Children's Social and Emotional Well-being in Singapore

Shum-Cheung, Hoi Shan, Tan, Annie, Chua, Yee Sian, Hawkins, Russell, Lee, Alex Ka But, Shiu, Maria, and Fung, Daniel (2008) Children's Social and Emotional Well-being in Singapore. Research Monograph , 7 . Singapore Children’s Society, Singapore.

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This Monograph is the seventh published by the Singapore Children's Society, and continues to reflect the Society's concern with the well-being of children generally, in its widest sense. There is no shortage of research done around the world on the factors that affect the development of children, and their essential psychological needs are well understood. However, knowing what kind of care is developmentally good for children is one thing. Discovering whether it is being provided is another. This cannot be ascertained from research done elsewhere. It has to be done locally. This Monograph is thus an essential contribution to our understanding of the state of well-being of children in Singapore.

The authors have taken care to design the study to include parents and children in the same family. Few studies have been able to do this, yet it is a design that makes the comparison of parent and children's responses especially meaningful. The responses were obtained independently and concurrently, so do not reflect an effort by children to mirror their parents replies. It is therefore reassuring to discover that on most counts there is relatively little discrepancy between responses from parents and children, who both tend to report positively on relationships within the family. As the authors say in their summary of results, "Almost all the children liked their family members and friends, and had good relationships with these significant persons in their lives" (p.4).

This reassuring finding suggests that a proper concern with children who, for one reason or another have difficulties, needs to be kept in perspective. Children can be the victims of bullying, or maltreatment; or they may be lonely; or live anxiously in homes torn by parental disharmony; or they may be simply neglected by parents who are too busy with the necessities of work and daily life. Anyone actually working with children in need can testify to the existence of all these and other problems. Many readers will think of children they know who do not fit the optimistic pattern of the results. However, the findings in this monograph, while they should not lead to complacency, should help us realise that these difficulties tend to be the exception rather than the rule. Furthermore, because good family relationships are a means to buffer the inevitable stresses of life, the prognosis for coping with such stresses is much improved when children like their family members. Families, for such children, are part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

To bring relief and happiness to children in need is the core mission of the Singapore Children's Society. This Monograph is a step in implementing that mission, for by measuring the range of responses it will help to define such children and their needs. They are those children whose responses do not fit the reassuring pattern of the majority, and they will alert us to problems. The authors are to be congratulated for a comprehensive piece of work, which I believe will be of use to a wider readership, and, as the Chair of the Research Committee, it is my pleasure also to thank the Society for its far-sighted commitment to research of this nature. Knowledge of the state of the family in general is very necessary to ground specific service provisions and efforts to realise the mission of the Society, and this Monograph is, I believe, a worthy step in that direction.

Item ID: 17105
Item Type: Book (Non-Commercial)
ISBN: 978-981-08-1016-0
Keywords: children, social emotional well-being
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 23:05
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920501 Child Health @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 50%
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