Monday, August 26, 2013

The art of raising children; The mistakes I made

My dad got married at the age of twenty and my mom at that time was at very young age of 15. I supposed then it was the ideal age to get married. Both of my parents had 7 children. We were raised in an environment that  was quite regimented. He was a police constable earning RM 300 and supporting  more than half a dozen children . Despite not having much money, we were very happy although mom was they type who would never stopped nagging . I got married on the 29 of November 1987 at the age of 25 to then a teacher. Both of us have been married for almost 26 years  and the products are three beautiful and adorable children -a girl and two boys. I didn't know how my parents brought us up but I believe it was quite  difficult especially with the financial constraints. I believe that raising a child is actually an art that you learn along the way. I also believe three's no one template to raise a child because each of our situation is unique. However, there are some general rules that you can pursue to raise your own children. After almost to 5 years of having children I have learned a number of mistakes that I made along the way. I just feel like sharing with you.

obese children

The first mistake that I made is feeding my  children too much of food until they are obese. We would have a well spread breakfast and dinner. At breakfast, we would have half a dozen eggs scrambled too perfection and nicely embellished with grated gooey mozzarella cheese . A dozen of cheese filled sausages grilled over slow fire together with nicely sauteed onions basted with red beans in sweet tomato sauce Then a dozen slices of thick white soft bread submerged with fresh  eggs and slowly cook in fat laden margarine until golden brown. Breakfast also would include  hash brown and chicken nuggets fried in deep cholesterol filled palm oil. Sometimes , there's also nasi lemak cooked with at least half a kilo of santan and eaten with quite sweet sambal udang or/and  sontong.  As such, my children tend to eat a lot and they  were plumb  or may be on the fat side depending on who you ask. If I ask my children of course they would say that they are not fat but a a little on  the plumb side. But anyone looking at my children would say that they are definitely not thin.  At the dining  table, we would have fun sharing all the thoughts and talking and enjoying food. We never stopped chewing and digesting. Eating was the family good times.
Coerced to be a doctor?

The second mistake that I made was to tell them what to major in. My children had no choice. It's like telling them " Son You can become anything/anybody that you want . You can either choose to be  a doctor or an engineer.".  I used psychology (my first degree is in psychology) to psych up my children to be what I wanted them to become. I supposedly offered them all the options but in reality I guided them to choose what I really wanted them to major in. My eldest who did very well in his SPM and was offered  scholarships to study in Engineering under JPA in Gemany and Medicine at UIA. He decided on the former but later after some arm twisting relented to doing medicine. The second was offered to do Accounting and Law but was strongly "guided" to take up law. She had always wanted to be a chef. The third who performed with flying colors in SPM was coerced to do medicine. But the youngest had interest in becoming an astronomer or a historian. On a beautiful night at home he would be gazing the stars with his wide telescope. He is also an avid reader of historical events. One day , in a polite and unassuming manner my youngest sputtered out his thoughts " Ayah. ... X  boleh jadi doktor tapi X tak boleh jadi  seorang doktor yang bagus" (Dad .. I can become a doctor but I will not be  a very good doctor"). That statement struck me like a lightning. OMG , what have I done?

Why waste money buying smartphones?

The third mistake that I made was to be a bit stingy with my children on electronic gadgets and expensive toys although I could afford to buy them so many fancy things and up to date android phones. It's not that I did not want to buy them those  things that they wanted  but they have to earn it. I also felt that spending RM 2400 for an Samsung S4 of Iphone is just too much. Why not just buy gold or other more useful things. My intention was good so that they would not be like the naughty character in "Anaku Sazali" movie who would spend his money on unnecessary things and finally end up as a notorious gangster. But I think as a father they too need to catch up on technology.They need the internet and the gadgets that go with it. One day, my eldest sadly said that he missed on a number of jokes and multimedia attachments on smart phones sent out by his course mates because his mobile is just an ordinary phone that could  only  receive calls and sent out sms texts . His phone is just a China made phone that costs RM 80.

Raising a child is not easy. There are lot of challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome. We also make mistakes a long the way in bringing up our children,. But our intentions as parents are good. We want them to be ready for the world but we also want  them enjoy their lives. I hope my children will do well in the future and hope they will become a better father than me.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

I chanced upon your blog over the weekend, I must say I really enjoy your banter.

I tried your recommended mee Bandung Muar across from Singer, thank you . It was a pleasant experience even though I have been staying in Bangi for the past 7 years this was a new discovery for me.

I am 46 yrs old, staying near the Sek Jalan 4, raising 4 kids. Your experience on raising kids is spot on and timely . I have made some same mistakes but now I will remind myself to take a leaf from your play book .

Thank you and Salam

Salam Bangi said...

I now get my children to decide what they want to be. My advice to them is just be the best