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As we get older, one of the things we develop is the ability to be discerning of where our family upbringing has brought us. We begin to see merits and flaws of our own parents’ disciplinary actions during our earlier years. Over the past few days I was beginning to notice a trend with how my mother is so protective of my 3-year-old niece and realized she had reared us in the same way she is treating her first granddaughter.

I know most people say that a grandmother’s love and care for her grandchildren can even surpass that of the grandchildren’s own parents’. I could see that clearly. But what I noticed is the way my mother seems to put too much restrictions on my niece that I feel she fears exploring on her own. Little kids are supposed to feel less restrictions. If they run too fast, fall down and get bruised, you can’t really tell them to stop running their whole lives, can you? It’s normal to get worried about these things but bruising is part of the learning and exploring.

I remember some things which I was restricted from doing during my childhood. Mental poisoning #1: Papa didn’t like seeing me trying to learn to ride a bicycle because he said I would get bruises and it would be painful and that riding bikes wasn’t a girl’s normal activity. Mental poisoning #2: Don’t run and play with the kids, you’re gonna get run over. Honestly that made me aloof because I was only reduced to being a spectator during the games, which also explains why I wasn’t too physically sporty. Mental poisoning #3: Don’t climb the tree, you’re gonna fall. Wow. No wonder I grew up so neurotic.

Lately I’ve been asserting myself when it comes to my mom’s dont’s on my niece. I tell her, “Stop suggesting fear into her head!” or “Actions speak louder with kids so raising your voice to scold her for not doing what she was told is a waste of breath.”