KiasuParents.com co-founder’s response to her son’s PSLE 2016 score

The PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examinations) results were released on the 25th Nov 2016.  Co-founder of KiasuParents.com Mdm Soon Lee Yong said that she was disappointed with her son’s results. Her son received 229 (aggregate points) for his PSLE results and Mdm Soon had agreed to buy her son a Nintendo DS only if he scored above 250. Today online posted hundreds of comments showing disapproval for the mother’s reaction. It is quite understandable why the general public reacted this way. Most people feel that there is just too much emphasis on materialism and achievement in our society.

Mdm Soon’s remarks drew many unkind remarks from netizens. Most people were concerned for the well being of her son. Many have wondered if this Kiasu parent have gone overboard and became too obsessed with the academic achievements of her child. Someone said that to withdraw the toy for not scoring well in the exams is cruel. Another netizen said that “whatever the results parents should give words of encouragement. It’s very disheartening to see parents demanding results beyond the capabilities of children.”

But everyone has their own style of parenting. Perhaps Mdm Soon set up her own reward system to motivate her son to do better? Your favourite toy if you score above 250, anything below that and you get nothing. It is easy to see that she is very strict with her system and there is no bargaining. This is very much like the adult world. If you hit the sales figures, you are paid the bonuses. If you don’t meet the sales target, you don’t get anything. If we reward you for not achieving your target, then what is going to drive and motivate you the next time?

We like to think that her response was more of a typical angry parent. You don’t think very well when you are angry and disappointed. Sometimes you say unkind words to your children even though you know you should not have said it at all. It happens to all of us. As a parent having invested so much time in her own forum, she would have seen the pride and pleasures of scoring well in the PSLE, and how much more privileges these high scoring kids get later in their academic lives. She probably wanted the child to do well and do well enough for a place in the top secondary schools, just like most parents in her forum.

However, we are equally shocked by some of the netizens who commented on the article. No, it is not about the “don’t place too much emphasis on the results and achievements of the child” type of comment. It was this kind of comments from different netizens that worry us most:

“This is the kind of things that make our young children jump down from buildings….”

“This woman needs to realize that not everything in life is about PSLE. Like it’s not even remotely near the finishing line in education. I’m just glad the kid haven’t jump off a building yet.”

“Sigh…. parents seem to stress the younger generation too much which causes them not able to face the reality. They try their best in getting straight ‘A’ but their parent still feel they are under perform ended up led them to jump down or ended their life or worse give up everything since they never ever able to please their parents….”

“Yeah we dont expect our child good result as long as they pass and if they fail just repeat retake again for exam n we cant stress them too much. Their school subject was difficult and we see our child standard. If we keep nagging at them one day they wil commit seaside.”

“The first thought that came to my mind was that poor child who committed suicide. I hope this news ends well. Give the child a break! Or better yet, just give the child a Nintendo DS lah!”

“maybe we will see an article tomorrow about the number of children jumping including one who did not get the Nintendo DS even with 4 As.”

“It’s demanding parents like you that make kids wanna jump out of the windows. You are never satisfied….”

 

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It is rather disturbing when we think this what the children of today will do when they experience setbacks. If this is what they would do when they do badly in school, then there is something seriously wrong with how we bring up the children and the values we are teaching them. This could be the result of rewarding the child every time for good behaviour and punishing when the goal is not achieved. It is no longer about doing our best and try harder when we failed. It is indeed frightening for all parents if the child would actually contemplate suicide as a way to solve his or her problems. Fortunately, most children don’t. There may be ‘strawberry kids’ around, but we also have children brought up as tough as durians.

Over the years, we have seen different parents reacting differently with their children’s results, whether is it PSLE, the O-levels or even A-levels exam results. For some, it means everything to them, as though their family pride and standing is at stake. For some, it is just like any other examinations, what matters most is that the children did their best.

Till today, we still like one of our parent’s comments about her son’s results. She said “I see PSLE results as a placement exercise. It will just determine which Secondary School he gets into, that’s all.”

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