Parents creating unnecessary pressure on schoolkids, experts say

Students play Snakes and Ladders at SMK (P) Kapar in Klang. A psychologist says a happy child is a successful child. — Bernama pic
Students play Snakes and Ladders at SMK (P) Kapar in Klang. A psychologist says a happy child is a successful child. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — Parents who believe children who do not excel in school would face a gloomy future contribute to unnecessary pressure on the young, says a psychologist.

Sunway University clinical psychologist associate professor, Dr Alvin Ng Lai Oon, said parents tend to believe their children would not be able to get the better perks in life if they do not score straight As.

“It is a norm worldwide that you won’t enjoy a good life if you don’t do well in school,” he said.

“Parents believe that failing to obtain good grades would mean their children would not be able to get into a good university and end up with a low-paying job. They then fear their child would not be able to get married or end up with a person who is not noteworthy.

“This is an absurd form of brainwashing. Such pressure should not be placed on anyone, especially the young.”

Ng admitted academic excellence is important but there must be a balance.

“The logic here is simple. If your children are happy then they are already successful. When they are happy, success will follow, and for the right reasons,” he said.

“I know parents want the best for their kids but paying less attention to their happiness is just plain kiasu (Hokkien for afraid to lose).’’

Universiti Putra Malaysia faculty of human ecology senior lecturer, Hanina Halimatussaadiah, said a child’s emotional development is more important than intellect.

“A focus merely on examinations or paper qualifications can all easily lead to closed minds. A person with good character or emotional development will be more open minded,” she said.

“Anyone can learn journalism but is there an examination for a journalist to be respected and credible? No ... you need strong characters to accomplish such feats.

“Examination success is necessary but not a sufficient condition for being an educated human being. Parents are exerting too much of pressure on their children and they are being kiasu about it.”

Hanina said parents tend to give themselves a pat on the back if their children did well in school.

“Those who are involved in the education system, including parents, need to lead or draw out the wealth of talent and aptitude from the young as a focus on mere academic success often drains the life out of academic subjects, creating heavy and dull minds,” she said.

“Ultimately, we seek to maximise the chances of our children leading happy, successful and healthy lives. We are preparing them for work, for family life and for society with curious, disciplined and appreciative minds.”

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