Monday, 3 July 2017

Forum: Not good to cocoon children from real life

Parents want nothing more than the best life for their children.

However, millennial parents are different from parents decades ago, as they are playing more defining roles in their children's lives, with a vested interest in their successes and failures.

We have seen helicopter parenting, where parents swoop down in response to children's needs. This has led to increasing confrontations with teachers, or teachers needing to shut parents out from school compounds (More schools shoot down 'helicopter parenting'; June 26).

Now, we are seeing "drone" parenting, where parents try to control and pre-empt their children's needs. These parents chauffeur their children to and from school and activities, and use technology such as smartphones and social media to monitor them while remaining out of view.

Children do need watchful eyes to keep them safe and on the right path. But there needs to be balance and moderation. Parents should not go overboard and cocoon their children from real life.

Allowing children to be independent, make mistakes and deal with the consequences is important to foster responsibility to help them thrive in the world as adults. Helicopter or drone parenting does not help the child, and addresses only the parents' own goals and fears.

Free-range parenting is probably a useful approach, as this hands-off style gives children freedom and enables them to develop independence, confidence and self-awareness.

However, at the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way of parenting because every child is different and may benefit more from one approach over another or a mix of approaches. The parenting technique used must be the one that suits the family best.

Francis Cheng


Exceptional people: Foreign Worker Ambassador

Mr Veluchamy Muniapparaj, an operations executive at a workers' dormitory, flanked by Mr Munusamy Sugumar (far left) and Mr Vadivel Sakthivel, whom he had advised on how to recover their unpaid wages.ST PHOTO

Mr Veluchamy Muniapparaj signed up to be a volunteer with MOM's Foreign Worker Ambassador programme to help other migrant workers in wage disputes after he himself did not receive his wages from the company he worked for.

Last night, the 31-year-old Indian national received the Star Ambassador Award at the MOM's first appreciation dinner for its Foreign Worker Ambassadors at the MOM Services Centre in Bendemeer.

The ambassadors, he said, can help newly arrived foreign workers ease into life here, and advise fellow workers on what they can do when they face employment-related problems.

Mr Muniapparaj has recently started taking Mandarin classes to help Chinese workers with employment-related issues.


Benefits of walking or running backwards

Walking backwards is retro-exercise. It:
  1. Helps you to use muscles and movements that you probably rarely use, making it an ideal way to change up your exercise routine for greater fitness gains.
  2. Puts less strain and requires less range of motion from your knee joints, which is useful for people with knee problems or injuries. It is good for the hips, legs, and trunk.
  3. May help relieve lower back pain, improve hamstring flexibility, burn more fat and calories in less time than traditional walking, improve balance and even sharpen your thinking skills and vision. Some experts say walking 100 steps backwards is equivalent to walking 1000 steps forward.
  4. Increases vision and hearing powers because you do not have eyes behind you, so the senses pick up the needs.
  5. Backward running strengthens the heart, lungs, muscles and joints.
  6. Your stomach will work out like your back and creates a nice reaction for your abdominal. Putting it in reverse for a while is a pretty good deal.

People who may benefit from backward-walking training include anyone who:
  • Is undergoing post-surgical knee joint rehabilitation
  • Suffers from muscle strains of the hip, groin, hamstrings or lower back
  • Suffers from lower extremity injuries including sprained ankles, Achilles tears or shin splints
  • Has tried everything including ibuprofen, ice/heat treatments, complete time off from training, physical therapy, stretching, and more traditional strength training without sufficient results

Note: Cycling backwards on a static cycling machine has almost the same benefits as walking backwards.