Sticking up for our children
I watched an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” last night. Ally, the 13-year old daughter, came home with an F on her report card. Debra, the mother confronted her about her failing grade. Now, Ally, who got A’s and B’s in her other subjects, retorted to her mother, “What about my good grades? You only noticed my failing grade.” Ally explained that she got an F in Math because her teacher was mean. Debra wouldn’t listen to her and thought that she wasn’t paying enough attention. They had a heated discussion and Ally answered back at her mother. Ray felt that it might be the teacher. When Ray and Debra had a meeting with the teacher, they found out that he was really mean. Ray berated Debra for not sticking up for her daughter.
In the Philippines, children are raised to respect their elders, parents especially. They are not supposed to interrupt when adults are talking. I knew people whose children were even sent to their bedrooms if they have company – visitors in the house. So answering back at parents is a big NO NO. This is even depicted in some of the Tagalog movies I have seen. It is not unusual to see a father saying to his child, “You have no right to answer back at me so long as I am feeding you and you live under my roof” or something to that effect. I thought that I’d hear that only in the movies until it happened to someone dear to me just recently.
If a parent is obviously at fault and a child answers back in the heat of a discussion/argument, what should the other parent do? Does one stick up for their child or do they take the side of their partner? I understand that parents should be supportive of each other in raising their children. But if the other parent is being unreasonable, what is one to do?
I have seen quite a few people close to me who had been in conflict with their parents, usually their fathers, who were more of disciplinarians, sometimes to the point of being an authoritarian. The children of these parents ended up leaving home, sometimes running away. The mothers were helpless and left heartbroken. They chose to take the sides of their partners instead of sticking up for their children. And it’s really sad.
Have you ever been in a situation like this either as a child, as a parent, or as a mere spectator? Does anyone care to comment?