Every week, Preen tackles motherhood sans the rose-tinted glasses. Our columnists L. Juliano, Marla Darwin, Monica Eleazar-Manzano, Rossana Unson, and Ronna Capili-Bonifacio tell their personal experiences like it is—at times frustrating, oftentimes confusing, but always enlightening.
“Just don’t,” commented a friend during dinner as my husband and I retell stories from our recent trip abroad with our toddler. I was narrating scenes from the airplane, commenting how relieved we were that little bub was a happy flyer all throughout the 14-hour trip. “You shouldn’t apologize for your child. She’s a child, you can’t expect her to act like an adult. If you’re doing what you can to help her cope and grow, that should be enough. There’s absolutely no need to say sorry for her behavior,” she finished.
And I agree, especially with the bit about doing what we can as parents. Because in truth, we can only do so much. Our actions aren’t foolproof methods against tantrums and meltdowns. They happen for a reason. As children mature, they eventually learn to handle their emotions and better direct their blow-ups to socially acceptable reactions. We as parents should stop apologizing for their natural behavior. We may get the weird looks and eye rolls from other people—those who never had a child or who have forgotten what it’s like to have little ones—but what else can they really do? We don’t owe them an explanation.
However, I have issues with words like “absolutely.” Because as with many things happening in our lives, notions may and should be bent depending on occasions. As they say, change is the only thing constant in this world. And so I think we as parents should pay attention on using such notions like not apologizing for your child as a means of entitlement. The very reason we shouldn’t say sorry for them is rooted on how strangers feel entitled to their peace and quiet, or what have you, on public spaces. They shouldn’t be. That doesn’t mean it gives us the credit to let our kids do as they please also.
What lacks in this world is consideration. I do not think it’s wrong that I impose socially acceptable behavior on my child if it produces in her a sense of empathy. Save for ridiculous beliefs (such as strict table manners or proper clothing for toddlers; why should we care so much if they want to walk out with different shoes and jammies anyway?), I feel that we also pass on entitlement to children when we think their negative behavior is something they can parade wherever they go just because they’re kids.
It’s all about balance. Let’s not lose our capability to reflect on every testing situation just to prove a point even if it’s what books and researches tell us to do. As we put others in their places for their entitlement, are we also inadvertently modeling the very same thing to our child? In the same respect, are we teaching our children, also, to stand up for what is right and quit being so apologetic when the situation doesn’t call for it? Again, it’s all about balance.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Lara Intong
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