Children. They grow up so fast. Parents in Singapore always want their children to excel. Academically; in their relationships with others; or on the playground. You always want your children to be their best. Your goal as a parent is to help your child achieve their goals and dreams.
You help them to make the important decisions as they grow up. And one of those important decisions involves helping them prepare for Singapore tertiary education.
This decision isn’t one to be taken lightly. Your children will have a lot to deal with. They will be hit with questions from all angles, including
• What school are you going to?
• What do you want to do after uni?
• What jobs will you do during uni?
• What courses do you want to major in?
These among others are enough to drive any teenager crazy. They don’t need you to make things crazier. They need you to be level and calm headed. At the same time, they want to be in charge of the decision-making. How much can you actually influence their choice of tertiary education? What can you do to ensure they work towards their best interests?
College Or Work?
For Singapore parents, tertiary education naturally means ‘going to college’. This means getting a university education. For many professions, a university degree is necessary but there are many options for your child now.
Polytechnics in Singapore are among the best in the world. Children with a technical bent will be more successful going to a polytechnic. The bad reputation that polytechnics used to get is dying away. Other professions like banking may not need a college degree or a college education.
Then there are other kids that don’t need, or want, a college degree. They may be talented in other things, like art and music. This naturally means art school or music school or acting school.
Really, the times you live in today do not necessitate a college degree. Your children may want a job right out of secondary school. How do you help your children make the decision between school and a job?
First, let them figure out what they would rather do than go to college. You won’t be able to support them financially forever. Do they have jobs? Can they get a job that will sufficiently take care of their needs? If the answer is no, then they should consider college, since you will be paying for tuition.
Secondly, what are their future occupations? What kind of education will they need based on those career choices? This will help them determine if they want to go to a polytechnic or school online. For instance, your child might want to tutor and would have started already. They can get certifications online and work as a tutor at the same time.
Thirdly, if they don’t want a college education, why is that so? How strong are their reasons?
Last but not least, how prepared are they for life on their own, based on their choices? If they can satisfactorily answer these questions, then you can be sure of whether tertiary education is right for them or not.
Following In Your Footsteps
Take a step back and ask yourself some questions. Why are you trying to push them to make a certain decision? What do you expect of your children? Do you want them to keep up a family tradition of going to the same university? Do you feel they will get more hands-on experience at a polytechnic? Do you want them to go into the family business?
If your reasons are hinged on these, you may be in the wrong.
Your concern should about your child and what they want to do. Then help them reach those goals. Don’t force them or guilt them into doing what you want. That could end up making them miserable for life.
This goes to their teachers and tutor at home as well. They should be conscious of how they talk to your children about their future. Let them know that, ultimately, it is their decision. You are just there to guide them.
Helping Your Child Make The Right Decisions
You have the responsibility of being the backbone of your child. That job isn’t for a tutor who comes around for tuition sessions. That job isn’t for the teachers at school. It is yours.
Provide emotional and physical support to your child. Ask them about what they want. Find out what it is they love; what they are passionate about. Let them tell you what life they want to live, what would make them proud to be remembered by.
What makes them afraid when they imagine the future? What plans do they have concerning their future? How can you help financially? What other ways are they sourcing for funds? Ask them questions and listen. Offer them pointers and advice. Let them know that they can come to you anytime with questions or for advice. Be there for them.
When Your Input Is Not Welcome
Teenage years are tumultuous, to say the least. There are some teenagers who would refuse your help. You may want to panic but don’t. Take all this in stride, and take action.
They may feel that they know everything they need to know. Good, you won’t argue with them. However, make sure that they know what it is they are getting into. Whatever decisions they make come with consequences. They should be ready to take full responsibility for them.
You may be tempted to get them out of any messes they may get themselves into. Don’t fall into that temptation. Let them handle their messes. Tough love is still love. You can step in when they have learnt something valuable.
After everything, try not to be preachy. Remain supportive, rather than showing them the error of their ways. It is all a learning process; they just chose the hard path. And, in the end, be proud of your children and their successes.
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