Wednesday February 13, 2013
Are you raising a ‘princess’ or a ‘Wimpy Kid’?
DOES your daughter only read books about princesses? Does your son only read about that wimpy kid?
How will it affect them in the long run? Will your girl grow up only caring about how she looks, and will your boy become a wimpy person, trying to be cool?
Alexius Cheang, psychology lecturer at International Medical University (IMU), believes that it is not necessarily so, especially if your children are exposed to all sorts of books.
With a wife who is a counsellor and a six-year-old daughter who likes to read, Cheang is as concerned as the next parent about what moulds his child’s character.
He has found that a lot of the scientific findings are inconclusive. In fact, the bulk of the research is from a Western perspective, focusing on how characters in books lead to gender stereotyping in career choices.
“Books can definitely influence a child’s character. Current findings say that a child’s character is shaped by genetics and the environment. In this case, the environment includes how you are raised and what you are exposed to, so books would definitely be a part of it,” says Cheang.
He points out that what children are exposed to is what they perceive reality to be. This explains why girls who love Barbie dolls and princesses often like to dress up like princesses and Barbie.
To give them a broader perspective on reality, parents should introduce their children to different genres of books – a move that would help mould their character.
That said, parents should not be overly worried if their child seems to only want to read about princesses/Barbie/a wimpy kid/Geronimo Stilton for a period of time.
Most children will eventually go for a diverse range of reading materials as they grow up. While they may only be immersing themselves in fairies and Barbie dolls today, children may plump for Geronimo Stilton and Harry Potter tomorrow.
Cheang points out that if parents encourage and compliment their child for dressing up like Barbie or behaving like Geronimo Stilton, then chances are the child will keep repeating that fashion style or behaviour to solicit approval or praise.
He shares with ParenThots ways to ensure children are exposed to a wide variety of books and topics.
Dealing with angry sons
What can a parent do if she has a short-tempered husband and sees her sons showing similar traits?
Focus on the Family says it should start with the husband. He should get some help with his anger problem. In other words, deal with the issue at its source.
If the husband is willing to move forward in this direction, the first step is to find a good counsellor who has experience handling anger management.
Eventually, the entire family should become involved in the counselling process. This is the best way to learn more effective ways of communicating and resolving conflict.
For more tips, go to ParenThots.
Win Wonder Glow Blocks
Want to win a 30-piece glow-in-the-dark block set? Wonder Glow Blocks (pic), distributed by BRAINet, features 11 shapes and colours that encourage children to use their imagination in constructing play sets and figures. It is for children aged two years and older.
To win this, all you have to do is e-mail email@example.com on “Using our imagination when playing games” (in 200-700 words).
The last day to submit entries is Feb 20.