Chan Chun Sing Tells Parents To Help Children Realise Their Potential

In the wake of the River Valley High School (RVHS) tragedy, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing delivered his ministerial statement in Parliament on Tuesday (27 Jul).

Apart from addressing mental health and school security issues, he made a heartfelt plea to parents to look after their children’s mental wellness.

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He also urged them to help set the right tone and example for the young, and stressed the importance of being kind.

Here are 8 noteworthy quotes we’ve plucked from his statement.

1. “No one will ever be alone. No one needs to go through life’s toughest moments alone.”

Minister Chan Chun Sing highlighted the need for the community to build a caring, nurturing culture for everyone, especially our children. This is so that they won’t ever have to face the world alone.

And it all starts within people’s social circles. Here are some things parents can do to make a difference in their children’s lives:

  • Spend time to listen to our children’s thoughts and feelings
  • Give them space to process their emotions
  • Walk alongside them as they grow and learn to handle their new challenges

2. “Success cannot, should not, and must not be the constant need to be compared with someone else and having to live up to somebody else’s image.”

In Singapore, we’re familiar with the culture of asking questions during house visits, where parents and relatives either ask about the children’s accomplishments or lowkey brag about theirs.

This is not how we should define success. Instead, Minister Chan said parents must have frank conversations with their children on what it means to be successful.

This brings us to the next quote.

3. “As a parent myself, I’ve come to realise that success must be defined by helping my children realise their own potential, develop their own strengths.”

And ultimately, be confident in themselves.

4. “The greatest gift we can give our children is to accept and love them unconditionally, and help them be at ease with who they are.”

Minister Chan also said that the greatest assurance we can give our children is to affirm them and give them the confidence to find their own ways.

5. “Do our actions & choice of words build people up or tear people down?”

Minister Chan gave us some food for thought here.

Parents are urged to help children learn the right behaviour in both the real and virtual worlds. As adults, they have to set the right tone and example to “break the vicious cycle of negativity”.

We can do this by standing up for others and responding to situations with grace and compassion.

6. “All of us can be kind to each other. All of us can look out for one another, no matter how intense the pressures might be.”

Minister Chan reminds parents of the role they play to stop toxic conversations online. This can be done by amplifying messages of strength, care and positivity through our support networks.

Hence, he said the Ministry of Education wants to strengthen partnerships with parents through Parent Support Groups in schools.

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He hopes these groups can expand their roles to connect with one another and help parents whose children and families need more support.

Hence, he urges them to form subgroups that would focus on the mental well-being of children and families.

7. “To those who are struggling, I want you to know we’re here for you. Let us know if you need help, and we will do what we can to support you.”

Minister Chan applauded the courage of students and teachers who visited MOE’s CARE post at RVHS, saying that he encourages them to continue doing so.

8. “Reaching out for help is a sign of strength and not weakness.”

He appealed to everyone not to stigmatise those who come forward to seek help, be it students, staff, or parents.

He asked for this incident to motivate us to “take down our barriers” and treat struggling individuals who step forward with care and compassion.

RVHS incident underscores need to safeguard children’s mental well-being

Discussions over mental wellness among our youths aren’t new. But the RVHS tragedy has underscored the urgent need for necessary action to be taken before the situation continues to fester.

Our youths are at an impressionable age, making them vulnerable to mental health issues if left unchecked.

Let’s take heart from these quotes today, and do what we can to instigate the changes we want to see in our community. Everyone has a part to play in this.

If you or anyone you know needs emotional support, call the Samaritans of Singapore’s 24-hour hotline at 1800 221 4444 or send a Facebook message to SOS Care Text.

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Featured image adapted from Google Maps.