After living overseas for many years, my strongest feelings are towards the difference between the relationship, Western parents treat their children especially in respect of children of different.
If there were a picture to show the relationship between Chinese parents and their children, it would show both the parent and the child standing with the child looking up at the parent. That is to say, Chinese parents are used to telling children to obey their elders without question. If there were another picture to show the relationship between western parents and their children, it would depict the child standing and the parent squatting, meaning that children and parents are equal. Western parents would be very polite, and they will act like a friend tell the child why they must listen to them.
I remember one time I was with my daughter at the hospital’s the waiting room. The British Children’s Hospital waiting room was like a play area, with many toys, computers, and books. The children would play and wait at the same time, so they would never be bored. At that time, my daughter was playing with Lego toys, next to a little boy with a runny nose who was also engrossed with his Legos. Suddenly I heard his mother call him, her voice not too loud, in a casual voice, “John, can you please come overhere so I can wipe your nose?” The boy reluctantly put down his toy and walked over to his mother obediently. She wiped his nose, and afterwards, both of them said, “Thank you.”
That gave me a very deep impression at that time. If I wanted to wipe my child’s nose, would I be so polite about it? No! I would say, “Come here! Let me wipe your nose!” with a commanding tone with no room for negotiation and no respect for my child.
In fact, if we really put ourselves in our children’s position, we would prefer a different attitude. There is an old Chinese saying, “Do not impose on others what you do not want imposed on you.” We should apply this saying on the treatment of our children. If I were a child, would I want someone to treat me like that?
Sometimes I ask myself if I would treat other people’s children the same attitude treat mine. Wouldn’t I be much more polite? The answer is certainly yes.
If it were my friend in the same situation, would I have been more polite and used a more respective approach? The answer is still yes.
That being the case, I should not let my love distress my children. I should respect them and allow them their wings so they enjoy equal respect and love.
Translation: Ireen Chau