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It is well recognised that positive parent-child relationships are crucial to the healthy development of children. Dr Mabel Shek Mei-po, Senior Lecturer II at the Department of Special Education and Counselling, The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), recently published a new book on how parents can nurture their children for a successful future.

In the book co-edited with Professor John Lee Chi-kin, Vice President (Academic) and Provost and Chair Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, and Professor Christina Yu Wai-mui, Professor (Practice) of the Department of Social Sciences at EdUHK, Dr Shek teamed up with nine other EdUHK scholars to share their personal and valuable experiences in parenting.

With the prevalent use of information technology in today’s ever-changing world, a hard-working attitude is no longer the only pathway to success. What count most are soft skills, such as a creative mindset, social communication techniques and adaptability to change. The book summarises the different skill sets deemed essential to childhood development into four main categories: fundamental learning ability; basic self-management skills; self-reflection and communication competence; and the essential skills for career success, such as problem-solving and entrepreneurial spirit.

“Parenting education is important for everyone, irrespective of social class. There is no limit to the possibilities for children to succeed. The level of success should be defined according to their own accomplishments, rather than recognition given by others,” says Dr Shek, who is also a specialist in career counselling.

She points out that it is important for parents to guide and accompany their children during their growth, and to serve as their role models. Parents are encouraged to understand and listen to the experiences shared by their children, and avoid demanding they follow in parents’ footsteps.

Dr Shek says, “When you read the whole book, you will discover that the authors share a common belief that successful parenting always comes with a positive, supportive relationship with children, as well as unconditional love.”

Parents could ask themselves what if their children just need a healthy pair of wings to fly and, most importantly, to explore the path they wish to take. “Look far ahead and let your children fly higher,” says Dr Shek, a mother of two young adults.