Parents Zone

Must I drink sports drinks after exercise?

Parenting Tips

October 2022

Written by : Registered Dietitian (Australia)

                   Chung Yong Man


Children should walk more and do more exercise. My good friend May has always wanted to challenge the marathon 10km race. We agreed to train together once a week. Since she seldom exercises, I suggested her to start with a brisk walk first and try running only after she got used to it. After the exercise, we went to the convenience store to buy drinks and May chose sports drinks without saying a word.


” I see that runners bring their own sports drinks and they claim to be good for energy, so I drink them in my spare time, at least it’s better than soda! ” She took the drinks and was ready to pay at the counter.

I said, “Hydration before, during and after exercise is very important, especially during long endurance sports, such as ball games and marathons, where a lot of water and electrolytes will be lost through sweat. It contains water and electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium and magnesium, which can be replenished during exercise. It also contains sugar, which can replenish the sugar consumed during exercise and reduce fatigue. The American College of Sports Medicine also points out that for people who exercise for one hour or more, drinking sports drinks may improve endurance and performance. However, if the exercise is less than one hour, the electrolytes and water consumed in the daily diet are sufficient to replenish the body and there is no need to drink additional sports drinks.

I took away the sports drink from her hand and replaced it with water and continued, “Moreover, 100ml of sports drink contains about 6 grams of sugar, 500ml has 30 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to 6 teaspoons of granulated sugar, similar to the sugar content of a can of soft drink. If you are just walking, which is not an exercise that consumes too many calories, or as a leisure drink, regular consumption is likely to cause fat. You’ll be able to use it next year when you compete in a race!


She turned her attention to the energy drinks next to her and asked expectantly, “Are energy drinks suitable for sports?


I explained, “The main ingredients of energy drinks include taurine, vitamin B complex, caffeine and carbohydrates, etc. They are used for refreshment. But because caffeine has a diuretic effect, it will speed up water loss, which is more likely to cause dehydration, so it is not suitable to drink during exercise. No more searching around, water is your best choice!

Parents Zone

Let your child learn to face failure

Parenting Tips

October 2022

Written by: Director of Curriculum and Training, Financial Education Association

          Mr. Kwan Hin Bun


In many cases, the biggest blow to a child is not the failure itself, but his or her understanding of the failure. For example, if a child is not selected to represent the school in an inter-school competition, the usual reason they think of is that they are not as good as their classmates. But there may be other reasons behind it. Maybe the teacher is worried that if he gets hurt, he won’t be able to represent the school in other more important competitions. This is not to teach children to avoid responsibility, but sometimes we need to make them understand that it is indeed their own factors that lead to failure.


Parents need to remind their children that anyone who starts something will always have difficulty. Parents should encourage their children to persevere to the end, without taking the requirement of perfection too seriously. Don’t be impatient to provide help to your child; let them try to meet the challenge in a different way. For example, if your child has difficulty learning to write Chinese characters, let him or her copy them first.


As children, their attitudes toward people and things around them are often unstable and easily influenced by emotions and other factors. When faced with difficulties and failures, they tend to develop negative emotions and fail to deal with failures with the right attitude, thus creating resilience. At this time, parents should tell their children in time, failure is not terrible, as long as a little brave can do a good job, learn from the failure to see how to do next time. Parents should consciously use their children’s failures as educational opportunities to guide their children to regain their courage and try again with boldness and confidence. At the same time, educate your child to face difficulties and setbacks, to improve the ability to overcome difficulties and resilience.

In life, no one can remain unbeaten for a long time, like China’s “hurdle king” Liu Xiang who also lost in the London Olympics. Only those who are brave enough to face failure will have the chance to show their smiles of success again.


Parents should know how to teach their children to be brave in the face of failure, because no one is always successful in life. We understand from childhood that “failure is the mother of success”, so there is nothing to be afraid of when we face up to failure. However, if we look at our understanding of this statement, we should focus on “success” rather than “failure”, so that our recognition of failure is still conditional. When failure is no guarantee of future success, Failure, is still a shame and a sin. Therefore, parents must be clear about whether they are teaching their children to face failure or to avoid it!

Parents Zone

Caring for children with special needs is not a psychological stress for parents to ignore

Parenting Tips

October 2022

Written by: Family Dynamics Counseling Psychologist

             Shelly Mok


Fai is a boy who is very good at drawing. He likes to draw his own comic characters, but all his characters do not have eyes, ears, mouth and nose. All of his characters, male or female, with long or short hair, have thick hair covering their ears and foreheads. These characters are like a mirror, reflecting his inner world. He does not want to communicate with others in depth, but just wants to do what he likes quietly.


When I first invited him to introduce his comic book protagonists, he said that his characters do not have mouths because no matter what they say, no one will listen to them, so they do not speak; they do not have eyes because they do not want to see what is happening in the world; they do not have ears because no one will listen to what he says. Even the sound of the crowd annoys him, so he prefers to be alone. Other than these few words, he did not respond to any other questions I had.


It was heartbreaking to listen to this P5 boy and look at his big eyes. At such a young age, he already had to close his heart and give up the opportunity to build positive relationships with others.


When Fai was in Primary 4, he was determined to have dyslexia. His parents brought him to see me not for any training, but to deal with the tension and low self-image that had accumulated between him and his parents for quite some time. From the first grade, he faced many academic challenges, such as often failing in dictation, not finishing his homework until 11:00 p.m. every night, not listening to his parents’ instructions, and not finishing his exam papers. The family and he had a lot of friction and conflict over the grade. He was labeled as lazy, irresponsible and inattentive. Even though his parents later learned that he had dyslexia, it was hard for them to let go of their expectations of him, especially his mother.

In fact, Fai is not lazy. When I observed the way he played the game and did the beauty work in the game room, I knew that he is a person who has great demands on himself. In the face of failure, he would try again and again until he was satisfied. For a child who has been frustrated in his studies, even in a non-academic field, it takes extraordinary inner resources to persist in trying without fear of difficulties and learning from his own failures. As a bystander, I can clearly see his strengths, and I am inspired by his inner strength.


However, the parents’ feelings about Fai’s situation were very complicated. They were so stressed out by their constant worries, sadness, expectations, and disappointments that it was hard for them to see and hear Fai’s efforts and heartfelt voices, so it is no wonder that the protagonists of Fai’s comics live in a world without eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. However, the guilt and helplessness of Fai’s parents also prompted them to ask me for help. As parents, they really need time and space to face their own pain and accept that their children are different from others. Not to mention, they only have one child, Fai.

In the process of working with Fai, I also made several appointments with his parents to help them understand more about the challenges and inner world that Fai was facing, and to help them transition and accept his complex emotions. Later, Fai’s mother told me that Fai was actually very hardworking and struggled with his homework for so long every night because he did not want to give up and insisted on finishing all his homework. Even though his parents told him to forget about it, he insisted on not going to sleep. Therefore, I also said that they were really lucky that Fai did not give up in the face of huge learning difficulties. His mother was stunned after hearing this – it seems that they are starting to see and hear Ah Fai.


Parenting can be the most challenging and unpredictable experience in the world, but it can also be the most satisfying and meaningful thing in life. Parents of children with special needs are faced with extraordinary stress and emotional complexity. These emotions are like a thick fog that prevents parents from seeing and hearing the inner world of their children. At the same time, they cannot see or hear their own inner world, thus isolating the communication between parents and children. As a counseling psychologist, an important part of my job is to help parents clear the clouds so that they can see the moon.

Parents Zone

Nurturing Gifted Students, Affective Education is Equally Important

Parenting Tips

October 2022

Written by: Hong Kong Family Welfare Society School Social Worker

                   Kong Shu Ling


Gifted education is increasingly valued in Hong Kong, and the Education Bureau’s website states that the mission of gifted education is to identify and nurture gifted students in a systematic and directed manner and to provide them with appropriate educational opportunities so that they can fully realize their individual potential under a flexible teaching method and environment. According to the literature, gifted students are not only a group with a high IQ, but also have the potential to be gifted if they excel in other areas, such as the arts or leadership..


Difficulties of Gifted Students

Although gifted students have exceptional potential and learning abilities, their cognitive development is faster than the general population, and they have unique affective traits such as fear of failure and rebellion against authority, which often create real-life adjustment problems. These problems may lead to emotional distress and hinder the potential development of gifted students. In one article, “Letter from Helen,” the protagonist truly reflects the emotional difficulties that gifted students encounter.


The essay describes a Helen with an IQ of 146 who was treated as a “monster” when she was a child because of her prominent words and actions. She was afraid of answering questions in class because when she got them wrong, the class would make fun of her. Later, when she joined the society, her colleagues regarded her as a threat and treated her unkindly. In the process, even though she tried her best to develop a social circle, the only thing she got in return was more harm, which had a profound impact on her personally.

In addition, Dr. Daniel Gorman, a columnist for Time Magazine and a psychologist at Harvard University, made the point in his book that while IQ determines 20% of life, emotional intelligence dominates 80% of life. He also suggested that many people with IQ scores over 160 are working for those with IQ scores of 120 because people with lower IQs have developed emotional intelligence, which allows them to win in the workplace. This shows that even if a person has a high IQ, it does not mean that everything is smooth. Therefore, successful gifted education should not only focus on the cognitive development of gifted students, but also their emotional development, i.e., affective education, is equally important.


What is affective education?

Affective education in the narrow sense refers to guiding students’ emotional development, while in the broader sense, it refers to cultivating noble sentiments that help them establish positive life goals. However, affective education is not only about individual counseling of students, but also about the surrounding environment such as school and family, which are important factors affecting students’ affective development. As parents, the most important thing is to set an example and be a role model for their children. For example, when parents encounter impolite treatment from colleagues at work, they can share with their children how to control their emotions and respond appropriately when they get home, and put the “theory” into practice at home so that their children can learn. In addition, parents can help their children think from multiple perspectives. For example, their affective traits can have a positive side in addition to a negative one. Their perfectionist nature reflects their seriousness and hard work; their lack of conformity reflects their boldness to express and break with tradition. In this atmosphere of encouragement and acceptance, I believe gifted students will be able to give full play to their talents and gifts.


In fact, it does not matter if they are gifted or not, what matters is to believe that everyone is unique, and then to explore their potential and let it flourish with the right support!

Parents Zone

What can I eat to refresh my brain and enhance my memory?

Parenting Tips

October 2022

Written by : Registered Dietitian (Australia)

                   Chung Yong Man


It’s exam season and students are studying hard for their exams. Many parents ask, “What are the best foods to help your child refresh and maintain a good memory?



Carbohydrates are digested and converted into glucose, which provides sufficient energy for the brain. Therefore, I recommend eating an appropriate amount of carbohydrates at each meal to maintain the effective functioning of the brain. Food sources include grains and cereals such as rice, noodles, bread, oats, etc., and high starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, chestnuts and taro. Choosing high-fiber grains and cereals such as whole grain breakfasts, oats, whole wheat bread and red rice will help stabilize blood sugar and maintain concentration.


Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, are the main elements that make up the brain’s cell membranes and nerve tissues, maintaining the normal transmission of messages in the nervous system and helping to maintain good memory. Omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained from eating deep-sea fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc. I recommend eating 2 to 3 meals a week, with each meal being about 2 to 3 ounces (the size of the palm of your hand). In addition, almonds, walnuts and avocados are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.


Lecithin is one of the important elements in the composition of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, so adequate intake helps to revitalize brain cells, make thinking sharper and enhance memory. Eggs, soybeans and their products such as tofu, soy milk and baked beans with ketchup are rich in lecithin.



Iron is the main element in the production of red blood cells, which transports enough oxygen and nutrients to the brain to help keep it awake. Red meats such as beef, lamb and ostrich are rich in iron, and I recommend eating 2 to 3 meals a week at about 2 to 3 ounces per meal. Iron can also be taken from dark green vegetables such as spinach and red kidney beans, but since plant-based iron is more difficult to be absorbed by the body, foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, kiwis and tomatoes, can be eaten at the same meal to increase absorption.

Antioxidant Nutrients

Stress and poor diet can increase free radicals in the body, which can damage body cells and accelerate degeneration, or impair memory. Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants that protect brain cells from free radical damage and prevent memory loss. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin and spinach; vitamin E can also be obtained from nuts, eggs and dried beans.


The above nutrients can promote brain health, but we should not only focus on the intake of a single nutrient. I encourage people to diversify their diets as much as possible to get enough nutrients to keep the brain functioning optimally.

Parents Zone

“No!” “Not allowed!” “No!” Does it really work?

Parenting Tips

October 2022

Written by : Child Behavioral Emotional Therapist
            Ip Wai Lun


Many times, parents get angry because their children don’t follow the rules or challenge some bottom line. For example, if a parent doesn’t want a child to touch something, the parent will just say, “Hey! Don’t touch it!” and “No!” and “Stop”, the child will hear many of these “No! and “No! In fact, this will often make children feel that they have done something wrong, which in turn will undermine their confidence and make them avoid doing things in the future.


As a parent, what can you do to make your child follow the rules without undermining his self-confidence? What kind of talking skills can parents use?


For example, if a child is angry and his face is red, we can use the following “three-step” approach.


Part I: Say How He Feels

“Mommy and Daddy see how angry you are ……”

“Look at your red face. ……”


Parents can try to help their children say how they feel. This is the first and most important step.


Part 2: Setting boundaries

When a child has a temper tantrum and may hit someone, parents should immediately set a line: “Okay, we can’t hurt others. Help him to set a compliance line.


Part 3: Arranging a platform for diversion

If the child has already hit someone, the parent should arrange a platform for the child to channel the anger.


For example, the parent can say, “Oh! I see you are so angry that your face is red and you want to hit someone! Why don’t you show Daddy how angry you are? “Why don’t you hit this shark doll?”


Maybe the child will say, “Yes, okay! and then hit the shark doll. At this point, the parent should tell the child, “Oh, Daddy is really angry to see you.

By allowing the child to express his or her emotions, the child will understand that when he or she has negative emotions, they won’t be accepted by the parents.


If parents use the above three steps, not only will they accept their children’s negative emotions, but they will also not condone their misbehavior, and most importantly, children will learn to follow the rules.