Monday, April 13, 2009

Parenting that empowers

This is a rather unusual post because it's not about any of my kids. It's about one of the girls who attended Lesley-Anne's birthday party. In general, I liked the group of girls. For the most part, they are mature for their age and articulate, they were well behaved, and didn't display any of the cockiness or smart alecky sass that kids that age can sometimes have (and which I detest).

But one girl in particular, caught my eye. She had a quiet confidence about herself and she was so down to earth and sensible. All this I gathered from the board games that the girls played, where I also learnt that she is an adventurous person, cares about the environment and is a staunch Christian. Yet, she didn't come across as a prissy goody-two-shoes (which can be equally annoying) - she's friendly and was very at ease with the group. According to Lesley-Anne, she's well liked since she's genuinely nice and doesn't gossip behind people's backs like some of the other girls.

At the end of the party when the parents came to pick the girls up, I found out she had to make her way home herself. She explained, "my mother says I can't take a lift from others because I have to learn to be independent". She then asked me where the bus stop was and what bus she could take to the interchange as she had to be home before 6.30pm to help look after her baby sister. (Her parents even entrusted her with finding out how to get home).

Well! I was even more impressed by her and her parents after that. You know I believe in bringing up independent and responsible kids (you can read my post on it here). I wrote this post because this girl is a clear example of a wonderful, well-adjusted kid who exemplifies such values. And I believe that parenting played a big part in the kind of person she has turned out to be.

Of course no two kids are the same, but it was very encouraging to me that when you set out to teach your kids independence and responsibility, you can possibly see such positive results. I won't point out which girl she is (just in case, I don't know who reads my blog!) but I hope it will serve as an encouragement to you. This is what I call parenting that empowers - it really does breed great kids.


Lilian said...

Really impressive, both the girl and her parents. There's a website that's dedicated to raising such independent kids. The site's tagline: Giving our kids the freedom we had without going nuts with worry.

I already think I'm pretty protective, even when I let the boys go to the public toilet by themselves, if they take slightly longer than usual, my heart starts beating a bit faster. Pretty neurotic...but Ed's much worse. There are so many things he wouldn't let the boys do for themselves and it drives me nuts.

Other than independence, this girl exhibits resourcefulness and a strong sense of responsibility. Really great job on the part of her parents.

monlim said...

The public toilet thing is a different issue, I think it's alright to be careful cos there have been cases of abduction or worse in public toilets. But I guess it's knowing the difference between safety issues and just being protective cos we think our kids are not able to do certain things for themselves.

Like my MIL thinks even at secondary school, it's dangerous to let L-A take public transport which is just being extremely over protective. I guess it's important for us to give each other perspective - esp since we tend to keep viewing our kids as our "babies" :)

eunice said...

I admire the girl's parents for being pretty forward thinking in a certain way. Nowadays, I realise many parents don't want their children to be doing such things. Safety? Maybe. But I've actually had mums say to me 'but I love my kids so much, can't ask them to do it' (eg help with housework etc. Kids are 10 and 14)

Am sure they get some flak from grandparents too who are sometimes even more protective than parents. I know my mil is appalled that Sean makes his own breakfast. Means I'm being lazy you see.

monlim said...

Eunice: there will always be over-protective parents, and yes, grandparents are usually the biggest Keys! I guess as parents, it's up to us to make a stand on such values that are important to us.

densar said...

I know of someone whose daughter (9yrs old then) can't shower on her own. It was ridiculous! But it serves as a reminder to me not to let it happen to myself.

monlim said...

Sarah: I know kids like that too! It's just over protectiveness to the extreme.

Anonymous said...

You will be even more surprise to know that currently now at this moment I have 2 nieces aged 8 and 10 yrs old still being spoon-fed dinner by her grandma.. My jaw simply dropped and can see my nieces are thoroughly embarassed seeing my reaction. Her grandma's reason is that the gals can take as long as 1 hr to finish their meal. But I don't think this should considered a valid reason lor. *Signz*

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