My girl will be four in June, and my boy two and a half by April. Parenting has been about Self-Learning and involves (1) instilling first time fear with my loud scolding voice with a cane in my hand, and subsequent reminders of my “roaring” when they do not follow our instructions.
(2) Time Outs with me sitting with the child, requesting gently for him or her to tell me his or her version of what happened, and promising me not to repeat the negative behavior again.
(3) Tension in the house, as I subconsciously avoided facing the differences between my in-laws’ parenting styles and mine.
(4) Sore throats, tears, frustrations, self-learning.
I have attempted to practice Appreciation Education since the talk I attended on 4 March 2012 (www.ssjyw.com). Today I faced a challenge, and was determined to apply Appreciation Education, in a way trying to put it to the test.
This afternoon, my girl assembled train blocks while my boy was napping. It was kept in the store room when my boy was awake. This was before I reached home from work.
In the evening, my Father-In-Law took out the train blocks, and my Mother-In-Law warned us of an upcoming sibling fight over it. Halfway through my dinner, my girl screamed. I rushed into the room where my Parents-In-Laws and my children were in.
My girl was seated in front of the train with a string tied to it. She held on the the string tight. My boy was standing a feet away holding on to the end of the string, crying. I hugged my boy. “What happened, my boy?”
“No, I don’t want Sis to play with the train!” he said, in a gentle voice mimicking my gentle tone.
“No! No! No!” insisted my girl, grabbing the string tighter.
Mother-In-Law asked Father-In-Law to exit the room with her, and not interfere with my parenting. I appreciate that but I really didn’t mind their presence as Appreciation Education was not fearful at all, and I have nothing to hide.
I hugged my boy as he cried and struggled and screamed “I want !”. I patted his chest and then strokes his back. “It’s alright my dear. Don’t be afraid. The train will not disappear. Even if the train is pulled away by your sister, it will remain the our house.”.
To my surprise, he paused, seemingly in thoughts. I took the opportunity to shift the attention to my girl.
“Your sister is a good girl, just like you are a good boy. She knows she should share with you. But she also wants the train to herself. She needs time to decide. She is a good girl. You are a good boy too.” I said.
He seemed to have calmed down. “I’ll ask your sister to let you play for a while alright? But after a while, please return it to her, and then take turns to play, is that fine with you?” He nodded
Another surprise for me was seeing my girl retreat. As my boy stood up to approach the train, my girl showed body language to allow him to play. I was expecting her to insist her view. I guess my praises of her has given her indication of right behavior.
Yet another surprise was they decided to play together! As they calmed down, and felt more secured and happier, they were happy to play together. My boy took the lead, as they both held the sting and pulled the train along.
As we reached the hall, I praised them in front of Grandparents and we all applauded for the good behavior.
Wonderful !!! Not a moment of raising my voice, no cane needed, no Time Outs needed. I’ll practice more.