Thursday, January 17, 2013

Does raising a child take a village?

“It takes a village to raise a kid.”

Or so goes an old African proverb.

Sure, I agree to this to a certain extent. My “village” is a network of grandparents, aunties, and trusted friends who help to care for my sons when the hubs or I can’t. They help to provide a loving, safe environment for my kids, and I unreservedly trust the kids into their care.

When it comes to discipline however, it is a whole different ballgame.


The village is susceptible to the charms of these two boys. Making discipline a good thought but one that is often not carried out.

So as parents, we accept that responsibility for disciplining the kids falls squarely on our shoulders. And certainly not strangers.

A couple of weeks back, I ranted on my personal Facebook account about how rude a taxi driver was when I took his taxi from my work place to home. My younger boy was with me, and we were on our way to pick up Jay from his childcare centre, and then make our way back home. This is my almost daily routine, as I prefer not to stress myself with public transport and having to juggle a heavy toddler while also lugging a big belly around.

That particular evening, I was especially ticked off by the driver.

Shortly after we got on, he made a very loud noise clearing his throat. Which would be nothing except it was in the middle of Xavier trying to express something to me in his usual baby voice. But maybe it was an isolated incident. Not so a couple of minutes later when he loudly told my 20-month-old that “Can’t you understand simple English ah? Your mummy say ‘No’ already’ and Xavier was so stunned cos very few people are so loudly rude to him. The driver continued, “Wait I take out the cane then you know.”

Seething. Glared at the cab driver, but held my tongue as he was driving on the expressway and I valued the lives sitting in his cab. And was more than thankful to get out of the cab at our destination.

But I was seriously irate at the driver. A stranger, who barely knew my 20-month-old toddler for more than 2 minutes, to feel that just because we were in his “space” that he somehow earned the right to threaten my boy with a cane.

Maybe as parents, we are naturally defensive of our kids. I don’t have any illusions about them being the best-behaved kid in the neighbourhood, but yet I am also aware that the bad behaviour is not the only aspect of them. And so when someone who doesn’t know them well passes judgment on them, I don’t feel good. Haha… it goes both ways, cos I also take compliments with a huge pinch of salt.

What is your take, and has your point of view changed once you became a parent yourself?'s Talkative Thursdays


Madeline Heng said...

Wah too much man this cab driver! I won't be able to take it also. For us, I'm the ONLY disciplinarian cos no one else wants to do the dirty deed haha

Sutharsan John Isles said...

Isn't it interesting how one thinks that disciplining is a "dirty deed" ;)

I wonder how much such thoughts have actually permeated into the minds of the people subconsciously.

Just saying :P

Janet Dubac said...

It was very rude of the cab driver to shout at your kid. He could have talked to you instead of shouting out loud. The worst part is that he even threatened your kid with a cane--I think that was overboard. For me, no one else can discipline my kid except me and I know that I am doing well so far. :)

Sandra Tan said...

@ John: If you think about it, it is a needful job, but not a particularly pleasant one for us parents. So "dirty deed" about describes it, doncha think?

life-muse said...

Too rude.. but I'll hold my tongue out of respect for him first and also as an example to my kid that one doesn't have to be rude to others. But if he had carried on and on, then perhaps a firm but short retort should be used on him.