My parent’s parenting approach was vastly different from parents of today. Back then Singapore was developing nation and now we are an advanced nation. My elder siblings’ generation was only too happy to complete secondary schools. Some only had primary school level qualifications. After my parents, we too became parents ourselves with kids of our own. Our children are now parents of young kids. My brothers and sister are now grandparents.
My father and mother had no formal school education. My brothers, sister and I depended on our schoolteachers to guide us in our studies. We were not able to afford private tuitions. We did not go to kindergartens. We learned our ABCs only in primary schools. What my parents did was to ensure that we were fed and taken care of with basic necessities like a home and clothes to wear. We went to government clinics when we fell sick, waiting in line before dawn for our turns to see the doctor.
I learned manners and right moral values from my parents and my older siblings. I was generally left alone. I did not go out of the house often because my mother wanted to protect me from associating with bad influence. In any case, we were not well off to afford me to catch a movie when I was still young. My behaviour was formed in this kind of family environment; a bit of an introvert and quiet most of the time. I knew my status in life as one not with a silver spoon in my mouth.
I learned being independence from a very young age. I learned to survive and to work hard to be better than the rest. I made my own life-changing decisions such as what course to take in the local university. I choose my first job after graduation. Who did I thank for who I am? My father and mother and their parenting styles.
With five children in the family, my parents could not micro-manage our lives. We were left alone to take care ourselves and to look out for each other. I was truly happy that I had a good dinner last night celebrating birthdays of my two older brothers. My sister and all the spouses were present. We all grew up alright.
What was our parenting style for my daughter growing up in the 1990s? Did we over-protect her as to do things for her that she was clearly capable of doing it herself? We were more concerned that she did not grew up stressed. At the same time, she had to do things herself. This was to ensure that she grew up independent. We ensured that she was brought up with right moral values. We set examples ourselves and to practise what we preached. We adopted a rabbit for her with the idea that she could be kind with looking after it. Kindness, compassion and moral values are more important than grades in schools.
Parenting style is very individualistic. We have no right to criticise others. The results of parenting styles have a long-tail impact on our children. After our children grow up, it is up to them to walk the path of life. Hopefully our nurturing efforts would pay off and guide them in the future. The rest is up to them.
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