The Way We Were Raised

We were raised very differently, my spouse and I. He was brought up in a strict manner. His parents were strict on food, strict on toys, strict on studies. As for me, mom died when I was 10. Dad was a policeman and he had 5 of us to look after in addition to making sure we had enough money for our education etc. I don’t think he had very much time to ponder on how we were being raised. So I was left pretty much to myself.

It is because of this difference in the way that we were raised that constantly comes up between us when we are trying to raise our own kids. It is not that we want it that way but it is hard to change our values and the way we were brought up ourselves. For example, the spouse believes in pushing the kids in their studies. He wants them to have the values of doing the best that they can. He wants them to learn that they have to work hard for what they want. Nothing wrong with that. These are good values to have.

However, it causes challenges for me. I want the kids to have time to be kids. To play and be happy. So, I the primary caregiver since I am at home with them most of the time, am not meeting up to his standards of working hard. For instance, during the school holidays he wants me to sit down and do revision with the kids. His reasoning is I should do so otherwise they will have a hard time when school starts. (and this is true).  If we don’t take the opportunity to do some work during the holidays, quite often we have a hard time catching up in school during school days but I reasoned that if we work them hard during the holidays too, then when will they ever have a holiday? When will they ever get time to play?

Of course the spouse being the family man that he is tries to make sure they have time to play as well. He makes time for them, takes them to the movies, out to the mall etc. Still, I feel a little bit stressed and worked up every time he asks me “So, did you all do some work today?” and the pressure to get good results is very high during exam periods. Recently, my girl did not do very well for her essay papers in Chinese and Malay. I told him that she had worked very hard and his “You must not only work hard but work smart” resonates in my ears and in my heart.

I am not a very good teacher. I feel so overwhelmed looking at all the things that they don’t know and I don’t know where to start. We seem to go around in circles. It is really hard trying to teach the kids 3 languages plus Maths and Science. The spouse teaches the kids Maths and Science so that helps but getting them to be good in 3 languages? That’s really really tough. Sigh. This post was tough to write too. I don’t know how to put my thoughts into words the way I usually am able to. I’m rambling. Its all wrong. 🙁

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  1. Florence says:

    I feel bad for you dear. It’s tough. I totally understand how you feel. The upside is you are not alone. I agree with you the kids need time to play and holiday is nothing but play and fun.

    Using exam results to judge how much the kids know is not fair and neither is it accurate. I know you feel the same and perhaps you should show your man learning is not about grades! Lately lots of articles about how uncreative our youngsters are and how good grades do not necessary give them the skills to succeed in life!

    Using exam results to judge how much the kids know is not fair and neither is it accurate. I know you feel the same and perhaps you should show your man learning is not about grades! Lately lots of articles about how uncreative our youngsters are and how good grades do not necessary give them the skills to succeed in life!

    He knows all that but he still expects results because he wants the kids to learn to work hard and for them to learn that nothing comes easily without effort.

  2. sheohyan says:

    I can understand how you feel, as I am in the situation too. I am very particular with my kids’ academy achievement. I put that the top priority. My kids do not have much time on computer and TV. They also have other activities like piano, art and table tennis. I want them to have time to play too, on the other hand I afraid that they will neglect their studies. It is so hard to find the balance, but there sure be a way to do so, and everyone is different. A time table, and a fix routine may help.

    Our routine is certainly fixed…. by homework they bring back from school.

  3. Alice says:

    Hi MG, you are not alone! We face the same issue here at home too but the opposite side. I’m getting more relax now and I also agreed that school holiday must have some fun and play. Hope you can convince your spouse soon. *bravo*

    Well, it’s hard to get a leopard to change its spots but its also as hard for the leopard to get this tiger to change her stripes. I guess we’re all products of our upbringing and we just have to learn our best to get along by compromising. 🙂

  4. EverydayHealy says:

    I am someone who prefer fun learning for kids. Their own interest will make them improve a lot by themselves. Once they have their own aims, they just know what to do and won’t feel the pressure. Just make sure they don’t hate the subject after too much pressure.

    Somehow, one day got 24 hours, I seems agree that it’s ok for them to do 2 hours work everyday. As I realize kids just don’t mind to do some work if they really had fun while they are having fun activities. After all, being discipline do have a lot of advantage for their future.

    I am just trying to share that life is about give and take. Balance! May be you can test your kids limit on how much time they need to rest and play in order for them to get back to work happily. And, something which they are not good at, don’t pressure them during exam, but make them do some work everyday together with you. It’s good to sit down and work with them so that we know how to help them. And, they feel more confidant too.
    I have to agree that routine is more important. And instead of pressing them to write all the time, make them read more story books actually helps in their writing skills. This way they get to choose the story that they like to read. Not pressure anymore, but pleasure if they like it.

    Any work we can start it from as short as 15 minutes a day and slowly prolong it once they work faster. Of course, all this need time to cultivate. It will take a longer time to see the result. But, I believe it works so much better at the end of the day.

    Anyway, this is just my own experience and suggestion. Hope it is helpful in your situation.

    That’s the ideal situation but unfortunately my kids’ homework load is very heavy. All they have time for each day is bath, eat, homework and sleep. 🙁

  5. chinnee says:

    MG, i have been under great stress too, with hubby (not that its his fault, but I just cannot meet his standard in managing this household). Maid get scold for the silly mistake I did not realise (so i take it i shud be blamed), that stress floats in the air to me, to kids as well. Study is another issue, its never ending. Feel like just walking out of this home sometimes…

    Chinneeq, my husband has the same high standards for managing his household. Fortunately I have a very good helper.

  6. jothi says:

    Definitely not easy when both parents have different ideas on how to raise kids. My friend’s kid is just a toddler, but both she and her husband have different ideas with regards to raising him.

    In my family we didn’t have this problem, because dad kind of decided early on that mum’s style of raising kids was best. So they were pretty much in agreement on most things.

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