I have just realised why I find mothering such an emotionally tiring task: Because I expect a lot from my children. It’s not because I’m a kiasu “Tiger Mum” (though I’d admit I am somewhat inclined to behave so in some settings) but because I believe that my kids can achieve so much more.
Take for example an article I just read in the July issue of “Young Parents”. It was talking about encouraging kids aged 5 to 6 to be more independent in preparation for primary 1; for them to get dressed on their own, wash their hands, visit the loo themselves… Honestly I was quite appalled as I read it.
My soon-to-be 3 year old is getting dressed/undressed and making loo trips on his own – even being able to clean his own ass pretty decently. No one ever helps him wash his hands, we only need to help with him with the soap dispenser in the loo. (Even I have difficulty with the button at times.) And if no one is available to help, he is smart enough to wash his hands in the kitchen sink instead where we have hand soap in a pump dispenser that’s a lot easier to manage. I cannot imagine what life would be like if at the grand old age of 5, Josh is still unable to do such simple tasks. I’d most likely go berserk going around helping him with such menial tasks daily.
Is independence such a hard thing to foster in kids from a young age that it has to be specifically mentioned in articles as part of primary school preparation??
Damn, I’m even expecting my 1-month-old to fall asleep on her own! (Of which she does so beautifully most of the time.) All it takes is a feed to keep her full, 5 minutes of hugging and lullaby-singing, then I just lay her down while she’s still awake and tell her it’s time to sleep. Most of the time she stays awake for a few minutes – inspecting her surroundings – then falls asleep on her own with no fuss.
If my 1-month-old can go to sleep on her own, I don’t see why preschoolers can’t. And while having such “high expectations” on my children does do me in while I’m training them up for it, it’s for the benefit of everyone! Parents don’t get frazzled out having to literally babysit the kids, and the kids have a sense of well-being – emotionally and physically – as they’re not reliant on others to help with almost everything.
I have totally no clue how parents of dependent children cope. And in a way, I pity the kids for not being given chances to be more self-reliant. I guess most parents just don’t realise how important the lack of independence could potentially ruin a child for life…