The RIGHTs and WRONGs of parenting

I don’t know where to start or where to end but I know I have to write this out or else I’ll get more and more people buzzing me asking if I’m okay. Yes, I was upset today and yes, my Facebook status says it all.

Out of a random chat with a friend, this came out, “be honest, i think ethan still need to learn to respect u and william more. If he ever talk like that to me (im the parent), he will kena dah”

Suddenly, everything else doesn’t matter anymore. My world came crashing down. Yes, it was that bad. I don’t know why but seriously, I was at my all-time low.

I used to work in a kindergarten before I got Ethan. From a supposedly Headmistress position, I am referred to as Head Monster by the kids. I was THAT strict! I don’t like kids and they annoy the heck out of me, especially the naughty and rascal ones.

But then I got Ethan and I left everything to stay at home to care for him. Clueless to the max, I try bringing him up the sensible and reasonable way. I don’t believe in corporal punishment because I went through that growing up and it doesn’t do anything good in boosting my self-esteem back then.

I reason with Ethan from the very beginning. I believe in a good argument. I don’t just throw Ethan out of the house when I’m mad because that is not a good argument. That is just a loop-sided argument and I’m just showing authority by telling him he can’t live here coz he has done wrong. He’ll feel helpless coz he just won’t have anywhere to go.

People say I’m spoiling Ethan if I don’t hit or punish him. I do punish him, I just don’t hit him. Ethan’s piano teacher saw my fury when Ethan misbehaved for 2 weeks in a row during piano lessons. He thought piano lessons means the teacher is all his and I am NOT allowed to interrupt whatsoever. So the moment I budge in to speak with his piano teacher he will make a fuss. I tolerated for 2 weeks before finally giving him a piece of my mind. He’s better behaved from that day onwards.

Back to topic, my friend has seen Ethan getting out of line but did not see either me or William whacking him. I try not to punish Ethan in public as I know Ethan is very much like me. It will just embarrass him and scar him for some time. What I usually do is try removing him away from that spot to another location to reason with him.

Ethan is just 5 and I like to give him some margin of expression. But if that freedom is being misused into rudeness then I’m doing it all wrong. So today I had a long talk with Ethan, telling him what others think of him. I told Ethan, “Look, this is what people think of you, what do you think of it?”. He said he’s sorry. Why??!!! I asked him why is he sorry? He said for not speaking nicely to Daddy and Mommy and adds, “can you please remind me to speak nicely to you all next time?” I wanna bang my head on the wall dy! I don’t know what is right and what is wrong already.

Looking at Ethan, I’m all soft and I don’t believe or maybe I’m just too blind to see if he is being rude. Denial even, maybe.

I spent my entire day reflecting on my parenting with Ethan. I want him to grow up well but I don’t know if I’m doing it right and that scares the heck out of me. Suddenly I feel so lost…

13 Comments + Add Comment

  • //

    It’s not easy being a parent. Sometimes we need to be strict so that kids learn but at times we also need to be patient.

  • //

    I wouldn’t say it is good nor bad to hit a child. It could be good when you hit a child but like you said, it could scar him and give him a terrible feeling after. Reasoning with a 5 year old may feel like a hard thing to do but not impossible. Some people may say “spare the rod and spoil the child” but I would rather just say that hitting a child could just be a final resort. Has he stolen things? Has he hurt someone? Has he done something extremely bad that he deserves to be hit?

    Coming from a family where my father has been extremely strict, I would say I was never hit as a child but instead I have been scolded numerous times even at this age. (I’m 20 fyi. And smack in front of my friends he tells me off.) Perhaps it is a fear that I have in my father but at the same time it could be a mutual respect.

    I suggest speaking to Ethan and explaining to him the times he can be himself with you and your husband and times where he should have a different level of respect to you and your husband. He is young, but he will understand and in time as this goes on it will be in him to understand how to differentiate between having a great time with his parents and respecting his parents especially in the public’s eyes.

    I hope you feel better soon, Merryn. Don’t stress yourself too much. Every parent wants what is best for their child and I’m pretty sure you are doing all you really can if not more. :)

  • //

    Oh dear! There is no right or wrong and I think you will know the best way to raise up Ethan because you are his mother & live with him every single day. I get what you mean, no public punishment bcos I belive the same too.. I guess you need to talk to Ethan more and remind him more to let him know as much as you love you , you need him to respect. It takes time but I believe Ethan will sooner or later understand the need to respect you. Stay Strong Merryn, dont tengelam ok!!!

  • //

    Just do the best you can. Sometimes we just have to listen to ourselves. :) it’s like the story of a husband and wife and people telling them who should be riding the donkey instead.

  • //

    Kids are candid – they say what they want. What you see is what you get. Anything that you see is not right, no point talking to them at that point in time – they will not listen to reasoning when emotions are high. When things have cooled down, bring it up and talk over it nicely to let him see what’s right and what’s wrong. Sure it will happen again and sure you will need to remind again and again… That’s why people say parents nag a lot, teachers too. My students once asked me, “Why do you say the same things again and again?”

    I have not met him so I cannot say how good or how bad he is. But he looks like a delightful kid, very lovable. Pull, don’t push. Violence begets violence – punish in non-violent ways like not taking him out to eat at his favourite places, not cooking his favourite foods highlighting to him that if people are good, they deserve good things and more…otherwise, they will have to be happy with anything they get.

    Cheer up, girl. We’re humans. We do the best we can. Those big-mouths – I can imagine what their kids are like. I’ve seen a lot of kids – most are unhappy, stressed out, depressed and most importantly, unloved. Just because they’re quiet and “well-behaved” need not mean they are loved. Some are lucky, some are not – their kids may be walking time-bombs waiting to explode. But let them do what they want – we do what we want. After all, we are the ones who have to live with the outcome of our own actions – none of their business.

    I do wish people would think before they say anything – those high and mighty, those who think they know it all. I always believe that if you have nothing nice to say, then do not say it…but unfortunately I have friends on my friends’ list who only update to criticise and complain. One commented on my post – none of her business – and made a sarcastic remark about my friend (what and where he’s studying…and of course, HER son is getting a much better deal) and that friend got so hurt by the remark that he has kept his distance since. I feel real sad for such people – are they really happy with their lives, I wonder?

  • //

    Awwww…. cheer up! I also had no clues and my wife and everybody else said i spolit my kids already. Anyway, we balance it out by me being the nice dad and my wife being the strict mom. Take it easy….maybe some parenting books may help? I thought of reading some.

  • //

    You don’t have to feel bad. As mothers, we always want to give the best to our kids. Everyone has their own parenting way. Some choose to punished, some choose to reason with their kids and of course some will use the cane. It all depends on which way that work best for them. There is no right and wrong way but what is suitable for us may not be suitable for others. Ethan is doing well, afterall, like you said he is just 5 years old. I am positive that you are giving Ethan the best of you! Keep up the good work!!

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    aiya.. saying is always easier than doing… as long as you think you are doing it good, can’t be really bothered about what others have to say.. we got to live out the ‘meeting other’s expectation’ in our teaching.. we just have to be ourselves..

    I usually just brush these people off my mind knowing I am doing all good with my parenting style.. not that they gonna live with that child of ours 24/7!

  • //

    Ethan is only 5. Believe in yourself.
    It’s ok to feel all time low, but I know you can bring it all high up again… :)
    Spanking is no good… it drove my girl further away from me only, on top of her misbehaviour… She only started to mature and listen more nowadays at 6.

  • //

    There’s no right or wrong in parenting, all kids are different in their own way, only through patience and trials and errors that parents unfold what works best for our kids. At this young age, he may not be able to listen well and understand your reasoning with him. I do believe in punishment (not spanking) whenever my boy misbehaves like forfeiting his privilege (Saturday is his “Me” day where he gets to do whatever he wants all day), depending on the severity of his misbehaviour, his “Me” day can “get burnt” for as long as 4 Saturdays and that really freaks him out! I know, I am a bad mom. ;)

  • //

    I agreed not to cane or punish children in the public. When they throw tantrum, just bring them to one side to reprimand. We need to take care and respect the child’s feeling too. Too strict might pushing our child away, too loose the child might climb up to the parent head. I’m trying hard to balance these.

    Well no one know Ethan better than you. Kids of course will be naughty trying playing some tricks. For me if the parent still able to control the kid I think it’s fine. When it excess till uncontrollable mean the parenting have problem.

  • //

    But… he said sorry right? So, move forward from there? :)

  • //

    do not try to please people, you are the parent, you know Ethan better than anyone else. you deal with him accord. to his character and with common sense. people are naturally opinionated and fast to judge. I had seen children misbehaved in public and people were quick to call the child spoilt. if they care to read up abt children of that age, they would understand better why children behave the way they do. parenting requires lots of patience. most adults use the quick way, just whip the they know most children grew up harbouring resentment and hatred towards their parents. the children were not given the chance to learn what’s right and wrong and say sorry and be forgiven. Deliberately instilling fear in a child will alienate the child, and you will wonder later on why the child is not close to you. if a child speaks rudely or answer back, tell the child why it is wrong and punish him appropriately with time-out or deprive the child of his favorite toy or tv for a few days. never punish a children when y r angry. You are not a bad mum.
    The bad parents are those who teach their children to be selfish and inconsiderate to others. They think that way their children will stand up for themselves and cope better in this world.

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MeHome is where MY heart is.
I am a mother to two boys; Ethan and Ayden and a wife to Darling William. I'm a stay at home mum who blogs to break the monotony of life and to avoid feeling jaded. Would love to get to know all the Super Mommies and Daddies and Babies or Singles out there with the hope that we can learn more from each other. Most of all, I am a happy person, and I hope YOU are too.

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