Raising a child: tradition vs post-modernism

First of all, I’m no expert on parenting. I’m just on my 12th day of being one. Right away though, the arrival of Julia brought a new breath of joy and warm feelings in our household. My aunt and mother, both are now grandmothers, can’t help but be elated whenever they see, touch and carry my new born daughter.

From their experience of raising me and my siblings, they are the authorities on child-rearing in our house. That’s why most of the time, I listen to them whenever I’m taking care of Julia. Be it from changing diapers in a fast, efficient and less stressful way for my daughter to mastering the different ways of carrying her around without risk of breaking her neck or mangling her spine.

However, there are simply some practices and beliefs of theirs that I cannot agree with and thus practice on my daughter. Like what I’ve said before, I may not be an expert on raising a child but I do know a thing or two about the subject.

My disagreement comes from the following:

  • My first major is Human Biology which includes health care courses which then gives me a working foundation on know how the human body works and caring for humans, infants included.
  • My Humanities training which gave me a logical-positivist thinking cannot simply accept the superstitions and traditional practices they give to me as advice in raising my new born daughter.

One such old practice that I encounter almost everyday is the traditional remedy for hiccups. They keep on telling me to take a piece of thread, wet it with my saliva then stick it on my daughter’s forehead.

Right off the bat, I ask myself in silence, how is that going to get rid of my daughter’s hiccups? Second, isn’t it ironic that after everyone who wants to touch my daughter would diligently put rubbing alcohol on their hands and arms then here I come with a piece of thread soaking in my own saliva and place it on her forehead?

No, thank you. My wife and I would say no objections and won’t follow their advice. We would just use our own remedy, giving our daughter a drink of distilled water. After a while the hiccups are gone and our Julia had just been hydrated.

Now, I would just like to clear out that I do not blame nor do I look down upon such old beliefs and superstitions. It is part of our culture and my aunt and mother ‘teaching’ it to me is simply one generation handing down its knowledge and wisdom to another. After all, they have been in use for so long it’s hard to dispel them completely.

However, it is my daughter after all and until she can decide on her own, my wife and I would have the final say on how to take care of her. Besides, it’s a lot more hygienic and beneficial to give her water instead of putting my or someone else’s saliva on her forehead!

2 Replies to “Raising a child: tradition vs post-modernism”

  1. I think the explanation behind the sticking a small object on the child's forehead is so the child will be distracted by that thing that's on his/her forehead and not focus on his/her hiccups. They say that when the child's mind is taken away from the hiccups, the hiccups will go away faster. But just the same, I think your baby is too young for that. Lol.

    PS: I don't know if this is true or not. This is just what I was told by grownups when I was a kid. 😛

    1. I've never heard this explanation before. Which makes me wonder, is the child aware that he/she has hiccups to begin with? Can you become distracted from something you're not aware of? Sorry, I may be over-analyzing things again. 😛

      Because my baby would just remain asleep despite her hiccups.

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