To help or not?

  • Lifestyle
  • Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Should parents lend a hand where their children’s homework is concerned?

SOME parents not only offer guidance and coaching but finish up their children’s homework for them or feed them with the answers in a bid to speed up the work.

The question is, should parents help their children with homework, and where do you draw the line?

Former government school teacher, school inspector and instructor in teachers’ training institute Josephine Teo, 59, says it depends on the nature of the homework.

“Personally, I feel that parents shouldn’t be helping too much. You should just guide your child and give them some tips and tell the child to refer to certain books or sections of a book, and give one or two examples. Then get the child to carry on on his own.

“That means that the parent should be familiar with the child’s lessons and what is in their schoolbooks. Where it gets tough and parents aren’t able to help, I guess that’s when parents resort to sending their children for tuition.

“I don’t think there’s a clear boundary between what parents should and shouldn’t do. I think it also depends on the child. If the child is very smart, obviously he is able to catch up with work in class and homework is not a problem. If the work given is difficult and the child is weak in the subject, I guess the parents may feel obliged to help him more than is necessary. So, it all depends on the child and the kind of homework given,” she opines.

Shanda Vijayan, 60, a retired master teacher (guru cemerlang) formerly with SM Taman Petaling in Selangor and who has some 30 years’ experience under her belt, is not in favour of parents helping but supervising.

“If you help the child too much, the child tends to become dependent on the parent or tuition teacher or whoever to complete his homework, and he gets lazy.

“A lot of parents just sit there by the child and supply the answers, rather than make the child do the work. That means the child is not actually internalising the information. The child is quite happy that the answers are given to him and he takes the work back to school,” Shanda points out.

Secondary school teacher Aisyah Sahdan, 27, who has been teaching for the past three years in Kuala Lumpur, says parents should draw the line between helping the children and doing the homework for them.

“If they are doing the children’s homework, they are really not helping,” she adds.

Read more on ParenThots about what you should and shouldn’t do when “helping” your kids with homework.

Bully stories

There are three stories of bullying experiences this week. One is from a mum relating how both her sons have been bullied at school. Another is from a mum recounting her own experience of being bullied by her school teacher. And the third is from a secondary school student and former victim who confesses to turning into a bully herself.

Share your bullying stories by sending them to

The best 10 stories from now until May 24, as voted on ParenThots’ Facebook page and website, win a copy of Andrew Matthews’ book, Stop The Bullying!. The best story of the month wins RM400 cash.

Book reviews

Have A New Kid By Friday promises to give you a new child by Friday. While this doesn’t involve switching kids, it does give tips on how to improve your child’s attitude and behaviour.

15 Minutes Outside offers simple and organic ways for parents to connect with their kids at the end of a work day.


Want to win dad an Asus Eee PC netbook? Just enter ParenThots’ Father’s Day contest, Dad Deserves An Asus. There are three Asus Eee PC netbooks to be won. The first prize is the 1025C model while the second and third prizes are the X101CH model.

You can enter to win for your dad, uncle, grandfather, husband or even yourself – as long as the prize goes to a father.

The contest form can be found online at ParenThots and the closing date is June 3.

If you just want to win three of the What To Expect books – What To Expect When You’re Expecting, What To Expect The First Year, and What To Expect The Second Year, then enter the ParenThots Giveaway at There are two sets of the books to be won and all you have to do is submit a photo.

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