Parenting Tips

I’m by Your Side

Parenting Tips

April 2024

Written by: Stage and TV scriptwriter Cheung Fei Fan

On a Saturday morning, I took my five-and-a-half-year-old son and three-and-a-half-year-old daughter to volunteer for flag selling for the first time. The little rascals were initially thrilled, but after the excitement wore off in three minutes, both of them started clamoring to go home. As parents, we of course understood; firstly, the weather was hot, and young children have limited patience; secondly, the streets were bustling with traffic and pedestrians rushing back and forth, and with their small statures, they were soon lost in the crowd. Passersby hurried on their way, paying no attention to them. The two little “emperors,” who are usually the center of attention, probably experienced being ignored for the first time in their lives. As a father, I secretly cheered, thinking this was a perfect opportunity for them to understand that they are not the center of the world. At the same time, it could also let them experience what it means to “every grain of rice is hard-earned.”

My wife and I observed from the sidelines, only intervening when absolutely necessary, letting the two little ones freely explore. Watching them go from being scared and disappointed to trying, failing, then helping each other, trying again, and finally succeeding, seeing the satisfied smiles on their faces when they received praise from passersby, my wife couldn’t help but tear up.

Coincidentally, that same evening, director Owen Jay invited my spouse and me to the premiere of his new work ” Distinction” The movie tells the story of a teacher (played by Jo Koo) at a special school preparing a musical with a group of special needs children, and a girl from a prestigious school (played by Jennifer Yu) who initially participates passively but eventually forms a deep bond with them.

The movie was certainly wonderful, but what moved me the most that night was after the screening, when the host invited one of the young actors to share his feelings about his performance. Without hesitation, the child loudly said in front of everyone, “I am very thankful to my mom for accompanying me during the filming of this movie.” At that moment, my eyes welled up with tears. For me, the most striking thing was the word “accompaniment.”

Special needs children may be slightly less capable in some areas compared to their peers, but they always possess an innocent heart. They are sensitive to love and can express their feelings candidly, and he just blurted out what is one of the most important responsibilities as a parent.

Sometimes, we may not need to ‘do’ something for our children; sometimes, simple ‘companionship’ may already be enough. This reminds me of when my son is at home building with LEGO, he often likes to ask me to sit beside him. Sometimes I wonder, thinking to myself, why do you need me sitting next to you while you play? But as I sit there, after a while, he suddenly turns his head, gives me a glance, and then continues to build his LEGO city with reassurance. In that fleeting moment, in his eyes, I saw panic, and then a fraction of a second later, he returned to calmness. It was then I realized that he had accidentally knocked down the LEGO building he had put together. But he did not ask for my help; he just wanted to confirm that dad was right behind him. It turns out, my ‘presence’ is his greatest pillar in overcoming difficulties. His big eyes seemed to say: “Great, you’ve been here all along, so I’m not afraid anymore.”

It’s important to know that companionship always has a time limit, and I only hope that we can live without regrets within that time limit.

Parenting Tips Parenting Tips

Parental education, willing to learn and dare to do

Parenting Tips

April 2024

Written by: Dr. Chi-Yuen TIK, Chief Executive, The Hong Kong Institute of Family Education

In the journey of parental education, I love to listen to parents share their experiences and reflections on disciplining their children. Exchanging and encouraging each other is the most comprehensive content of parenting education. There is no place in the world that requires parents to pass an exam before they can have children. Everyone is learning as they go, realizing things later on, and gradually becoming “experienced” parents. Children have expectations of you, society has demands on you, and parents themselves cannot afford to be lazy, so they actively learn theories and techniques for disciplining their children.

I remember a father sharing how he dealt with his son’s request to buy sneakers when the son was in the eighth grade. He told his son he would give him four hundred dollars. Naturally, the son felt it was not enough, but the father told him that four hundred dollars could buy a pair of sneakers, and if it wasn’t enough, the son would have to figure it out himself. In the end, the son bought the sneakers he wanted, but the price was saving his breakfast and lunch money to make the purchase. He said although his son was happy with the new sneakers, he also experienced days of hunger, and in the future, he would think carefully before making a purchase. The father expressed that it was tough for him to see his son go through this, but he thought it was important for his son to understand the principle of living within one’s means, even if it meant letting his son experience it firsthand.

During a lecture on how to cultivate self-care abilities in young children, a mother of a K3 student shared that her son always relied on her to pack up his homework. Over time, her son’s dependence on her increased. After much reflection, the mother decided to apply what she had learned from parenting seminars. She told her son that he needed to take care of his own things and that she would no longer pack his school bag for him. She was also mentally prepared for her son to be reprimanded by the teacher for not handing in his homework. As expected, to avoid further scolding from the teacher, the son started to pack his school bag by himself every day. Although he may not yet fully understand the importance of taking responsibility for his own affairs, he has begun to take his own matters seriously and no longer relies on his mother’s “help.” The mother also stopped providing unconstructive help and care for her son.

After all, classroom learning is enjoyable, but practical application can be painfully insightful, with a mix of joys and challenges. While applying parenting techniques, it is also a challenge to the parents’ personal values and life experiences. Parents also need to have a balanced mindset and self-awareness. This is precisely the purpose of parenting education.

The underlying meaning of acne

Parenting Tips

April 2024

Written by: Dr Cheung Kit

I remember watching a terrifying TV show during my college days. It was about how a virus similar to Ebola spread among residents and outsiders in a certain area, leading to everyone’s death. In the drama, people infected with the virus would inevitably develop red rashes on their bodies even in the early stages. Therefore, many people have a deep impression that rashes represent serious diseases.

In fact, this is only half true. A rash is a symptom that can be a skin problem or a reaction to a systemic disease. Skin diseases can be simple skin sensitivities, mosquito bites, shingles, sunburns, etc. Systemic reactions can be due to drug sensitivities, infections, autoimmune disorders, etc. The previous statement “half true” means that among systemic reactions, some are more severe, while others are milder.

Severe examples include:

  1. Drug Sensitivity: Since a rash is only a sign, the reaction can be very severe. Therefore, if this is the case, we generally handle and observe with extra caution.
  2. Infectious (Acute): For example, measles, chickenpox, hand, foot, and mouth disease, German measles, mumps, etc. These diseases are highly contagious and also present with fever symptoms. So, in addition to worrying about the complications of the disease, we also worry about it spreading to others. Therefore, special care is needed.
  3. Autoimmune Diseases: For example, lupus erythematosus, allergic purpura, etc. Since these conditions can have more systemic complications, the treatment goal is not to treat the rash but to address the underlying disease.

So what are the “other half” of rashes that are not serious?

  1. Roseola: This is a type of rash ‘exclusive’ to young children. It is definitely a reaction after being infected with a certain filtrable virus. Whenever this rash appears, the fever has already completely subsided, which also indicates that the condition has stabilized. Generally, these rashes appear on the torso and then spread to the limbs and face. Since they are not itchy or painful, there is no need for special treatment.
  2. Heat Rash (Prickly Heat): This is the result of blocked sweat glands. It is mostly caused by the environment being too hot or wearing too many clothes. Although there may be a little itching, it is not as uncomfortable as eczema, so it is not a serious problem. On the other hand, as long as the temperature of the affected area is lowered, the condition will improve.

Infant Eczema

  1. Although infant eczema can be very itchy, it is time-limited. It generally starts from one month after birth and lasts until about six months. Moreover, it responds well to medication (such as medium-strength steroid creams). So, basically, as long as parents are willing to deal with it positively and follow the doctor’s treatment, there will be a good response.

Therefore, having a rash does not necessarily mean there is a big problem. However, if a rash occurs at the same time as fever, systemic symptoms, or poor mental state, it means it would be better to see a doctor sooner rather than later.