Fear of Failure

By asingaporeanson

"I gave my daughter and her classmate a ride back home. Her classmate failed her maths test. When I dropped the poor child off at her home, she stood in fear outside the gate, refusing to go in. Then she started crying and said she would be caned for failing. Their classmates who scored perfect marks made nasty comments to the failures."

First off, I apologise to the person for quoting a private conversation between us. Unfortunately that lingered in my mind for a while and I knew I had to get it off me. The disturbing part was that the children were only 7 years old or so. That is the age where children are supposed to be conquering their fear of the dark, public speaking or tiny insects. These would be the last thing on the little girl's mind that afternoon. What froze her dead in her tracks was facing the wrath of her parents. That was dissuasive enough for her to stay out from home. A heart-breaking scenario.

Without academic success, the future of the child is doomed. Sweeping of the streets await. In Singapore, paper qualifications are the foremost priority. We have no choice. The competition is very intense. Without academic excellence, the road ahead of the child will be extremely challenging. Suffer now, enjoy later. Screw up now, a lifetime of agony beckons. It's for their own good. We did it all for them. We sacrificed everything for them. They must not fail.... I know.

I know.

I heard it all. I saw how reality validated these claims. The arguments are so convincing that it corrupts the compelling love of parents and manifest it into a boundless fear of their children's failures. Helplessness eventually turns into frustrations. No, they are not going to face it alone. Their children will face the fear with them! The children are the answer to keep the fear in check because they are the immediate factor of their failure or success. Not realising that the source of their trouble is the fear that they created and failed to keep in under control, their children became the pawn of their sanity.

I wondered for a long while if that sort of situation only occurred in certain schools in Singapore. Or are most young children facing that kind of stress in Singapore now? The rationale of pushing our kids to their limits being, we have to do our part, regardless how painful it is, for their own good. I recognise the climate of fear comes of a positive source. Not only Singaporean parents love our children very much, we are responsible parents as well. Many of our drastic actions are last resorts of desperation. We don't know what else we can do anymore... but we can't just do nothing about it... We can't stand around to watch their demise.

Let's force them to their demise instead.

This post was first published over at the blog of asingaporeanson on 14 March 2015. It is reproduced with permission.


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