For most Singaporean kids, their lives are a battery of school, tuition, CCAs and exams.
It’s little wonder they’re so intelligent. But when it comes to things like helping out with household chores, doing something for others and thinking for themselves, they fare hardly as well.
Singapore’s competitive environment – not just in the workplace, but also in schools, and society in general – can cultivate negative traits like selfishness in your very malleable child.
Here are 5 things you must do to NOT let your child grow into a spoilt brat in Singapore.
1. Make a conscious effort to teach your kids graciousness
Some kids are clearly unbearably bratty because of what they’ve been taught.
These parents, knowingly or unknowingly, teach their kids to be selfish by constantly warning them that they’re about to lose out to others, comparing them with other kids and encouraging me-first behaviour.
Instead, make a conscious effort to teach them to think of others. That could mean encouraging your kid to give up his seat on the MRT, volunteering your time as a family and rewarding good, considerate behaviour.
2. Reward your kid with experiences rather than things
Okay, we get it, the poor kid spends 60 hours a week in school and tuition, and he needs to enjoy a treat every now and then.
But buying too many toys for your child or caving in to their every whim and fancy can create serious problems, because kids can grow into very materialistic beings fast.
Try giving them experiences and a bit of your time. When junior aces his end-of-year exams, take him to the zoo instead of buying him an iPad. Head to the Botanic Gardens as a family instead of hitting up Toys ‘R’ Us.
Letting your kids experience life is important, especially as so many kids these days simply have no lives, for lack of a more apt term.
And by holding off those lavish purchases on your little one, you’re teaching them to value time spent with loved ones over acquiring stuff.
3. Watch what you say and how you act
Most millennials in Singapore have heard this from the lips of their parents—if you don’t study hard, you’ll become a road sweeper.
It’s that kind of upbringing that’s partly to blame for Singapore becoming a country of materialistic, money-and-status-obsessed robots.
Your kids are going to learn from the things you say and do, even when you’re not aware that they’re watching.
They’re like little sponges, sucking it all up. So watch yourself – if you don’t want them to grow up to be entitled, inconsiderate adults, you have to make sure you don’t act like one, either.
4. Curb the urge to do everything for them
Singaporean kids tend to do nothing but study, study, study.
And by that, I mean that away from the books, they don’t have to lift a finger to do a single thing for themselves.
Make your kid help out around the house, even if their tasks are as easy as just washing the plate they’ve just eaten off of.
When your kids learn to be responsible for themselves and considerate towards the people around them, they’re indirectly being trained to have a better work ethic and greater independence, which will serve them well when they enter the working world.
5. Help them figure out the difference between needs and wants
Teach your child the difference between needs and wants early, rather than pandering to his every whim.
Before making a purchase or acceding to a request, talk your child through the decision-making process. Help them to understand how much time or money something costs, and then analyse together whether it’s something they really need, or simply want.
These are big opportunities to instill some common sense into your kid, so don’t let them pass you by.
By Joanne Poh, MoneySmart, 22 July 2016
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