Singapore residents were shocked recently when an 11-year-old boy leaped from his window, crashing to the ground 17 floors below his flat. According to, the child was under extreme pressure from his parents to do well on his school exams. When he failed two mid-year exams for the first time ever, he was devastated and afraid to face his parents. Rather than tell them what happened, he chose to jump. His death brings to light an issue that many Singapore parents struggle with— balancing the demand for excellence with unconditional love and support for their children.

The Undeniable Facts

The State Coroner ruled the 11-year-old’s death a suicide, the most recent in a rash of young suicides throughout Singapore. Suicide has spiked in the age bracket of 10 years old through 19 years old. In 2009, 19 kids in this category killed themselves. In 2014, the number was 13. So far in 2016, 27 children and teens have chosen suicide.

The Pressure from Parents

In many cases, parents put a significant amount of pressure on their children to perform well in school. They simply want their kids to achieve high marks, get high-level training, gain a good job, and be successful in life. Although the goal might ultimately be for the child’s benefit, the “tough love” and punishment that follows poor marks is discouraging to a child’s heart. In the 11-year-old’s case, his mother caned him each time he received marks below 70. According to leading psychiatrists in Singapore, this kind of harsh behaviour isn’t the right approach, especially with emotionally vulnerable teens and kids.

A Word from the Experts

A psychologist in Singapore who has counselled children for more than 13 years, was recently part of a key panel discussion about the growing problem. He had some advice for parents. The teens and kids that he works with tell him that “when they feel like talking to their parents, they want their parents to listen to them empathetically at first, and not jump in too quickly with solutions or with judgements.”

Mr. Chow Yen-Lu, a dad whose son committed suicide, chimed in with some powerful words as well. “We need to talk less and listen more. All of us. And when we listen, (we should do so) not just with our ears, but with our hearts.”

A Place to Find Hope

At Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic, we are a mental health clinic in Singapore where you can find hope and help for your whole family. If you are a parent, and you feel that your frustration and perfectionism may be harming your child’s emotional well-being, the counsellors at our clinic can help you readjust your perspective and find new ways to connect with your child. If you have a young person in your home who seems sad, depressed, hopeless, or angry, bring that child to a psychiatrist in Singapore to seek help. Act now, before it’s too late, and you may save your child’s life.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Channel News Asia, October 27, 2016