Day 383: C’mon, Teach Your Kid

Today we went to Disneyland (again!  2nd time this week!), and it was a group of 3 parent-children.  It was a great time as usual, and all parties were tired when leaving the park, which usually leads to a good night’s sleep for the little ones and parents 🙂

I have written about our friend who does not seem to have the same parenting style as me and a few other friends.  You can read about it here, but the short story is she does not use the “teachable moments” with her child, and so he does not learn when he does something wrong.  Today something happened that illustrated my concern with spending time with this parent and her child.  It’s worth sharing not as a complaint about her or her child, but as a heads up to all of us parents of toddlers.

This child is generally unaware of his actions.  He is a smart kid, and he has the potential to be more self-aware, but he is never given the opportunity because he does not get taught anything when something happens.  So, today, he was playing near the third child in the group (not my son, but the other parent’s child), and he rammed into the other kid with his head, knocking them both down, and hurting the other kid – bloody lip and gums because he hit the metal bar.

The situation sucked because nobody wants to see someone else’s child hurt.  My little guy was not near them, and there was no question what happened between the other two children because we all saw it.  So, the child is crying, and the mother of the child who hurt this child does not do anything.  I think if you asked her “why not?” she would say, “he doesn’t understand, he’s just a kid.  He’s too young.”

I disagree with this sentiment completely.  He does understand, he does “get it”, he can be taught, but to be honest, he is being “babied”.  The other parent was really concerned about their son, and the mother of the son who did the hurting felt bad, you could tell.  However, when your child gets hurt by somebody else’s, what you want to see is the other parent teaching their child not to do what they just did.  Use the moment as a “teachable moment,” so to speak.

When the little guy hurts someone (which he does, he is no angel), I am quick to teach him, to use the opportunity for him to learn what is good and what is not good.  When he hurts this child who we are talking about, the mother is instantly in there making sure my son is not doing what he is doing – but she is never concerned enough about other children to make sure her child is not doing something that is not ok.  It’s frustrating to say the least.

So, on we go.  It is super interesting to me how all the different parenting styles come together in such a multi-cultural place like Hong Kong.  Some things are due to being from different countries, but other things simply come down to personal differences and approaches to parenting.  There is no clear-cut answer for what is “right” or “not right,” but to me having a “teach your child whenever you can” mindset seems like it can only be good.

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