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Friday, June 02, 2006

The Right Balance

The Right Balance
Author: mumsgather

Teaching children is a delicate thing
Of finding the perfect balance
To love and protect our offspring
Versus freedom and disciplining

I love my kids sometimes too much
But loving also means letting go
I have to release my clutch
So they may be independant and grow

My natural instinct is to protect
But sometimes I have to stand back
And let them fall so they learn to stand
Self assured without my helping hand

I have to teach them right and wrong
But my discipline cannot be too strong
Causing the children to rebel
When all I want is for them to excel

And so I give them the freedom
To learn to do things on their own
So they may have the self confidence
To solve their problems when they are grown

While I stand quietly in the background
Always making sure I am around
To love, nurture, support and guide
So they always have someone to confide

What inspired my poem today:

We are currently teaching my girl to eat on her own. And so I have to close my eyes and ignore all the mess and worry about her not getting enough food and harden my heart when we discipline her for playing with her food or refusing to eat. (Disciplining in this case means no dessert and no playing with a toy of her choice or not having mummy play with her after dinner while she whines and pleads endlessly for me to play with her and boy can she plead!).

It is so much easier to do things for the kids ie to feed them, pick up their toys for them, button their clothes and tie their shoelaces, pick them up to carry instead of letting them dawdle. So much easier and faster. But as a mum, my duty is to guide and teach the kids how to do things on their own. This means having the patience to stand in the sidelines and watch them struggle, mess up and play while they are at it, in other words to let them do it at their own pace.

Later on when they face problems at school with teachers and with peers, as a mum I need to teach my children how to solve their own problems and to provide them with the confidence and the ability to do it. As parents we cannot solve their problems for them and protect them forever no matter how much we want to.

This reminds me, at the playground, I often have to close my eyes and let my partner handle the kids as I tend to become overprotective. I'd have palpitations watching them play and have to struggle very hard not to rush to hold their hand. I think dads are much more relaxed and better at letting go then mums. Maybe I'm wrong about this?

I have seen a few parents who love their children too much with my own eyes. Someone I know was loved too much by his parents, so much so that they never allowed him to do anything on his own. Now they are gone and his sisters are still taking care of him and teaching him how to take care of his own ailing health. He never married and he got his first job as a petrol attendant only after his parents died.

Another person I know who is a few years younger than me and the youngest child was loved too much by his parents, they shrugged away and forgave his laziness and tardiness in school and as a result he did not do as well as his siblings at work. He married and continued to live with his parents and has now divorced because his wife could not get along with his mother.

Its a fine line, loving but not loving too much.


  1. Thanks for sharing this thought of wisdom. That's why I enjoy reading your blog so much.

  2. Noooo...I can't let go. I'm addicted to the power I have over my kids. lol. MG, ur absolutely right. Loving means letting go. Definitely an eye opener. Great poem! =)

  3. Great post!

    As a mother, i always thought the hardest part is letting go...but we just have to learn, for the well being of our children...thanks for sharing..;)

  4. I agree that guys tend to letting go easier than ladies... but sometimes is still hard :P

  5. Great poem, MG! and how true too.. I am one over-protective mama.. your poems help me to see thru my parenting approach towards my 4 young growing heroes.. so glad i found ur blog..it's better to be late than never, huh..thks!!

  6. OOpps, typo..2 growing heroes lah..not 4..too sam gap in posting my comment..wink

  7. Guilty as charged..! i always feel an overwhelming urge.. to protect chloe.. :(
    When chloe gets ill..i would be crying buckets.. and blaming myself.. for being a bad mother..! can die or not..??

  8. Clap! Clap! Clap! What a coincidence just taught my boys to make their own bed, put their dirty plates in the kitchen & bring down their dirty clothes. On Sundays it's cooking breakfast day. Yes I dont want my boys being spoilt brats & too depended on the maid. I too vacuum & wash dishes inspite of having a maid to show a good example.

  9. Oh ya sorry forgot to add-really good poem!

  10. letting go is always difficult the 1st time... just like what i shared with you on my boy's 1st day in nursery. you'll be surprised by what the children can do by themselves later :)

  11. too much lurve or too much protection ? as for me, shower them with all the lurve that u can give, and at the same time let them make their own mistakes and falls and not to be over-protective.

  12. For me is instead of always giving them fish, teach them how to fish. Love your poem!

  13. Great insight and I know it is difficult to let go. My time will come too. :)

  14. Yes.. there's a saying "An overly kind mother creates failed children"..

    (some thing I shamelessly tell my MIL b'cos I think she spoils all her kids, making living with anyone of them a pain).

    We really have to balance out our love and given them their independance..

  15. elaine,
    I enjoy reading yours too. :)

    sarah's mummy,
    So you enjoy the power of being queen of the home eh? ;)

    Like what DG said, I think we feel the first big moment of letting go at the doorstep of the kindy/playschool which you have gone through.

    Yah, I think the guys are more relaxed.

    Welcome to my blog. For a moment there, I thought wow 4, then I've got a lot to learn from you about letting go. Hehe. Anyway its easier and easier to let go the more kids you have, don't you think?

    Haha. No lah. Kenot die. Sama sama saja all of us.

    Wah, your boys are going to grow up and become good husbands. :)

    We often underestimate them don't we?

    Probably too much protection is more correct as one cannot give too much love yes? Although one can spoil them by giving too much love as well. Hmm... I'm not sure.

    I like your fish analogy. :)

    And when the time comes, its something we have to deal with the rest of our lives.

    zara's mama,
    Wah. you are very brave indeed to tell your MIL that.

  16. this is nice :).

    eh, share my secret weapon -- mini ice-cream LOL, and it work!!!

  17. maria,
    Hehe. I'm using the mini ice-cream as secret weapon too but you know what? Those mini ice-creams is bad for the waist, ours that is. For everytime they have one, I must have one too!

  18. I'm the over protective & strict mummy..err according to my hubby. Hubby is more willing to let his 'bou bui jai' does everything on his own.

    Anyway, nice poem you have there!

  19. MG, thank you for a great piece again. My hubby always said that I am too particular and my mother too. She has advised me to relax when it comes to teaching and disciplining my gal. Now I am so worry that perfectionist me will rule my children's lives in the future. This is something which I do not wish to see myself doing. I hope to give them the freedom to do whatever they like and help them to achieve what they are capable of. As this phrase which I recently read from a parenting book " Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being" (from a german poet) I take this as a constant reminder to myself, hopefully I can manage my own expectations and the kid's abilities. Wish me luck!

  20. I know exactly what you mean. It's easier just to pick up after them, feed them etc to avoid the mess but they are only going to get more dependant. In this dog eat dog world, independence is vital to survival. It's tough letting go, eh?

  21. Love your poem and love your post.

    In my family, daddy tends to be over protective and he said I was too relax! :P

  22. You wrote that? Whoa, very nice!

    Yeah, as parents, we need to constantly remind ourselves that love is a very tender thing. Too much and it would smother the child. But again, it isn't always easy to find a balance.

  23. khongfamily,
    I guess the men are really more relaxed than us mommies.

    mdm 2359,
    Good luck to you! Like you, I'm a bit of a perfectionist too. It'll be hard for the kids to live up to the expectations of a perfectionist so must ease up a little bit.

    bk worm,
    Yes its tough. And we have to learn to do it for the rest/throughout our mothering journey.

    Good for you then. Haha.

    Yes, I wrote that. I'm glad you liked it. :)

  24. Thank you for submitting this post to the Carnival of Family Life. I can relate to what you're saying. I'm always keeping a watchful eye on the kids and sometimes have a hard time just letting them be "kids". My DH has no problem with that! LOL!

  25. Hi Kailani,
    Thank you for dropping by my blog. Yes, I definitely must try harder to just let them be "kids" like you said.

  26. That's a nice post and a good explanation. I know that I also prefer to put up with some mess while learning to eat, knowing that they are learning self-sufficiency. I figure that's my goal as a mom--to parent them so that they can take care of themselves. It's all baby steps! Visting from Carnival of Family Life.

  27. Jennifer,
    Hi! Welcome to my blog. I'm bad at it. Very often, I just pick up the spoon and feed her as she eats better and faster that way. Hmm... when will I ever learn so that she'll learn?


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