In combat Over
dinner, my son posed me questions that I found hard to reply.
kind of character traits do high-achievers possess? What kind of parents do they
was hard. Trained as a historian, I believe it is dangerous and even criminal
to generalize! Not parents! Not children. Every child is unique. Even when we
try to draw some patterns and commonalities, there are bound to be exceptions.
is obvious why my son is asking for such information – he wants Hayley, the
daughter to be successful in life andhe and his wife successful
bet such questions have never come across the mind of my mom and dad, parents
of eight children. Parenting these days has become quite a huge
“curriculum” with experts of all kinds having a say in it. Parents themselves are not lazy either. Those with children
born in the same year pro-actively pool their
experience for the betterment of their children by creating
chat groups and Facebook accounts to share almost everything.
They also hold various
parent-child activities to meet and have fun. While they are cementing unity
and support, they are also unknowingly brewing trouble.
one child starts babbling, parents of other children who haven’t begun doing so panic. When the travel
photos of a family are posted to the Facebook, other families begin to plan a
similar trip. As children
grow up, parents begin comparing the schools their children go to and then
their performance in academic and extra-curricular activities. The
peer pressure is so oppressive that there is no time and space to keep a sane
mind but to keep catching up with the norm. Theseparents set high targets
for themselves and their children. Family life can become stifling and children
overwhelmed. As the family wrestles with meeting high expectations, anxiety,
anger and even depression will be built up. I know times are different and that Hong Kong is a
highly competitive society but life cannot be all about meeting targets
especially not for children.
I did try to generalize a few common traits for my
son’s reference putting much emphasis on “exceptions”. But still my heart was
not at ease.