Failure To Connect


Overheard at a Giant supermarket check-out queue:

Wife: “What about our boy? Are we taking him with us on the trip tomorrow?”

Husband: “What’s the problem? Take him along!”

Wife: “Oh, dear. He won’t be pleased. He’ll want to be with his friends. He’ll throw a tantrum, the poor darling!”

Husband: “Help me understand something, sayang: Who actually calls the shots around here?”

We routinely let our children have their way. And when they expect to have their way all the time – as if it was their birthright – we scratch our heads and wonder why this is so.

Hello! Isn’t it obvious?

I still remember when children used to think of their parents’ will as something sacred. It didn’t matter whether we liked what was asked of us or not: Compliance was always a given. Today, however – because of the way we have brought up our children – is it so surprising that they see their compliance to our instructions/requests/pleas (cross-out the inapplicable) as merely optional?

What is even sadder is when these very children start behaving like mini-feudal lords (and expecting the treatment that goes with the territory); we slap our foreheads in disbelief and start asking ourselves:

“Where did I go wrong? Where did I go wrong?”

And even worse, sometimes even have to audacity to ask:

“Haven’t I already given him everything?”

The real tragedy is that many parents today seem simply unable to make the elementary connection between the two questions.

Personally, I think the boy in this story will get his way. Don’t you?


25 thoughts on “Failure To Connect

  1. No way! The daddy-o is always the winner! I always leave the decision to my hubby when I can’t get my son to agree with me.
    And it works!! He will just remind my son whos the boss!!Unless.. I want to side my son, then only will he gets his way!
    Thats when I’m the boss!!hahaha


    Good for you. At least, in your household there is a clear chain of command – and the children are NOT at the top of that pyramid.

    Actually in some households they are! Its just that the parents do not realise this. Or of they do, they prefer to overlook this

  2. I am going to comment about the attire of the boys in the picture: pantang tok nenek kak teh tengok depa pakai macam tu. I warned my boys, if I ever see them with the trousers around their ankles, I will help pull them down. There’s a story about a cop who stopped some kids walking mengangkang and ordered them to pull up their trousers. What is the world coming to and i do sound like an old mak cik, which is what i am of course.

    kak teh

    I cant stand those trousers/jeans either. But I have to tolerate them for the sake of political expediency sometimes. Sadly, we live in a world where parents only have the illusion that they make the decisions.

  3. Hello Kak Teh, kong hei fatt choy to you and family…and wishing you good health, much laughter and happiness, lots of tea and scones this year of the Ox.

    With regards to that boy. Habis cherita tu!
    I fully agree with you kids today are different to our times…
    I may have run away from school first day, brought back in a police van, ha ha. The school searched for me, police found me walking home. I was 6! Ha ha.

    Oooops I digress….
    To be honest, sometimes I see how the kids behave disini saya nak sepak muka dia. Betul kurang hajar to their parents.

    But this I blame the parents, not the kids. Who doesn’t love children? But most times parents so blinded with love of their first born or kids, they are unable to see their kids faults, tetapi chepat notice other people’s kids antics.

    Kalu tada ‘human rights’….? ha ha.
    Old days practically every home had its status symbol…a rattan cane.
    My mom had a spare, macham incik Clint Eastwood, she very fast on the draw, ha ha…apart from the rattan cane, 3 feet long, there was the feather duster…for fast action and emergencies.

    Homework done? Yes Mummy. Why you don’t eat that vegetable? I don’t like mummy. EAT IT! Okay mummy.
    Its that rattan and feather duster that I am what I am.

    Incidentally I smoke….but my two sons, both boys, ha ha…they don’t! Up to 12 years old, they could see my rattan hanging near the kitchen…
    ha ha.
    You have a nice day Kak Teh. Always a thrill and pleasure you come by. Best regards, Lee.

  4. adoi Uncle lee, you did it again!!! You tulis panjang lebar to me in someone else’s blog! Sorry MB! Nanti kak teh pi ketuk tangan Uncle Lee.

    kak tek

    That’s OK , maa’m. I kind of enjoy Uncle Lee

  5. Hello Tuan, saya minta ma’af da masuk wrong pondok…..
    Sorry for taking up your space. Will not happen again.
    Anyway, here’s wishing you a very happy Ox year. Best regards, Lee.

    Uncle Lee

    That’s quite alright, sir. You are welcome anytime!

  6. I remember a day when parents behaved like parents, instead of spoiled children.

    Perhaps if parents started to behave more like parents, instead of throwing tantrums, being self-pitying, and treating their children as burdens, there would be something to hold respect for.


    How right you are, ma’am. Parents should be acting like parents; not their children’s best friend!

  7. Mat B, here’s another makcik whose ‘songel’ matches Kak Teh’s….

    Thankfully, my children were an obliging lot when young. They understood their mother was a single parent and fulltime professional who just didn’t have enough hours in a day. I am glad I didn’t have to physically discipline them often.. kena leter selalu lah..

    Puteri Kamaliah

    Glad to know your children were (and I hope still are) well-behaved.

    However, when I was a kid, I’d attest that I’d rather be caned than nagged – hmm, I still do, come to think of it 🙂

  8. In our household, it is either my way or no way.
    Though I may be modern in my outlook and certain aspects of parenting, but I am very conservative and traditional where raising my kids are concerned.

    Re the pics of the boys – you know what Kak Teh (tumpang lalu) I have actually seen parents BUYING those outfits for their kids ! And yes, I blame the parents, not the kids.

    And Uncle Lee ~ I agree I do feel like sepak some of the kids nowadays talking back to their parents! Nasib baik anak orang…:-)

    Mak Andeh

    I am glad you are one of those who are able to keep these kid in order. Good for you! BTW, are you from Negeri Sembilan? 🙂

    In any case, glad you could visit and I hope you enjoyed your stay.

  9. Hello MB,
    First-time dropping comment.

    As a fledgling mother, I do worry if I’m spoiling my 3-year old kid. In case of doubt, I look up to my mom and other role models for guidance.

    God willing, with some discipline and emphasis on good manners, she’ll turn out fine.


    I have no doubt that she will, ma’am.

    Nice to have you drop by. I feel honoured.

  10. excuse me uncles2 and aunties2 yang hate sluar londeh. that is my style all the time but i’ll always be like yes sir and do things when i’m told by the only two bosses in my life. so don’t hate on the sluar londeh and baggy hehe.


    In your case – where you are already working and earning your own money – you’ve earned the right to wear anything you like, bro!

    I must say that your attitude to your ‘2 bosses’ is admirable! (Er… did I injure your reputation by saying that?)

  11. The vicious cycle of life. Or it’s payback time. At least it is still here on earth and not at akhirat.

    Could it perhaps be a case of spare the rod, spoil the kid?

    I know this turning out to be a foreign concept with every other new parents having a copy of Dr Benjamin Spock. Something my parents never heard off till one sister had a copy.

    I know when I was growing up, it was the rod that I respect. What do you aspect in a family of 7 boys? Only the rod keeps the herd together.

    Hahaha …It sounds cruel. But all 8 of us have at least an undergraduate degree, 4 with masters. Decent careers and one blogger 🙂

    A Voice

    Payback time it may be, bro!

    But considering your family’s track-record, there is a strong case for me bringing back the cane in mine. Good people – the whole lot of you! I personally know at least three of you, bro!

  12. “..And when they expect to have their way all the time – as if it was their birthright ..”


    I see a lot of this happening and yes it always goes back to the parents. the kids wont know any better unless they’re taught the basics.. that parents are there for a reason – to dish out what i call the 3Ms: mendidik, mengajar & membimbing 🙂

    And in the process we can be as supportive and as understanding as we want but we can never really be their ‘best-friends’ as BFFs (best friends forever) are supposed to be.. bcos if we were, then we’d forsake our primary responsibilty in educating & guiding them.

    My 2 sen.


    How true, ma’am. Being supportive and understanding is one thing. But a parent shouldn’t just be blowing sunshine up the child’s ass 24×7! The child also has to learn that disappointment and not getting their way will be a way of life when he is an adult. If a parent simply cannot bring himself to say “No” to the child, then, he has failed the child – even though he means well.

    Modern life, unfortunately, has obscured this fact.

  13. Yes he will.
    Trust me. After all these years teaching, this boy only needs to give the mother THE LOOK. And then she will give in. And then when things go wrong, she will ask the teacher, oh why.. why.. why..!

    Dah masak sungguh with this scenario


    We’ve seen this scenario played out all too often, eh? Most of the time, we more or less know how it’ll turn out, right?

    Gimme five!

  14. In my house, I control the TV remote control. A friend commented, “La, dengan anak pun nak berebut TV”. But then, the way I see it, kalau di rumah dia sendiri dia tak boleh decide nak watch apa sebab anak-anak dia yang decide, macam mana dia nak overule decision anak-anak dia yang lain yang mungkin unhealthy for them?

    Semalam, depan mata I, at 8.30 am – I repeat, 8.30 in the morning – seorang anak 7 tahun batuk terkohong-kohong – I repeat, batuk terkohong-kohong. And both parents allowed him to have “air laici berais” for breakfast. Apa nak jadi mak bapak sekarang ni…???

    And ramai orang kata I seorang ibu yang garang…I would rather be “seorang ibu yang garang” than jadi seorang ibu yang tak buat apa yang sepatutnya seorang ibu buat – mendidik…

    Tapikan, I still believe kawan you tu patut cakap kat family dia yang dia dah kena buang kerja. Memang, dia masih bertanggungjawab pada keluarganya walaupun dia tak ada kerja…Tapi, fungsi keluarga itu kan untuk susah dan senag bersama? Kalau I jadi isteri dia, I sedih sebab dia tak kongsikan susah payah dia…


    Kadang-kadang susah nak cakap. Bila kita pegang ‘remote’ orang kata kita buli anak. Tapi bila kita biar anak control benda Allah tu, kita biarkan anak naik lemak & panjat kepala. Bila tak tengok TV lansung, kita ni bodoh sebab kemudahan ada tapi tak mau guna. A lot like the story of the old man, the young boy and the donkey – recall that one?

    I think a lot of people feel that by not giving in to the wants of the child, they fail as parents. Reasoning? Kan parents exist to make their children happy? The trouble is, parents nowadays are more willing to give the child what he wants rather than what he needs. Reason? Delivering on want is easier than delivering on need.

    But I can’t agree with you about my friend Azman. Keeping it secret was a good move. Kalau bini dia tau, agaknya problem dia akan lebih besar lagi; nak kena deal dgn the economic situation, nak kena layan bini punya bebelan yang diakibatkan oleh insecurity, etc.

  15. Mat Boe

    I’ve had friends scolding me for `overcompensating’ and `bribing’ my children in the past. At first I was upset with them, but Alhamdulillah it didn’t take long for me to realise that they were right and now my children are much better behaved…because I learned to put my foot down.

    For a short while then, I forgot the fact that my mum and dad did not love me any lesser just because they had to cane me. That we have to be mean to our children for their own sake is always going to be a warped logic to them but it makes too much sense to do without.

    Take care, Boe.

    tok milla

    Good on you, my friend. Truer words have not been said. How fortunate you have been for having escaped the ‘cover-compensation’ and ‘bribery’ trap. Unfortunately, far more are still trapped. And what is worse, they don’t even realise it – or even want to accept it.

    Let us guide our action on what is right – not on what our children think is right.

  16. I don’t know the right way to parenting but this is what happened one day at OU. I let you be the judge of it:

    Boy: Mommy, Man nak toy!

    Me: No.

    Boy: Why Mommy why? (The whining started here)

    Me: Because you already have too many toys.

    Boy started screaming. I walked off. Boy eventually followed me out of the shop.

    Boy: Mommy, why can’t I have the toy mommy?

    Me: Because I say so.

    Boy: Why mommy why?

    Me: Because I am the BOSS around here, kiddo.

    He relented at last. I could pass as Cruela De Vil, don’t you think? Sigh


    I think you did the right thing. The toughest part of being a parent is that we have to say “No” more times than we’d care to. But, hey – we are the child’s parents: Not their best friend.

  17. I am an instant parent to 4 kids (23 – 10 y.o).

    Hubby behaves more like besties than father. Anything and everything will seek kids’ preference/approvals.

    So what am i there for then?

    He said because i am not a mother yet, so i wont know how it feels to be one. And i wont also know how one loves his/her children and will do anything for them.

    But heck, i know when one spoils and when one disciplines.

    It only makes me rebel inside.



    I know exactly what you mean. But sometimes its best just to lie back and bite our tongue. Thing is, when someone has made up their mind, there’s precious little we can do about it.

  18. By the way, I couldnt agree more with enchum.

    Hubby went overboard (in my book) overcompensating because the children lost their mum. But does that mean orphans can just get away with anything? And get other people to do their chores? Might as well get him a maid than a new wife eh?


    No! Orphans should not be able to get away with murder. In fact, overcompensating for their loss is the worst anyone can do for them – it teaches them that they can be above the law. But then again, your position as a step-parent is a precarious one. I understand completely!

  19. MB,

    Aplogies for making your comment section here as an avenue to vent my frustration. But your post just hit a raw and bleeding nerve. I’m just too frustrated and started to ask if i made the right decision in the first place.


    Don’t second guess your decisions – bad mojo, OK?

    Some things are within our control. But there are also things that are outside our control. In these cases, all you can do is all you can do.

    Take it easy, my friend.

  20. I remember another post you did about how your friend who is a single mom treated her teenage boy. I made that as a reminder of how NOT to raise a child/son. This is another reminder.

    The kid’s starting to call me Boss nowadays.


    He calls you ‘boss’ now? Good for you. You’ll raise him into a fine young man.

  21. Bro Bangkai,

    Let me tell u a REAL story.

    Father mother bought house for daughters. Eldest got a bungalow, younger sis got a small town house (not fair at all).

    House under daughters’ name, but loan under father mother. Eldest daughter flunked uni exams many times and also refuse to work. So the already retired father mother now has to work to service the loan.

    Old father has to work in another city 800 km away while mother works on the night shift.

    …And eldest daughter gets away with all that becoz she thinks she is entitle to it…

    So, who is at fault here?


    Hmmm… the eldest thinks it is her birthright? Come on! Please grow up girl!

    Fault? Let me think… How is it that she has come to think of it as her birthright? Have the parents got anything to do with this stinking’ thinkin’ on the part of the eldest daughter? Have they, either by sin of commission or omission, bought about this belief in the eldest daughter’s mind? Not even a little?

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