So my student and I had this question in our TOEFL speaking practice about relationships of parent and children. He shared that his mom was the strict type, so he could never be friendly with her even until now that he’s a parent himself. Moreover, his daughter is flying to the US to study, so his relationship with her could potentially change, either for the better or worse. He said that his daughter is closer to her mom, and they have the friendly type of parent-child relationship (like my mom and I). He’s the stricter parent, but he said his daughter looks up to him, therefore he’s confident that she’ll miss him when she goes to America. This dad confidently feels that they’ll have a closer relationship when she comes back.
Well, at least that is the hope.
Along our conversation, I was suddenly hit by this sort of loneliness which I think I’d have to endure once I become a parent. As my student said, the conflict which teens go through is not only suffered by them, but of the parents as well. This is the period of parenthood which all parents must bear with their child’s growing independence, or what some may interpret as “rebellion”.
A co-teacher shared that parents, on the first day of class (nursery or kindergarten) have a bigger tendency to show signs of separation anxiety rather than the child. This is one of the main reasons why children have a harder time adjusting to the new environment. If the parent is not willing to let go of his or her child’s hand, then how will they let go as well? Children can only feel comfortable in a new place or to a new person once their parents say, “It’s okay. Don’t be scared.”
Of course, it’s understandable why parents would be like this, right? For many years, they will be the child’s strength, their eyes, hands, feet, mouth, everything. Suddenly, after a few years they start to stand up on their own, walk on their own; know how to not call their mom or dad to be guided. Most parents feel proud, and at the same time, I guess a bit lonely too? This tiny human who came from your own flesh, growing more and more capable; more and more capable of living without them. I know it sounds kind of negative, but I think we all have that mixed feeling of liking a person’s dependency to us.
I’d attest to that, personally.
I’ve always felt that my parents, particularly my mom, wanted us to grow up not depending too much on them (or her), but more to our own skills and capacity. Because of this, I grow up not liking other kids who depend too much on their parents for their school projects; it felt unfair. On the other hand, as I grew stronger with my independence, I felt more and more people depending on me. It was an unfamiliar feeling, however, I didn’t hate it. I like helping others, especially if I really like that person, so their dependence on me affirmed my strengths as a person. In addition, taking care of a person feels good, no matter how difficult it could be. So I once thought, “Ah, is this how it feels to be a mom?”
However, in life, we all must walk separate paths, right? Families or lovers alike. It’s the truth of life. A painful or precious reality?
Whichever it is, this hot-pot of emotions and questions, make us human.