CONVERSATIONS WITH… A Parenting Guru

Parenting and child expert Dr Michele Borba has advice on how to raise successful kids, plus handling different parenting styles.

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As parents, you want to bring out the best in your child and to help them realise their potential. So, you set performance targets for junior.

But is this intense emphasis on success unhealthy?

Not unless your expectations are unrealistic, says Dr Michele Borba, an internationally renowned parenting expert and author. “There’s a real fine line between I want you to succeed as compared to I want you to succeed and get the Nobel Peace Prize, which is a little bit over the top.”

Dr Borba, an educational psychologist, notes that there’s less time for you and your kiddo to rest because far too much emphasis is placed on school grades.

“We now have to [send] our children from an activity to activity to activity to yet another activity to give them an edge over their peers. As a result we aren’t just raising perhaps one of the most stressed out generation of children, but we ourselves are the most stressed out on record, too.”

Dr Borba advises that  you make sure your expectations are fair and realistic. “It has to be one step above what your child is capable of doing and gently nudging them in that direction along the way.”

“There’s a real fine line between I want you to succeed as compared to want you to succeed and get the Nobel Peace Prize, which is a little bit over the top.”

Dr Borba was in town recently to share her practical parenting advice at the Singapore Parenting Congress. The mother of three adult sons touched on topics ranging from empathy to social media and smartphone usage.

SmartParents sits down with Dr Borba to get tips on handling your strong-willed child, raising successful kids and dealing with your in-laws who may have differing parenting views.

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In your experience, what is the most common challenge among Singaporean parents?
The biggest challenge so far — and this isn’t a problem that’s unique to Singapore — it’s social media. How much should I allow and where are the bounds to this? Another is smartphone usage — when should I let him have the cell phone and for how long? How do I take it away?