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Often we have stopped to the sounds of children singing, playing the piano, performing a magic trick or simply telling a story. The first thing that hits is that these children are talented. Are some children more talented than most? Or are talents something we can nurture and develop in our own children.

Some parents have asked teacher Laura who runs ACTS how to bring their children’s talents as it seems no matter what they do, their kids have no interest or lack of motivation to try anything. Teacher Laura explains that children who do nothing except interact with computer games have been put in that state due to parental criticisms of almost anything they did when they were younger. Teacher Laura explains that over a decade of teaching, she have seen many parents make the mistake of nagging or criticizing every fine aspect of their children’s life, the result is that kids have bad memories of almost every activity they have tried. Computer games offer them a solace from the real world where they are for once ‘heroes’ or very good at something.

Discipline and critiquing should only be used in a small number of cases which warrants it. Some parents upon hearing their children playing the piano would remark, “Matthew if you don’t know how to play, don’t play. It sounds very stupid.” A simple statement like these would almost guarantee that everytime Matthew sees a piano he would associate it with a negative parental response and he would no longer have the interest to pursue this talent.

We all do best at things that we enjoy doing. In ACTS, teacher Laura explains that she trains children to bring out the best in themselves. To encourage Isabella,12, a child whose mom has almost already given up on her maths, teacher Laura uses combination of techniques to help Isabella improve. The very first questions given are ultra-easy, this is followed by praising her and saying that she wasn’t as bad as what was originally thought. Over the semester the rapport is built between them and by the time PSLE has arrived, Isabella was ready. Her good friend and mentor was always foremost on her mind and knowing that one of the top teachers in Singapore has confidence in her helps her esteem greatly.

Parental guidance in a child’s development is crucial. Loose speech and bad verbal discipline can harm more than good. Always be ready to praise and say positive things. As the old adage goes, if there is nothing good to say, then please keep quiet.

Alvin Chia is the founder of ACTS and other tuition centers. He is a writer of educational articles and he also have been featured in business times and other various media for his financial literacy.

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