage you to let your children watch television programmes.  I personally think that for children (especially the older ones), watching television can help to reduce stress.  Just sharing, my son would laugh out loud whenever he watches Mr Bean and I find that a good form of stress reliever.   In addition, by making the right choices, television actually provide a very wide range of general information and also in teaching our children.  For example, my girl learns her counting with Mickey Mouse when she watches Mickey Mouse Club House and my son widens his general knowledge through Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel

I guess the question is not whether we should let them watch television but the questions should really be what type of programmes they should be watching.  I believe that with appropriate time management and with the right selection of programmes, television would do more “good” than “harm” to children.  Anyway, we get to choose the type of programmes we want to and don’t want to watch.  The choice is ours

For reading, visit http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/health_safety/television.shtml, http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/tv_affects_child.html

 

For information on Disney Playhouse, visit http://tv.disney.go.com/playhouse/index.html

 

For information on Cable TV, visit http://www.starhub.com/tv.html

What is Your Parenting Style?

What is your parenting style?

Have you ever wondered what your parenting style is? While it is true that the character of a child is usually in-born, different parenting style can result in different outcome of bringing up your child.

There are 3 broad categories of parenting styles, namely, authoritarian, permissive and democratic. Your parenting style could fall within one of the 3 categories or a mixture of both or a little of everything.

Have you ever wondered what your parenting style is?  While it is true that the character of a child is usually in-born, different parenting style can result in different outcome of bringing up your child. 

There are 3 broad categories of parenting styles, namely, authoritarian, permissive and democratic. Your parenting style could fall within one of the 3 categories or a mixture of both or a little of everything. 

“THIS IS AN ORDER!” – THE ARMY STYLE

Because I said so!”  If this phrase sounds too familiar to you, you might be an Authoritarian parent.  Discipline and obey are the key to everything.  You are the captain of the ship and your say is final.  Strict rules are set for your child to follow and there is little room (or even no room) for negotiation.  Children learnt from young that discipline is in form of reward and punishment.  Children with Authoritarian parent tend to have low self-esteem, are submissive but some may rebel to the controlling parents.   

“ANYTHING YOU WANT, DARLING!” – THE  “GOOD” PARENT STYLE

If you are a parent who gives in to everything your children ask for, then you could be a Permissive parent.  A total opposite of an Authoritarian parent, your child is the “king”.  What they say matters most and they usually get what they want. Permissive parent gives their children a lot of freedom with no limitation or with minimum limitation.  As such, children with Permissive parent tend to be aggressive and are usually self-centered.  They tend to throw “tantrums” and are easily “out of control”.

“YOU HAVE A CHOICE” – THE DEMOCRATIC STYLE

If you are a parent who respects your children decision and there is always “room for negotiation”, you are likely to be a Democratic parent.  Given the right opportunity and circumstances, children of Democratic parent are given choices.  Like adults, when they made their own decision based on the choice they chosen, they take ownership of the decision and hence learn to take responsibility of the outcome of the decision made.  They learn from lessons whether they have made a good decision or bad one.  For example, a child who chooses to watch TV before doing her homework has to bear the consequences of not finishing her homework on time (e.g. punishment from teacher for not finishing her homework).  When children have control over their decision, they have better self-esteem and are more confidence of themselves. 

There is no right or wrong parenting style.  The objective of this article is to encourage you to find out what your parenting style is and consider if it is the right one for you and your child.   Let’s not wait till something happen before we realize that our current parenting style doesn’t work.

For more reading, visit http://www.parentingstyles.co.uk/, http://pediatrics.about.com/od/infantparentingtips/a/04_pntg_styles.htm

Children Leaning Dialects

Gone were the days where Gen Z kids sing nursery rhymes and children songs! My two Gen Z girls have established their own pop culture of singing Hokkien Songs!

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”… “Baa Baa Black Sheep”… Stop! Gone were the days where Gen Z kids sing nursery rhymes and children songs! My two Gen Z girls have established their own pop culture of singing Hokkien Songs!

Under the influence of their grandparents (paternal and maternal), my 2 “GenZies”, 6 and 3 have cultivated a “strange” interest in Taiwanese drama serials. They never fail to sit in front of the TV at 430 pm on weekdays and 7 pm on weekends. They are not fascinated about the handsome actors or beautiful actresses, nor are they interested in the happenings in shows. What really entice them are the Hokkien songs!

My GenZ-ians are Hokkien songs fanatics! Their grandparents, who are impressed by their extraordinary talent decided to unleash their potential by exposing them to more Hokkien songs via VCDs and bringing them to watch Ge-Tai on the 7th lunar month. The amazing part is that they are able to learn the songs in an ultra fast pace and within two days, you will hear them humming and singing on their way home. This is exactly analogous with the findings of most research where children learn language rapidly in early year of life.

Like all mothers, i have high expectations of my 2 GenZies. Therefore, it is inevitable to be concerned when they start learning Hokkien songs initially. My view then was that frequent exposure may compromise proficiency in English and Chinese.

But after some time, i realised that children learning dialects is not a bad thing after all. It can help to resurrect the “forgotten tongue” and unlock the obstacles between children and the older generation. Also, being trilingual i.e. learning dialects may not necessarily increase their burden since they are obviously enjoying it!

Parents need not be overly concerned that learning dialects may cause negative inferences on the learning standards of other languages, which are important to the kids’ academic and professional lives. It will not be if proper guidance is given and if sufficient time is allocated to the learning of each language.

So, i encourage all parents to keep an open mind and not be overly concerned if your GenZ children start conversing and singing songs in dialect!

Right-Handed Mom And Left-Handed Child

As far as I’m aware, we do not have family history of any left-hander. You can imagine my surprise when Genz Dad and I realized that our then 18 months old girl is a left-hander.

As far as I’m aware, we do not have family history of any left-hander. You can imagine my surprise when Genz Dad and I realized that our then 18 months old girl is a left-hander. We are in a dilemma; shall we “force” her to become a right-hander or let nature take its course? Anyway, the old folks had this saying, “left-handed child is of disadvantage in the right-handed world.” After due consideration, we decided to go for the 2nd option, i.e. let nature takes it course.

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Photo by 1000 watt dream

Since then, I’ve done some reading on left-handed child through internet. I even brought a book by the title of “Your Left Handed Child” by Lauren Milsom.

The book provides a very good insight of a left-handed child in a right-handed world. You will not only find many good picture illustrations that clearly demonstrate the common pitfalls faced by the left-handed children but also suggestions to overcome these problems. If you are a right-handed parent with a left-handed child, I would strongly recommend you to read this book.

A right-handed parent does not mean your child must be right-handed too. It’s not easy, I must say. There are many considerations to be taken into when a right-handed parent deals with her left-handed child.

Some of the experiences I have encountered are:

* There was this incident when I was helping my daughter wearing her shoes. She was standing hands-free when I lifted her left leg while trying to wear her right shoe for her. Then oops, she fell down. I forgot that she is a left-hander and her preference is to wear her right shoe first so she could support herself with her left foot. Fortunately, it was not a nasty fall.

* I used to feel awkward when holding her little left hand with my big right hand when we draw together. I have later learnt that it is more efficient to sit facing her instead of behind her (by the way, it’s also easier for your left-handed child to mirror your action, such as tying shoe lace when you sit facing her).

* As the children in her weekend playground class are mostly right-hander, I need to constantly remind her teacher that she is a left-hander as she has the tendency of holding my girl’s right hand when guiding her to draw or trace.

Still pondering the question whether you should train your left-handed child to a right-handed one? Well, I hope by sharing this with you, it would help you make a better decision.