PSLE T-score of 229: No reward for son of co-founder of Too harsh or plain pragmatic?

With the recent release of the 2016 PSLE results, it emerged that one particular well-known mother in the online parenting community, who happens to be a co-founder of popular website decided against rewarding her son with a Nintendo DS because he only managed to attain an overall T-score of 229, a seemingly far cry from the previously agreed upon target of at least 250. (Today Online - 24 November 2016 :"With her son's PSLE results in hand, milestone reached for co-founder"); when the article link was posted to Today Online's Facebook Page, many netizens criticized her for her somewhat callous response towards the child who asked if she was angry. While she could have been a little more emotionally sensitive, was she really wrong in denying her boy a gift for not meeting expectations? We sifted through an ocean of largely unkind comments and identified some decently constructive advice, which can serve as takeaways for other parents from this "unpleasant episode".

By Jennifer Lee:

"Do you, as a parent, remember how you used to feel when you were studying? Don't forget that feeling when parenting your kids. They are not robots nor machines. Treat them like humans!

"You can forget about..." sounds so cruel to a kid. It's so negative.

Sure, keep to your words, dont have to get the Nintendo for him. But isn't it better to say instead, "Well you didn't hit the 250 to get your Nintendo, but you have done your best. I have seen the effort you put in to study and get your As, I will reward you with something else instead. The Nintendo offer is still open, for your next exam. Try harder in Sec 1, work towards it!"

By Peter Simeon Khew :

"When your relationship with your children becomes a transactional one, don't be surprised if decades later, your grown up child will come back to you and say, "you can forget about reunion dinner", as a response to you when you didn't perform as well as you should as a parent."

By Joanne Ang:

"I think in the first place, parents should not use a specific toy as a carrot for a child to do well for exams. As parents, the message we should send to our children should be "Study hard, do your best for the exams. Because this will prove to yourself that you can do it. PSLE is but one of the many challenges you will face in your lifetime. So work hard, make it a training ground for yourself." Then, regardless of the result, reward the child's efforts for trying his/her best (if the child really put in the effort to study). If the child did not, then the child will face the consequence him/herself. Some children are late bloomers and that is ok too. It doesn't mean if they fail or do badly for PSLE their life is over. On the contrary, their life has just begun and there is a whole journey of trials and exams ahead of them.. Parents, your love for your child should never be conditional upon "good results". Help them face and overcome the adversities in life (in this case, their less-than-sterling PSLE results). Most importantly, let them know you love them unconditionally."

By Benjamin T.H. Tan:

"I wouldn't be too quick to criticise her for being too harsh with her son. Why not see it as teaching him an important life lesson about keeping promises and honouring agreements? Both of them should honour their side of the "bargain". On the mother's end, she should stick to what she said earlier, or else she will be spoiling him. On the son's end, he should accept that he won't get his Nintendo DS because he didn't live up to his side of the agreement, and should move on in life."

By Raymond Zhang:

"Thumbs down to you, Madam! PSLE is not the end of everything and it is by no means, an indication of your son's success in life. Failing to teach your son to accept failures and moving on is a failure on your part as a parent. You ought to repent on your actions and your words, as you have likely bought substantial emotional stress on your son, who is more likely than not guilty and demoralised by his results."

By Xin Hui :

"Your son was concerned about how you felt (angry or not), it seems to me that you failed to understand his question. Your reply to your son is disgusting and discouraging.

It is understandable to be a 'kiasu' parent here in Singapore but it could really help for you to educate yourself on being an encouraging parent, as well as research on the prevalence of mental disorders and suicides in adolences and teenagers.

If you name yourself a 'kiasu parent', be 'kiasu' in everything, not just grades.

Health (mental) is wealth. Cheers."

By Koh Qiuying :

"Nowadays children study for their parents. Not for their own. By asking 'are you angry?' Tells a lot about their parenting. They are sending the wrong message to their children."

By Lat Low:

"A school principal in Singapore sent this letter to the parents before the exams:

Dear Parents,

The exams of your children are to start soon. I know you are all really anxious for your child to do well.

But, please do remember, amongst the students, who will be sitting for the exams, there is an artist, who doesn't need to understand Maths.

There is an entrepreneur, who doesn't care about History or English literature.

There's a musician, whose Chemistry marks won't matter.

There's a sportsperson, whose physical fitness is more important than Joseph Schooling.

If your child does get top marks, that's great! But, if he or she doesn't, please don't take away their self-confidence and dignity from them.

Tell them it's OK, it's just an exam! They are cut out for much bigger things in life.

Tell them, no matter what they score, you love them and will not judge them.

Please do this, and when you do, watch your children conquer the world. One exam or a low mark won't take away their dreams and talent.

And please, do not think that doctors and engineers are the only happy people in the world.

With Warm Regards,

The Principal"

Carefully harvested by the Czar (Site Founder)

Dated 26 November 2016


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