Saturday, June 12, 2010

Coffee Talk & Sharing - 24 May 2010

One parent lamented on the Sunday Times Lifestyle page recently, "My teenage daughter is very materialistic, forgetful, rude, leaves her things on the floor when she comes back from school, procrastinates on homework ..."
I smiled, "I'm not alone."
If he/she was a TK parent, I would have invited him/her to our "Coffee Talk & Sharing" session.

In TK, "Coffee Talk & Sharing" started 3 years ago as one of the School Family Education programmes under Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports.
It's an informal sharing session on a topic related to parenting or marriage in a small group of about 10.

The topic of the day was, "Accepting your teens for who they are". Sounds familiar, but it's not easy. Honestly, there are times I wish my kids to be a little more A- attentive, B- brave, C- compassionate, D- diligent ... But must I lower my expectations? Are they living up to their potential? How can I accept them and still instill in them morals, values, ambition and drive?

A TK parent, Ms. Loretta Lee volunteered to facilitate the session. Loretta is a working mother of two girls in Sec2 and 4. She's been a Class Rep and an active volunteer in various programmes such as the Learning Journey.

She began to talk about her experience in keeping a good relationship and open communication with her daughters. Everyone agreed on the importance of good communication in parenting. That's the first step to understand and accept a child for who he/she is.

But discipline is important too. The traditional authoritarian approach seems to backfire with today's teenagers. "Taking a privilege away seems to work," a parent suggested. Another parent shared a mistake she made, "Yes, it works, but be careful. Once I took away my son's handphone to discipline him, then realised I needed to call him on the next day!"

The SFE Coordinator, Mega introduced two articles on the same topic, and a few related books.
Loretta followed up, "I give my girls space to be themselves. But at the same time, I ask them to put themselves in my shoes sometimes. A mutual understanding builds a relationship."

The one-and-a-half-hour session was a meaningful break from a daily routine, like an oasis for a parenting journey. It certainly empowered the participants. Thank you, Loretta!

Come join in the next "Coffee Talk & Sharing" which is on the way! Contact us at

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