Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 5th 2014 Contents They say that children are always viewed as children in the
eyes of their parents, no matter how old they are. The job
of a parent is a lifetime one.
Barbara Shyama Lee Chong, the mother of three boys --
Brandon, Arthur and Joshua -- ages 22, 19 and 18 respec-
tively, admitted that it is sometimes difficult to parent
adults. "It is quite a challenge, because you have to keep
reminding yourself that they are now adults and inde-
pendent thinkers, but you also have to feel assured that
you know you did what was necessary while they were
Her relationship with her children now that they are adults
is "pretty much the same in terms of love ... but affection,
especially public displays, have to be limited ... you don't
want embarrassment, but when they project their affec-
tion, I happily accept. It is also heart-warming when you
can turn to your own sons for advice, discussions and gen-
erally all-round good conversation."
How does she "discipline" her children now that they are
adults? "They pretty much know our rules and know what
is accepted and what is not. If, however, there is a situation
that needs to be addressed, it is dealt with immediately
with discussion. If they feel they have done something
that might disappoint us, it really hurts them, so we talk
about it and hope for no repeats. But mistakes do happen;
it happened with us, and it will happen with them."
Ria Rambharose, a single mother of one, thinks that the
time for disciplining has passed by the time children
become adults. "It is far easier and more beneficial to disci-
pline a child at a young age rather than trying to straight-
en the tree when it is already bent. I believe I have sown
the right seeds, therefore the time to reap the fruit is now."
In terms of talking through problems, she says, "I don't
have issues with my daughter -- we talk about it and dis-
cuss the pros and cons of every situation in a mature and
dignified manner. Parents remain a guiding light in their
children's lives regardless of age."
Gerard Mike and his wife Gwenette, have two children --
Gizelle and Christopher. "Being a parent of two adults is a
beautiful thing, and I consider it a gift from God. You must
love your children and give them the very best example of
parenting. We try to demonstrate this with lots of hug-
ging, kissing, comforting, and most of all, praying for them.
We communicated to them also that there is a God who
made them, and they have to understand that they have a
purpose in being alive. We demonstrated this to them by
our lifestyle of love, caring, sharing and praying, which
resulted in all our accomplishments."
What about the challenges in raising children? "They were
only a little stubborn at times. We have the best and most
loving relationship with them in their adult life, and I think
we have raised them in the way God expected us to raise
them. My wife and I were both involved in raising them."
So if an adult child is doing something wrong -- messing up
his/her marriage, career or life in general -- do you speak
up? One parent, Sally Soogrim, insisted, "Of course I speak
up. This may sound weird, but parents have foresight. I
sometimes see what will happen later on, so I tell my child.
If you do not, it is like 'sparing the rod and spoiling the
child'... in this case your words are the rod."
There are some parents who, no matter what their chil-
dren do, never see it as wrong. What are Soogrim's views
on this? "When you are wrong, you are wrong! There are
no two ways about that, and you must acknowledge this
as a parent."
Does she think it should be viewed as "meddling"?
"Definitely not!" scoffed Soogrim. "I am an old woman, and
I have lived through many things. If I see something hap-
pening in my child's marriage and I know it is wrong, I voice
my opinion. Sometimes, all children need is some guidance
and words of advice from those who have lived through a
Does this mean that Soogrim will do anything to help her
child with her life, even if it means getting a loan for her?
"Yes. I would. Every generation must progress, and I did not
go through all my struggles for my child to go through the
same thing. Even if it means selling my car to assist my
child with her family, I would do it."
A 60-year-old mother of two stated that her approach is a
bit different. "While my children confide in me, I actually
wait for them to come to me with their problems." She
pointed out that her approach to her adult children is not a
harsh one and she reminded, "Now is a time that we learn
from our children, because this is a different time. We have
to listen as parents and give our opinion and be diplomatic
-- not talk down to them or insist that they listen to us."
She added, "There are no stipulated rules on parenting --
remember what worked for one child may not work for the
other. You cannot be harsh and negative to your children.
Even when they are adults, you must choose your words
carefully. Sometimes it is not what you do, but how you do
it." She then advised that parents talk to other parents
because "parenting is no easy task, and conversing with
others helps you to get ideas."
By Bavina Sookdeo
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