Give your kid some space to learn

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWO CENTS - By Yao Sisi

When I was preg­nant, I asked my­self if I would pre­fer to have a boy or a girl. There were many rea­sons for ei­ther one, but I was a lit­tle wor­ried about hav­ing a boy. Why? I found my­self to be an over pro­tec­tive mother-to-be, and I was wor­ried that my boy would be­come a mama’s boy.

Posts from new wives com­plain­ing about their mother-in­law’s hold on their hus­bands are not un­com­mon on pop­u­lar Chi­nese online fo­rum Tianya. In most cases, the mother-in­law has a very strong char­ac­ter and likes to con­trol every­thing, in­clud­ing her son who amaz­ingly seems to en­joy be­ing con­trolled. The wife would com­plain that her hus­band never does any house chores or takes care of their child or that her hus­band never takes her side when she ar­gues with his mother. The hus­band would tell his wife that she should not fight with his mother whether she is right or wrong be­cause she brought him up.

I have worked in the field of study abroad coun­sel­ing for over eight years now. I mainly deal with un­der­grad­u­ate col­lege stu­dents who want to read for a mas­ter’s de­gree abroad. Some of the males show strong symp­toms of be­ing a mama’s boy. For ex­am­ple, a male stu­dent with a 3.8 GPA got into one of the top 50 uni­ver­si­ties in the US, and his fa­ther told me that he and his wife would ac­com­pany him to the US for at least the first month of his mas­ter’s.

To be frank, I was not shocked. It was not the first and will not be the last time I hear of such things.

I won­der whether his par­ents also dress him and tie his shoelaces like I do for my 2-year-old daugh­ter. A mama’s boy never grows up. I envy them!

I have another “spe­cial” stu­dent. He is in his 40s, and his daugh­ter has al­ready at­tended col­lege. Af­ter his first week with his host fam­ily, he called me in the mid­dle of the night. I thought it was an emer­gency and picked up.

He sounded fu­ri­ous. Guess why? He left the light and air con­di­tioner on in his room while he was out, and his host re­minded him to save en­ergy. He told me he’s the one pay­ing the rent, and he should have the right to leave things on.

That night, I had to call on my ex­pe­ri­ence of calm­ing my baby girl down in the mid­dle of the night when she was still a new­born.

Per­son­ally, I think the term mama’s boy is in­com­plete. It should be changed into “par­ent’s child.” It’s not only boys. Girls also refuse to grow up af­ter turn­ing 18, af­ter get­ting mar­ried and even af­ter hav­ing their own child.

I do not think it is their fault. A child is what their par­ents make them. So, please let go of your child. Please let him make his own mis­takes, ex­pe­ri­ence his own life and go his own way.

Be a par­ent, not an an­i­mal keeper. Will you?

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