Is a Nagging Mom the Key to the Success of a Teenager?

Is a Nagging Mom the Key to the Success of a Teenager?


Are you a little tough with your adolescent daughter? Do you feel guilty about being a pushy mom? May be it is time not to feel guilty about it, at least that is what science says.

As per a study conducted by the University of Essex in UK, teenage girls with nagging moms are more likely to be successful in life compared to those with less nagging moms.

The research team studied the lives of 15,500 girls between the ages 13 and 14 years for six years, from 2004 to 2010. As per the study, high expectations set by mothers tend to increase the standards the teenagers set for themselves. In fact, the study lists five benefits to the teenager with a pushy mom.

  1. Lesser chance of teenage motherhood. The chance of teenage pregnancy decreases by four per cent.
  2. Higher chances of going to university.
  3. Higher chances of getting a job and remain well paid.
  4. Higher chances of partnering with successful men.
  5. Higher chances of getting involved in activities outside their comfort zones.

Now, do you know what to tell your teenage daughter when she complains you are being too pushy?

5 Steps To Improve Your Child’s Communication Skills

5 Steps To Improve Your Child’s Communication Skills

by The Kidz Parade

As your child develop their communication skills, their influencing skills also develop. Effective communication is a great way to develop their social skills. Whatever the age of your child is, encouraging effective communication skills can help prepare them for a successful adulthood.

1. Talk about their interests

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Discussing about your child’s interests is the best way to keep them talking. It does not matter whether their interest is in online games, computers, sports or cartoons. When you show interest in their interests, it becomes a great encouragement for them to communicate more. This also has an added adavantage of them sharing more about their lives with you.

2. A pat in the back

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Kids pay attention to their small achievements. My 11 year old comes to me for affirmation of every single event he considers as his achievement. Most of the time, their achievements may not look like milestones to us. But, this is an opportunity where you could encourage them to speak more about their achievement. Ask them how they achieved that task, conquered that fear or solved that problem. This will not only help them to articulate better, but also help them to improve their self awareness.

3. Talk about current affairs

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Current affairs and news are not directly related to us on a personal level in most cases. Discussions around current affairs will help your child to express their viewpoints without any inhibition.

Recently, I had a discussion with my kids regarding drug abuse. The starting point was an article that carried photos of people before and after they started using drugs. This not only helped them express their viewpoints, but also created awareness and general knowledge.

4. Involve your child in decision making

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The joy of of being valued can stir up confidence from unknown corners. Involve your kids when you make decisions, they will feel empowered to contribute more. Their first lessons of brainstorming start here. As part of this, they will also learn how to consider varying viewpoints while making decisions.

5. Share a meal

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Don’t we meet people over a meal to have nice conversations, both on a personal and professional level? Dinner tables are great ways to make people loosen up and share their views. This is also an inexpensive way to get your kids talk without inhibitions. Many studies have also proved that eating together helps children to form better relationships with their parents. Do you use the ‘Non-judgemental dinner table rule’? That is, you don’t ask challenging questions like “Why did you do that?” for any topic that is brought on to the dinner table. This will encourage your child to open up more. Do you have a dinner table rule?

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How to Score for your English Oral Exam ? (part 1)

How to Score for your English Oral Exam ? (part 1)

by Jerry Lee

The oral exam for PSLE English has a total of 30 marks and makes up 15% of your overall English Score for PSLE.  For students taking O – Level or N(A) – Level, the oral component takes up 30 marks or 20% of your overall English score.  For this blog post, we will be covering the reading portion. I will be highlighting some simple ways to show you  how to score for your oral English exam.

1.  Be mindful of your pronunciation


As Singaporeans who are used to speaking Singlish, we don’t really focus so much on our pronunciation during our everyday dialogues.  (It’s okay, I don’t speak Perfect Queen’s English too.  I speak like a Singaporean and I am proud of it!)  However, when it comes to your oral examination, it is time to code switch.  Be 100% aware of your pronunciation of words!

– be wary of words ending with ‘-st’.  Make sure you say “first” and not “Firsss”.  “Cast” and not “Casss”

– articulate words ending with ‘-ed’.  But do not over do it!  Keep it light and subtle

– the ‘th’ sound requires you to put the tip of your tongue against the back, near the bottom edge of your upper 2 front teeth.  Now pronounce the word “The” instead of “Der”.  Again, keep it light and subtle.  Overdoing this may end up in you spraying spittle all over your teacher.

Also, do not start faking a British or American accent.  Having an ‘ang moh’ accent won’t impress your examiners!  Be natural!


2.  Pace yourself

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Students taking oral examinations are usually nervous and can’t wait to get over the whole ordeal.  It shows in their reading.  Don’t let your nervousness get the better of you!  Keep calm and slow down!  Remember to pause at the comma and take a longer pause at the full-stop.  Take a deep breath before the start of each sentence and make sure you maintain your pace according to the punctuation and phrases used.  In some cases, I have seen students pausing too long at difficult words and speeding up when they get over the word, then pausing to catch a breath when there is no comma and rushing through full stops.  The punctuation is there to help you pace yourself and catch your breath.  Follow it!  Keep to the momentum dictated by the commas and full stops.  If you choose to ignore it, your entire flow of reading will be gone.


3.  Sit up straight, keep your chin up.

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Proper posture plays a huge role when you are reading.  When you slouch or rest your head on your hand, your reading will be affected.  Sit up straight, hold the paper in front of you with your hands/arms resting on the table and read confidently.  Make sure your head is not tilted down so low that the movement of your chin is restricted as your throat will become scrunched up or squeezed.  You want your head to be facing straight ahead so that your voice will be projected loud and clear, not soft and slurred.  Good posture will allow you to read better and keep you from mumbling.

4.  Read with enthusiasm and feeling.


Many students become extremely self-conscious when examined for their reading prowess.  They become so tensed and so conscious of points 1 and 2 that they forget about the tone of their voice.  They end up reading in a monotone so robotic that they can all go audition for the upcoming Terminator movie.  Add some oomph to your reading!  For the older students, don’t worry about sounding dorky or uncool!  The only person who can hear you read, other than yourself, is an examiner whom you will probably never see in your entire life again!  Read in a lively manner!  ( Of course don’t overdo it, if not your examiner will suspect that you have not taken your medication.)

5.  Practise reading out loud while waiting for your turn

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When it is your turn to be sitting on the waiting chair, make sure you take the time to fully prep yourself.  Read. Out. Aloud. To. Yourself.  Yes, don’t be shy.  Again, no one is going to judge you or laugh at you.  This preparation time is important because reading the passage a few times will help you loosen your tongue, stretch your mouth and clear your throat.  You will also get used to the rhythms and fluctuations of the passage.  You must also use this time to practise pronouncing that one difficult word that always pops up in the passage.

6.  Oh My God.  How do I pronounce THAT word?!

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It seems like for every oral english test or exam, you will always encounter that one word that you are not too sure on how to go about pronouncing it.  It seems like examiners always have some form kind of sadistic streak.

“Hey let’s see if the kids can pronounce ‘Otorhinolaryngologist’. Hahaha!”

If you see evil words like that, don’t panic.  You won’t lose 5 marks just because you can’t pronounce 1 word properly.  Break the words into smaller parts and try your best saying it out.  You might want to practice it a few times (see point 4.)  Try not to pause too long when reading the word, and after you get over that torturous moment, refrain from speeding up.  The trick is to maintain the momentum of your reading as much as possible.  Don’t let a few difficult words mess up your flow.

7.  Relax! Relax! Relax!

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The key thing to take note for oral is to relax.  Your examiner is not some troll who lives under a bridge waiting to eat little children.  Your examiner is just a bored teacher who can’t wait to get this over and done with so that she can go home and actually — have a life.  The more nervous you are, the more mistakes you make.  Even if you fumble, keep calm, relax, and read on.  To err is only human.  Not all of us are born with the linguistic skills of Eminem or Barack Obama.  I have a tendency to stutter when I talk too.  But does that stop me from doing public presentations or creating my own online teaching courses?  No!  Once you realise people are more worried about what others are thinking of them, you will stop worrying about what others are thinking of you.


Take a chill pill.  Smile at your examiner.  Be polite. Sit up straight.  And read without inhibitions!

To join his comprehensive online course in writing, you can click here.

For a review of his course, please click here.

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Is Your Child Lacking the Skills needed to Survive and Thrive?

Is Your Child Lacking the Skills needed to Survive and Thrive?

by Kidz Parade


The world has changed and it continues to change. We have moved from Industrial economy to information economy to knowledge economy to now the data economy.

A recent study of over 1500 CEOs by IBM reveals that companies look for candidates who are communicative, creative, collaborative and flexible. Is the current education system preparing today’s children for these needs? Not enough.

In our classrooms, kids do learn a lot, but they do not master what employers are looking for. It is disappointing to see that effective communication, creativity and collaboration are not integral parts of the curriculum.

For instance, consider the case of communication.
Is our education system focused on building this essential skill in our children?
If communication skills are essential for landing a career, why is it not given the systematic approach that it deserves?
How can you ensure that your child is not left behind?

When it comes to communication, there is verbal communication, non-verbal communication and written communication. This article aims to highlight the top 3 myths, some insights and actionable suggestions on verbal communication.

Top 3 Myths of verbal communication

There are several myths about verbal communication most parents are not aware of.

1. “That child is a good communicator” just because he/she talks a lot.

Nothing can be farther from the truth. Talking a lot doesn’t mean effective communication.

2. “My child is a horrible communicator” since he/she doesn’t talk much.

The first rule of communication is that ‘lot’ does not mean ‘effective’. In this knowledge economy, people do not have the time and patience to listen and understand. Our busy lives have significantly reduced our attention spans. As a whole, we listen less than we used to. So, if your child is able to speak effectively and concisely within a short time, he/she is a winner. The important words here are ‘effective’, ‘effective’ and ‘effective’.

3. “Let them focus on academics now, communication can come later.”

It is true that your child can pick up communication skills at any stage in his/her life. However, the longer you procrastinate it, your child is losing out on opportunities. Many people lose out on opportunities at school, at internships, at university admission interviews, job interviews and many other important junctions in their lives just because they lack the power to persuade and convince others. Communication is a life skill that requires regular practice. When you procrastinate it, your child is losing the window of opportunity to make it a second nature. Lack of ability to communicate effectively invariably affects the confidence of the child. Imagine the boost in confidence and the increase in opportunities your child would get when he/she could convey their ideas better and persuade others.

How do you know whether your child needs help in effective communication?

As a parent, you are the best person to decide whether your child is in need of help in communication skills. You can figure out the need by observing the following areas.

1. Does your child find it difficult to convey ideas and persuade others?
2. Do people often ask your child to repeat what he/she says?
3. Do you notice your child losing out on opportunities since he/she is not expressing their viewpoints persuasively?
4. Does your child feel nervous when he/she speaks to others?

What can you do to help your child communicate effectively?

The first lessons of lifeskills often start at home. These are some tips you can use to cultivate your child’s communication skills at home.

1. Let your child know the importance of effective communication. Create awareness in your child that effective communication is an essential stimulator for his/her overall success in the future.

2. Let your child know when it comes to communication it is not the quantity but it is the quality that matters. It is not about how long they communicate, but how effectively they communicate.

3. How we communicate is as important as what topic we are communicating. Show real life examples and encourage your child to observe other people’s conversation styles to help him/her understand this.

4. Effective communication is a package of verbal and non-verbal communication. The listeners accept your child’s points based on how he/she connects with them using this package. Body language, gestures, movements, eye contact, tone, pace, voice projection etc. play a major part in this.

5. Encourage and provide opportunities for your child to communicate both inside and outside your home environment.

If you can equip your child with the ability to communicate effectively, that is probably the best gift you can give him/her.

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When’s the Right time to Start Public Speaking?

When’s the Right time to Start Public Speaking?

by The Kidz Parade

Recently a friend asked me “My son is 12 years old. What’s the right time for him to learn public speaking skills? Isn’t it too early to start?”

This is what I said to her. There are 7 things you need to know about public speaking.

1. The earlier you start, the easier it gets

J R Oppenheimer (the celebrated American theoretical physicist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley) spoke at societies in New York City when he was just 12 years old. His father provided him early exposure to public speaking and that helped Oppenheimer in his enviously high levels of self-confidence, innovation and leadership in his celebrated adult life.

2. Lays the Foundation before the Building is built

Children in their tweens and teens are starting on a journey of self-discovery. They are in constant search of an identity and for a safe place for them in the world. These are times when they start to feel judged by peers, parents and tutors. That’s when the feelings of inadequacy sets in – IF – that is not proactively offset with a boost in self-esteem and self-image.

The earlier you start public speaking, the earlier they feel confident to face strangers and strange situations that the future holds for them.

3. Assists in academics

These days most primary and secondary schools require their students to deliver presentations. As you might have noticed, teachers usually assign the opportunities to present mainly to the most outgoing, expressive and confident of students. Those who do not have a demonstrated skill in presentations are mercilessly  left behind. This even affects their academic grades. If you have read academic reports, it sometime reads like this “Peter is an intelligent student, it would have been great if he could speak up in class

However, let us not just pass the blame to the teachers! Aren’t we wired to be impressed by those who can express themselves better? Those children who can’t express themselves effectively are unfortunately left behind.

Unfair? Not really. If you can’t speak up, you won’t be heard.

4. Seize opportunities to lead

Leadership opportunities in schools are almost always provided to those children who have the ability to speak, lead and persuade other children. Children who cannot measure up to these leadership expectations would be left caught in their “leadership-gap”. This gap widens with time, unless there is a positive intervention. That’s why so many intellectually outstanding children do not make it to leadership roles in later life. Just because no one ever told them that’s important! No one guided them and they lose out on opportunities to lead. (Hint: Have you ever worked for a dumb boss? You get the idea.)

5. Speak up and stand above peers

Since most people have a fear of public speaking, the person who can speak, lead and persuade is looked upto. They get noticed. They get envied. They get respected. A great morale boost for children as they prepare for adulthood. This gives them an “elevated sense of social dominance” over peers. This boosts their confidence and future leadership opportunities. (Hint: If you can lead, people give you opportunities to lead.)

Motivational speaker and thought leader Les Brown told it best. He once said “Develop your communication skills – because once you open your mouth you tell the world who you are – you can really begin to climb the ladder of success and do things that will literally amaze you!”

6. Confidence begets confidence

Confidence begets confidence. Every time you stand up to speak, you get a mild boost in your level of self-confidence. When you are more self-confident, you are more ready to speak again. Soon this “cyclic-ritual” of speaking in front of an audience turbo-charges your confidence and speaking becomes something you eagerly look forward to.

7. The right time to learn any life-skill is  N-O-W!

The right time to learn swimming is before you fall in the deep sea. Public speaking is an essential life skill every child needs to learn. You see, not everyone gets the opportunity to learn public speaking. If you ever get the right opportunity to pick up this invaluable life-skill from the right person, just don’t wait for the right time!

That would be one of the best investment for your child’s future and he/she will be grateful for your timely guidance.

Do you feel that more confidence could have helped you in your career or profession?

Do you feel a boost in your confidence at a younger age could have helped you to be better prepared for life today?


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