Today I told my son to be a quitter


Xan is in K1 now and he has been having spelling tests at his preschool every Monday for a few months now. The teacher go through the list of words with the class the week before the test doing the usual writing practice.The list is usually between 6 to 10 words and they are words like brush, push, chair, etc. Not too tough, but I can understand if he mixes some of the ‘e’s and and the ‘a’s for words like men and man. We would also do some revision on our own to try to refresh his memory on Sundays at home.

This morning, I decided to spring a surprise test on him during our journey to his school. I got extremely frustrated when he couldn’t remember anything we went through so I gave him a pat on the back and said “Be prepared to fail the test later. Heck, why don’t you just not write anything at all during the test so then you will get to write and rewrite all the words all day long in school today?” He gave me a very sad look, shook his head slowly and said “I dowan”. I continued “You remembered me threatening to keep the iPad and yet forgot all 6 of the words you learnt last night. You even gave up after giving me just the 1st letter. You should just fail the test, don’t learn how to read and write anything. How are you going to survive P1 if you can’t even read or write? Be a quitter then. Easy for you easy for me and I can save my money on your education for other things. You want to give up? Ok, I’ll give up too.” Silence for next 10 mins.

When I dropped him off at the school’s main door and walked off to sign in the attendance book, I heard his teacher said “Oh dear, why are you so sad Xander? Where’s Mummy?” He finally burst into tears much to his teacher’s surprise. When I stepped back into view, he sobbed harder but not yet wailing. What did I then do? I handed him a tissue to wipe off his tears and told him sternly to stop crying. He nodded, grabbed his enormous bags, tried to hold back his tears, waved byebye to me while walking to his classroom with his teacher. I definately won the Parent of the Year award today.

How do you deal with a child who when faced with a difficult task decides to give up halfway? Or when he sees the other children already running so far ahead or have completed their assignment, he would feel defeated and will stop whatever he was doing because he doesn’t see the point of completion anymore. He used to be so fearless and determined. Where did that boy go?

I wonder if he is picking this up from us his parents and if so, are we really doing it? I don’t remember giving up so easily leh. His teacher know he has a tendancy to give up easily and has advised us to be more patient and gentle with him. I tried but my patience is running thin and I finally cracked this morning.

I don’t want him to be a quitter and neither do I want to quit on him. How in the world do I motivate him then?


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9 thoughts on “Today I told my son to be a quitter

  1. If Xander enjoys reading, let him read and let him read out loud.

    I used to score 0/10 for spelling and dictation in primary school, but look at me now! Hahaha. Some of us are just late bloomers in academics. I didn’t “bloom” till I was in polytechnic.

    As for the part about giving up easily, I think maybe… maybe.. I might be wrong.. but just maybe.. it’s due to him having no confidence in himself. So I guess any confidence building exercise/games will help motivate him?

    Disclaimer: The above are just what I think. Please take with a pinch of salt as ultimately it’s solely up to you and Winston to decide what’s best for Xander 🙂

    • der Mardder says:

      I’m not offended lah. Yeah, we thought it might be a self confidence issue too so we are trying to look for something he might enjoy enough to want to see it through. Pressure of school work and expectations are also big factors. It’s so hard for kids to just be kids these days eh?

  2. it’s definitely tough and sometimes I do lose get so frustrated with Lil Pumpkin when she doesn’t remember her Chinese words.. but then I’ve been taking Korean classes too and even for me, the simplest words are hard to remember so what more a young kid? I guess the most important thing to do as parents is to not give up on the kid, no matter what.. and from there it will inspire them to keep on going for themselves.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  3. Chuyan Kwek says:

    Pls keep believing in him and tell him that (especially if he lacks of confidence). If all things fail, your belief in him could be the only motivation for him.

  4. It alright to snap, once in a while. But know that he’s your kid first and just continue to love him! I’m talking big now because my turn is next. My son will be officially writing and reading next year liao 🙁 heading to nursery soon.

  5. sobz. let’s hug together, i am facing the same problem with my #1. he is turning 4 this year and will be K1 next year, which means in a few months time he needs to do spelling too! Now, he doesn’t seem to be able to recognise all the ABCs yet!! Panicking! Is it a boys problem???

    Even my own mom look at me teaching my boy his abcs and shake her head. She said she didnt have any problem with me at all last time. I self learnt everything.. my own mom actually said she has no advice for me and Good Luck! zzz. i boiled madder!

  6. Yes my friend. It’s not easy to be a kid these days. You know what I did with mine?i sent them to ” I can read” school. They could read and spell better after that. Just one year was all it took. 🙂 and you are definitely not alone in this dog eat dog world.

  7. Oh please remember is still so young. I put so much pressure on my children to be perfect and achieve, it began to damage them. They started to loose their love for learning, which is more important than the grade they achieve. Being a parent is so hard, wanting our child to succeed but forgetting success comes in many ways.

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