Parents are Craving to be Famous

This story is a bit ridiculous, but yet happened.

So, my niece is a student in a baby club in Malang, East Java. Last Tuesday, the principle called my sister-in-law. She said that my niece is chosen to be the model of that school and her photo will be on the brochures and other promotional media. My niece is not the only one, for there are 23 other students chosen from hundreds. The principle said that the promotional media will be used for 1.5 years and therefore the media tax is very expensive. She said that every one of those 24 students will need to pay 500,000 IDR (around US$50)!

For me it’s weird … the school needs models for their own benefit, but then the parents have to pay certain amount of money to pay for the taxes and other expenses. My sister-in-law refused at first, because she did not want to pay that amount of money. Then, on Thursday, the principle called back and she said that my niece got 50% discount, just to lure my sister-in-law…

Amanda and Ellice

Amanda and Ellice

Well, in fact, she tries to lure all the 24 parents to pay the money by saying that ‘your children will be models of school and they will be famous’! How good her marketing system!

One young mother said that she did not think twice when she got the offer, because she thought that her son might get another offer from modeling agent. I think she’s not the only one who think that way. Don’t you think so? Imagine, how much money that the school will get?

Oh, parents … you are craving to be famous!

I’m a Nanny’s Child

It’s a normal phenomenon in Indonesia to see a child with nanny. Child sticks with nanny, from the earliest morning until bedtime again. Nanny is being responsible to prepare a child’s food, vitamins and school work. Nanny is also responsible to play with the child and also to accompany the child to play games. Nanny is the one who will be blamed if the child is crying or fall. Simply to say, call Nanny and everything is going to be alright.

Mothers, especially the young ones, are busy to be socialites. They hang out everytime they meet up, especially after they drop their children at school. Hang out at the mall, go to the gym together, having lunch or gossips together before picking up their children. Some mothers are lazy bumps! They are still at bed every morning their children are busy preparing their stuff before going to school. I ask some of my students about their mother’s habits. Here are their comments…


‘Mom is still sleeping when I’m going to school. So, nanny is the one who is preparing my breakfast and bag’ (A – Primary 3).

‘I wake up at 5 every morning to have jog with my Dad. Mommy? She wakes up at 9’ (K- Primary 3)

‘Mom is having her tea time meeting with her friends now. She always does that after she drops me here’ (J- Kindergarten)

Nanny is one the next big thing here in Indonesia, especially for those rich family who are not willing to wake up in the middle of the night but willing to pay more for someone to take care of their children. Many children are sleeping with their nannies at night time. Some of their parents are not knowing about their conditions, until they are having bad experiences, sick or fail at school.

nannyI have been trying to talk to one young mother about her daughter’s performances at school. She did not know anything at all! Instead, she blamed the school systems and asked me which one is the best school in town. She did not get the meaning of that problem. She did not seek the answer through observation, but she just cut it off and wishing to move forward, by choosing a new school. But by the time, she forgot that too, and her daughter is still fighting hard with her school performances. All the schedules of her daughter is arranged by her nanny. Her mom knows nothing at all …

It seems that our children are now their nannies’ children. They are not belong to their mothers anymore, except to pay the school fee and buy the latest trend in fashion or games.

What do you think?

Parents Involvement in Child Achievement

During this semester break of my study time, I am busy with my work. I have to re-scheduled my students due to my tight schedules next semester and also do the training for my assistants. But I want to talk deeper than just my busy days. I am very interested in the involvement of parents in what-so-called their child achievement.


Children nowadays are being pushed to the edge of their limits. Schools, homework, projects, tuition and studying. No more play or free time after school. It happens down here in Indonesia, and I believe in other Asian countries too. The load of curriculum and the demands of parents are taking almost all of their times as children. I can see the tired faces of my students who come down to my place in the afternoon. My tuition place is responsible to help them finish their homework and preparing for the upcoming test/exams. Each child will study for 2 hours and then go home. I never know what they will do after that…

One young mother is driving me insane. She keeps on asking and pushing me to put her boy on the top of everything that I prepared in the class. She wants the first available schedule, first available teacher and she wants them all without a care of others (me, the teachers and the boy himself). She insists to send her boy earlier than others and stays until everything is done. I just feel bad for the boy…. He has been with me for the past 3 years, since he was in Primary 1. He was in the bottom low on his class (20/21 students). Just 3 months before he did his final exams, her mom sent him to me. I worked so hard to make him pass the test. He did! He was on the 19/21 students. Then, he raised his position into 16/21 students from Primary 2 up until now.

Well, I know that parents have the biggest portion of taking care of their children. But most of the time, they translate ‘taking care’ as send their children to many tuition places or clubs at one time. You can hear them say, ‘Oh, my daughter is number one in her singing club’ or ‘Look! My boy is holding his trophy as the fastest swimmer in this club’ and so on. Parents are happy with those achievements, and that is very understandable. But, do they ever think about the children? Are they happy? Do they know what it means to be number 1? Do they know the meaning of being in the spotlight?


As parents, we need to know about the limitation of our children. They are just children, who want to play out with their friends, who want to wake up after nap without a thought of going to tuition place. They really need a break, not just during holidays, but during their daily life too…

Let’s hope for the better life of our children!

Meaningful Learning

One parent came to see me a few days ago. She complained about her youngest daughter who always refused to learn on numbers and alphabets. She said that she had tried many ways to help her daughter catch up with the school lessons.

Her daughter is not a slow learner and she does not have any indications of having problems with her motor skills, gross and fine. She can do beading, coloring and pasting very well for her biological age (3 years and 3 months old). She has ability to make friends with others, from different classes at school or different age groups. She’s not afraid to perform a song in front of the class even though she can’t remember the lyrics well. She hates TV but she loves to watch family videos. She can remember the story or the events that she watch from the video, then she will re-tell the story for the whole family.

But … her teacher complains about her behaviors in the class. She does not want to sit still and listen attentively, even though at the end of the week she had a good report form (because she can finish her worksheets and hands-on activities). She also known as one who always checking on her friends’ new hair clips! (for me it’s just a normal activity for a 3-yo girl)…

Anyway, we had chat and I can conclude some points:

1. Her little girl only interested in any activities that has meaning for her and not abstracts (appropriate with her developmental stage).

2. She is not a type of girl who is living her life very academically. So, she won’t bother with anything smells so academia.

3. She’s having a great life with her family and friends. And that’s all that she cares about…

Then, we were making some ways that can be done by that young mother:

1. Create an atmosphere of meaningful learning. So, in order to make a child understands the concept of numbers and alphabets, mother needs to make a story board or attractive number/alphabet boards. Then, teach her daughter using stories, because she can remember story very well. For example, prepare or print out a picture of a mother cat and 5 kittens. Start a story about a mother cat who is protecting her kittens. Ask child to start counting. At the end, mother can ask the child to write the numbers down as exercise.

2. Whenever a child can remember an alphabet, give stickers with connecting pictures (Apple for A) as a reward. Ask a child to collect the stickers in a special stickers book.

3. Treat a child as a human being and not half-adult. A child can enjoy her part of being a child and also learn to be responsible for her life. She needs to know what life is like from her parents. She won’t be able to grasp any abstracts concepts at her stage now.

Hope our session help …

Another lesson learned!

The New Generation of Instant Kids

Yes, you read the title correctly. We are having the new generation of instant kids…

I’ve been working with parents for about 3 years and I started to be able to read between the lines. Parents nowadays want to have brilliants kids with minus efforts. What I’m saying here is the fact the parents want to exclude failure from the formula of Successful Kids!

If the old saying said that failure is the best teacher, then parents nowadays say that failure is not an option. There are only 2 ways of making this happen. First, parents tend to help their kids by providing any equipments, materials and even answering sheet just to make their kids be the top of the class. They even forge the documents or papers, so their kids will be able to go for favorite college or university. Second, parents will push their kids hard! School, tutorial and extra courses are the only things that kids allowed to do. No more outdoor play, free play and private times to do their hobbies. Sadly enough for this generation.

If parents really want to have successful kids, then they have to re-formulate the formulation that has gone wrong. They need to put their hearts in it! Don’t bother with favorite schools or college, because your kids can learn from any sources, from daily lives and from their very surroundings. As parents, we can help them to gain as much knowledge as they need and not merely stuck in academic achievements.

When kids grow, the problems don’t end. Teenagers nowadays are much fragile compared to the previous generations. They have no ability to show off of who they are and what they can do competently. Now, who’s to blame? Those parents or caregivers who provide the teenagers with whatever they need and dismissed the chances of handling their own problems.

Parents hold the key : to make their teens competent in what they are doing … or make them as incompetent adults.

Your choice, parents!

Over Protective Parents = Under Achievement Child?

When I sent my 17-month-niece for her baby class (Oct 4, 2008), I was sitting next to a young father who had a phone call. Both of us could see the process in the class through the glass window. I saw his baby boy was trying to climb on a 20-centimenters-trampoline while his wife was talking with the teachers. This young father suddenly hang up his phone and rushed into the class! He got his baby boy in his arms and did not let his baby boy learn by himself (from what I observed).

This young father may seems very caring and has a great affection over his baby boy. But he may have ignored a freedom for his child to discover the world around him. This young father builds barriers for his baby boy to understand more about his surroundings. Every child has a right to discover something on his own.

In that class, there were only 2 babies: that baby boy (16 months) and my niece (17 months). My niece could climb a slide by herself (with her teacher watched behind her), jumped on the trampoline, walked on the long walking board and play balls. That baby boy could not walk yet and he was afraid to do things on his own. He could not jump and climb the slide, for sure. He was afraid to make mistakes and he can’t achieve good developmental tasks according to his age.

Failure or mistake is part of our life experiences. Just as child psychologist David Elkind, professor at Tufts University stated, “We learn through experience and we learn through bad experiences. Through failure we learn how to cope”. So, the point is about learning, not about avoiding mistakes. When parents aware enough about this, they may be able to overcome their anxiety which translated as being over protective.

Caring over a child and being over protective need to be distinguished very well. Parents may get mixed up because they think it’s all the same. They may think that being over protective is a way of showing love, in fact it is not. Parents make mistakes and so do our children. Let’s learn to be a good moderator for our children. We facilitate their development and support them by giving them a chance to develop their own sense of self.


For more details on related articles: – 45k –

Review : Antwone Fisher

I’ve watched this movie before, because the cast is my favorite for all time, Denzel Washington. But during School of Children Counselling, the purpose of watching this movie had been changed. We had to look through the effect of abuse that Antwone had to deal in his childhood years. He’d been abandoned by her mother since he was born (in the jail) and he had to stay with foster family or in government house. Don’t forget to notice the physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse that he had gone through his childhood.

Child counsellor, child psychologist and parents need to watch this movie for 2 purposes:

  1. To understand the condition of the victims in many abuse cases. This movie describes the condition of Antwone during and after the abuse occurred. We can learn to understand how it felt for a child to be beaten, strangled and sexually abused. We can get the general idea on how that abuse will affect a child in his teens and adult life.
  2. To look inside ourselves of what we have done to children around us, could be our own children or those who are working with us. We tend to do ‘daily abuse’ such as: look down at a child, swearing, call them by name and many more.
The real Antwone Fisher

The real Antwone Fisher

Because of the abuse that he had in his childhood, Antwone is now a grown up man who can’t handle his feeling toward others. He will easily punch his co-workers in the Navy, but he also afraid to get into relationship with woman. He never kissed a woman or have physical contact with them, since the day when a young woman in foster care abused him sexually. This movie captured that moment perfectly! When Antwone had to kiss his girlfriend, he could relieving the moment of that abuse. But, with love and real affection from his girlfriend, Antwone can get through that moment.

Step by step, he’s doing what needs to be done. He looked out for his true family – his mother and relatives from his father (who had been shot by his ex-girlfriend). At first, he imagined that this reunion would be something terrifying, but by the time he met them, he can get his sense of belonging back. He felt that he has identity as someone else’ family and that feeling has been missing from his heart since long.

during session

during session

The process of helping Antwone, also has a deep impact on the psychiatrist who helped him. That process helped him to get out from his own marriage problem. It seems that when we help other people, we help ourselves too. The meaning of giving is never ending, we can always give something that we have to others and eventually, we will get something back in return (Well, I’m not talking in a business way of thinking).

If you want to know more, this movie worth a watch…

Watching The Olympic

Beijing Olympic owns the world attention. From the mega spectacular of opening ceremony to the controversial of lip-sync in that ceremony. The opening ceremony has been claimed to be one of the greatest and the lip-sync was not the first incident to happen in international events, even one of the biggest musician did lip-sync on 2006 Winter Olympic in Turin.

The singer and the performer

The singer and the performer

I thought being unfair to a seven-year-old girl who claimed to be chubby and has problem with her teeth is something terrible to do. Comparing those two girls is like comparing a tea cup and a wine glass, because they are different. The performer of ‘Ode to the Motherland’, a 9-year-old Lin Miaoke has been instant superstar in China. Meanwhile, the real singer, 7-year-old Yang Peiyi has to hid behind the scene.

People say that it was a world class fake. China has been known as a master in copying and faking products. Well, it helps millions of those who need works, but faking the performance on this world class Olympic is something different.

There is a wish from Peiyi’s tutor, Wang Liping, she hoped that when the new school year starts in a few weeks that Peiyi will be given an award in front of the 3,000-plus students — and that Peiyi and Miaoke would sing “Ode to the Motherland” there together.

Let’s hope something good is happening to Peiyi…

Another Lesson from Randy Pausch

I just finished viewing the complete video on ‘Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’ by Randy Pausch. I got it for free from

He prepared that lecture for his 3 children, not for us (he called it the 2nd head fake). He had some points to deliver on the lecture.

1st : His childhood Dreams.

  • Float on zero gravity (done)
  • Play on NFL (he played football, even though not make it to NFL)
  • Be Captain Kirk
  • Being an Imagineer for Disney (he’s done it)

When he talked about his childhood dreams, he did not hesitate to share it with us. He really got the motivation from that dreams and he worked hard enough to get them all done. Some of his dreams come true when he was already a professor. He’s able to tear down the words ‘too late’ for such childhood dreams.
2nd : Enable others to achieve their dreams.

While catching his dreams, he tried hard to enable others to achieve their dreams too! Like a story of his students who were together in a project called ‘Building Virtual World’. It was started as a class project and turned out to be something much bigger than that. So, he taught the class about computer science (which I don’t really get it) and had a project with his students. I believe it was part of his dream as an Imagineer, because his students then create their own virtual worlds as part of the project.

One thing that touched me so deep was his effort to enable his son to achieve his dream. He brought his oldest son to play with dolphins. He believed that his son won’t forget that soon. And I believe that’s a way that he chose to be remembered by his son…

If you have abandoned your childhood dreams, it’s time to catch them!

The Last Lecture

Prof. Randy Pausch had gone (July 25, 2008), but his ‘Last Lecture‘ will left a deep mark on everybody who listen to it. I just found out this website yesterday from a blog of Mark Brady.

Randy Pausch and his children

Randy Pausch and his children

Randy Pausch is a Professor of Computer Science in Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He had terminal pancreatic cancer and still able to bring his last lecture in front of 400 colleagues and friends. On the interview with ABC, he said that his disease is not something ‘unfair’. He considered himself to be unlucky. He always speaks that way about himself. But, when he tells the story of his 3 children, he almost in tears. He says, ‘This is unfair’ because he will never be able to save his family when people put his family on the top of the hill. And that’s truly unfair…

This story reminds me of Morrie (on Tuesdays with Morrie). The two of them share their last lecture for each of us who want to learn something from their lives. Morrie believed that the most important thing in our lives is LOVE. And so is Randy, people wrote about how his lecture had inspired them to spend more time with loved ones, to quit pitying themselves, or even to shake off suicidal urges”.

I also learn a valuable lesson on how to catch my dreams. He says that “brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things.” I know how badly I want to get my dreams come true and I will keep on keeping up (Joyce Meyer).

My thank you for Professor Randy and Morrie!

So, how do we want to give our last lecture to others?