Of modern parents, children and upbringing…

I’m seriously considering to stop taking breakfast at the regular cafe that I patronized almost every morning before I go to work, as I could not stop myself from observing my surrounding and feels bad about certain things that I see. I’ve lost track of how many articles that was inspired during my breakfast session. The previous one was about an old lady who had been sent away to live in an old folks homes. And today, again, I saw things that displease me.

I was starting to get irritated when my usual cuppa tea and half boil eggs with toasts came rather late, but instead of getting up to remind the waitress who took my order to get me my breakfast, my attention was diverted to another table nearby that’s occupied by four individuals. An elderly woman, a young man and his wife as well as their baby-age probably less than three month, as the baby still haven’t start teething yet.

So a family of four was having breakfast. Nothing wrong with the picture to me, until the baby let out a very loud wail, and instantly, the mother of the child allowed the baby to be snatched away from her arms to be cradled by the grandmother, who seems anxious about the grandchild, cooing to the baby all the way until the child’s wail were subsided into muffled sobs.

I heard the old lady spoke in Cantonese, chiding to her son in law and daughter, saying that she have been right in insisting that she took care of the baby, seeing how clueless the parents are in childcare. I was immediately aghast with her words. For a moment, I wondered if I heard correctly. Apparently, my ears did not fail me. I did heard correctly. The elder woman did say that the parents of the child are not good parents, and is not qualified to take care of their own baby. Okay, fine, that’s none of my business. But as I watched a while longer over my almost forgotten breakfast, I noticed another thing, which is the parents hardly give any attention at all to the baby, as if they do not care of the baby’s cries for attention or needs. They simply allowed the grandmother to handle everything and made no attempt to interfere at all.

Then after a moment, the parents stood up, bidding the elderly woman goodbye and tell her that they will come to visit her and their baby in a week or two, and to pick the baby for an immunization to be done in Johore. Apparently, the couple is living in Johore and had somehow left their child to live with the grandmother. Even at the mention of immunization, the elder woman was rather reluctant to allow the parents to bring her grandchild away from her. So she had insisted that they bring her along. The couple agreed instantly and rushed away, not even kissing or hugging their baby goodbye. The child remained in the grandmother’s protective clutches.

A question came to my mind. Is this the right thing to do? To allow your parents to raise your child for you in your hometown while you go and work elsewhere, and only see your child one week once or fortnightly once? Is it a trend that I am missing that young parents with career these days do not get involve much in bringing up their children?

All the dirty job was left to either the grandparents, nanny, babysitters or even child day care and nurseries. Majority of working parents opt the easy way out of the parenting job by handing it over to others. They do not get involve with the feeding, what more changing diapers or teaching their children proper manners and etiquette. The parents definitely missed out the time the child’s first tooth started to grow, the first words, the first crawl or even first few steps taken by the child while learning to walk. The parents would missed all of the beautiful things that happened during their child’s growing up process.

I had known that somehow it’s been a norm in some families to let the grandparents raise the young ones, but I definitely had not known that they played very little part in their children’s upbringing- most only contributed money to the ones who are taking care of their child where their child’s well being is concern. So is parenting these days is about sending your child to your parents or your in laws to be taken care of, and you only contributed money so that your child will be fed and well clothed?

Who is the real parents here, you or your parents? I could not understand modern women these days, they wanted to become mother, willing to let the stomach be bloated like some hot air balloon and go through labor pain but not willing to take care or involved much in raising their own child. Hell some mothers do not even know how to take care of their children properly and spoil their children like hell when they finally take their children to live with them again, probably at the age of five or six, where all the awkward times during childhood had passed. Disciplining the child is definitely out of question.

Again, my question here is, why bother giving birth to your child just to satisfy your own maternal need and to stop your biological clock from tick-tocking and drives you insane? Why bother, when all you did after the child’s birth, you parceled your child away to be taken care by your old folks and you only see your kid once in a while? Don’t give me the bullshits about being too busy with work. You ought to know when you decided to have a baby that the responsibility of raising a child is huge and sacrifices in time and career is required of you. So why send your child away to be taken care of? Even animals are more involved in raising their young than modern people these days.

Call me old fashion, but I come from a family where my father and mother took care of me themselves since I was a wailing infant to this very day, though I’m all grown up, married and all. There’s not a day in my parent’s life that they left me to be taken care by both of my grandparents, maternal and paternal alike. My own grandparents are strictly grandparents, how they should be, where my parents would bring me to visit them once in a while so that my grandparents would dote one me and then they would bring me back with them and raise me with their very bare hands. I definitely do not mistake my grandmother for being my mother when I was younger like children these days do.

And yes, before you ask me about my childhood, my father did clean up my poop and I even pee on his head while he’s sleeping him when I was a baby(this is one bloody story my dad would tell people over and over again when he talked about raising children to this very damn day, pretty embarrassing for me)- he even bathe me when I was barely three days old, I have loads of my naked pictures to prove that. Squealing and wriggling in my father arms while he bathe me while my mother looked on very anxiously. And yes, my mother did get her fair share of my tantrums when I refused to eat vegetable that she sneaked in my porridge. My parents did not allow my grandparents to even interferre in my upbringing, and I was their firstborn, no less. They had no experience in handling babies whatsoever when they had me, and yet, they do not throw me to my grandparents to be taken care of like modern parents these days.

I doubt most of modern parents these days share the same experience as my parents. They are barely parents, to even begin with. More like an ATM machine rather than parents, I must say.

Cleffairy: As parents, do play important role in your children’s upbringing as parents. Please do not just be an ATM machine to them.


  1. Chris says:

    Agree that parents should take responsible of their children and not just pass to the grandparents. However, also need to look into the parents’ circumstances, like financial commitments. For example, in Spore, it’s like almost impossible for both parents not to work, as the living standard is so high. It’s even worse for those with low earnings.
    So, I agreed with you if parents are well to do but simply don’t want to take the responsibility but disagreed if they ‘force’ to do so.
    Btw, have a nice long weekend. πŸ™‚

  2. amoker says:

    Fairy, should tell us this kopitiam that serves good food physically and for the brain.

    I would like to be fussy with my own child next time. The grandparents can fuss over them as well but I will be chief fusser.

  3. calvin says:

    i suspect that the parents of the child is rather young. like you, i always believe that the upbringing of one’s child is the job of the parents. take my sister for eg. she is working and so is my bro in law. they work from 8 to 8, hardly anytime for family bonding even for me as a brother. having no trust in babysitters or a maid, my mom offered to take care of both my nieces, one is 10 and the sibling at age 4. even though with their busy schedule, i applaud both of them.

    they would come back almost at the same time, and both of them would usually cuddle my nieces with hugs and kisses, and then off they go for dinner. once back, my sis would go thru the homeworks and fuss with the younger one. disciplining would be my bro in laws job. at nite, before bed, they would cuddle and say their nite prayer together. in the weekends, they would go out spend at least 10 hours together whether in church, shopping or watching movies at home. though they are mostly busy with work, they always try to make full use their free time for bonding.

    to me, that is what we need for a family to stand strong.

  4. ahfu says:

    well not all modern parents willing to leave their children to granny/babysitters, some of them really have no choice but do it and continue working away from home, you shall try their shoes on and think again =)
    if i were them, i may ask my mom or god-mom to bring up my children at least until a year old

  5. riverrasquale says:

    Hi Clef,
    That’s one of the main reason why I did not marry?
    I have a very idealistic view of parenthood, one which if I bear children I must raise them well. The story you told me is really unacceptable. Not even kissing and hugging the baby! My friend (who is my age) was raised by her grandmother whom she called her “Mak”. She grew up to be quite rebellious and hated her parents. It seems that she was the 1st child and the parents then was too young and too unstable to take care of her. Only when she gave birth to her first son did she “feel” for her real mother, but it was ages before she could forgive them…

  6. cleffairy says:

    Chris, for me, it’s absurd to just leave the children at your parents to be raised until they are properly weened, toilet train and stuff when you can actually do that yourself. I am aware that parents these days are financially restricted and stuff, however, dun you think it’s quite over the line if you do not care for your child at all or even try to learn to take care of your child when you have the chance to do so when you go and visit? I saw the lady, she did not even bother when her baby was crying. Instead, she just let her mother handle it.

    Amoker… lol… that kopitiam have all sort of people going around, and it really makes me think most of the time. LOL… that kopitiam even have a homeless lady who took bath there every morning…which surprised me. The kopitiam tauke allowed her to do so out of compassion. Seeing such thing shocked me, but I got used to it eventually. On parenting, that’s the right thing one should at least attempt to do. I just cannot understand parents these days. Just toss their kids aside and let the grandparents do the parenting.

    , you’re not quite right. The couple was a lot older than me. More to 35-ish. They are at least 10 years older than me. So I dun think they are THAT young. They’re hell a lot older than me. LOL. I suspect this couple marry late, and have children quite late because of their career. And since they’re not yet ready for a child but their biological clock is already tick-tocking, so they probably decided to have a baby and decided that it’s best that the grandmom take care of their baby- since they are busy with work, inexperience and all. But I think it’s not quite right you know, seeing the father and mother of the baby hardly care for the child’s cries and all. They just continue to eat and let the grandmom fuss over the baby. The mother of the child did not attempt to even pacify the baby or even kiss the baby when she left with her husband. And same goes with the husband, simply rush away with the wife, as if the world cannot wait for them. I feel that it’s quite absurd, leaving everything to the grandmother to do.
    The problem with modern parents these days is they treat the grandparents as ‘trainers’ to their children. When the awkward times passed, then they’ll take back their child. I think a lot do this kind of thing these days. The care for the child’s material needs rather than the mental needs.
    I understand that some parents have no choice but to ask their family to help, but isn’t it too much if you dun even make an effort to bond? Haihhh.. what is becoming to this world. What’s worst is I know a couple of parents who left their kids for their grandparents to take care not because of working-sometimes the mother is a housewife, even, but refused to take care of her kids because of ‘mafan’ and ‘inexperience’.

    AhFu… I’m married and all. LOL…I’m well armed with plans for my children’s upbringing, and that does not include my parents or in laws interfering with the parenting. I’ll do what my parents did, just allow visits and stuff. So I can assure you that I wun be in the same shoes as them. If sacrifices is required of me as a mother, I would venture into freelance work so that I will not miss any of my children’s growing up phase. I’ll be damned if I dunno how to bathe my wriggling baby, see the first tooth coming out, the first few steps and the first words. I do not mind sacrificing 5-6 years to take care of my kids… after all, it wun be long until they can be tossed in kindergarten and school. Ahahahahaha… once they are in school, I can do as I pleased. πŸ˜›
    But I can say that I’m very lucky that my husband share the same sentiment with me, that children should be parent’s priority and responsibility, not the grandparents. Only by growing up together with your children, the children will bond and be attached to you.

    Riverra… lol… dun worry, I’m pretty idealistic about it too. My mom was not raised by my grandmother, and their relationship is pretty bad, because my mom have no feelings for her mother at all. And like your friend, my mother called my late greatgrandmother(she was raised by her grandmother) Mum too. To her, her biological mom is not her mother, but her grandmother is. She viewed my maternal grandmother with contempt, but I couldn’t blame her, because my mom was actually twins. My grandparents kept her twin sister to be raised while toss her to my great grandmother to take care of. She always felt out of place and unwanted in her own family. So, when my mother gave birth to me(I’m firstborn), she and my father took care of me without letting my grandparents get in the way at all. There’s not a day they left me for even a few hours at my grandparents alone. LOL. I was told that the longest they left me with my grandparents alone when I was a lil girl was only 2 hours, where they attend a funeral, and could not bring me along! Same goes with my sister. She was never left alone with any of my grandparents, if memories serves me right.

    I wouldn’t want to end up having such relationship with my children-where they could not relate well with me because I did not raise them myself. I rather have my children attached and bonded with me rather than having them have no feelings for me as their mother.

  7. Celine says:

    That is pretty bad!! I mean, every child has feelings even when they are 3 months old. A baby needs the loves from his own parents. And the parents are just so ignorant towards the baby as stated in your post. I am really disappointed lor. If you do not intend to take good care of the baby, why give birth to the baby? It is so unfair for the baby.

    And the mother as well!! Maybe she loves her grandchild very much but still she is an elder woman. The parents just left all the dirty works to her!! And come back to visit her only once in a week!! Horrible!

    I don’t know what they are thinking. Maybe what Calvin’s said is right. They are just too young!

  8. cleffairy says:

    Celine, it is bad. I mean, if you see your baby once a week, you would at least hug the baby and kiss the baby before you go. but this couple din do that. I know I would definitely do that… but I would definitely make sure that I raise my baby myself. If I can’t do that and not ready to be a mom, why would I bother give birth. I pity the baby, and I suspect, when the baby grow up, the baby wun be so attached to the parents.

    I see the grandmother also heart pain lah, she act as if she knows everything, hold the baby and stuff, and not even letting the son in law and daughter learn how to take care of the baby. Maybe that’s the reason why the parents dun care for the baby, coz they thought that the grandmother can settle everything without their help. But, still, pity her, they left the baby with her to be raised.

    It’s horrible you know? Newborns wake needs to drink 2 hours once, den grow up abit, 4 hours once. Imagine all the dirty work the elder woman need to do. Den when the baby starts to grow teeth, even more headache. Will cry like hell!

    Actually, Celine, they’re NOT THAT young. If they are young, then you and me can be considered as schoolgirls. The couple are in their mid-thirties… career ppl. ALOT OLDER than us. *sigh*

  9. eugene says:

    Most of my thought in relation to your post has been penned by my other blogger friends already, i am truly amazed that you really get so many provoked ideas from having breadfast at your regular joint.

    My morning joint doesnt give me much on that, probably i should migrate to other kopitiam instead.

    I just cant phantom, why do we give birth and not loving them…

    human give birth, dog litter , so we cant be like dogs can we ?

    Cleff, may be you, me and the rest of the regulars blogging friend should launch a online crusade to stake our common beliefs….

    have a good weekend my friend

  10. James says:

    These kind of ppl is wad I call cibai lang..feel like slapping them..like to fck so much now get baby still not doing their responsibility..bunch of morons piff

  11. cleffairy says:

    Eugene, I think I’ve been hanging in the wrong blogs… ahahaha… mostly are gossip and politic based if not personal. But these, I guess are common issue… only I did not notice it until i see it with my own eyes.

    I have no idea why, each time I go to the kopitiam, sure there’s a lot of interesting to see, and it will amuse me to no end. or maybe I’m just alert and naturally kaypo queen LOL πŸ˜›

    You know, Eugene, I couldn’t agree more on the crusade our belief thingie… i mean, for me, writings are supposed to inspire people to be better… not the other way around. Unfortunately these days, not much people care to inspire others. πŸ™

    Seng, jie also cannot tahan see those people. Take no responsibility as parents. See oso tulan. No matter what is their reason and excuse, why can’t they at least hug the baby or kiss the baby before they leave? jie see , really tulan wan! know how to fuck, know how to give birth, but dono how to be parents!

  12. ahfu says:

    yeah i know but how many of the city parents manage to do so now? you should see the whole big picture, not part of it =) if possible all would choose not to work outstation but stay together with their kids and bring them up since the day they were brought to the world…

  13. Bridge says:

    Hi Celffairy! I admire your views on parenthood. Parents are totally responsible for the growth and development of their children. They should mold them into excellent breed.

    Anyway, your name sounds like Fairy! I love it!

  14. cleffairy says:

    Pete, yeah, that’s the problem with people these days… the older generation did not neglect their children the way the modern people did. These days, we’re slaves to money.

    AhFu, it is okay if parents could not afford to raise their kids financially, but there are some who did it simply because they refuse to take care of the children. they are too lazy and refused to be involved in parenting, and leave everything to the elders. I know of a well to do man and his wife who is a housewife. They can afford to take care of their kids themselves, but they refused and send their kid back to the grandparents to be raised. I cannot tolerate this kind of people. There are a lot of people that I know who do such things… my neighbour is one of em…the wife stay at home everyday also dunno do wud… πŸ™ she should brought her baby to stay with her, since she’s not working and all, and her husband is so damn rich! πŸ™

    Bridge, hihi, welcome to my humble blog. Thank you for the compliment…yeah, parents are supposed to play important role in their children’s growing up process, but sadly, these days, a lot take parenthood for granted. πŸ™

  15. mcky1224 says:

    Hye Clef, sorry for not visiting your blog for such a long period! Well, I was pissed by reading your current post! I think it is due to I was brought up by my grandmother and grandfather the most where my mother not willing to give a damn to this naughty everyday-wailing-at-2am daughter. So, she handed me over to my grandmother. In fact, my grandmother was the one who know me the best. Personally, I seriously pay the least respect to those who take no responsibilities in nurturing their own flesh and blood. It is so idiotic! Old folks homes are always welcome them. It make the children feel left out and not being blessed to this world. It is so UNFAIR!!!

  16. arc says:

    Yes sis cleff, it’s rather sad to see our children are raised by other people. Where goes the responsibility of being a parents?

    Two thumbs up from me

  17. suituapui says:

    As a teacher, I encountered many parents like that. They’ll refuse to come when called and they’ll just say, “Do what you want! Just beat him up, we don’t care!!!” I describe them as people who have gone to shit and expect others to wipe up the mess.

    Sadly, many modern-day (young) parents are like that – no commitment, career-driven…and sex is just an entertainment for them, too bad if there are babies produced as a result. They leave them with the parents or in-laws…or at the first opportunity, to the nursery. kindy or school and tuition classes! And they get very annoyed if there are too many holidays as they will have to take care of their brats themselves!

    Well, what goes around comes around…and one day, they’ll taste their own medicine…from their own flesh and blood!

  18. cleffairy says:

    mcky… oh, that’s quite all right. You’ve been busy with coursework. I understand how tiring coursework can get. You need to concentrate on your studies more. I really hope you get good results for your efforts. Anyway, sad to hear that your mom did not take care of you when you’re a baby. I hope she’s doing her role as a mother now. It’s never too late to compensate. My mom was raised by her grandmother, and she hates her mother til this very day. She says she have no feelings towards the woman who gave her away. So, when I see the little incident in the kopitiam, I realize that there are many people who neglect their children, and soon, if they are unlucky, their kids will grow up unattached, unaffectionate and hold grudges towards the parents.

    Arc… these days, a lot of parents are irresponsible… the reason behind their behaviour is- too busy, dunno how to take care of the kids, bla bla bla. is this reason justified? I think not, because when you decide to be a parent, you should know that there are sacrifices that’s required of you, and you must be willing to make sacrifices for your child/children.

    Stp… whoa, you’re a teacher? Must call you lao shi liao. LOL. Anyway I share the same sentiment with you… some parents these days do not discipline their children the way the older people do. I see these days a lot of mothers and fathers do not even care even if their children misbehave or rude towards the people around them. What’s worst, sometimes they side to their kids and blame the teachers for not doing their job. I have always believe that discipline starts from home, not from school. Parents play a crucial role in disciplining children. If parents do not care for their child, why should teachers care for them? Teachers are paid to give the kids knowledge, not be a parent to the kids. Nurturing should be done by parents.
    I know some people who send their kid to kindy before the sun even raise properly, and picks the kid up only after the sunset. When the kid arrived home, it’s already time to sleep. Haihh, dunno what to say oredi. The modern world is so, so weird!
    Well, I too believe that what goes around will come around. Wait til their kids have kids, then they’ll definitely be in deep shit with their grandchildren. LMAO…

  19. KevinP says:

    Cleffy, easier said than done these days. But I think if you bring your children up Truthfully, I think they understand.

    Last weekend, we went out for dinner and before that, well beginning of the month so we (my wife and I) did our usual rounds. Paying off our mortgages, car loans, credit cards and what nots… we make it that the kids see it. No cheques.. all hard cash. We make them deposit the money into the machine, telling them these are for your house.. these are for the car.. these are for the utilities.. etc.

    After that we adjourned for dinner. My kids would just order the cheapest food on the menu although their heart calls out for something else… :).

    But educate them we must. Told them them well, we can afford some luxuries now and then but it will not be everyday that they get to have such princely meal.

    Kids.. they understand. When you teach them the value of money.

    Back to your article. LOL.. see how far I swivel away from your topic.. LOL.

    Chinese I think, its more of extending your generation. To have kids that is. While I do not appreciate the idea of my parents or inlaws caring for my kids. For one, I want to inculcate my values… call me selfish. its not that my parents or my inlaws are bad parents. I think that they have already done their best in raising us and it is time for us to prove to ourselves that we can be as good if not better than them in raising up our own. And I cannot afford to be an ATM parent to begin with.. πŸ˜‰

  20. cleffairy says:

    Kevin, when I was five, my dad did that too. He brought me around to pay bills and stuff. But back then, I already knew that our financial was not so good, because my dad was still studying when he was raising me. We lived in Coventry, and practically live on my dad’s scholarship. So everything back then is about budget, budget budget, and I came to learn not to ask for things, even though I really want something. My seasonal clothes and toys, all probably came from those angmoh’s boot sales, which means they are second hands which is nice but only worth not more than 50pence. Each time we spend in boot sales, my dad would make sure that it never exceed more than 2pounds. The three of us would share food…eating rice or maggie by using one bowl back then is a norm for us. Eating out used to be a no, no, and my dad would only pamper me with french fries or fish and chips during our subway travels to London. Imagine that, french fries was a luxury for me back then. I never ask for more, but I understood my parent’s financial situation-because they made it clear to me, and gets me involve in the spendings. So, yes, children do understand, I couldn’t agree more with you on this, Kevin. It’s just too bad not much parents these days do not do that-getting the kids involve in parenting.

    I guess you’re right, for Chinese, it’s more to having descendants and stuff, to continue your bloodline, nothing more than that for some families. I also do not appreciate the fact that grandparents taking care of your kids, fullstop. Your kid is your responsibility, not others. if one refused to even try to take the responsibility, then they might as well dun have any kids. That’s it. No excuse should be given to escape getting involve in parenting. That’s what I always think.

    Ps: I also cannot afford to be an ATM parent. LMAO.. Babysitters are so expensive, might as well take care of your kids yourself!

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