Sunday, September 27, 2015

So, what's best for the kids?

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I had always been the outgoing, fun-loving one in the relationship whereas my wife, she was the no-nonsense, quiet, introverted one. I smoked, I drank, I partied and was the typical “Chao” Ah Beng you would find in the 1990’s. Fire and Sparks rings a bell to anyone? She was the studious type who you would imagine going to the library after school, or hanging out with the rest of the classmates with homework in tow. We were as different as day and night. In fact friends were shocked that we decided to tie the knot when we were barely 24, and it wasn’t even a shot gun marriage lor!

We were young, it was all about you and me. That was until she, he, she and he came along.
I guess in our case, the opposite attracts and it was pretty smooth sailing when it involved only us. Differences were easily reconciled, with just some fights and shouting involved at most. Things are no longer as simple when the kids are involved though (one better not fight in front of the kids!). And now that Steffi is already in primary school, it is even worst! I always felt that kids should have a real childhood, not one that only involves tuition and schoolwork, an idealist. My wife would be the realist, and places great importance on school education and enrichment classes. At times I do wonder if it was really her interest, or the kids (I am so going to get it from her after this).

This would be my idea of fun and what's best for the kids at their ages now! Wouldn't it be nice if it's all play, whenever possible?
You see, I love my kids and would like to see them play and enjoy themselves. I would bring them to places and get down and dirty with them whenever I can. My own childhood was all about running about the neighborhood and playing with friends after school. School work was the least of my worries then, or even now. On the other hand, my wife would get terribly upset whenever the kids' schoolwork suffers and would even tutor Steffi late into the night sometimes, not allowing her to sleep. And then there was once when Steffi come back home with a test result of 13 out of 20. While I was already happy that she passed, my wife obviously thought otherwise. Does she love her?

Fun day in the park over homework back home anytime!
Even though this daddy was all about fun and play, he does have his "dark" side too. He is hot-tempered and can get really angry when the kids misbehaves or are rude, and will even smack them on their buttocks in extreme cases. You can say I practice the old-school type of discipline. The wife on the other hand, would often play the good guy after my tirade, much to my displeasure of course. Do I love the kids when I mete out corporal punishment on them?

Caning? Can or not? Anyway, I never use the cane one la. Louie was not harmed for this shot.
I am also the pragmatic (or stingy) father when it comes to buying stuff for the kids. There are so many items that one can buy for the kids, but are all these absolutely necessary? We all know how the kids can get tired of toys within days but my wife would still happily buy them toys, and often upon their requests. That’s how she shows her love. We may be able to afford these, but I always think that saving for rainy days and saving for the kids would be my gift of love to them! So who loves the kids more? When I never gave them the best I could afford, am I short-changing them? Sorry, cannot help but think of all the hand-me-downs that the kids had to use.

To be fair, I do send the kids to art classes too but I always make it a point to ask if they would like to attend them in the first place.
We definitely have differing view when it comes to raising our 4 kids and showing our love for them (and even to each other too). And I had a very thought-provoking conversation with someone I spoke to recently. She used to be a hairdresser in a shopping centre filled with lots of schools offering enrichment classes and she would get to talk to these kids when cutting their hair. Sometimes the kids would appear really tired and she would tell them to go back home to rest after the haircut. But very often, they would need to rush off for even more classes such as music or swimming classes. When asked why they signed up for so many classes, the reply would always be because their parents wanted them to. Never once had she heard of any kids saying that the classes were something they chose to attend. Are we as parents, showing love or simply making our kids live up to our aspirations? Deep down inside, you know better don't you? We all want the best for the kids.

Hijacked Steffi for her views immediately after her bath. She clarified after this one take, that she understood both daddy and mommy wanted the best for her. Very politically correct I must say!

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1 comment :

  1. Lovely story. I write different articles at Writers Per Hour and some of them on the topic of children improvement. Sometimes it is important to share the creativity of the children, it inspires us to create and keep going further.