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Name: modgurl
Location: Singapore

New mom. New woman. Born in Singapore. Raised in the World Wide Web.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 @ 11:31 pm

Dear Blogger,

Being a tutor has taught me how different parenting styles bring about varying outcomes of their children's growth. For example, a very supporting parent may not necessarily raise an academically excellent child. The child however, will develop a healthy dose of self-esteem and positive attitude in everything he does.

Then there's the biased parent. If I want to be positive about it, I'd say that would be a competitive parent. The poor child grows up having to prove to everyone that he can do as well as others, if not better! That includes his siblings! Due to that "competitiveness", the child feels that he's not worthy until he gains some sort of recognition.

One of my students is like that. Academically, she's an average student, with a little learning disability. However, I suspect that, that learning disability wasn't inborn. It seemed like a case of environmental conditioning. How could I not believe that when her mother compares her weaknesses against her brother's successes all the time???

Last evening, I came across my student wandering at the playground near her block. She was supposed to be home for tuition. 10 minutes before that, her mother had called, saying that the girl hasn't returned home from school, and that she couldn't contact her.

I called out to her. Told her that her mother was looking for her, and she's worried about her. The girl looked troubled. Suddenly, she broke down, crying! I was unexpectedly cool about it. I firmly told her to get into the car, and I drove to her place.

We sat in the car for awhile. I let her cry until I could get some explanation from her. She said something about her school work, and she didn't want to go home, for fear of being beaten up by her mother about it. Then, she cried some more.

Once she stopped crying, I told her gently that life is difficult. However, how shitty life could be, we should always face it head on! Swallow the bitter pill now, and you'll feel better sooner. Leave it untouched on the table, and that bitter pill will still be there.

I don't know if that was good advice to give. I wasn't trying to be some sort of sage or Yoda. I didn't want to tell her what to do. I wanted to give her choices, so she would be able to think for herself and be responsible for the choice she took.

She finally summoned the courage to walk back home. I was with her of course. I was supposed to be tutoring her at that moment after all. At home, I knew her mother was trying to control her temper. I wasn't sure if it was because I was present.

At times like these, it's always awkward for an outsider to be present. But I had a job to do. So for one and a half hours, I kept smiling and tried to dispel the intense air with light conversations. I was already tired when I came over. Still, I persevered.

This wasn't the first time I was caught in the middle of this mother-daughter war. I hoped I wouldn't be caught in a similar situation anytime soon, or ever at all if possible! Why can't they have silent wars like I have with my mom???


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