SINGAPORE – Now that the Primary School Leaving Examination is over, the next big discussion parents must have with their children is on results and school choices for the future.

A group of volunteers from the Youth Mental Well-being Network will be running workshops on communication skills to help parents in such discussions with their children.

There will be three sessions this month and two next month, with slots for 250 parents per session.

The programme comprises 1½-hour online workshops with take-home exercises for families, where they will use Bramble, a free mobile app powered by artificial intelligence, to facilitate conversations.

The workshops draw on communication techniques and theories from experts, and use strategies like role-play to help parents talk to children about difficult topics including academic expectations and dealing with disappointment.

Families will then use the Bramble app at home to practise these skills through guided conversations – the app provides prompts and useful words to help parents find the right language to connect with their children.

A total of 654 parents have participated in a previous series of six workshops, where the volunteer team worked directly with parent support groups from 35 primary schools to reach those in need.

Bramble chief executive Chew Chia Shao Yuan, 25, said the motivation behind the workshops was to get to more parents, as those who need help may also be the ones who are less likely to seek it out.

The previous set of workshops dealt with issues surrounding exam stress, especially in the run-up to this year’s PSLE, which ended last Wednesday.

Mr Chew Chia, who is a leader in the volunteer group, said he hopes that parents will come away with concrete skills to support and validate their children, and solve problems collaboratively with them, incorporating these skills into their lives and relationships.

The team of 14 is now seeking help from the public through the Youth Mental Well-being Network’s call to action.

Mr Chew Chia said it is aiming for more parents to join the movement and have more conversations with their children about stress, and for more to use the Bramble app and provide feedback on it.

The group is also seeking people to connect the group with the leadership of more primary schools.

Mr Chew Chia added: “Our hope is to run the programme for all primary schools in Singapore from January to March next year.”

Last modified: October 10, 2021