Tuesday, February 17, 2015

expectation mismatch

Of late, Day has regretted his choice of after-school activity. Back in late 2012, he chose soccer and it was something which I left entirely to him. As long as he has fun doing something he likes, I said.

Why does he regret it now? He says: The soccer team never wins anything (all they do is have fun). And I get to play soccer with the neighbourhood kids anyway. I don’t need a CCA to do that. I wish I had joined (drum roll) Chinese Orchestra (!). At least I would have learnt an instrument.

Here then, is what is probably the first instance of my admittedly unpragmatic laissez-faire parenting philosophy backfiring on me, a case of the parent should know better and should have directed the child – albeit bearing some unhappiness in the beginning - to a happier long-term outcome.

For what my kids want is possibly not what I want for them. Space to grow up? A love for learning?  Having fun? Free time? Unfettered space to explore the real world around them? Perhaps not.

Not if its at the expense of what I think makes them feel good, which is to be like, or better than, their peers. They possibly do not appreciate, and might resent, how they were held back instead of being developed to their fullest whatever-potential.

Would they say in future, Mum why didn’t you send me to more tuition? Whenever I did lousy in class, why do you always say It’s OK there are more important things in life? I felt lousy! Why did you let me drop piano? Why didn't you let me do something that would let me get in to X school via DSA?

Perhaps the worst kind of mum they can have in the Singapore context is a mum just like me, where they are pulled one way by their peers and teachers in school, and pulled the other way at home.



Anonymous said...

I think it's all about a happy medium really... Hindsight is always 10/10. It's good for a child to explore what he/she wants, parents cannot possibly be clairvoyant in their prediction of what will harness a child's potential/what their child will enjoy. And parents imposing a view that might not yield in any fruition also breeds a lot of resentment.

Am from the gifted education programme too, my mum always gave me free rein to choose what I wanted to do, and that was good because I wanted to do better and excel for myself, a goal I was working towards, betterment of society/others, rather than purely to please her or meet her expectations... The world is a harsh enough place, they won't resent you for the sanctuary they have at home :)

And -- there are more important things in life! :)

Love reading your blog btw

- SY

Anonymous said...

Its not too late to make a switch!

Sher said...

SY, thanks! its harder to write these days, kids not cute lah, so its nice to hear.

i guess its wat i do from now, knowing what i know now about these kids of mine and their individual characteristics.

day is one kind, jo is another kind. she will def appreciate a kiasu mum because she is desperate for mainstream success.

Anonymous said...

Haha yeah I think letting them direct you is probably easier than the other way around in the new age of parenting... anyway who am I to advise - am but a kid myself!

Your kids may not be ickle ones anymore but they sure have their very distinct characters which you capture well!

- SY

Dee.. said...

I have the same dilemma. Should I push or should I let them be? If they have potential, I will nurture. I think they can always learn whatever they want whenever they can. One way to look at it is that by not pushing them hard, you don't kill their interests for lifelong learning.