Thursday, April 26

Let's Talk: Punishing Positively

When it comes to punishment, I won't say I'm a pro. I'm still learning how to punish positively without pain but sending a firm message. It's common to see kids misbehave. They pull all sorts of stunts just to get that attention from us parents. Sometimes, they look so adorable trying to get our attention, sometimes, u just wanna hang them upside down in the living room.. (trust me..) 

Sophia is a contradicting little girl. When my husband and I are at home, she whines about how she wants my mother and starts to bawl her eyes out. When my mother is at home, she whines to my mother how she wants "mommy and daddy". When all of us are at home, she will play on her own and ignore us. She will tend to (most of the time) misbehave during mealtimes when my mother is at home. You see, my daughter is a picky eater. She only eats soup base food, not a fan of meat, don't eat eggs or tofu.. sometimes she will ask for egg fried rice, only eats broccoli and spinach, cheese, almonds, fruits and anything fancies her eyes. She doesn't eat outside food. She would rather go hungry than eat outside food. I've seen some parents (sadly) would reprimand their little ones in public if they refuse to eat. Worst, some would smack! SERIOUSLY?The little one may have their reasons why they don't feel like eating outside, so let it go. 

I get worried too, when my girl simply refuses to eat. So I always bring along her favourite snacks and her milk so that if she really says NO to outside food, she will not go hungry. A few reasons why sometimes kids just simply doesn't wanna eat when they are out.

1. Feeling tired
2. It doesn't look appealing to them
3. They recognize that it's not "their" food
and other many reasons which they won't say because they can't! 

Ok, I know some of you will say "But they like Macdonalds! That's junk food!" HEY HEY HEY! How would they know what's Macdonalds if you have never brought them there before? I introduced Macs to Sophia after she turned 1, and the only 2 items she will eat at Macs would be Cup Corn and French Fries. I buy the smallest packet, making sure it has no salt. If adults like to indulge in unhealthy food, kids like it too! However, she will never touch the burger, nuggets or whatever can be found there (for now only). U can try convincing her for an hour how yummy the nuggets are, she will just say "no" in her firmest tone. I don't force Sophia when it comes to eating. Whatever she is comfortable, I'll let her eat, except for the chocs and sweets.. those are only treats when she deserves it and only a teeny bit cos I don't want her to be addicted to sweet stuff, so moms and dads, don't offer sweet treats to ur kids for ur convenience. Pack snacks in your bag for them when you guys go out. Bring their favourite juice and lug their milk for them if you know your kid is a problem eater like mine.

Second thing I see parents "disciplining" their kid in public which is totally an eyesore is stopping your child in the middle of a walkway and just giving them an earful with the loudest voice you have. I always go by a theory whether it's disciplining my students or my daughter: Don't do it to others if you don't like others to do it on you. That theory is definitely familiar to you, rite? I often hear parents saying, "oh, u don't know my child.. if I don't teach them a lesson, they will never learn!" They are learning from you. You are their teacher. You are their mirror image. What you say and do, they will follow. It doesn't mean you must scold for them to learn. Whatever happened to positive conversation? Would you like it if your own boss scolds you infront of your colleagues? 

Just 2 days ago, a parent told her child (my student) infront of me, "you will 'eat' the cane when you get home later..cos you're wasting my time." She turned and looked at me and asked if I needed a cane in the classroom. I replied her, "whatever for? i don't believe in the cane!" She gave me a look, as if to tell me, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" Like seriously, why would I need a cane in my classroom? First and foremost, it's not allowed by law and if I use it, I will lose my job. Secondly, what can the cane do? Spin out a well-behaved child after that? It's utterly useless! Whoever invented that needs to be shot to death!

I remembered my mother, caning me only 2x when I was young. The 2 occasions were about lying. (YES, I LIED BEFORE TO MY MOTHER) and oh please, every kid will lie ok? All I lied about was taking the public transport instead of the school bus and lying to her about having supplementary class when really I was in the mall. I was in primary school and when I went to secondary school, no more caning. We communicated more.. with Post'Its and verbal convos. She caned me cos she wanted to put the message across to me that lying was wrong. If I had told her the truth, she would have accompanied me to take the public transport. For the second lie, if I had told her I wanted to go to the mall for a walk with my friends, she would have picked me up from the mall at a certain time. I didn't have to lie! Knowing my mom, I should have known better. That punishment was a wake up call to me. She apologized for caning me after a while and told me the reason for caning. I understood and apologized as well. 

Before punishing your kid, no matter how young they are, you have to bear in mind that they have feelings too. It's just they are unable to express it verbally or emotionally. They are too young to do it. Dealing with children below the age of 12 is crucial cos if you handle them the wrong way, the rebel period starts at 13. They will start to keep things to themselves, curse you under their breath and their emotions will be all over the place. 

1. Always keep an open mind. Talk to your kids like friends (not too over friendly of cos!)

2. Share with them some thoughts, like what you would do in certain scenarios. Ask them what they would do. If they don't feel like saying, it's ok, better luck next time.

3. Enjoy what they like. They will be thrilled if they know their mom or dad likes something similar, at least a common topic.

4. Always assure them that they have a listening ear and they can talk to you about anything.

5. Hugs and kisses. 

6. Look into their eyes when they talk, show them you're interested. (Make sure u jolly well listen!)

7. Include them in in your activities like cleaning up the house or even cooking. 

8. When they are in the wrong, explain nicely yet firm why they were in the wrong and ask for their opinion.

9. Don't force them to do things they do not want. Forcing will lead to unhappiness. Things will just never be right if u use force.

10. Don't compare them with anyone, even their sibling. Every child is uniquely different. Your child has their own strengths and weaknesses.

The above 10 points can be added on (if you have interesting ones, let me know!) and it applies to little ones to even pre-teens up to teenagers. Parents, don't feel like disciplining is a chore. It's a learning process for all, both you and your kid. They learn from you, you learn from them. We are humans. We make mistakes, even if we are parents. Don't put urself up in the pedestal and constantly remind them that you are their mom/dad and you are always right. NO, you're not always right, remember that. BE HUMBLE in teaching your kids. Your kid will be facing you for the rest of their life. You definitely wanna hear your child saying they have the best mom or dad in the world. I often hear my friends and even students "My parents are crazy. All they do is scold." It's very sad to know that your child doesn't like you. Don't make them hate you. 

Punishing positively is not difficult. Parents just doesn't wanna put themselves in their kids' shoes to understand the situation. They are just kids. Even if they are 14, they still have a long way to go to learn a lot of things from us. Even at 24, they will still be learning.  Talk, listen and give advice. Your yellings, smackings and authoritative ways will push them away. We don't scar them emotionally or physically. There is no kid in the world who doesn't misbehave. You were once a kid and u have definitely misbehaved before. If your parents used orthodox ways of punishing you, don't let history repeat itself. Use the soft yet firm approach, to build a better relationship. If you have problems with your spouse, don't fight or show faces infront of your kids. They are too young to handle adults' issues and they will have the impression that they are the ones who caused your problems. I'm sure with constant reminder to ourselves, we are able to foster better relationships with our growing kids. Enjoy every moment with your child. 

With that entry, enjoy your weekends! 

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