Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many companies have begun to allow working from home, and Remote Work has become more and more common around the world. In addition to having more opportunities to spend time with your children, you also spend more time with your partner in close proximity for extended periods of time. The other half who should be the closest may become the biggest source of stress and even make you feel tired without having proper personal space to rest at home. Disputes between parents are more likely to affect children's psychological development and behaviour. In view of this, ILK invited Mr Wu, an experienced psychological counsellor, to offer some key points for getting along with partners, so that you two can find the most comfortable way to build a harmonious family together in this new era.
Remember this: Children under the age of 12 learn in only one way - using their eyes, not ears. The younger the child, the less vocabulary he or she understands. Therefore, they often learn to understand the world through vision. Hence, what they see affects their lifelong worldview.
It is conceivable that if parents reason or argue with their children every day, it is likely to have an indelible impact on their children's minds. Likewise, if you can teach your child some important concepts through behaviour, they will absorb them very quickly. Do you want to explain what "love" is? Let your child kiss you and associate the act of "kissing" with "love"; do you want your child to be polite? Just show them the behaviour you want them to do that defines manners.
It is often said that parents are the closest teachers to their children. Examine your own behaviour early and help your child learn to understand their surroundings in your way, which is commonly known as teaching by example.
Now that we understand that parental behaviour can affect a child's life, the stability of your relationship with your partner becomes a top priority. If there is constant conflict between husband and wife, the secret is to get to know your partner again and "go back" to dating times!
When dating, we all want to know if the other party is suitable for us, and we will start to pay attention to the other party's nice virtues and attractiveness. But after getting married, the relationship that only required love is enriched with life essentials and minor problems, making the relationship more rational. To make life better, it is human nature that we want to make our partner better and make ourselves happier. So, we start to give advice by finding out in what aspect the other party is not good enough and room for improvement, such as appearance, behaviour, facial expressions, etc. . In other words, we're picking the other half wrong. One mistake a day, 365 a year. Over and over again, relationships naturally carry negative emotions.
To regain the joy of being in love, you must restore the mentality of when you two first met. Spend time again appreciating each other's strengths, and stop using the "point deduction system" to pick on the other half or magnify imperfections. Otherwise, the longer you spend time with your other half, the more you will dislike him or her. To maintain the relationship between husband and wife, you both must spend time learning. You can choose to take relevant courses and gradually adjust your mentality.
One of the most common reasons for quarrels between couples is often the education of their children. Our own experiences, the way our parents raised us as children, and our observations and knowledge of other families as we grow up can all unconsciously affect us when we raise our children. When you and your partner come from different backgrounds, it can be difficult to fully agree on the other's approach to education. However, if you can look at this difference from a different angle, it can actually be turned into an opportunity. Let's say the wife comes from a stricter family and does things black and white but the husband comes from a very relaxed family where many things don’t matter. If we focus on one side, things get very extreme for the children. But if two people can respect each other's characteristics, they can complement each other's shortcomings, progress together and achieve parental balance.
Rather than saying that the pandemic affects family harmony, in fact, COVID-19 has only brought out the hidden problems of many families and forced us to face them. Even if there is no pandemic, the problem still exists. That's why we all need to learn to harness the power of resilience, gradually face new things and accept the pressures that come along with change, and progress over time.
ILK wishes you can find a way to express yourself as soon as possible and start building a beautiful new life for yourself.
Doing what you have always been doing makes you feel safe because of the familiarity. This is human nature. As mentioned in the previous article, we must first step out of our comfort zones and learn to harness the power of “resilience”. While we start facing inner anxieties and fear after stepping from our comfort zones, we begin to pick up new ideas and things. How can we turn anxiety into motivation, learn to live with stress and even facilitate change? The following four steps will teach you to slowly enter the Learning Zone between the comfort zone and the pressure zone, and keep moving forward to build a good family relationship!
To change the status quo, we must first accept the reality. Overcoming your inner hopelessness, adopting a positive and optimistic attitude, and unilaterally accepting that you can change the situation is the ultimate secret to making change. Try to look at the current situation from other perspectives and acknowledge the need for change. Remember not to push yourself too hard to achieve your goals in a short period of time. Remember maintaining a relationship requires more than one person's effort. You need to accept the fact that you and the other person (no matter which of your family member that is) need a certain amount of time and space to slowly embrace change.
Once you've adjusted your mindset, you can begin to set reasonable goals and expectations. For example, if you want your child to be more focused on after-school tutorial classes, you must first define the definition of "focus". For adults, "sitting down" for a 45-minute class is probably not that difficult. But for a three-year-old, ask yourself honestly, would that be a reasonable task to ask for? Try to start seeing things from the child's point of view and re-evaluate the feasibility of your usual requests to your family members.
After finding the goal to strive for, it's time to explore the direction that you should work towards. This means finding specific ways to achieve the goal practically. If you want your kids to understand that you need your own space while working from home, you can tailor-make a new "character" in your world to help them understand what work means. Mr Wu mentioned a family case where the father put up the word "office" on his door, which aroused the curiosity of the children. Adults can take advantage of the curiosity and let the children play the role of a courier company employee to "deliver" documents to dad. Then ask the child to leave immediately upon "delivery" and spend time with dad when he gets off work. This case uses a fun approach to help children understand what work means by putting yourself in the child's shoes.
To change a person's (especially a child's) behaviour, one must understand the reasons behind it. Is there any reason to make the other party unhappy? Too often, parents are subconsciously ignoring the fact that they may be the root cause of their child's unhappiness or rebellion. Learn to take "people-oriented" as the principle of getting along with children, no longer stand in the high position of parents, but accept their feelings and emotional needs in order to truly understand them. If you can think from your child's point of view, you will be able to examine your own emotional management and control. When dealing with children, try not to amplify your anger. Anger is a hurtful and aggressive emotion with the ability to cause damage and should only be used against enemies, not your loved ones.
By reading through all the paragraphs above, I believe that you have fully realized the need to change and began to put things into action. Keep learning and practising and you can turn stress into comfort!
As long as you follow the above 4 steps, family problems can be solved easily. The next article will teach you how to make the most out of "resilience" to better communicate with your partner specifically, so stay tuned!
Working from home has become more and more common over time. This new work mode may seem flexible and free, but it could gradually become a nightmare for parents with young children. Children staying at home for online classes and your significant other using the phone for work purposes at the same time when you are in a zoom meeting…with all these situations, working from home suddenly becomes an impossible task. Family members spend more time from day to night in a space-limited household - is it really a good thing or the other way around?
Under such circumstances, Dr. Rex Wu, psychology expert with 20 years of experience in psychology and counselling, believes that the trend of working from home is a rare gift. "Since I use zoom to teach, I am happier than before. I get to see and spend time with my wife, daughter and pet every day. If you have a good family relationship, you should be very happy working from home since you can see your family members every day."
In the eyes of this psychology expert, why are some families struggling to adapt to working from home? Dr. Wu believes that the difference lies in "the relationship status of the family itself". In normal times, everyone seems to get along well with no head-on conflict. It can be a result of “conflict avoidance”, and it is completely different from having "no conflict" at all. When you find that there are landmines all around you when the family walks together, this is a great time to reflect and make changes to the relationship.
We strive to do our best every day- work hard, study, make money to live in a big house, etc. Have you ever thought about what are these for? Stanford University spent 75 years researching and found that human beings are always in pursuit of "Happiness".
If so, how can we achieve happiness? Stanford University has also done another study on this and finally came up with an answer: Quality Relationship. Society is built around four relationships: parent-child, husband and wife, self and interpersonal relationships. To explore the topic of relationships, the focus is never on changes in the environment, but on returning to the fundamentals of whether the relationship is in good quality.
Why does working from home cause so many problems? This is because human brain energy is very exhausted for daily survival needs and activities already. It is impossible for us to make changes in our lives every day or to learn new things around the clock. The brain then establishes "habits" that make us tend to do the same thing every day. Although it gets boring sometimes, it is more comfortable and does not require too much use of the brain. Living in a world of habit for a long time is often referred to as the "Comfort Zone". For example, working and commuting to the office from 9 to 6 every day and going back to school, are things that are within the comfort zone that we are used to.
When we do things that are not within our comfort zone and have never been done before, we will fall into the "stress zone" right away. It makes you feel uneasy. Simply put, change can be stressful.
As a new work mode, working from home is naturally in the "stress zone". For parents, because the inherent concept of "home" has suddenly changed and turned into an office, the change in the environment causes a feeling of frustration. For children, being stuck at home all day without socialising with peers and after-school extracurricular activities or parents’ attention during a day - all these are massive changes for their younger minds.
As scary as it may feel to step out of your comfort zone, it's actually an instinct that humans use to adapt to their surroundings. We already have a mechanism in our heads to face things out of the comfort zone, a power that psychologists name as "resilience". The development of " resilience" basically defines a person's well-being. If it doesn't develop well, people would be stuck in their comfort zone day in and day out. If it’s developed well, you can adjust your mentality at ease from time to time and reduce stress as your life demands.
Only by learning to utilize the power of "resilience" can we calmly face pressure and improve family relationships.
Many parents believe that the most important agenda of disciplining children is to make them "obedient". However, asking children to "be good" and "be obedient without talking back" is in fact requiring them not to change, not to think independently but to listen to their parents' instructions.
The secret behind helping children get rid of pressure and bravely maximise the effect of "resilience" to change, is to let them learn "disobedience"!
When working from home, parents tend to get irritated when their kids aren't paying attention during Zoom online classes. However, if children are not 100% focused on learning, does it mean that they are not well behaved?
First of all, parents should keep in mind that focus and concentration are two things. Focus is about having the power to control one's attention span, whether interested or not. People never need to concentrate on things that they are interested in. Research shows that children's attention spans are not fully developed until adolescence. In other words, children before the age of 10 do not have the "power" to focus but rely on instinct to focus on interesting, and fun things. If the curriculum is already boring, you shouldn't ask your child to "sit down and learn" - this would be an ineffective expectation.
To live in harmony with your child, you must first step out of your comfort zone and understand that instead, you should look for a method to raise your child's interest in learning. If parents can learn to accept new things or look at existing things from a new perspective, lots of problems will be solved naturally.
Spending more time with family members should be a blessing. As long as you step out of your comfort zone and develop "resilience", it is the first step to building a high-quality family relationship!
Looking forward to seeing more expert tips on this topic? Stay tuned for more articles from our “Stuck at Home” series!
Wish to find out more parenting tips? Want your kids to acquire different skills and knowledge when staying at home? Check out ILK Learning’s Course Catalog to find THE course for your kids! Feel free to reach out for more information on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram! We look forward to seeing your messages!
With traditional Chinese cultural heritage roots in Hong Kong’s DNA, SEN families face challenges since the general is often lacking in understanding or even see it as taboos. In fact, according to SCMP, there is an estimate that one-third of students in town have SEN needs. Only in recent years, the situation has been recognized and more assistance have been made available by the government and organisations.
We understand how hard it could be as a parent with SEN kids. This guide has been written with hopes to help you navigate the daily challenges you might be facing, informing you with resources available and survival tips. Read on to get the support you deserve.
Generally, the term “Special Educational Need” or SEN in short, is used to describe children who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than peers of the same age. In Hong Kong, only students with severe or multiple SEN would be taken special care of in specialised education institutions or centres. Otherwise, most of the SEN students would still be placed in normal schools, some with a dedicated, licensed SEN coordinator or therapist based in the school.
Major types of SEN recognized by the Education Bureau (EDB) include:
Who could help?
Thankfully, the assistance provided by the local government is gradually increasing, aiding 62 special schools as of September 2021.
If you suspect your kid might need special educational support, you should start by getting the insights from:
More social support available on this Social Resources Guide, organised by the government.
Knowledge is key. Navigating through an unknown challenge is much more scary compared to a situation when you are well-informed. More and more educational content and guides come in handy online nowadays ( just like this blog!) Information comes in many other forms as well. Books, podcasts, videos - just start by a simple Google search to make sure you are going in the right direction.
Once you are more educated on the topic, you can consider joining professional parent-child training outside. Be it either a psychology course, an education training or even a workshop. Talk to the insiders to verify what you have learnt by yourself and get expert advice.
This not only equips you with extra knowledge, but also a great way to connect and network with like-minded people that might be walking the same path. Just by knowing that you are not alone, makes things much easier already. Never underestimate the power for emotional support when it comes to parenting. Try your best to build or join a parents supporting community - learn and advance together as a SEN parent!
Despite their unique needs, SEN kids are still kids. For children, playing is central to learning in a therapeutic way. It is beneficial in their physical, socio-emotional and communication development. Avoid being overprotective and shield them because of your child’s needs. Let the kid spread his or her wings and fly.
Go out and seek for extra-curricular activities that are suitable for your kid’s condition and age group. Look more into those that have a teamwork nature or an exercise element if possible (Make sure that your kid can handle the physical requirement for this case.) These help your child practise skills like listening, sharing, cooperating, waiting and taking turns. And similar to parents,
Let them learn, have fun and grow stronger at the same time!
Recommended Class: Speak Well as a Storyteller: Picture Books Reading
It is easy to neglect your own needs while you are focusing on your beloved child. Always bear in mind that your own physical and mental health are as important as your kid’s too. After all, the caretaker's own condition is the foundation of the assistance provided to the child.
Being a parent is hard enough. Being the parent of a SEN child is extra hard. Taking care of yourself in every possible aspect: physical exercise, nutrition, emotional outlets and personal relationships. It is amazing how often something minor seeming could become the key to wellness and relieve stress. Develop self-care rituals and habits to tune into and pamper your inner self a bit. It could be just a sum of tiny things that make you happy and feel valued - be it a coffee in the morning, 20 mins of journaling or late-night stretching. Find out what works for you.
Just as importantly, dedicate some of your energy and time to your spouse. Do not let your love for your SEN child lead to a marriage discord. You must not lose sight of your marriage itself and let it become a casualty of strain. Start by creating space for the relationship - arranging date nights, talking things through. Experts have suggested that SEN parents devote at least 20 minutes per day for each other but not around the child.
Recommended Class: Positive Parenting
Raising a SEN child is a lifelong marathon - we all know that. Turn to for every bit of support in every way you could and make sure you care for yourself equally.
Wish to find out more parenting tips? Want your kids to acquire different skills and knowledge when staying at home? Check out ILK Learning’s Course Catalogue to find THE course for your kids! Feel free to reach out for more information on WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram! We look forward to seeing your messages!