When Aaron moved back home to live with us after residing for a few years at my mother’s house, I noticed the way he spoke and acted towards me was very much like how my mother treated the maid – rude and impatient. He expected instant service and anything I did that displeased him would result in him making tsk! tsk! sound. I had to remind him constantly that I was his mother, and even if I was his maid, that behaviour was totally unacceptable. It took me two years but he is now a changed boy.
My nephew is two years old and I witness how a spoilt brat he is slowly but surely becoming. Rude, disrespectful and downright spoilt. I’d use the word 目中无人. If the adults around him, other than his Dagu, do not discipline him when he misbehaves, then it’s no wonder.
When he is rude to his caregiver or any other adults, no one corrects him. If he cries before his meal is over, he is allowed to not finished his meal. I fear if I were to list more, I am instead perceived as being too strict and kaypoh (busybody). Afterall, Seb is not my son.
The making of a spoilt brat was demonstrated for Seb’s grandfather to see when he visited. Seb wanted to eat the vitamin. Instead of telling him no, his caregiver gave all sorts of excuse like how the vitamin bag cannot be opened (think he is so stupid?) and tried to distract him. I told her to just tell him no and when she did that, he immediately threw a tantrum (expected because no on in the family ever says no to him). (Lesson: One should never leave vitamins or pills within the reach of kids, or use vitamins as treats!)
Seb’s Grandfather bought him a toy computer when he visited and as Uncle and I were trying to figure out how it works, Seb wanted it back. I told him to say ‘Please’. He refused and started crying and screaming. My mother picked him up and told me to give it back to him. I told my mother off – Seb has to learn to be patient. Immediately, with eyes glaring largely at me and without caring that we had guests, my mother practically shouted, ‘He is just a baby!’ I retorted he is not and she then she said something which touched a nerve with me. “When I scolded Ivan when he was this age, you told me to stop and said he was a baby too!” Without another word, I gave her back the toy. (It’s unfair to compare for Ivan’s case was a difficult and bad history altogether.)
Much was written recently about moral and civic education in school but I think this education begins at home. The maid is not the best person to impart value on a child but to be fair, Seb’s caregiver tries her best but is often brushed off by my mother. The caregiver confessed it’s frustrating looking after Seb when he disobeys her, especially in school. Granted, Grandmothers’ role is to spoil a child, but only when it’s on a occaional visit but not on a daily basis.
I know, being a School Family Education (SFE) coordinator does not make me a parenting expert. I can only continue to be the bad guy in the family and continue to instill discipline and punishment when I see fit. It’s difficult, having to clash with my mother over the maids before, and now over the upbringing of her grandson.
Perhaps I should just close one eye.