Do unto others as you would have them do to you – the parenting edition.

I was just going to post this on FB but felt it’s a bit too long. So here we go…


Since finding out that we’re going to become parents ourselves, I have begun to realise, more than ever, how important it is to work on my personal attitude, my perspective towards life, my views of other people and my words.

It is important because I realise that whatever I do or say will inevitably affect my children.

If I were negative, they will grow up to be negative. If I had no manners, they will grow up with no manners. If I were lazy, they will become lazy. If I had no opinions, they will become spineless. If I continued cussing, they will grow up cussing a lot. If I made life decisions without researching and studying, they too will become hasty and stupid with their decisions in life. If I lived a mediocre life, I sure as hell shouldn’t expect them to miraculously become the creme de la creme of society. If I lived a life of blaming others, they will blame me in return.

Giving birth is not noble, it doesn’t take a genius to get knocked up and push a baby out.

A child does not choose to be born, you force them into this world and thus you willingly shoulder the burden of raising them. Don’t act like you did them a favour.

And that’s why, children owe parents nothing. Not time, not service and certainly not money.

Whatever that children give to their parents when they’re old are given out of love, not because they owe the parents anything. So ask yourself, have you raised your children with love?

Have you given them the tools to be independent adults with financial knowledge before expecting a monthly allowance? Have you given them the positivity, support and encouragement before demanding them to spend time with you? Have you instilled in them the importance of loyalty before demanding the same from them? Have you politely conversed with them before getting upset with them for speaking rudely to you?

Oh, you worked hard to pay for your kids’ toys and school? Well done, you.


Some parents wonder why their children dislike being with them. Well, I wonder whether these parents have reflected on themselves?

Have you been a nice, positive person that doesn’t zap off someone’s energy? Have you been kind and encouraging? Have you been emotionally supportive? Have you been polite?

A friend told me she mentioned to her parents that she got a raise, cause she wanted to share her good news. Instead of being proud and happy for her daughter, her parents told her she could now give them more money. And they wonder why the daughter doesn’t want to talk to them much.

A mother complains that her son in her 20s speaks really rudely to her. I told her to be patient, until I saw for myself how she spoke to that son and her other children. Well, lets just say children take after their parents.

I don’t expect our kids to take care of us when we’re old and frail but if they do, I sure hope it’s out of love, enjoyment and appreciation. Not because they think they owe me their lives.

19 thoughts on “Do unto others as you would have them do to you – the parenting edition.”

  1. Parenthood is tough… We will always try to be great for our kids, but no parenting book can prepare us for this. You’re right about them learning through us, and being affected by us. This morning, I argued with the hubby in front of the kids about him not being on par with me when it comes to disciplining (also be prepared for this stage of parenting ;p). When I picked Emma up and stormed off, it took me 2-3 mins to realize that the poor girl was shaking and crying silently. I stopped to ask her why, and she apologized to me. She said “I’m sorry, Ama, I’m sorry….” when it had nothing to do with her…

    I felt like the worst mom in the world for making my my own child believe that she had done wrong when it was my own anger issues that got in the way. Patience is the hardest thing to achieve when you have kids, and a lot underestimate how hard it is to say we will be one thing, and we become the complete opposites of our own expectations. Before the kids came, I said I’d never be this and I’d never do that, and yet there I was, being a complete b*tch in front of my kids.

    As long as parents understand that it’s okay to learn with and from their children through both the good decisions and the bad mistakes, and that parenthood is as much a journey for the kids as it is for us, then we will be fine :)

    Sorry, was gonna leave a comment, ended up a confession pulak lol. Just that this seemed so aptly timed in my own reflection of my role as a parent. There are severely exhausting days, but I can assure you that if there’s one cliche i know to be true, is that it’s all so damn worth it!

    1. Ellie you are awesome! 2 or 3 minutes to realise? If only more parents were like you…some people still don’t acknowledge that they have messed up their kids inside out after 30 years. I think I will have a lot of issues trying to be a better person with kids but like you said, accept that it’s a journey with highs and lows and we will be okay. Of course, the humility to admit wrong and reflect also is so important in repairing any damage done.

  2. I agree with you that being a parent compels you to work on your attitude. I must say that it also changes the way you look at life entirely.

    There are times when I come home from work and I am so freaking drained that I don’t really want to talk to anyone or read stories for the kids or I just lose my temper over the smallest things.

    Then I look back on my childhood and remember all of the times when my parents made me feel bad for being bothersome. I don’t ever want the kids to feel bad the same way I did.

    So you sneak into the kitchen, take a deep breath (and maybe drink a shot of something alcoholic) and soldier on to read stories / say sorry for being grouchy etc.

    I am also compelled to finish work at a decent time and make more responsible choices because at the end of the day, I NEED to get home to see the kids. Nothing else matters. Like I would tell people, “Look, I am a mother of two. My time is better spent at home writing the alphabet than dealing with petty office politics.”

    I guess you just need to draw on your own experiences, positive or negative, and it takes a hell lot of empathy and self-awareness to be a good parent.You just have to try very hard and pray very hard (in equal parts).

    1. Hi Mela, thanks! You cracked me up about getting a shot of alcohol before attending to your kids haha. Funny aside, that shows a lot of love and selflessness. Your kids are so lucky!

  3. Hi Kim!

    Have been a silent reader but I couldn’t help but to give you compliment for this well-written piece. While I do not fully agree that we don’t owe anything to our parent but what you said about parenting is undeniably very true.

    One day, when I become parent I intend also to be positive and supportive to my kids. :)

    1. Hi Shirlexia, thanks for the compliment. Appreciate it! Though I still think between parent/children, there shouldn’t be any “owe mentality” attached to it. Just love!!! All love, haha :)

  4. Indeed, kids will do what you do, not what you say. That’s the hardest part of all.

    Plus, sometimes you are tired and grouchy – but you gotta remember, if you say something in spite to a child, they may well remember it for the rest of their lives.

    Ahhh, so much to learn.

    And yah, kids owe parents nothing, it’s the parents that chose to have the child, not the other way round – even if they were perfect parents, it was their choice to create that human for whatever reason they decided was ok (or for no reason at all in many cases).

    Yes we should be grateful if we had good parents, but if we choose to spend time with them, spend money on them, give them money etc – should be 100% our choice and not through guilt, ‘filial piety’ or whatever weird things some people think is ok.

  5. Kimberly, I trust you and Gareth on of very similar thoughts on the aspects of child raising a child. Ellie’s post was a powerful example of how fighing, even if it’s just loud words, can affect a child. Even one fight can leave a deep emotional scar on a young child. Anger, and only few words can shatter a child’s secure world.

    Young children cannot understand at any level why the mommy and daddy they depend on for everything, and love beyond measure would ever say mean things or have such anger. Be sure to remember, children remember anger, and it hurts them deeply.

    Love your spouse, and have your spouse love you in front of your child, and love the child, and you will be surprised in the ways that love is returned. You cannot appreciate how creative and how deeply profound the simple love of a child can be.

    I have a God-daughter, now 7 yrs old. Since she was 18 months old, the time we bonded, without either of us knowing at the time, that little girl taught me more than I could ever have expected about love in it’s purest and simplest form. She changed my life, and my life with my wife, with who I found new ways to grow our love.

    Parenting will not be easy, the ups and downs will often come many times in a day.

    Some thoughtful mothers, or as with you, a mother to be, share thier amazing life journey’s:
    Here are couple such:

    Thank you for your careful and wonderful thoughts!

    1. Thank you for the links and input David! I sure hope we’ll be able to raise good, kind and loving people. Like you said, parenting is not going to be easy but all good things take effort to happen, don’t they?

  6. Hello Kimberly,

    I like your sentence below. I find it to be the truth that people seldom acknowledges.

    “A child does not choose to be born, you force them into this world and thus you willingly shoulder the burden of raising them. Don’t act like you did them a favour.”

    I am just wondering, if you have not already done so, would you mind sharing with us about the reasons you have for “forcing” a child into this world?

    Thank you.

    1. hi mun,

      we want babies for legacy’s sake and the fact that my body is aching to have a baby haha. sometimes my husband and i make jokes about making our own customised friends :P

  7. Hi Kim, like Shirlexia I’m also a long time reader but have never gotten around to leaving a comment. I just wanted to say that I really love both Gareth and your take on this. Being Asian, there is this mentality that’s been drilled into children that despite whatever the parents have done to/for their them, they need to fulfill their end of filial piety because it’s expected of them. Also it might be a big commercial scam (hello Osim massage chairs), but I digress!

    My own parents are amazingly liberal in their views, and thus does not hold us to normal society standards of what “filial piety” meant – allowing to choose for ourselves what we wanted to do for them. Growing up with laughter in the house made a lot of difference in how I saw the world. My parents would not make us feel bad for the mistakes we did – everything was seen through a learning lens. It wasn’t all rosy (like any normal family), but what I appreciated was that there were no hard feelings or resentments as we believed in keeping the lines of communication open.

    They don’t expect for us to provide for their retirement, because my dad – who believed in hard work – drilled into us the importance of financial planning; and they’ve worked hard to ensure that their needs would be taken care of financially. Leaving things up to chance or their children wasn’t an option at all because they felt it would be a irresponsible burden (emotionally & psychologically) if they had put it all on our shoulders.

    They gave us wings to be the best we could be. And I do things out of love for them, not out of expectation nor obligation.

    1. Hi Amy,

      So wonderful to read your comment. I think your parents have completely nailed it, lucky you!

      Your last line totally sums up what I was trying to convey in my post! Thank you so much.

    2. Hey Amy, good to see you here too :D

      Sounds like your parents struck a pretty good balance, and I agree with their stance, society and it’s (mostly commercial) expectations has no place in a relationship between a child and their parents. Or in fact any other kind of relationship (Valentine’s day anyone?).

      Totally agree with your parents take on discipline too, been reading a book called the 5 languages of love and it also discusses that. Discipline is necessary but need not be mean, it should never come from a place of emotion (anger/frustration) but should be a correction given with love/hugs and gentle words.

      And yes, the final part almost everyone is missing – financial intelligence! Take care of your finances when you are young, and when you are old you wont have to worry. Sadly most Asians replace finance with children in the above statement..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *