Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Better Way To Raise Kids

Born2Reign has left a new comment on your post "Problem With Today's Young Graduates":

I have 3 children under 7 years. My eldest goes to a US based homeschooling class of 3-5 students per class for 3 hours a day.

1) Responsibility
Before the class starts, the students have to sweep the floor, wipe the table and chairs, arrange them, and wash the toilet.

2) Thought process
Instead of learning mainly ABCs, they start with character building and phonics. They are encouraged to write of their activities and feelings as their school work.

Hone presentation skills-show n tell in class develops their self-confidence and public speaking from young.

3) Buy their own toys
I do not buy any toys that my children want. There is a reward chart at home for good behaviour, duties, obedience. Upon achievement of a set of "stars" they get to go to a park, stay over at friend's house, eat sushi, etc. That is the adult world that they will eventually face. If the toy costs RM20, they need to earn it by washing the car, help the maid in cleaning and other house chores @ RM1 each. Upon earning their money then they can buy their toy (sometimes with a little subsidy from us) and they actually take care of their hard-earned toys better. We are amazed that they are actually so very eager to do their chores everyday once you place a carrot in front of them.

Some say that will create calculative kids, but you mean the parents are able to be calculative with their bosses but the kids can't? We also teach them to tithe their income.

4) Creativity
Limit the TV and PC. They learn to make figurines and vehicles from old boxes and paper and sticks, coz mommy and daddy are not buying them the entire Toys r us.

A good ref. is Dare to Discipline by Dr James Dobson.

Whatever it is, children need and yearn for boundaries. We as parents can teach them by setting goals relevant to their age, teach them to be independent from young.

Yuppie parents esp love to spoil the kids with the best PS2, and other material stuff to compensate for lack of communication and time.

My own youngest sis with straight As love to hop from job to job for a mere RM150-200 increment. I lost count of the no. of jobs. They are not interested in learning any skills, unfortunately.

Maybe I should save the money for uni for my kids to attend Tony Robbins or other mgmt trainings instead of "factory schooling"...

Comments: I would like to congratulate Born To Reign as I am sure yours is a much better way. If I may add (sounds silly as I am still single), do not follow the new mantra to treat your kids as friends. Kids need you to be their parents, not their friends. They have friends of their own. Having said that, parents should also structure their relationship to encourage open sharing, respect for each others' privacy (it applies both ways), respect for each others' opinions, and to establish trust both ways. There must be sufficient trust in that they will tell you when they have made mistakes, hence do not exert excessive punishment on the hint of any missteps as that will make they shy away from telling and sharing future problems and mistakes in their life. There must be a strong vacuum of trust within your family which can only be built by lifelong examples and exemplary ways, values and attitudes.

PS2, the Wii... I see kids ALL THE TIME at dinner tables playing with them. There must be rules and priority. There must be a willingness to spend time talking and sharing. Many parents who work may be tired or prefer to zone out in front of the TV when they are home. Buying them toys or giving them pets are not replacement. Kids are most influenced when they are young. Time lost during those days will be lost forever. How they turn out, if parents fail to exert the right influence, will be based on the roll of the dice then.

Nobody needs a license to be parents. You need a license to drive, to operate heavy equipment, to fly a plane, to be a teacher, to be a professional, you need a degree for most professions... it seems the only thing you do not need a license for is to be a parent. It is not an inborn quality as many parents are idiots as parents. Many kids are but a reflection of their parent's upbringing, and its a vicious cycle. Seems like we need a licensing body for parenting as I am sure most would agree it is the most important job in the world should you decide to take it up.

p/s photo: Eva Huang Sheng Yi


clk said...

SD, you forgot another profession that does not require any formal qualification (apart from our dedicated dustman-no offence intended due to their hardwork/contribution to society) but probably as important as parenting but scores lower than a dustman IMHO; our Politicians!

Compare them with their counterparts down south or even those in the US.

TsuChong said...

While the programme in the homeschool sounds wholistic and well, I still do not favour homeschooling.

Prime reason being, the child would not have a normal SOCIAl upbringing. Going to private schools with only 5 kids is a heck of difference from going to public schools.

Maybe it's just me; that I like the atmosphere of having 51 classmates, all crammped in a classroom (my form 5 class has 52 people). The joy, laughther, and dynamics is just so rich.

For me, secondary school days were the best. True, the edu system is heavily flawed, but the experience of mixing and even competing with each other is just so enriching.

Pros and cons i suppose.

And this may sound weird, but going to public school somewhat made me "Malaysian".

If only the taught system is better...

Born2Reign said...

SD, it was a nice surprise to see my comment being posted. I agree with you that there are times we are Mother and Father, and there are times we are Mommy and Daddy. To make a mistake is part of learning, and we don't harp on it. But to willfully disobey is asking for discipline. As the good book says, if you spare the rod, you hate your child.

So for all my kids their birthday present as they turned one is the Mr Rotan. I hope I don't get too many negative reactions here, however I find that a good tip is never to cane your child when you are angry. After a few times of "close proximity" with Mr Rotan's sting, I really do not need Rotan after they turn 2 (or sooner).

We want our children to have a real childhood like we did although living in a city kind of take away the carefree small-town lifestyle. However we have to remind ourselves that we are raising adults not children.

We can only hope and pray that our children will be a blessing to others and not a curse, like many of our politicians here. Certainly this is not a task for our govt or teachers - how can you expect a narrow-minded teacher to teach our kids to be kind and generous? How can you expect a crook to teach our kids not to steal?

Therefore my kids are getting a proper education by NOT GOING TO GOVT SCHOOL.

Naysayer said...

A Better Way To Raise Kids? With a structured regime like that, my kids (I'm still single too) would've lost their childhood.

I'd say, let our children grow up according to their age. Let them enjoy their growing up while we watch over them.

But then again, there are no right or wrong way to raise kids. Some parents derived satisfaction seeing through their kids becoming a genius at young age by structuring their life, while some parents are more liberalise by letting their kids developing themselves. It all depends, but I prefers the latter.

KoSong Cafe said...

There is no formula for parenting and I believe good sense should prevail depending on the type of personality of each child you are dealing with. What is suitable for one may not be for another.

I became a house husband at 44 when I decided to move to join my family because my wife worked for her parents and her prospects was better than mine. I had my fair share of having to explain myself being at home most of the time, though I consider myself having a home office looking after my little investments (disastrous having experienced 1998 and 2008).
Having reached 55 was a relief then, like coming out of the closet and telling people I am a retiree instead!

My rewards are two daughters who did well at school and appreciated my presence and guidance and still confide in me with their problems. Because I was working away from home when my son was growing up, he is closer to his mum. There is no doubt about the necessity of spending genuine time (not euphemised 'quality time') with your children.

I was discussing about how some people did not keep their promises even for small matters like lunch and this young lady agreed readily that she could not stand her father's empty promises of taking them out when she was small. So be careful of what you promise your child.

My only regret was not being able to make money from investments as without it, I have nothing to show at the end of my sacrifice.

When I hinted to my son that I might have to look towards children for support, he said it is easy because I am 'low maintenance' which is probably true as we are recession proofed - no Astro and no air-cond and no gearing!

Born2Reign said...

I share the same sentiment with you until I visited a homeschool centre. There are LOTS & LOTS of children to play with, but their standard is abt 10 kids to a teacher max. But kids being kids, they are no angels.

Ahh..the days when we could stay over at neighbours' house or the football field and play until dinner time. No such thing as overweight kids then coz we were running and cycling (sometimes fighting). And still grow up with more common sense than today's kids. Less gangsters and less psycho's back then.

Therefore, my kids have friends to play over our house almost on a daily basis - but I get to choose the friends they mix with. And I choose the teacher(s) who educate them, after all I am paying the money, and my kids are paying with their time. Why should my kids spend half their childhood with teachers who are not dedicated and clueless on the subject they are teaching? They should spend half their day in education, and the other half socialising with well-behaving friends and exploring gravity (climb trees).

Anyway, public schools or private schools, Chinese or BM schools, the responsibility of upbringing lies on the parents, not the maid, grandparents, teachers, daycare centres or babysitter.

BTW the clock is ticking. I can't be waiting for the Educ Minister to get their act together, private schools are too snobbish, so Bible-based homeschool is my best bet, and cheaper than the time and money spent on tuitions (to undo the damage govt teachers did).

bootleg86 said...

And so the next time your child does something, he'll always ask, "What's in it for me?"

Philip Lee said...

I also try to avoid the consumerist society from infiltrating the kids naive minds at a young age. So no lavish spending on toys but I try to spend as much time with my daughter as much as possible.

Born2Reign said...

To bootleg86: Umm, hasn't happened yet. Guess I welcome any other mode of reward other than giving my kids pocket money and toys BLINDLY.

Any better ideas on raising your kids so that they BEG you to do chores in the house and wash your car?

Philip, I agree quantity of time = love (kids definition). That's why I am freelancing and has avoided fulltime work for a few years now (tempting coz I keep getting offers to work fulltime)

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