Wednesday, May 28, 2014

From Mother's Day to Parenting thoughts

Mother's Day 2014

Last Sunday was Mother's Day in France. I was not really expecting anything from Aelig, but her school did teach her to make a gift for me. It was wrapped in gift paper. She couldn't hold it but gave it to me on Friday right after her school. At home, she was going to open the gift but was stopped by hubby.

Hubby : My love, when Santa gives you presents, who opens them?
Aelig: Me. 
Hubby : So now you are giving this to mummy, who should open the gift then?
Aelig: Me (without hesitation).
In laughing, hubby taught her the rule : You can open the gift but only if the people who receives the gift give you her/his consent. Ok?
Aelig looked at me, I nodded, then she tore off the gift wrap.

She was very proud to present me her drawing : Sun, hubby, a bird, our apartment with windows and a door, a flower, a raining cloud (top), herself and me. These are her current drawing style.

A poem from her school about mother. Thank you my girl.

Parenting Thoughts
A terrible incident happend last Wednesday in Taiwan which led me to think about the parents' role in a kid's life. A 21 years old University student killed 4 people and wounded 23 passengers inside a Subway train in Taipei. During interview, he said that he wanted to kill himself, but was too afraid to do so. Instead, he tried to kill as many people as possible, so that he would receive a death penalty.

There were many comments and critics regarding this tragedy. His parents first stated that he has shamed the whole family, later they went to the Subway station and publicly apologized. What shocked me the most was that some people think his parents should be held responsible for his act. 

I found this accusation heavy, I don't think parents should be responsible for their children's acts after they become adult. I would say that in the first 10 years of a kid's life, parents have the most important influence over he/she, but later on, friends, surroundings and the society play a more crucial role.

Influence from parents
Just to give an example. My MIL was convinced that parents play a huge role in instilling reading as a hobby for their children. I would say it is true in certain ways. If parents love reading and encourage kids to read, most likely they will love reading, but until certain age. Later on, it depends on who they hang up with. I take myself as example, my parents had never bought me any storybook during my childhood. There was no bedtime storytelling. I turned out being a bookworm since primary schools. I would save money then used all of them to buy books during book exhibitions in my school. I have to contributed this to my school's effort in encouraging their students to read. There was storybook corner in my classrooms. Our library was modern and had huge collections. Some of my classmates loved reading so we just exchanged books among ourselves. 

Unlike me, Aelig has probably around 100 storybooks in three languages at age 4. She loves reading but I don't know if this would become her lifetime hobby. That day she decided to take photos on her books. As for hubby, he used to read but now I'm not sure if he reads a book per year.

Influence from society and friends
In France, the society has become more and more aware of alcohol abuse and smoking issue among the young. I watched a documentary just last week, where young kids partied the whole night and drunk several liters of hard alcohol per person, and some ended up in the hospital. Partying with hard liquor on Thursdays and weekends has become a norm among Universities students. Young teenagers smoke right in front of their school buildings. These are somehow tolerated by the society. Every weekend you see drunk students wondering in down-towns. Police would increase their patrol to make sure no one is hurt, hospitals would anticipate more patients being brought in. Many parents were shocked that their kids smoke or became alcoholic.

In my schools in Malaysia, if you smoke, you get a warning and after three warnings, you could get expelled. Since uniform is mandatory with school logo and name tag, if you smoke in front of the school or in public places, anybody could call up the school and inform the Principal of your acts. As for alcohol, the society discourages it especially for young kids. It is strictly prohibited in our University compound. We rented an apartment and shared with 12 students during our University life, but we had never organized a drinking party because nobody actually drink alcohol or think that party should be associated with alcohol. Most of my friends started to pick up alcohol after they went to the workforce. There are of course alcohol abuse among students (mostly in private colleges & Universities), but this act is criticized by the society.

So growing up in Malaysia and surrounded by friends who didn't take alcohol, I was not used to partying in France. Almost every party I participated in my earlier years here ended up with people gotten drunk with disturbing behaviors. It seems that party without alcohol = boring. All I want to say is that when we grow older, we are being influenced mostly by the surroundings than our parents. For me, the parents in the Taiwanese incident do not have to apologize for what their son did.

Just that day my daughter was telling me that she didn't want to wear skirt because her classmate commented that she always wears skirt. I told her that you don't have to care about what people say, just wear skirt if it is what you like. But she insisted of wearing pants. So here you go, even a 4-year old has peer pressure.


  1. Aelig's current drawing style is really unique! Very nice of her school to teach her to appreciate you, her mother by giving you her drawing as a gift.

  2. The senseless tragedy is really sad. While I agree with you that as we grow older, there are many things in our surroundings that will influence us but if our bonds with our parents that are formed when we are young are very strong, our parents will still be the strongest influence.

    So I believe if parents work hard when a child is very young to form a very strong bond with the child, the child will always have the parents in mind and think about the parents in all his/her actions. So in this case, if that guy cares about his parents and thought of the shame he would bring his parents, then he would not do the crime that would hurt his parents in the eyes of society.

    The fact is nowadays parents are working too hard to earn money to provide material goods for their children that they are not providing enough time and love for their children to bond strongly with them.

  3. Anonymous11:11 PM

    Her drawing is très très mignon! French schools love to have the kids make des colliers de coquillettes for Mother's Day, ever had one?

    I hate the fact society blames everything on parents. As a parent, I take my role very seriously but it's just too easy to say everything is parents' fault (in fact, it's usually the "mother's fault" to boot).

    As for smoking... my high school had a smoking section for lycéens, that wasn't long ago, in 2001! :-)