May 9, 2012

A Risky Business

Nobody said raising kids would be easy. When I decided to have a baby I knew there would be a bumpy road ahead. But I decided to have them anyway because nothing can compensate the awesomeness of feeling this abundant love for my kids. So far so good. Nothing catastrophic has ever happened to my kids, other than my eldest being two times hospitalized and one time having her forehead stitched, and my youngest being two times hospitalized and being one time almost drowned in a small fish pond. Hah! 

Raising children in this harsh environment is risky indeed. But since the options are either we mitigate the risks or avoiding the process of having kids altogether, I choose the first option. Here I try to estimate the risks in raising children using one famous method of risk assessment, namely the ERM (Enterprise Risk Management) framework from COSO (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations). Though in my analysis here the method is severely simplified from the actual framework. 

First I have to set the objective in raising my kids. This is a hard part as I have so many expectations and hopes for my kids but I will narrow them down to be one most important, long-term objective, i.e:

Raising my children to be independent individuals with integrity and have a job that they enjoy. 

The risks in achieving such objective are as follow:

1. Risk name: Financial downturn
Description: We face financial hardship in raising kids due to global economic downturn, or lost our current job
Scores (on a scale from 1 to 5): Impact : 5, Likelihood : 3
Mitigation : Finding side job, having education insurance

2. Risk name: Health problems 
Description : Children suffer from health problems that can affect their quality of life
Scores : impact: 4, Likelihood : 3
Mitigation: providing healthy food, maintaining healthy lifestyle and regularly doing exercise, covering kids with health insurance

3. Risk name: Degradation of children’s moral values 
Description : Bad influence from media and environment : fraud, corrupt, cheating
Scores: impact 4, Likelihood : 4
Mitigation: Teaching children moral values through daily examples, becoming a role model to give them good examples (ouch, it’s a hard job)

4. Risk name : Drug Addiction 
Description : Children are addicted to drugs due to influence from friends
Scores: impact 4, Likelihood : 2
Mitigation: Maintaining good communication, giving love and attention, monitoring who they are involved with, hang out with

5. Risk name : Unwanted pregnancy 
Description: Daughters experience unwanted pregnancy due to unsafe pre-marital sex and/or lack of sex education
Scores : Impact : 4, Likelihood : 3
Mitigation : Giving proper sex education, maintaining open communication with children.

6. Risk name : Psychological distress 
Description: Children experience psychological distress due to too much burden and expectation from parents, or unhappy family condition
Scores : Impact : 3, Likelihood : 4
Mitigation: Setting a rational target based on the children’s ability, maintaining a happy environment at home

7. Risk name : Hardship in education 
Description : Children face high competition in entering university
Scores : Impact : 3, Likelihood : 5
Mitigation: Developing back up plans by equipping children with informal education, gaining more information about both formal and informal education

8. Risk name : Hardship in getting job 
Description : Children face difficulty in finding a job due to high competition, unsuitable education
Scores : Impact : 3, Likelihood : 3
Mitigation: Developing back up plans by equipping children with skill to be entrepreneur. My eldest Ira loves music and computer. Developing her skill will give her an opportunity to open a music or computer course one day. My youngest Mita loves designing clothes for her Barbie dolls. Developing her skill in fashion design (who knows) will help her to open a boutique of her own someday.

And voila! This is the graph of my risk analysis, showing that raising children is a high risk job.:

But seeing the innocent faces of my kids......

I will beat any risk to have them beside me. Who cares about risks anyway to have something so risk worthy.


  1. This is a smart and endearing mother's declaration of love, isn't it?

    As for children's hazards of life, if mankind took the risks of a next generation seriously in advance, human beings would be extinct by now. And though Pol Pot's and Adolf Hitler's father and mother should have been more careful, I'm glad we still are recklessly audacious :).

    But the main thing: your daughters really are devastating gems !!! ( Of course just like my granddaughter and grandson :-)) )

  2. Thank you, Colson. Can’t imagine how our life would be without them, can we? The only thing I can imagine is I wouldn’t have to wake up early for preparing them to go to school. But what would I do every morning then?

    Speaking about Hitler, his idea of creating better generation by weeding out bad genes through mass genocide could be one example of applying a cruel method in risk mitigation :)