On May 18 2016, the day he was supposed to show his mid-year exam results to his parents, Master H jumped off his room and committed suicide. The reason? His grades were low.
As the report goes, the primary 5 student had a tough time transitioning from grade 4 to grade 5. While he could maintain an average above 70% till now, his mid-year exam results were much less than what his mum expected. He hid his results for a while from his parents, but the pressure was too much and on the morning of May 18, he locked his room and jumped off the window.
His parents opened the room with a spare key, but could not find him. His body was discovered near Block 470A Fernvale link. The parents are devastated. Yesterday, the state coroner Marvin Bay ruled it to be a deliberate act of suicide.
It is a sad news.
Another report says that his mother used to admonish him with a cane when his grades would fall below 70%. He used to get a light strike of a cane on his hand for each mark below the expected. This does not make her an evil mother. Please don’t judge her for her acts. She has been punished enough already. She was unfortunate to not know other means of disciplining her kid.
Suicides in Singapore
According to a press release by the Samaritans of Singapore, the suicide rate has gone up amongst teenagers despite the shrinking population in that age group. In 2015, there were on an average, 2 teenage suicides each month. The overall suicide rate has fallen.
Even so, the statistics are alarming. Teenage years are filled with failures and heartbreaks. But the real pressures are yet to come. Most often, the suicides are as a result of parental pressures or an inability to meet unrealistic expectations about self.
Whatever the case is, suicide is not the answer. Caning is not the answer. Disappointment is not the answer.
Read on to know more…
How to react to child’s low grades?
This is something every parent should get a training on. Every parent has expectations from the children. Good grades ensure admissions for further studies and a shot at a better job, and a better life. That said, grades in Primary 5 are not going to help your kid get into any prestigious college.
As parents, you need to do a few things to keep your child from taking any drastic steps.
1# Realistic assessment of the child
Every parent wants his kids to be the most educated person in Singapore. But not all kids are meant for academic professions. The thing you should do is make a realistic assessment of the child’s current standing. That way, instead of giving him goals based on marks, you can help him improve his weak subjects.
Keep a dialogue running with your kids.
2# Keep the expectations real
There is nothing wrong with expecting good grades from your kid. After all, what are all those extra enrichment classes for?
But at the back of the mind, keep realistic goals that he can achieve. If your child gets 60% in the exams, encourage him to achieve 65% in the next exam and 70% in the subsequent, instead of expecting 80% all the time.
Kids, like us, respond positively when they are able to hit the goals. The disappointment is also real when they cannot. Keep the expectations real and be there for him.
3# More carrot, no stick
Sparing the rod does more good than harm according to this report. corporal punishment on failure can lead to deep emotional disturbances in the child. Do you want to put anxiety in the child’s mind so early?
I understand that it is not a great idea NOT to punish the child at all. I do not fully agree that kids should never be physically admonished. But this should be reserved as an extreme measure, when words fail. Please do not hit your child. Understand the reason behind his bad grades and work on them together.
4# Spot signs of depression early in the child
Yes, children do get depressed. This may be as serious as depression in the childhood. Be aware of sudden changes in the mood of the child. Mood swings, while normal in most of the cases, may be a sign of some form of mental disturbance. Please keep a watchful eye for the same.
Read more about the signs of depression in your child here
Mums, dads, please don’t drive your child to take such drastic steps. Bad grades can be corrected. Many times, I have seen kids who do not do that well in school turn out to be very successful in life. Teach them how to live. There is a life beyond the grades and you know that very well.
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