ONLINE SEMINAR: CHILDREN'S DREAM – PARENTS' EXPECTATION
Hanoi, June 27, 2021 – Responding to Vietnamese Family Day 28.06, Department of Child Affairs – Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) conducted an online seminar “Children’s dream – Parents’ expectation” with the support of Save the Children International Organization. The discussion is also the last event in the campaign and online seminar series within the scope of Action Month for Children 2021.
More or less every father and mother has expectations for their children. These come from love because any parent wants and strives for the best for their children and want them to have a good and successful life. Therefore, many parents put pressure on their children to study and decide on their careers but forget that their children also have their thoughts, desires, and dreams.
The seminar was conducted towards Vietnamese Family Day 2021, with the hope of sharing ways to listen and understand the wishes of their children to their fathers and mothers, and at the same time, help the children reach their full potential.
The seminar was attended by:
– Mr. Khuat Van Quy – Deputy Director General of Department of Familial Affairs – Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
– Ms. Nguyen Phuong Linh, Executive Director of Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD)
– Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Van Hao – Psychologist
– Mr. Le Xuan Duc – Facebook “Bo con Sau”
The seminar was broadcast at 3pm on June 27, 2021 on Facebook fanpages MSD Vietnam, Tong dai Quoc gia Bao ve Tre em and Lan toa yeu thuong.
Parents’ expectations and the downsides
In the series of seminars on sharing the results of the “Young Voices in Vietnam” report conducted by MSD last April in 7 provinces and cities, many students shared their problems in family relationships. They have not been fully heard. They are not allowed to participate in issues related to themselves and their families, such as study, career orientation, entertainment, etc. Some typical comments are:
– “My parents arbitrarily arranged my future. I want to study in a vocational school, but my parents want me to go to university for self-development. I have already talked to my parents, but not satisfactory. I still haven’t had any solutions.” (A boy from Dak Lak)
– “When I have already tried, but my grades are still not as expected, is there a way for my parents not to put pressure on me?” (A boy from Hai Phong)
– “I hope that parents should not force their children to study, instead, they should listen and help them correct their mistakes and not use violence against them” (A girl from Lao Cai)
According to Mr. Khuat Van Quy, the fact that parents place high expectations and pressure on their children will cause many negative impacts: “Currently, in some families, parents do not care about their children’s thoughts, do not focus on them, put them in the center of attention. Parents have high hopes and expectations for their children. Desires and expectations are not wrong. If parents do not figure out their children’s passion and forte, not put themselves in the child’s place, they will create stress, fatigue, and anxiety for their children. Everyone has different strengths. We cannot force a child with a penchant for music and painting to attend medical school. Your children’s ability is limited, but some parents still require them to attend a specialized school for the gifted. If the children do want to study, they will not feel comfortable, just resistant. Therefore, we need to put ourselves in the children’s position, understand their thoughts, and fulfill their dreams. We need to follow them and guide them to pursue their dreams and meet our expectations. It will help children not feel ignored about their thoughts and opinions by their parents.
(Mr. Khuat Van Quy – Deputy Director General of Department of Familial Affairs)
Commenting on conceptions of parents and children about the gap between their children’s dreams and parents’ expectations, Ms. Nguyen Phuong Linh shared. “Parents often use the excuses ‘for the sake of their child’ and that ‘the parents are the ones who understand their children best, even better than the children’ to excuse forcing their children to follow their will. If parents recall their youth, I don’t know how many parents truly thought that their parents understood them; they forgot that when being children themselves, they were also individuals who had independent thoughts from their parents, had their dreams, and had their orientation that needed to be respected. I believe that parents who use the argument ‘for the sake of the children’ or that they ‘understand the children best’ instead need to create a suitable environment and conditions, foundations to help their children learn, discover their strengths, potentials, listen and respect them, discuss solutions with them rather than forcing them to do what the parents want. In addition, the parent’s concept of ‘I do it to make my children successful’ also needs to change. The process of children being experienced, and trained, making independent decisions for their future, and even making wrong decisions and knowing how to correct them, overcoming and bouncing back from failure is also important, as well as the children’s success.”
(Ms. Nguyen Phuong Linh – Executive Director of MSD)
From the perspective of a young father, Le Xuan Duc shared his parenting views: “When I was a child, my parents did not understand me. I think parents need to understand what their child’s strengths are, and what their talents and fortes are, to guide them. My wife and I both agree not to impose too much on our children. But, we always watch our children every day by playing with them and talking to them to find out their talents and potential. Then, we figure out ways to wake up and arouse your child’s love and interests. If you don’t understand these things but imposing on your children, then that’s completely wrong. Parents only try their best to create the best conditions for their children, laying the foundation for their children to develop in the future.”
(Mr. Le Xuan Duc – Owner of Facebook “Bo con Sau")
According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Van Hao, it is still commonplace that parents do not truly understand their children, forcing their children to live according to their ideals and expectations, which causes pressure on the children. He explained: “The root cause of this comes from the Confucian ideology that has existed through many ages, or that many parents still live by old Vietnamese concepts like ‘the children sit where the parents place them’, and that ‘good children are children who obey their parents’. Although parents guide and force their children in the name of love, this often leads to undesirable consequences because children can’t be themselves. If you compare or stereotype your children as to how they should become, you might cause them to deny themselves, which means that they might think their present self has no value, leading to inevitable psychological and mental consequences. A child is like a sprout. If there is enough sunshine, enough wind, enough energy, etc., it will sprout and grow miraculously, possibly much more than parents expect.”
(Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Van Hao – Psychologist)
Parents, be your children’s motivators!
In part 2 of the seminar, the speakers enthusiastically discussed, shared, and answered the audience’s questions about ways for parents to accompany, and motivate their children, and promote participation and the voice of children in the family. The speakers all agreed that parents should listen to their children more.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Van Hao suggested a method for parents and children to have a common voice: “In any situation, we should maintain a good relationship with our children to bring a positive influence to them. Most family conflicts continue when there is no communication in the family, or inappropriate communication causes one party, either the parent or the children, to be hurt. Children can change the way they communicate their wishes to their parents appropriately. Parents can also change the way they interact, and listen to their children, from imposing to supporting. Parents must understand their children to be able to support them. Thus, parents are both listeners and mentors, encouragers. When we change, the results will change.”
Mr. Hao also emphasized: “Parents should use positive education methods – Positive education is not about letting children do whatever they want, but about discussing together appropriate limits, limits in the family, according to the law, according to society and life, to jointly abide but not limiting the potential of the child”.
Le Xuan Duc added: “Parents should start accompanying their children as soon as possible. By accompanying your child from a young age, we will become friends with our children and become close to them, thereby giving them the confidence, not to have to stalk to see our children when they grow up whenever they are having a problem that makes them run back to find us to tell their problems and concerns and can help and support them better. Don’t wait until the child is 14-15 years old when there is a distance between the parents and the child then make friends with them; this is very difficult.”
Ms. Nguyen Phuong Linh agrees with “dad Sâu” Le Xuan Duc and gives advice to parents: “I suggest that parents should be serious about respecting and listening to their children, have a ‘family meeting’ and spend time with their children to talk and communicate with your children for at least 1 hour of quality every day from an early age. There is no universal formula for raising a child as every child is different, but there can be general principles of spending time with children, respecting and listening to them.”
Ms. Linh shared a secret and vital Action method for parents with the word ACT – where A is Accompany – Accompanying children; C – Commitment and Communication: Commit to respect children and talk to them daily; and T is Time – spend quality time with your children. Ms. Linh also emphasized: “Children need to learn to grow up, parents also need to learn positive educational methods to be the driving force, creating favorable conditions for their children to develop comprehensively and maximize their potential. We always accompany parents in the process of growing up with their children.”
Mr. Khuat Van Quy said that state agencies are having policies and programs to support families in finding a common voice, and protecting children’s rights and participation, specifically: “We have coordinated with the Department of Child Affairs and social organizations to implement many programs and policies to ensure that children can speak up and express their opinions in the family. Recently, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has organized media campaigns and events about family in which there are contents related to children’s right to speak up about their opinions in the family, listening to children with all of our hearts, parents accompanying and being friends with children. In addition, the Ministry also provided training for family officials at all levels, including at localities, as well as proposed a code of conduct in the family of respect – equality – love. We are also looking forward to working with stakeholders to build a happy family model so that parents can effectively consult and accompany their children to grow up.”
The seminar ended with the speakers’ unified messages on balance and harmony, accompanying children between “Children’s dreams” and “Parents’ expectations.” The speakers emphasized that happiness and success lie in experience and process and wish Vietnamese families will have positive, happy, and loving experiences every single day together.
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