My heart aches too much to not pen this down.

Blogging is a form of relief for me when after talking to people does not ease much of the weight off my chest.
I am a blogger who does not only present the happy times, but the sad and ugly moments too.
Those of you who have been following me for years can testify that.

My heart aches for my nieces.

Talking to their parents is becoming a difficult task.
Before they could even open their mouth, they chose to retreat.
In fear of being judged.
In fear of being scolded.
In fear of being resented.

Today’s focus is on my youngest niece.

It has been almost a month now, my youngest niece had been having problems with her Maths and had been approaching me for help almost every time she has Maths school work. When she asks her dad, who comes home with a lethargic body from a hard day’s work, a session of yelling begins, instead of a period of helping his daughter understand the topic.

My 2nd niece, her elder sister, felt the tension within the four walls and ranted on the social media the reason why she and her sister do not ask their dad when they do not know how to do anything.
Simply because, instead of being taught, they are facing a fierce lecturer who only knows how to raise his voice at them.
She also spoke what was on her heart, which I think is important. She feels that if her sister does not know how to do, just teach and not shout at her loudly.
They are not a genius. If they are, they would not even need to ask for help already. They want a teacher who teaches, and not a person who shouts loudly at them until tears flow, when they are in need of help.

My youngest niece told me that her teacher will scold the student when the student gives a wrong answer.
I do not know how true is that because from my experience as a child care centre teacher, even with a silent stare at a child, the child feels that the teacher is going to eat him up.
But I choose to trust what my niece says.

Well, I had witnessed it myself.
How terrible it is like when my BIL is teaching his daughters.
I do not want to go to the extend of saying “the walls shook when he yelled at the kid.”, but the tone of his voice, the level of the volume that comes out from his mouth already make the adults in the house uncomfortable, what’s more a young child sitting just less than 50cm away?

“Why you don’t know?!”
“I explained so much already and you still don’t know?!”
“I don’t care! You do it now. Then I’ll check later.”

My mind was exploding with fiery words, “If the child still doesn’t understand after you had explained so much, then its YOU who does NOT know HOW to explain in a way that a child can comprehend! Its NOT the child’s fault! The child has already mustered up the courage to ask you. You tried to explain. She still does NOT understand, then you should rephrase your sentences and BE FLEXIBLE enough to explain in another way!!!! She already told you that she has no clue how to do the problem sums, yet, instead of explaining further, you threw the question back to her and asked her to do it on her own by hook or by crook??????!! How ridiculous! She does not know how to do, HOW DO YOU EXPECT HER TO DO?!”

Whenever I witness such moments, its hard to watch.
I will usually walk away.

I do NOT believe in correcting other parents in front of their children.
NOT even my own hubby, Allan, when I do not agree with some of his parenting style.
I will choose to talk to him only when the kids are asleep.
It is IMPORTANT to show kids that parents are in the same team.

If parents start to argue infront of the children over parenting issues, the child will know who is the ‘devil‘ and who is the ‘angel‘. In that way, the child will ALWAYS run to the ‘angel‘ and it will cause disrespect or lack of closeness between the child and the other parent. Hence, resulting in double-standard parenting within the household, which in turn makes the work of child-discipline difficult.

Most parents have the best intentions for their children.
Just that many does not know how to express in the way whereby the child can SEE and FEEL and UNDERSTAND.

Parenting is a SKILL.
It needs practise.
Mistakes will be made.
But parents must be humble enough to learn and NOT make the same mistake again.
Say sorry when you have misunderstood your child.
It gains the respect of your child.
And THAT is critical in a parent-child relationship.

Allan feels that my youngest niece’s level of understanding of Maths topics has deteriorated tremendously compared to past two years.
With BIL being too tired or too impatient to teach after work, youngest niece’s Maths results have skydived.

No child likes to be scolded.
Rather NO ONE likes to be screamed at.

Thus, she share good results with her direct family but only tells the REAL (tough) situation to Allan and I, simply because we do NOT scold.
We chat with her.
We find out the reasons.
We solve the problems.

The ‘Real‘ situation is:
No one in the family could help her with her Maths, other than her dad.
Yet, sometimes, the dad’s method is different from what her teacher in school teaches.
Her dad would insists that she uses his method and that frightens her because she knows that she might be reprimanded by her teacher.
Since she and her elder sister are in the same school, she would attempt to ask the elder sister.
However, being a PSLE student, her elder sister’s homework is massive.
On top of that, her elder sister also fear that if she taught her younger sister the wrong approach to the Maths question, she will complain to her dad and the dad will scold the elder sister.
Thus, the elder sister also have her reasons for not teaching my youngest niece.

I love to teach, especially Maths.
I love it when my 2nd niece asks me Primary 6 Maths questions.
I love to help my youngest niece with her Primary 3 Maths questions too.
Yet, I could do so much and no more because we are living under different roofs.

From the Maths questions which my youngest niece asks, we found out that she does not understand the question fully because of her level of English.
Thus, it is NOT just a matter of plus, minus, multiple or divide, its about English too!

It has come to a point whereby a difficult question could take up to 45mins to explain using messaging.
The amount of time taken for both of us to express in digital words.
The seconds and minutes lost in writing on paper, capturing it on the phone and then sending the image over.
Too time consuming!

Every day, I could only help her to get her Maths school work done.
But I could NOT help her to understand the topic.
Too time consuming doing the explanation through messaging.
To me, that is unhealthy!

Understanding the topic is more important than getting the right answer with the correct working shown.
Maths is about understanding.
Without understanding, a simple twist in the question, the student will flip and left feeling puzzled.

Yet, with so much commitment in school, she is often home late.
After shower, after meal, there really aren’t any time for her to truly relax as a pile of homework awaits her in her school bag.
By the time I completed teaching her, its passed her bedtime.
With lack of rest, how could she concentrate in class the next day?!

Its a vicious cycle.

Allan and I are worried.
We can see that its a downward spiral, spinning at increasing speed.
The number of questions that my youngest niece needed help is on the rise.

My youngest niece is NOT a bad kid.
Her actions show that she wants to learn.
If her attitude is bad, she would not have bother to ask.
If she is not keen, she would have chose to leave the questions blank.
So whatever that she is doing is correct : Ask when in Doubt.

However, because she has so much to do and tries to beat the bedtime, she often choose to ask for workings and answers only, instead of taking time to understand.
Yet, its AGAINST my principles when I teach.
I will insist that she tells me the working and finds out the answer on her own, with me guiding her every step of the way and after I had helped her to understand the problem sums.
So far its working and I am so proud of her willingness to persevere through messaging.

My MIL, who stays with her, has a very absurd thought.
She thinks that having tuition is of great Lowliness.
To the extend of being shameful.
*Super Eyes Rolled*

So MIL still insists that her son, my youngest niece’s dad, should continue to coach like what he had been doing all these years.
But the question is, provided he has the time, the patience and the RIGHT TACTIC!!!!!!
Sometimes, the method he uses differ from the method taught in school and my youngest niece will refuse to use.
When that happens, she will get scolded.

And my heart aches even more when this happens.
My mind will scream, “Are you teaching your daughter to disobey the teacher????!!!! You are forcing your child to use a method that the school does not use. How is your child going to face the teacher then? The one who is facing the pressure and the embarrassment is not you, its the child.”

Sad to say, but its the inflexibility of the parents that makes the children suffer.

Change the style of teaching.
Go to the school to find out the correct method.
Meet up with the teacher if there is a need.
Don’t wait until its too late.
And please…….STOP insisting IN handling the issue using your way :
“My Method. No Tuition.”

*Super eyes rolled*

In times like this, I like to do a check with my kids too.
Me: “Kids, do I scold you when you do not know how to do a Maths question?”
Kitkit: “Nooooo….But you scold when we don’t want to pay attention.”
Binbin: “You scold when my attitude is bad. But when I don’t know how to do a question, you won’t scold.”

With those response from my boys, I’m happy that I am still on the right track.


Inflexible Parents….Children Suffer