Date
4 December 2016
Parents should provide their children with guidance to help them live independently. Photo: Xinhua
Parents should provide their children with guidance to help them live independently. Photo: Xinhua

Learning from falling

My son is four months old and I never ceased to be amazed by his growth and development every day.

He can lift his head up, do some babbling and kick his legs. Every moment is precious.

Recently, our little boy tried to stand by holding on to us, looking at the world around him in a new angle.

Since standing is rather strenuous for him, we often prompt him to take some breaks.

It is inevitable that toddlers would fall a lot while learning to walk but it wouldn’t take long before he can walk unaided after trying.

However, some extreme parents might stop their toddlers as soon as they fall down once.

In order to protect their babies from harm, they carry them in their arms and do not allow them to touch ground again.

This is an extreme observation but it is not uncommon.

Many are making the same mistakes. When kindergarten toddlers take longer time to put on their own shoes, their parents come over to help.

Some primary school pupils puzzled about their homework have parents who would save them by completing the assignments.

There are some high school students who cannot write a personal statement in their university applications. Their parents would hire a “writer” to do the task.

It is a natural instinct that parents would give their support whenever their children are in difficulty but it doesn’t mean they should take on the problems and settle them as their own.

Responsible parents should provide their children with guidance to help them live independently.

Failure is the mother of success. Each failure could be a good learning opportunity for further improvement.

The following are my ideas on parenting:

1) Understand child development stages and encourage your child to do whatever their ability permits. For example, it is normal for a three-year-old to do simple counting while it is ridiculous to force them to do calculus.

2) Whenever your child encounters a difficult question, don’t take it and solve it as your own. Give away some clues and prompt your child to try it out. For instance, if your child forgets how to spell a word, give the first letter.

3) If the end result is unsatisfactory, reassure your child and give some tips for better attempts next time. Say, in a football match, you can tell your child not to give up trying and that he or she can score next time if they give the ball a harder kick.

Make good use of each failure to train your children to cope with adversity positively, to live independently and to take up challenges courageously.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 27

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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DY/RA

Founder and Principal at JEMS Learning House

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