Bring the noise

We have suddenly discovered that strong willed and vocal girls make excellent rebels as well. I see my younger rebellious self in my daughter today, only twice as bad, short tempered and without any cause whatsoever. - JAGDESH SINGH

By Jagdesh Singh | OPINION | MALAYSIA

You’d probably hate me and my family as a neighbour. We are huge contributors towards noise pollution in our neighbourhood. No, we don’t blast out loud Bollywood or Bhangra music at the wee hours in the morning. We are worse. We speak in raised voices and we shout a lot. It’s embarrassing, I admit.

When we got our first baby girl, we both promised ourselves that we would be bringing up a lioness. A strong willed fighter, confident of herself, a vocal dreamer, just like her mother. This promise of ours was most probably a reaction towards pitiful wishes I used to get from older family members for not getting a boy, especially from the old school aunts.

When the other two girls joined us, we couldn’t turn our backs and change family policy mid-way. The other two younger ones wouldn’t be experiments like how their elder sister was. We liked what we saw with the eldest when she was 3, a decisive and brave girl. So, there wasn’t any need to tweak our methods. We had no idea how miscalculated we were. No idea at all.

By the time the eldest was 6 years old, with a brand new baby just arriving as number three, the noise levels in the house doubled. The elders were constantly shouting and screaming at each other, with a wailing baby in the background. It was a slippery slope after that. Blissful peace and quietness was more a mere memory my wife and I.

Now teenagers, the arguments between our eldest and her younger sister can be quite scary. Both are physically strong, robust from regularly playing football with boys their age. They don’t fight cheekily. It can get brutal. And as a short tempered man myself, I lose the plot when their fights are leading to someone getting injured or when it looks like it’s going to happen. I raise my voice, always regretting it a while after, feeling rather emotionally wasted and ashamed every single time.

It’s the unspoken law. Children will mimic their parents, especially the bad habits and character. And so the vicious cycle continues. They fight loudly. I lose temper and scold loudly. They lose temper and scold loudly amongst themselves again. It repeats.

SEE ALSO: The next one will be a boy!

Mind you, we are also very affectionate to each other. There are hugs and kisses on a daily basis. There is laughter at the dining table every night. There are vacations where we spend time together, where we lavish on a little luxury of the local hotels and food together as a family unit every chance we get. There’s apparent romantic affection between me and my wife, where the direct opposite has never ever been reflected upon our 3 princesses. So, we’re not exactly a dysfunctional unit, you know.

I think we both can live with the noise. After all, we wanted independent vocal matured women to be grown from these young girls. Perhaps the noise is major flaw in the process for them to grow up figuring how to express themselves freely and confidently. Roaring lionesses instead of the quiet and hunted gazelles.

But noise isn’t what I’m worried of right now. We have suddenly discovered that strong willed and vocal girls make excellent rebels as well. I see my younger rebellious self in my daughter today, only twice as bad, short tempered and without any cause whatsoever. We love that she questions the status quo. What I’m not too excited about is that the status quo at home mostly revolves around home policies set by my wife and I. I’m growing weary of saying ‘No’ nicely and having to repeat myself after being challenged in quick successions. This would definitively lead to my short fused temper rearing it’s ugly head again and again, with no intentions of chilling out with my corresponding age.

The struggle is real.

The other daughter is looking from a far, observing and learning. Soon, she too would not be able to refrain from her process of discovering her voice to speak up. She too would be a rebel against her parents, seeking solitude from her already battle worn sister.

I pray, for my sanity and emotional health, that these girls would mature very soon, realising the reaction they would get when being confrontational with others especially with the ones they care about and love more can be painful. But at the same time also understanding that losing their voice to speak out, losing their confidence would also be detrimental to their future. For it is the legacy of their foremothers for them to uphold, when they are called out loud as Kaurs.


Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother

* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.


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