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

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 –

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. 

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!

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Children have stress too!

Just a few days ago, my 9 years old son asked me if it was more stressful to work than study. Sensing something wasn’t right; I asked him if something was bothering him. He replied gloomily, “Mommy, I feel that I can’t breathe, why is there so much homework everyday?”

Photo by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³

Indeed, we live in a competitive environment today. Parents nowadays have high expectations of their children and by trying to do what they think are the “best” for their children, they have indirectly impose stress on them.

Ok, I admit, I am guilty myself! I have a smart boy and because he is bright, I have high hope of him. I want him to do well in school and unknowingly, I am inflicting stress on him. Now, I’m keep asking myself, am I doing this for him or for myself?

Stress by itself is not a bad thing. Having the right amount of stress can motivate a child to strive towards his goals. Stress becomes DISTRESS when it is overwhelming. At any stage in life, there is bound to be some stressful events and as they grow from one phrase to another, they will be put in new situations with new challenges and this would again lead to stress.

We as parents cannot eliminate the stress our children are going to face but what we can do is to teach them how to deal with it. However, before we can even do that, we need to understand and do one thing ourselves. We as PARENTS need to set realistic expectations on our children based on their ability and not ask for anything more than they can handle. I know it is easier said than done but then again, we want our children to have a happy and memorable childhood, wouldn’t we?

I’m trying and I hope you are too……

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