As I read the Chinese book on by Zhou Hong (<別怕孩子！＞-周弘）, I got rather emotional.
It reminded me to NOT to be a fair-weather Parent. Applaud for our children's achievements, and share their disappointments when they are sad.
The book used examples of families with children who are in formal school (Primary School and above I guess). I find myself applying on my Pre-school children.
Case #1 today.
We were back from our outing, standing at the door while my helper removed my girl’s shoes for her. My girl sneezed onto my helper’s face, and I raised my voice : “Girl, it is rude to sneeze into other people’s face!”. My husband sort of echoed my words in a milder tone.
My girl turned her head, looked at me, “My hands were holding on to the gate.” I instantly knew our comments (the way we delivered the message) hurt her. She ran into her room, and teared.
I followed her. I stroked her back “I’m sorry dear.” She didn’t turn around to face me. I lifted her and cuddled her. I looked into her eyes with sincerity. “Girl, I’m sorry, I love you. I know you didn’t mean to sneeze into Auntie’s face. You had to keep your stance stable with both hands holding on to the gate, and had to face Auntie.” I kissed her. She returned a kiss and stopped crying. She hugged me.
I have set an example to apologize when we hurt others. But most importantly, I was by her side when she felt hurt. I didn’t “walk out” (ignore) on her and left her lonely when she was upset.
I wasn’t a Fair-weather Parent.
I was an All-weather Parent.
My boy woke up from his nap and wanted to pee. I brought him. He had some pee on his feet, so I put him down and told him I’d wash his feet. He burst out crying and whining. I hugged him, patted his back, and kept asking “Tell me what do you want.”
He kept crying and I asked “Do you want to wash your feet?”. He shook his head. I told him that was perfectly fine and brought him to the floor mat to wipe his feet clean. He was still grouchy. A long while later, he cried non stop. I hugged him tight. He didn’t calm down.
In the past (before I practiced Appreciation Education), I would have insisted he tell he what he wanted, and if not, let him cry by my bed standing until he spoke. I had thought that this will encourage him to speak instead of cry, which worked but may not be helping him build up his confidence. Fear doesn’t help build confidence.
Today, I just wanted to be my boy’s supportive friend. I carried him into the room, put him on the mattress. He kept crying. I patted his back as he lay on the mattress. He stopped crying. I did nothing but laid beside him. I kept patting his back to calm him further.
After a while, he was quiet. I imitated his body posture, expecting a smile from him. He didn’t. A while later, I repeated my action, and I saw a little grin. I was glad he felt happier. Slowly, I did some peekaboo actions and he smiled. I was happy to see him happy. And I didn’t do anything at all!
All I did was to be an All-weather Parent. I wasn’t a Fair-weather Parent.
And I applied Appreciation Education, I did not pressure him to speak up. (I had no expectations of him). Eventually I didn’t know why he was upset but most importantly, he got over his negative emotions.