Voice in Legco
Voice in Legco - Give Kids a Happy Childhood

In recent years some parents use pushy and spoon-fed means to unleash their young kids’ potentials, making their children too preoccupied and overloaded than adults. Too demanding approaches not only deprive children of a happy, carefree childhood but restrain their potential and creativity. The pressing need of society is not a change in the way of education and training, but parents’ respect to the rights of children.


Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that “States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.” The happiest memory in my childhood is the carefree pastime when I played with kids in the neighbourhood. Gone are these precious moments which form a part of my lifelong memory. Everyone should respect the children’s right to have happy childhood.

Students Busier than Adults

For many years, however, primary and secondary school students in Hong Kong have been overloaded with pressure from school assignments and examinations - they are also engaged in various extra-curricular activities. Many surveys conducted in recent years have found that local young students are gradually losing their personal time and can hardly have enough rest. The most stunningly finding is that at very young ages, children are leading busier and unhappier lives than adults.

Undeniably, parents have all sorts of high expectations of their children. To ensure their kids not losing on the starting line, some Hong Kong parents are blindly pushing and too eager to see achievement in their attempts to dig out their children’s potentials. Taking an early start for holistic education, they register for their children in various interest classes, foreign language classes, interview classes and so forth. Children are drilled to be trilingual and bi-literate and to master one sport and one art as early as possible, so that they can meet the schooling competition in future. One may ask: how can a little kid stand such endless exhausting toil?

Too Pushy Approaches Can Strangle Potentials

It is a pity that with high parental expectation, a supposedly carefree childhood can no longer be a funny and simple one. Just like a piece of plain paper, children have unlimited creativity and development space. Too early excessive intervention of parents will preset their children’s development paths, would backfire and strangle the potentials, creativity and vision of their children.

Children are our future. The future of a society depends on the critical mass of talents. Hong Kong should boost its competitiveness, and it is high time to step up manpower training - nurturing more professional talents of extensive knowledge, intelligence, expertise, innovation, vision and energy for various fields. Not only does education and training in our society need a paradigm shift, but also the attitudes and mindsets of most Hong Kong parents.

In my opinion, the most important elements in children’s growth are fostering their physical growth and mental health, building their good personality and unleashing their potentials. Parents must be patient, wise and caring. They should leave ample room for their children to think independently, choose and play, in a way to give them a precious happy childhood they deserve.

Coach Children with Discipline and Benevolence

It is prevalent to find local parents putting too much weight on academic results. While requiring their children to attend too many after-school tutorial classes, they place the cart before the horse by ignoring their motivation and interest in learning. Excessive tutoring produces the negative effect - children finding it difficult to cope, and get bored easily and resistant against learning.

Securing a happy childhood for kids is not equivalent to keeping handsoff and let loose. Some children are spoiled by parents who blindly give in to their kids’ wants and wishes. With such long-term improper parenting, children become domineering, rude and act willfully and wildly. Albeit seemingly happy, children are suffering from lifelong harm as they cannot learn how to build a positive character, proper values and right attitude in getting along with others. Worse still, children cannot develop the ability to cope with adversity and will be at a loss in face of setbacks.

There is a Chinese saying that “hard work will pay off but play does no good”, with which I cannot agree. Children’s potentials can only be unleashed in a natural manner. Playing and learning can complement with each other effectively that the former opens up children and widens their horizons. Playing games and joining extra-curricular activities are an effective means to cultivate independent thinking in children as well as the best way to train up their body and mind. By bringing their children close to nature and enlighten them about the mystery of the universe, parents can ignite their desire for knowledge and curiosity. By encouraging their children to learn and care about animals and plants, parents can cultivate a sense of respect for life and empathy in their children. Children therefore learn to be caring towards the weak, respectful towards seniors and friendly towards peers. Playing is essential for a happy childhood. More important of all is the quality time parents spend with their kids. Only can children grow happily with love and warmth, the mutual understanding will forge close bondages.

Prepared for the Brave New World

Despite my support for the promotion of information and technology development, I do not think children should be exposed to and use electronic products too early, or even indulge in internet surfing or playing electronic games. Improper use of IT products can impede children’s physical and mental development, interaction with others and interest in reading. Do not let electronics dominate children, erode their innocence and take away their simple joy at too early a stage. It will also limit their dynamics of thinking and creativity.

The world is ever-changing and advances with face-paced technological development. No one can foretell the globe’s trends in the next one or two decades. What parents should do is getting their children prepared for future - well-equipping them with basic skills for survival as well as the abilities to think independently and resolve problems. Parents should also nurture persistence and confidence in their children, encouraging them to face ups and downs in their lives with courage, so that the younger generation can move with times and pluck up courage to face challenges ahead.

Should you have any comments on the article, please feel free to contact Mr Martin Liao.
Address : Rm 703, Legislative Council Complex, 1 Legislative Council Road, Central, Hong Kong Tel : 2576-7121
Fax : 2798-8802
Email: legco.office.liao@gmail.com