Parents rate results over children's health

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 April, 2011, 12:00am


Even Amy Chua, the original 'tiger mother', might be shocked by the findings of a new poll.

Over 85 per cent of parents put academic results and performance in music and sport above health when it comes to their child's development.

In the survey, commissioned by the Plaza Hollywood shopping mall, 629 parents with children aged between three and 16 were asked what factors were most crucial to their children's prospects.

The vast majority chose academic performance, musical development and ability in sport. Only 13.6 per cent cited 'health condition' as being 'extremely important'.

Another finding: parents were swift to jump to their children's defence. Asked about their first reaction to their child receiving a reprimand from a teacher, 56 per cent said they would complain about the teacher, to make their children feel better.

And 64.5 per cent said they would back their children if the latter were involved in an argument or a scuffle with classmates or friends. They said they would scold the classmates and make a complaint about them to their parents or the school and demand an apology.

In the survey, 87 per cent of respondents said they hired domestic helpers to look after their children at home.

If their children were to forget to take their homework or lunchboxes to school, nearly half of the respondents said they would take leave from work immediately to take care of the matter.

Over 95 per cent admitted they acted like a 'secretary' for their children, taking care of their every need - preparing breakfast, setting out their uniforms and doing research for their homework.

Professor Wong Po-choi, chairman of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation, said the survey results showed that local parents were overindulgent towards their offspring.

'Children are not necessarily happy if you help them do everything, as they will regard themselves as good-for-nothings,' Wong said.

'Making them responsible for their own affairs or teaching them to take care of others could help them build their self-confidence. They will gain much satisfaction when they know that they are being useful.

'The undue emphasis on academic results at the expense of children's health is also an unhealthy trend. Health is the precondition for a happy and successful life.'