Sticks & stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you – unless they come from your parents


I wrote this some time back, but thought it was more appropriate as an article for Valentine’s Day since it’s about love. Parental love, that is. 😊

I tried to explain myself to my parents when they asked. I wish I hadn’t. Because right after that, I had to go lie in my bed and bawl under my pillow so they wouldn’t know.

I’m so completely out of depths here, and I’m working really hard to learn everything I need to. I’m more than willing to work for my knowledge. I listen to podcasts and lectures while reading articles and journals – probably not the best idea, but it gets me in the know twice as fast. I am trying (chose) to live as a fish out of water. I hope to stretch myself and somehow become amphibious someday. Able to breathe in water and on land. Through different systems but adapted to do the same life supporting, life enabling function. Or maybe if I somehow manage, bring water to land. There’s no doubt that right now, I’m still a fish. A tiny little white bait, not of much value, not equipped with sophisticated defensive mechanisms, except my own will to live, some pride, and perhaps my small nature so I get to hide among gentle giants temporarily. I put my war paint on every day, and aim to get better at everything. I try to live by what I believe in and try not to be convinced by people who think otherwise.

But this, this cuts deep.

“Why don’t you do something else? Get a government job or admin is very easy, just type data into the system only. Look at the Saturday papers, there are a lot of jobs. You’re almost thirty.”

Here’s the thing about loving your child, from a child:

Parents, even if you mean well, please just don’t do this. Hold your words in. I know it’s hard when every cell in your body disagrees. Yes, it will make you feel helpless. It will make you question yourselves. It will go against your parental instincts to protect your child. But, you don’t know how much your words can sink your child if used carelessly.

Have confidence that you’ve raised a child who can live their struggles and fight their own battles. You’ve raised them to face the world. They can do it, and you have to believe that. Telling them to choose the ‘safer’ route weakens their self-confidence and self-efficacy that you’ve worked so hard to build since they were little. Fall down? Get up, brush it off. That’s what you taught, no?

Just be there when they decide for themselves that they’re done. Let them run to you and cry. Be proud they had the courage to try. Be their infallible pillar. Have unlimited faith in them. Don’t tell them I told you so, even if you were right all along. Your pride in being right won’t be worth an ounce once you realise that your words broke your child.

I’m not whining or complaining about my situation or my parents. I know what they mean, I know they mean well. I’ll get over it (it’s an Asian parent thing, and I’m a well-trained Asian kid). After this, I’m still going back to my podcasts, articles and lectures. I like them. But I thought it might be useful for all parents and would-be parents to know the point of view of a child – who will always be your child no matter how old they grow or what they say. Because just as you are thinking and worrying about them, they are thinking and worrying about how not to disappoint you, and how to make you proud.

P.S: Happy Early Valentine’s Day! I know I have the support of a ton of people around me. Thank you so much, it keeps me going, and I’m forever grateful. I feel your love 😍 Still do, and you don’t have to tell me twice.


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