Parents tend to be ‘kan cheong”1 when comes to bringing up kids. After all, they want their offsprings to be successful in lives. There is nothing wrong with this aspiration. In this competitive environment, the best in class has a head start. Their kids cannot lose out. Furthermore, married couples are having fewer kids than my parents’ time. Their sons and daughters are really precious.
A recent NUS study on intrusive parenting style could lead to children having depression and anxiety (21 June 2016).
During my time when I was growing up in a household of five siblings, my parents could not afford to pamper to our every need. We were not treated like ‘little emperor” or “little princess”. Firstly, we were not rich and secondly our parents did not go to schools. We were left very much on our own to cope with growing up. There was no Internet for us to google our questions considering lives.
Being the youngest in the family, I think I was better off than my older brothers and sister. I had them to turn to for advice (except for intimate questions). I grew up making critical decisions and taking responsibilities of my choices:
- choosing a secondary school after PSLE
- choosing a Junior College or Pre-U centre to attend
- choosing a course of study in the local university
- choosing an audit firm after graduation
I was independent and my parents did not intervene. Looking back, I am thankful that I was brought up that way. I may not achieve the pinnacle of success but it was good enough for me.
I remember going to Pulau Tekong for my BMT2 alone without my parents seeing me off. I went to Brunei for nine months on work attachment with the Auditor-General’s Department of the Brunei government. I was the only consultant on site and it felt really lonely. This required courage and independence of mind. If I were pampered from young, I think I might not be able to cope.
Parenting is about balance. My mum used to say, “if you have a bird in your hand, when you close your hand too tightly the bird can die. When you release your hand, the bird will fly away.” Being too intrusive could do more harm to your kid (as the NUS study shows). However, there is a need to provide support to your kid so that he/she may grow up to be independent, morally upright and compassionate. That will require wisdom.
1Nervous and tense
2 Basic Military Training