Friday, September 22, 2017

[2044] No Childhood?

At Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Just some thoughts.

Being the eldest child in my family, I have a more dominant character.  With regards to work, I aim for perfection most of the time, can't tolerate any laziness, would not allow myself to fail because I had to meet my parents' expectations. I had to set the example for my younger sisters and  I was the one getting most of the punishments when we were children because I was the one testing the waters and boundaries with my parents.

I read about all the people who complain how the education system in Singapore is sucking all the "life" and childhood out of the children, who will grow up to be mental. Didn't they go through the same system? Are they saying they are all mental now? I find it hard to understand why they are still in Singapore subjecting their children to this "difficult" childhood if they disagree with it. They can always move to Australia or US if they want to have a relaxed basic education. Being overseas (and with the first child personality), I actually want my child to be subjected to a rigorous education instead of growing up to be a "soft" millenial. (The haters are contradicting themselves daily.. complaining about soft and lazy millenials who cannot take hardship yet complain the system is too hard .. which do you want?!)

Here in Japan, kids have a relaxed education - eg addition of double digits are only taught at Primary 3 level, no writing/reading in kindergarten at all, not much homework but how does this improve their childhood? In waiting areas before external lessons, I hear the kids kicking up a ruckus while waiting for their lessons to begin, complaining they are bored, whining, fussing (yes throwing tantrums from boredom at primary school level...). Simple habits such as bringing a book to read never seem to occur to the parents, even the parents rarely have a book with them, all staring intently through the glass window to view their kids for the whole hour (yes, barely even touching their phones probably because they also have no habit of doing anything constructive while waiting). If we were in Singapore, I can imagine most kids doing their homework while waiting, or reading a book from the library, and most parents would chastise their kid if they complained they were bored ("go do your assessment books!").

The world is not slowing down. Do we want our kids to be at a disadvantage in the future?  The childhood is created by the parents - you can choose to be more involved in educating and spending time with your kids than outsourcing everything to the tuition and enrichment centers from a young age. (The kids' memories will have more of you in them if you are just sitting beside them trying to help them with their schoolwork and projects than you saying bye as you drop them off from venue to venue) Of course, this gets harder and harder to do as the difficulty of schoolwork increases with level, but the child won't forget the time you spent figuring out maths problems together. With the additional time saved from not travelling to lessons, your child can have a "childhood". (Just a generic personal opinion, definitely not comparing situations between different parents and how they do things.)

I admit I'm lucky to be able to be in this WAHM arrangement with bb. Part of not sending her to kindergarten is based on control issues (I don't trust the level of education here after the preschool stint - they place too much emphasis on parents providing money to the school and parental involvement to set up activities for the kids instead of kids doing most of the work with teacher guidance.) Everything is too wayang (see previous post) and bb will definitely not be ready for joining primary school in Singapore, given how advanced most of the preschool books are. Of course if I was a full time working mum outside, this wouldn't happen, I would have to send her off to childcare but I guess a lower income for more time to be part of bb's life is definitely worth it.

So many benefits - money saved from no school fees. Travelling anytime we want without caring about school schedule, although this is somewhat made troublesome by her other lessons. No worries about her social skills, she happily plays with other children, although very competitive (we have to work on this https://www.todaysparent.com/kids/school-age/6-ways-to-help-a-sore-loser/) happily plays with adults who are patient enough to entertain her, knows her manners most of the time, is kind and helpful mostly.. She does go to childcare at her dad's office once a month or more if her dad is available to bring her there and back, I guess it's good for her to get a breather away from her tiger mom as well. She does 2 subjects a day at home, any 2, and because I'm still working, she knows to just sit beside me and do her 5/10pages and then get the rest of her day to play or do other things. I would think it's a pretty relaxing childhood, all in all.


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