Google+ Bree Bronson's Babies: Made in China?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Made in China?

I expect my kids to behave. They are still very small but I think the good manners must be planted right from the start. I don't demand royal-family-like wonder-child behavior but we say thank you, sorry, please, hello and so on. And one thing is for sure: it's me and Husband who make the decisions, kids will have to obey the rules if they don't want to sit on a timeout. We haven't made a conscious decision about our parenting style but being strict helps us to manage with the daily routines.

And then there's the other thing: I want my kids to realize that certain places and situations call for certain behavior. Of course they need to practice, but our 3-year old is already perfectly capable of understanding how he should behave at a funeral or the circus. We prepare him so he knows what we expect. The 1-year old gets to stay at home quite often still because she's too small to understand and I don't want to ruin anybody's romantic evening at a restaurant with a screaming toddler. I respect other's right to dine in a pleasant environment. I've noticed that with reasonable effort kids will behave and they still seem to love me although I discipline them.

I think I lost a friend because of this thinking pattern. I met a really fun and lively Chinese girl at work many years ago and we hit it off right away. I didn't have kids back then but she's married to a Finnish guy and they have a son who was a toddler when we first met.

We spent often time together which would have been lovely if the little boy hadn't tyrannized every gettogether. He would scream, shout, throw things and call people names. He was happy only if he got everybody's full attention. The parents did next to nothing. I got completely fed up with his behavior when he once ruined a dinner at my place that I had worked quite hard for. He yelled, cried and complained about the food. When I told him he had to wait for others before he could get dessert he called me stupid. He was six years old. The parents did next to nothing. It was a horrible evening and after that our friendship faded. I never told her the real reason because I thought I can't tell anyone how to raise their child especially when I don't have any of my own. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame the boy. I never did. I just wish his parents would have looked in the mirror. If we would have that terrible dinner today, on the other hand, I would discipline the boy myself.

I thought of this Finnish-Chinese family when I saw a documentary about a boot-camp school in China where parents send their poorly behaving teenagers. The school is expensive, the discipline is hard and the teenagers march 40 kilometers a day to learn a better attitude towards their parents, school and life in general. I was stunned and started to wonder where all these bad-behaving kids come from. My own conclusion is that parents are often a bit lazy. Everyone is busy with their everyday life and it's easier just to let the kids do whatever they like instead of making them say hello to the neighbour and making sure that they do their timeout. This problem isn't made in China, just look how busy Jo Frost is. So every time I need to discipline my kids even though I feel like shutting my eyes and ears I think of the screaming, Finnish-Chinese 6-year old boy insulting me. It gives me motivation. I'm no Amy Chua but I hope to find a way in the middle.

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