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Helping Your Child to Reflect on Their Progress

It is the season when we evaluate our year and I believe as a Singaporean parent, we also look at our children’s academic performance in the year-end examination and start to plan for their studying strategy in 2023.


Examinations or tests bring undue stress and pressure to people, but we can't do without them as they are purposeful. Tests help to check us throughout life - ensure readiness and knowledge in a specific field, determine if our bodies are in good shape, or whether we have caught the COVID virus or not. Everyone goes through tests. It is also true that examination results and achievements often open doors of opportunity to the next level of education or employment.


Yet often we focus on the digits or the letters reflecting the grade which determine the ideals of passing or excellence without examining the process which a child must undergo to get there. We often rely on the grades which the society has impressed upon us to determine success without truly realizing how success have been defined and how these boundary shifts with time. In the end we might be pushing our children towards an arbitrary idea of success.


Therefore, as much as we provide the target or goal for our children, we need to also teach them to evaluate their progress and celebrate the process of growth with them. Often, they do not relate to the vague, far-off idea of success laid out by the significant adults in their lives and might become discourage through the comparison made with their peers or comments which simply downplay their improvements when not achieving a certain grade.

In reality, many of them have been making progress both in terms of their studies and character development. They have been working closer to those targets or goals without even realising it too.

One way which parents can come together with their children to reflect on their progress is to give thanks. The act of gratitude and thanksgiving allow one to focus on the good in their situations and appreciate the different people, things and events which come together to contribute to their progress.

Due to the phenomenon known as Negativity Bias, we are more hardwired to focus on the negative experiences without realizing that there are also many significant positive experiences in the year which have contributed to measurable progress. Children also gain motivations when they realise their short-term progress, which are appreciated by significant adults in their lives, will bring them to a long-term success even though they might not fully comprehend what the success entails.


Most importantly, the act of giving thanks and appreciating your children’s progress help to improve familial relationships because we know it takes the effort of the entire family in navigating through 2022. Why not spend some time today to pen a word of encouragement, speak a word of affirmation or give a gift to celebrate learning and/or behavioural improvements made this year?

By Jonathan Jiang, Educator


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