One of the things that we parents are expected to do is to teach our children.
There’s this pressure that we fail as parents if our kids don’t behave themselves according to socially acceptable standards. This includes not throwing tantrums, being well mannered, respectful, and being quiet when they need to.
Before I was a parent, I was so quick to judge other parents who fail to so-call control their children. I vowed to myself that my kids will be well behaved. Or else.
And it is with this mindset that I put high expectations on my daughter to behave herself, even at such a young age. I can’t stand her screaming and crying sometimes, because to me it is not socially acceptable and certainly not pleasant and well mannered.
But Poey Chin reminds me that she’s just a baby.
“Rachel girl, you must listen to daddy ok?”, I tell her as I hold her tight.
“Yes daddy ?(TM)? I will follow whatever you do ?(TM)?”
“No no girl girl, do as I say, not do as I do…”
“Come on la daddy…”
In this episode of parenting reflections I see how baby Rachel does listen to me, even though she doesn’t understand any words yet.
She listens to my actions and my attitudes. She listens to how I speak to others. She is listening to how I speak to her. She is listening and watching.
She has this habit of crying with rage when she gets hungry, and can’t wait a single second more and she makes such a big fuss. She would cry and shout so loud I think the neighbours think we’re abusing her.
I would lose my patience and scold her, “why are you so impatient? Why do you scream so loud? Who taught you to be like this?”
She would look at me with teary eyes and I know the answer. It was me.
I was the one who taught her impatience, who taught her to scream loudly.
It was a sobering thought, and it really got me thinking about the way I behave. If I don’t want her to pick up bad habits from me, I’d better change myself now.
Before I expect her to behave herself, I’d better behave myself.