Weeks ago, I watched an interesting documentary about a school in China, that was put up to set spoilt children straight. The owner of the school said he put it up because of his experience. The one-child policy that was in China for long has seen many parents there have only one child and dote on them excessively. Parents treat the child as delicate and unfortunately this child grows up believing the world revolves around them and anything they want, they will get. When they get older and the parents want them to start being responsible, independent and respectable, they find that it does not happen. Instead, the children are rude, abusive and do things that cause their parents heartache.
Such was this man’s experience that he decided to build a school to help people like him discipline their child, in the hope that they will turn out better. At first, as the documentary started, I was laughing quite a lot, at the children’s gimmicks. It was funny seeing a 19-year-old boy cry because his parents had not given him the car he had asked for his birthday. The more I watched though, the more pensive I became. It was the frustrated mother with a stubborn, disrespectful daughter that got me. This woman was fed up with her child’s behaviour and had brought her to the school as a last resort.
The girl shouted and screamed at her mother, calling her all sorts of names. She threatened that if her mother left her in that school, she would kill herself. But her mother would not budge. This made the girl even angrier and she started lashing out, trying to kick and scratch her mother. In the process, she broke a phone, a glass table and a flower vase. Luckily, there were people on hand to hold her back and keep her from injuring her mum. The woman stood her ground and left the child there, no doubt feeling upset, worried, angry and depressed in equal measure.
The documentary showed many other children do crazy things such as fight all the time, refuse to eat any food offered, try to escape from the school and so on. It was easy to blame the parents for not having disciplined and taught their children the right thing, from the start. But sometimes our actions are not too far from theirs.
While some parents spoil their children rotten, others put up a barricade so high. The latter set of parents are too tough on the children, hardly rewarding and constantly punishing; never listening to their side of the story and always making judgment based on what they see or feel. The results of both forms of treatment can end up being similar. Children grow up with a wrong sense of how things should be.
Parenting has never been easy, and there is no one perfect formula, but we must always find a way to bring balance to our children’s lives. Their actions and character are an embodiment of what we have done in bringing them out. If you want them to grow and be exemplary citizens, you have your work well cut out. Otherwise, like that Chinese woman with the crazy daughter, you might find yourself asking, “Who did I give birth to?”