Tuesday, May 23, 2006

On raising a child

It was heart-lifting to read this letter in today's newspaper:

Young adult thinks parents should take responsibility for their children rather than rely on 'the authorities'

I REFER to the letter 'Kidz Bop spreads wrong values' by Mr Nicodemus Ching Cheok Hui (ST Online Forum, May 20).

As a young adult, I have yet to experience parenthood and am unable to share my sentiments with Mr Ching, but letters to ST Forum by parents showing concerns over their children have given me an image of 'modern' parents in Singapore.

All too often, there are letters from parents with concerns or complaints about contents in the media or issues their children have to deal with in and out of school. Almost always, a reply is expected from 'the authorities'. This raises a question in my mind: 'Are parents fulfilling their roles as parents?'

Let us face the harsh reality. The influence of media is growing exponentially and the environment around us is ever changing. There is no way to put a stop to 'undesirable' materials being displayed via any medium, nor can we choose what experiences we want our children to go through.

Please do not seek solutions from the authorities or the Government. You, as a parent, chose to have a child, and it is your responsibility to bring him up to be an upright person.

One may argue that I am still too young and inexperienced to put forward any comment on how a child should be brought up, but I beg to differ. One simply needs to move outdoors and observe parent-child interactions to see the seriousness of this problem: for example, children showing disrespect to their parents and parents taking no action to correct their children's behaviour.

Perhaps parents today are too soft-hearted and resort to other means to teach their children. It is time for parents to reflect and take the responsibility of teaching their children rather than spend time and effort trying to get a solution from 'the authorities'.

Eric Ho Wee Kim

Parenthood is a hands-on endeavour. This seems to be an oft forgotten fact by many Singaporeans. Because of easily available & affordable domestic help here, much of the parenting has been left to the maids. And having husbands who are mostly hopeless on the homefront as far as childcare, & housework is concerned, doesn’t help either, thanks to their mothers who think that their darling sons should not be allowed to lift a finger to help out at home. I know of people whose husbands have not even touched their own children’s diapers. And these are mostly guys who have grown up locally, and not had the experience of living overseas & having to take care of their own household without Mummy or a maid to help. (Note: I am not saying that ALL local guys are helpless; this is the impression that I have gotten from my encounters).

Giving birth is probably the easiest part of parenthood (or perhaps the creation of the child ☺). After that come the sleepless nights, the dirty diapers, the messy emissions from various orifices, the childhood illnesses with the accompanying anxieties, the tantrums, the adolescent angst, teaching your child right from wrong, school choices, school grades, colleges choices…the list is never-ending.

Parents should take it upon themselves to raise their children & not rely on the government or their maid to do so. Oh sure, have someone help out with some of the housekeeping chores. But for heaven’s sake, discipline your own child, & teach them to behave in a civilized manner instead of relying on your maid to do so. Speak to your children about the birds & the bees instead of blaming the schools for not giving proper instruction on sex education. Help your children make the right decisions instead of asking the government to ban certain books/music/movies/TV programs because of questionable content (be it religious, moral or ethical).

We, parents, are the grown-ups, and our children look to us for guidance. It is OUR responsibility that they grow up to be well-rounded individuals, who are able to make wise choices in their own lives.

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