Being away for an extended period means that you'll see the place that you've returned to with a different set of eyes.
5 days into the move and the disparity between the parenting styles in Melbourne and SG cannot be any more obvious.
Darien and I are fairly easy parents. We like to teach our kids to be independent lil people who should be exposed to the different cultures and experiences that the world offers. We love them, kiss them and cuddle them often and usually just let them do the things that they love.
We prefer to spend time enjoying life's lil pleasures with them, like enjoying a cheese platter or hanging by the beach.
BUT the one thing that I do not tolerate is misbehavior. There is a certain set of rules the kids need to adhere to. And when they don't listen, they will be punished. We do not reward bad behavior in this household.
So being back in Singapore has shown that whilst we try our best to keep the parenting style status quo a la melbourne, it has been a rather difficult thing to do.
I don't know if it's the fact that the kids have been away for too long that all the relatives miss them and such OR it is just the general culture but this is what I observed.
- Crying is not permittedOne of the boys got mad and hit another lil one on the head, I took him away immediately and followed up with a stern "If you don't share, you do not play." So naturally the tears started falling, and whilst he was having a bit of a time out, the maid came and offered him a pack of RIBENA.To which I went, "No. He's not allowed to."That stunned her for a bit and she left.What is it with all these people who reward bad behavior? Sometimes, adults need to be taught as much as children do.
- It's ok to leave a messThis maid culture thing, whilst it has its good side, also meant that kids are not taught to clean up after themselves.We were about to leave a birthday party yesterday and the kids were playing with some of the host's Thomas the Tank Engine toys. They were cleaning up as they were told when the maid came in and went, "Don't worry. I'll do it. Just leave the mess"Errr.... no. It's not ok. I am not going to raise my boys to expect another fellow human being to clean his mess. Not in this household, at least.
- Bad EatingThe first day I came back, the kids and I went out for lunch with my Mom, who then bought them a bowl of noodles.Normal.She got two bowls to split the portions.Normal.Then she started to spoon-feed Jakey.Not Ok.The kids have always been able to feed themselves. And this is not going to stop now that we are based here.
I am sure that more surprises will be in store so... we'll just have to deal with it as it comes.
Anyway those are just the downsides. There are heaps of perks as to us living here. The kids simply adore their grandparents and love their lives here. Darien and I are just happy to have the freedom to sneak out after their bedtime.
That to us is more precious than any silver or gold at the moment.