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Nervous Mom

  1. #1
    Valencia is offline Registered User
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    Nervous Mom

    My child has spent her first week in her new kindie. Everything went well except me, losing my sleep since the second day. I felt extremely relaxed on the first day, but fatique and pressure started to crawl in since the second day. Owing to the differences in the curriculum between the 2 schools, I have to help her catch up with her English, whereas she's way ahead in her Chinese and Maths. I'm not worried that she can't catch up, but I've realized I'm sort of a perfectionist, pushing her very hard. She's only in K2. I have another 14 years to worry ahead of me, and it's very tiring. I'm telling myself to calm down, it's my own worrying nature which I'm concerned. Any other fretting mom?

  2. #2
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    I went in stages. In Kindie I was a bit anxious (although I didn't lose sleep) and was worried if they would ever learn to read.

    Now that the kids are in primary school, I don't really care too much. The older one is doing very well (just needs a bit of reminding to do her homework). The younger one's academics are OK, but sometimes has behavior issues, so that's my main concern and at this point it seems that the only thing that will cure it is time.

    If you are worried that you are worrying too much. maybe you should really ask yourself "What am I worrying about?".

    Are you worried that if she doesn't get into the Band 1 school of your choice she will never learn to read ot write or do arithmetic and will become an illiterate dish washer for the rest of her life? If so, don't worry, it's highly unlikely.

    Or, do you worry that if she doesn't get into the band 1 Primary School of your choice she will never get to go to HKU and become a high ranking civil servant/doctor/lawyer/architect?

    I would recommend that you try to relax your perfectionism in regard to your daughter's education. Vent that perfectionism on something physical and attainable like knitting.

    Instead,try to focus on who your daughter is - what are her talents and interests and joys.

    There's a child rearing book that I like a lot by Wendy Mogel. It's called "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee" and she writes about the issues of parents high expectations and pressure on kids and how to change that to focusing on helping kids grow into the people they can be.

    She writes from a Jewish perspective, but I think many of her insights and points can apply to parents from all backgrounds.

    Her web site is here:
    http://www.wendymogel.com/

    Here is a an article she wrote on "Overcoming a Fear of the Ordinary"
    http://www.wendymogel.com/ordinary.html


    !2 myths about raising self reliant children
    http://www.wendymogel.com/childrenmyths.html

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Valencia is offline Registered User
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    Thank you very much, Loupou.

    When she was in K1, she did poorly and only began to improve in her last term exam. I had to help her revise her homework every day and she could barely write. Since K2, she has been doing very well, showing great improvements in every exam. Her change to full day school gave me a chance to relax for the first time since her birth.

    Now she has changed to a band one kindie with its own primary school, and I should have nothing to worry. But it's a half day kindie, and I have to help her with her homework. Unlike K1, where she was doing poorly and the pressure came from the school. Now the pressure comes from me within. I don't want her to be behind the others since she's new. I am fretting over the vocabulary and phrases and lower letter case being covered in the first term in her new school. But then I realize when I have covered all this, I would try to push her with other things. When I'm thinking about this I feel really tired. The race is endless. The next time she changes primary school I have to help her catch up. By then it would be simply too much for me compared to kindie stuff. I'm afraid of losing sleep and feeling tired during the day. This perfectionist character is killing me. Maybe one day I'll grow sick of it and try to enjoy playing with my daughter instead of pushing her homework all day.

    The problem is, I know she can do it, and she's doing fine, but I just can't help worrying. I'm worried of losing sleep and feeling tired. I'm worried I'll lose all the fun watching her grow up while focusing on her academics, as most HK moms do. If they do poorly, you want improvement. If they do well, you always want more.

  4. #4
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    Hi Valencia,

    You do really sound worried and unhappy, maybe beyond what is normal, if you are already losing sleep and feeling tired. Have you thought about speaking to a counselor. St. John's has non-denominational multi-lingual counselling <http://www.stjohnscathedral.org.hk/counselling.htm> that might be able to offer you some help.

    I guess what I try to do is not see life or schooling as a race, or a competition to see who can accumulate the most toys or status points.

    Maybe you can try to think of it as a journey to a destination that you are not sure of. Part of the task of the journey is to find out where you want to go and how best to get there; and the other task is to try and enjoy and appreciate where you are as you go along.

    So, watching your daughter grow, maybe try to start putting your energies into seeing who she is. Who is this little person who has entered your life? What is she like, what does she enjoy? What are her strengths and weaknesses? And when thinking about her strengths and weaknesses, don't just consider academics, think about her as whole person.

    Is she friendly and outgoing, but a bit disobedient? Or, is she a bit shy and retiring, but always listens to you and other people? Does she like to play make-believe with dolls and other toys, or does she like to build legos and draw complicated machines?

    Is she responsible and work hard to help other people and notice their emotional states? Or is she more inner focussed? Is she very athletic and determined? Does she like to sing and make up dances for you?

    Success and happiness in life comes from within. If you can help her learn to know herself, and find out her interests and talents and help her to develop them, then she will be able to find good work to do in the world and do it well.

    Sorry for the long babble online. I really recommend the Wendy Mogel book. It has helped me a lot in raising my kids (now 7 & 9).

  5. #5
    Valencia is offline Registered User
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    Thank you very much again, Loupou.

    I hope my worrying is just a passing stage since it's only the second week at her new school. This is what I've done, teaching her the English text books for 1st and 2nd term, pushing her with writing, which is the only way to stop my worries. I feel better now, having covered much in just one day. She likes reading her textbooks which comes with a CD, but hates writing.

    I used to be a private tutor for many years. I used to worry a lot for my students during exam time. I thought I would worry less with my own child, at least with her studies, but it turns out I have even higher expectations of her. I was trying to teach her as much as I can during kindergarten, since I'm afraid I and she won't have any time left in primary school, since it will be full time then. My friend told me her sons didn't have any time to play during the week after school.

    I don't think I need counselling yet. I think I know the answer. I feel less worried now, but I'm still working very hard to push her, something I got used to since she was in K1. My belief is " better work hard than worry later", but I do realize pushing too hard will have a negative effect: she'll get sick of studying by P.3. I'm trying to persuade myself to stop every now and then to enjoy my time with her.

    Thank you for your really useful advice, which helps keep my sanity. I believe you're a really successful mom. My child is really cheerful and humourous. A simple joke can keep her laughing all day. I do realize my worrying has become excessive, and I'm trying to play with her more than push her to read and write all day.

    Valencia

  6. #6
    lynn cheung is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for your long explanation, Loupou.
    My son's only 28 months, and I've heard abt the stress & competition in Hong Kong. I have to remind myself every day that the important thing is to help my son enjoying himself and fulfill his potential. So far, we've done a good job. He's a happy child, he even loves to make us laugh with his comments or actions.

    But I cannot help myself worrying abt life in kindie and beyond. I don't like the school system that the students have to go to school from morning till 3p or 4p, then still have to do a lot of homework. They seem don't have time to play and rest.

    We can't afford international school, so we will have to send our son to gov't school. But I really don't want this kind of life for my son. Do you have any insight abt this? Really appreciate it.

  7. #7
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    Hi Lynn,

    It's a really difficult situation. I sent my older child to a Band 1 Govt. school for P1 and P2. We were lucky to get her in there, and the headmistress was really wonderful. Compared to many schools it was not too bad. But, the system was still difficult ( weekly dictations in English and Chinese) and her homework left her with little time for free play. Even worse, it began to cause friction between DH and DD, because she was not as organized as he thought she should be, and he was the" homework parent". So, we switched to an ESF school.

    I had a friend whose daughter also attended this school and was also having problems with the pressure and homework. She solved it by looking around for a local school that was not so high pressure. She found one, and her daughter is much happier now.

    I have a neighbor who moved her kids to the GT School <http://www.gtschool.edu.hk/> in Tseung Kwan O. GT does have school fees (It's DSS) , but they are not as high as many international schools.

    One of my colleagues sends her daughter to Logos <http://www.logosacademy.edu.hk/>. It's also DSS and my son did not get accepted, but you might have better luck.

    There's also a new school in Diamond Hill, also DSS, but relatively cheap. It emphasizes music. It's called "The Hong Kong Insternational Institue of Music" http://www.hkiim.edu.hk./. This was where we were going to send our younger child if he had not gotten into the ESF school.

    So, I think that if you worry about pressure and unhappiness, try and look around for alternative schools and see what you can find. I have heard that some schools with smaller enrollments (less "famous") might be more open.

    If you can read Chinese, you can also look through these school profiles and see what looks appealing.
    http://embhsc.hkedcity.net/primary/

    Another DSS (if you don't mind English medium) is PLK Camoes Tan Siu Lin Primary http://www.plkctslps.edu.hk/dss.htm. A friend recommended it to me, her kids were very happy there. But, I was too late with the applications.

    Try to visit different schools, and see the atmosphere.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    lynn cheung is offline Registered User
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    Thanks, Loupou.
    I'll try to look around. I don't mind English medium school, as my son can only speak English and Mandarin. But some school just to far and some can't be reached by public transportation, and I don't want to send my son in the school bus at a very young age.
    I'll just have to look harder then. Thanks again.

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