Your child is naughty and your house is messy because you're a failure
One Malaysian mum's humble-brag post about her "neat and orderly" home and well-disciplined children have received hundreds of negative replies from disgruntled parents online
Before our children came along, we probably had so many great ideas in our heads about how we were going to raise them, which parenting method we would practice, which discipline methods we would use, and just an idea of how picture perfect everything was going to be.
But nobody can truly be prepared for parenthood and most of the time, all our preconceived plans will just end up being thrown out the window.
Being a parent is tough. It is probably one of the most difficult "jobs" in the world. Most of us start out not knowing what we are doing and we pretty much just wing it most of the time until we figure out what works and what doesn't.
Children simply do not come with instruction manuals and no amount of parenting classes you attend nor books you read can ever truly prepare you for what's to come.
What makes it even more tough though is when there are other parents who seem to take parenthood as a competition and like to think that they are ahead in the race while the rest of us are eating their dust.
A Senior Medical Officer from Malaysia and a mother of two, recently posted a few pictures of her refrigerator which had rows upon rows of neatly arranged magnets collected from her family's holiday travels throughout the years.
Her post has since been shared over 2000 times and has also received a string of backlash from disgruntled parents who can see straight through her humble-brag, which reads:
"Many have asked me whether it's true that my children have never moved around the decorative ornaments in our home, because they see that my house is always so neat and orderly.
I have been collecting magnets to be placed on the refrigerator for 12 years now. We've moved house three times, changed refrigerator three times, but not a single one of the magnets have been directly touched by my children ever since the time they first started to crawl.
The walls of my house are not scribbled on. There are no "creative scribbling" or traces on my furniture. I have the proper equipment and place for them to play instead.
Now let's talk about my mother's house which is packed with all sorts of decorative ornaments. There are six grandchildren but not a single one of them have ever touched the crystal vases and bowls placed on the table. The inexpensive artificial flowers have never been plucked either.
All the children will play in specific areas that have been designated by Grandma.
Eating and drinking must be done properly at the dining table.
My mother has always said there must be rules in order to live comfortably and that one shouldn't easily brush such things off nor do things half-baked.
Discipline begins at home. AT HOME.
It is not funny to me if my children take lotion and rub it all over the floor. It is not funny to me if my children play with my makeup. It is not funny to me if my household ornaments are played with.
If my children are naughty, it is a sign that I have failed to educate and teach them."
Other parents respond
Although her post wasn't exactly a direct attack on other parents, scrolling through the 900 over responses to the thread on her Facebook wall, it appears that many have taken offence and have called her out:
"So you think I have failed as a Mom because my kids are the adventurous, explorers, naughty, curious types? Okay, good for you. But I sympathise with your kids. Relax lah. Naughtiness is normal for SMALL CHILDREN."
"OH PLEASE! *Roll eyes* Most boring post of the month! Even royalties let kids be kids!"
"There is a fine line between discipline and exploration. When my kids touch the magnet souvenirs it's not just for the sake of fun and laughter, peace and joy. They will normally ask about that particular country it came from and we will then explore further by googling information about those countries. As for the decorative items at home, whenever they touch anything, they must put it back at the correct places. To me, whatever nonsense they want do, just make sure they do it in front of me and hubby. Thankfully, so far up until now, they never misbehave in public or at other people's houses, not even at their grandparents' place."
"I've met many students like this in school. Seeking for freedom at school because they can't find any at home. The parents (mostly mothers) are too strict at home. In school, even the teachers are their opponents."
Naughty or just curious?
If your young child is squeezing out a whole bottle of body lotion onto the floor and rubbing it all over the place, she's not doing it just to intentionally ruin your precious marble flooring, or to waste your expensive skincare product, or just to wind you up.
She is probably fascinated by the cold creamy texture which can easily be spread on her arms, legs, furniture (and pet cat!), and through this form of sensory play, she is actually stimulating her touch receptors on her skin.
Kids learn through play and they need the freedom to be able to safely explore the world around them, with your supervision and guidance.
Create a secure and loving home for your child with certain rules for their own safety, not a strict and regimental army camp where you expect them to function according to military standards.
Yes, children need a system or routine and some discipline, but they also need to have some freedom to just be kids.
I know lot of people who were from such strict households and started out as "good kids", but due to being too suppressed and over-controlled, eventually they just snap one day and end up doing all sorts of "wrong things" when they are older.
So as adults, they are now making up for all the nonsense that they weren't able to do as a kid or in their teens.
Some have even strayed so far off the "correct path" after tasting a bit of freedom -- all because of a regimental life enforced by parents with high expectations.
You are not a failure
If your little one has a meltdown in public, it is not because she is trying to embarrass you in front of everyone -- maybe she is just tired or hungry?
If your child draws a picture of a rainbow on the living room wall, it doesn't mean she disrespects you -- does she have access to a age-appropriate art materials for her to play with?
If your kid wants to eat her snack on the front porch with her cousins as they happily chit chat and watch birds flying by instead of sitting at the dining table facing the bare white walls, would it really be such a crime?
Certain rules are there for a reason, especially ones that ensure your child's safety, but you should also cut your child some slack and let her have a bit of freedom within reason.
You are most certainly not a failure if your child acts up every now and then and is pretty much just acting as a child her age would.
But perhaps if you don't even try to understand why your little one displays such supposed "naughty" behaviour and choose to punish her instead of trying to see things from her point of view, then that's probably where you have failed as a parent to help nurture and guide your child.
Do you agree with the Malaysian mum about how children should need strict rules? Or do you feel they should be allowed to have a bit of freedom to explore? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below!