Commentary: After some painful adjustments, parents and children can get used to living with COVID-19


In Singapore, in addition to the official abolition of exams for some school levels, there is still a lot to be done to build a better ecology of care for our children. And this scaffolding must go beyond suggesting that our educators need to get more involved or that there is a curtailment of the exam curriculum.

The reality is that most schools still have some measure of testing, even if they are unweighted. In critical years, all systems are still working and business is business as usual. We expect kids to just adapt in a jiffy, but we know that doesn’t happen.

This constant eye on parameters such as productivity, GDP and even the number of vaccinations is limiting. None of the above has been designed to assess or report on the welfare or well-being of citizens.

I’m not proud to admit that it took a massive battle with my tween about the job for me to verify myself tremendously; mastering my inner Tiger parent instinct that screamed at me to step up a gear for my primary 5 child who “counted” the exams. The person who needed an attitude readjustment was me.

One of the best things I’ve done in the face of this deep and widespread imbalance was admitting to my sons that I, too, struggle to feel any measure of safety in this time of flux.

And we bonded over our mutual admission of feeling tired, unmotivated, worried… Asian. And instead of telling my kids to adjust to the “new normal”, I’m telling them now that there’s nothing normal about this time. And while we won’t be wallowing for long, our family will save room for frayed seams.

This storm will eventually run out of rain. And maybe, just maybe, in 2022 children will be able to play freely again.

Cherie Tseng is COO at a local fintech company, mother of three, and editor of The Birthday Collective.

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