Setting boundaries is better than trying to prevent children from making mistakes
Written by: Peggy Ho Pui Yee, Founder and Volunteer Executive Director of Good Love Passion
Being overly critical is the most common mistake parents make in disciplining their children. The phrase “love deeply, scold severely” reflects the emotions of most parents. Parents often fear that their children will develop any undesirable behavior during their growth, which may have lifelong consequences. Therefore, when disciplining their children, parents often resort to meticulous criticism as a way to remind them. In reality, making mistakes is an essential part of a child’s growth process. As children constantly change and grow, parents need to adapt to their developmental needs and adjust their approach to dealing with their behavior, even changing the way they interact with them.
For example, when a child fails to complete their homework on time, parents should calmly handle this common occurrence, as it is an opportunity for the child to improve and grow. Similarly, when a child talks back, it may indicate their emerging independence and critical thinking skills. It doesn’t necessarily mean they lack respect for their parents. As children grow older, they develop their own thoughts, opinions, and perspectives on various aspects of life. They also desire parental acknowledgment. As parents, we may not agree with these behaviors, but even in disagreement, we can understand the underlying needs of our children. This allows us to communicate more effectively with them and utilize appropriate disciplinary methods.
“While knowledge can change destiny, attitude determines everything!” Explosive anger and harsh accusations from parents are ineffective in discipline and serve no purpose. When parents understand how to gently and firmly assist their children and incorporate respect into daily life, children will develop a better understanding of rules and boundaries. Consequently, they will exercise more self-control and establish their own standards for behavior. With these standards in place, they will naturally become more independent, responsible individuals. Therefore, parents should establish boundaries in their children’s daily lives during their early childhood stages.
Since the age of one and a half, my daughter understood that writing is done on paper. Therefore, even at the age of 3, she has never stuck a sticker on the pristine walls of our home. She knows her boundaries and understands that a responsible child should keep the house clean. It is her responsibility. Parents establish guidelines for children to follow before discussing whether they are obedient or not.
When setting boundaries for younger children, it is important to be clear and specific. For example, you can say to a toddler, “If you can’t do it, it means you’re not behaving.” However, for young children, the term “not behaving” is vague and difficult for them to grasp. In addition, when setting boundaries, it is necessary to establish the consequences of not complying. It is important to emphasize that these consequences are “results” and not “punishments.” Consequences are simply the natural outcome of an agreement between both parties, operating under natural laws, and they are distinct from punishments. For example, after playing, if a child is expected to clean up their toys, they can continue playing next time only if they tidy up. However, if they don’t clean up, according to the previous agreement, their toys will be confiscated for two or three days.
At this point, parents must make it clear to the child that this is the natural consequence of not fulfilling the agreement, not a punishment. Another example is when parents discuss with their child the time limit for watching TV or using electronic devices and set specific time boundaries. Similarly, if the child exceeds the designated time and doesn’t turn off the device, according to the previous agreement, they won’t be allowed to watch or use it for the next three days. When setting boundaries, parents need to ensure they are reasonable. Otherwise, it would be unfair to the child, making them more likely to cross the boundaries and become disobedient in the future.
While parents have the responsibility to teach children proper behavior, if the methods used are too impatient and harsh, lacking an understanding of the child’s growth process, it may lead to negative effects. Therefore, we should provide children with experiences of taking initiative to change for the better, engage in serious discussions, rather than resorting to severe punishments. Approaching the situation with a calm and composed demeanor can assist children in transforming their mistakes into opportunities for growth. Just like how children inevitably fall while learning to walk, we encourage them to pick themselves up and take another step forward.
When faced with a child’s misconduct, it is important to consider how to handle the situation in a way that fosters their ability to change. People generally do not intentionally make mistakes; the reason for making mistakes is often due to a lack of awareness. Making mistakes is not inherently frightening for children; what is truly concerning is making mistakes without understanding where they went wrong or how to correct them. If parents can approach their child’s mistakes with the right mindset and guide them towards making corrections using appropriate methods, these mistakes can become opportunities for reflection and progress. It also enhances the chance for communication between parents and children. Let us transform our children’s mistakes into beautiful errors.
How to use music to learn a language?
Source: Speech Therapist, Miss Carley
In order to help children learn a language, parents use various methods. Have you ever considered singing as one of the methods? Music is an international language and is highly engaging for children. We also have many different ways to use music to assist children in language learning.
One simple method is called “lyric filling.” This method can be used for children who may not yet be able to speak or can only say a few words. Parents can try using this method. Choose a familiar song that the child knows, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” However, instead of singing the entire song, use a single syllable to sing the entire song, for example, “ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma.” Then suddenly stop and wait for the child to hum or sing the remaining syllable. Parents can encourage the child to vocalize that particular syllable.
The second method is to sing action songs with children, which involve movements. For example, the well-known song “If You’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” You can sing this song with the child while performing different actions. Through this, children can learn different movements and some nouns and vocabulary.
Interestingly, music can enhance children’s memory. Have you ever noticed that there are many songs we heard when we were young or many years ago, and even if we haven’t sung them in years, we can still remember the lyrics? Therefore, we can simply sing the ABC Song with children to teach them basic English letters. We can also learn numbers with children, for example, “One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians.”
If we want to teach children the English names of the days of the week, we can sing “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday” with them. By incorporating vocabulary into music, it makes it easier for children to remember the words.
The fourth method is to try singing out certain phrases, similar to singing. We can also use props to assist, such as simple flashcards. For example, if we want to say, “Chan Siu Ming is eating an apple,” we can sing it out using a musical approach, which enhances the child’s motivation and interest in communication.
Common questions about promoting to Primary School: Experts answer for you
Source: Education expert, Chiu Wing Tak
Question: In the scoring system for enrolling in Primary One, how are twins scored? If the two have different personalities, should they choose to attend the same school for convenience?
Answer: Actually, there is a system in place for twins. There are two possibilities: both are accepted, or neither is accepted. If both are accepted, both children will receive an additional 5 points. It is not a matter of distinguishing between “older twin” or “younger twin.” If the two children have different personalities, it doesn’t matter. In the school I used to work at, we often admitted twins, and if their personalities were different, we would assign them to different classes.
Each class is taught by teachers with different personalities, who can cater to students with different personalities, so parents can rest assured. It’s not necessary to enroll them in two different schools, as it would be burdensome for parents. However, in the case of direct subsidized schools or private schools, extra caution is needed, as there may be situations where one child is accepted while the other is not.
Question: Is applying to 20 direct subsidized or private primary schools the minimum requirement?
Answer: This really depends on individual circumstances, and every parent’s situation is different. Some parents apply to many schools out of concern. The key factor is how many schools you actually interview with. If you plan to apply to 20 schools, scheduling conflicts can become quite severe. However, the most important thing is not to burden the child too much. If the child is suffering, it will also cause distress for the parents.
Another question is, why are you applying to 20 schools? Some parents claim it’s to let their child “warm up.” But actually, you don’t need to apply to 20 schools just to warm up. If you drive the car a few times, you can warm up, right? So there’s no need to apply to 20 schools; around 5 or 6 would be sufficient. Additionally, if a child has to attend multiple interviews, their performance will gradually decline because they will become tired and exhausted. When they start giving up or feeling unsuccessful, it can greatly impact their confidence.
Question: If the first-choice primary school’s first-round interview clashes with the second-round interview of the second-choice school, both of which are popular schools, and the second-choice school has a higher chance of acceptance with the second-round interview, it seems wasteful to give up the second-round interview after the child’s previous efforts. How should I make a choice?
Answer: Are both schools equally liked by the parent? If both schools are equally liked, then of course, choosing the second-round interview school would be the option. Because with the second-round interview, there is a high chance of proceeding to the third round and then getting accepted. If you don’t equally like both schools, even if you have a second-round interview, it won’t be useful. So the key point is whether you equally like both schools. If you really like the first-round interview school, I think you should choose that one because if you are accepted to a school you really like, you will definitely go there. So the choice should not be based on which round of the interview but rather on which school you like the most.
Question: Do prestigious primary schools consider parents’ backgrounds? Will they discount the child’s admission if the parents do not hold prominent positions?
Answer: If it is a government or subsidized school, there is actually no place to fill in the parents’ background. They only consider whether you have hereditary status, whether your scores are sufficient, and whether you are lucky enough. So government or subsidized schools do not consider parents’ backgrounds. But if you are applying to a private or direct subsidized schools, there may be opportunities for them to inquire about your background or require you to provide such information. In the past, many parents were concerned that they didn’t have prestigious occupations, or their positions were ordinary, and they wondered if the school would reject their child because of that.
In my opinion, many educators, even in prestigious schools, do not necessarily consider parents’ backgrounds. They truly focus on the child themselves, and some schools may not even interview the parents. Of course, there are some prestigious schools that are concerned about the family’s income or support, but it may not necessarily be related to the parents’ occupation. However, parents should not decide not to apply to those schools just because they do not hold prominent positions.