At one point or another, most parents are accused of forgetting what it’s like to be a kid. But being a kid makes it hard to realize what it takes to be a parent. So beijingkids turned the tables on four students at Beijing World Youth Academy and asked for their perspective on parenting styles and what they think are the most challenging aspects of being a parent.
Clockwise from left:
Tiffany Ma, 16, Canada, has been living in Beijing for eight years
Geon Lee, 15, South Korea, has been living in Beijing for more than 10 years
Fanny-Cécile Waldersee, 15, Germany, has been living in Beijing for eight years
Daulet Zhanseit, 17, Kazakhstan, has been living in Beijing for three years
What do you think of helicopter parents and tiger moms?
Tiffany: I think the child becomes really weak, because they’re not experienced. If the parents help them with everything, then when they grow up they’re going to have difficulty adjusting.
Fanny: By being overprotective, they’re harming the child more than helping.
Geon: I had some friends who had helicopter parents. They were top students until they started realizing “Why is my mom doing this to me? I want to walk my own road.” That’s when they started to resist their parents. They told me it was hard, because your motivation has to be your own, not your parents’ pressure on you.
What do you consider the best parenting style?
Fanny: I think it’s important that the parents are strict. I think it’s important to stick with what you say and once you promise something, you should [stick]to your word.
Daulet: I live here and my parents [who live in Kazakhstan]don’t really watch how I work and study. I have to do everything on my own. My parents say “If you don’t want to study, don’t study, but it’s your future.” My parents sent me here to study, so it’s good motivation for me.
Geon: I think life is just a road which an individual walks along, and the parent’s duty is not to stay in front of him to guide him, but to stay behind him to offer him support and love.
Tiffany: Parents should guide you to the right decisions. They should give you advice, but you should make your own decisions.
What are some attributes of a good parent?
Geon: [That’s] hard [to say.]It’s interesting to go into the shoes of your parents to look at yourself, that’s a completely new perspective.
What about patience?
Fanny: At some point, it’s not good if you’re too patient.
Geon: I think it’s an absolute must for a parent to have good patience, because if you’re patient you’re calm, and being calm is the most important factor in dealing with your kids.
Tiffany: [When parents shout at] kids, [they]don’t learn because they don’t get why their mom shouts at them. So it’s better for a parent to tell them why you shouldn’t do this than to shout at them.
What do you think is the hardest part about being a parent?
Tiffany: Letting go, maybe. Because at this point when we’re growing up, and in two years we’re going to go to university, we’re going to leave and I think they’re afraid to lose us. We have lots of homework and our own social life now, and [we spend]less and less time with them.
Fanny: I think that for a parent, at all times, they have to fight being overprotective.
Daulet: The hardest part is to make decisions for your child. If you choose something for your child and then it’s wrong, you think “It’s my fault; I sent him to do this.”
What do you think is the best thing about being a parent?
Daulet: I think the best part of being a parent is to grow [into]a new, good person.
Geon: Like Tiffany said, [letting]their child go. But I think that’s also the best part of being a parent, because it’s like a little fledgling growing up and flying on to achieve its goal.
Fanny: I think the best part about being a parent would be the child itself, because you love [your]child and love is blind.
Tiffany: Being a parent is one of the best experiences of life, I guess. At some point in life, you should experience this.
Fanny: I think it sounds as if we’ve all had children before.
When should children be responsible for taking care of their parents?
Daulet: After they start earning money. [They should] take care of their parents, buying food, and sending them to relax somewhere.
Geon: There are many types of care. Financial care should start immediately when you have your own source of income. But there’s also emotional care, and as soon as you understand how it feels to be a parent, you should start taking care of them, which means not making them sad. Or being responsible for yourself, being mature.
Tiffany: When a child starts to be responsible, they should still respect their parents. [While] they’re young, at some point, they should start taking care of themselves, which is one way of taking care of their parents, too.