21 August 2019
In building a child's character, a parent's good example is far better than a long list of precepts. Photo: HKEJ
In building a child's character, a parent's good example is far better than a long list of precepts. Photo: HKEJ

Helicopter moms won’t help their kids get good education

Some helicopter parents would do almost anything to secure a place in a dream school for their kids.

Like eager suitors, they would wait outside the school every day, they would write letters to the principal to show how eager they are for the school to admit their children. Some even pledge to donate to the school if their kids are accepted.

However, when things don’t go as planned, eagerness, like a spurned love, could easily turn into anger and hatred.

Ying Wa Primary School, an elite direct subsidized boys’ school in Kowloon, announced last week it will hold five briefing sessions in June, and parents can register for the sessions online. The entire quota of 4,000 seats was snapped up within 10 minutes.

Some parents who failed to get a seat were hysterical and bombarded the school with complaints.

School principal Maria Lam Woon-sum says some parents are just “nervous”, but she tells the Sky Post that there’s no reason for them to be agitated if they fail to get a seat because all the briefing sessions can be watched online.

What she can’t understand is why some parents have to scold the teachers.  

“They think they are the big bosses,” Lam said, adding that some of the parents lack basic respect for the school.

Many parents have asked her how their children should prepare for the interview. Her reply is that their kids only need to act naturally and answer the interviewee’s questions sincerely. Parents don’t need to enrol their kids in an etiquette class or a course on interview techniques.

Lam does not believe that training could turn a child into elite student. In fact, too much training could kill a child’s natural curiosity and creativity.

Once she asked the children if they wanted to ask anything after the interview session. The room fell silent. Apparently, she says, the parents taught their kids not to ask questions because they thought that’s how a child with good manners should behave.

There’s one occasion where a child raised his hand and, blushing, asked whether Lam liked him or not. 

Lam was impressed. “It really doesn’t matter what they’ve asked, but it is important that they have to be lively,” she said.

She also recalls one student who appeared to have a bad attitude towards his maid at home, and the mother came to the school to ask for help.

But Lam later found out that the son had actually acquired his bad attitude from his mom.

She says a child’s character and traits are greatly influenced by family members. A parent’s good example is far better than a long list of precepts.

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EJ Insight writer

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