I was Parenting the Wrong Way

Background: If you want to raise an emotionally healthy child but find yourself needing some wisdom, you’re not alone. I’m glad to publish a series of HY’s journey of learning how to raise such a child. Hope you discover new parenting methods, points and comfort through her words and experience. Being a bookworm, she would also be sharing her list of parenting books that she’s digging into.

Other than dealing with two children at home, HY has many years of experience working with the youth, and currently a social worker. Loving the heartlands and outdoors, she is always seen bringing her infant and 6 year-old out to explore Singapore.

Every day, I tussle with kor kor until I’m frustrated. Nagged him to bathe. Forced him to eat. And today, I’ve had enough. I told him he could either eat the bread or kueh, but he wanted neither. Since the options I gave him were not appreciated, I told him that it’s fine then, he can go to school with an empty stomach and eat over there. There was no time to coax him to eat too, the school bus was coming soon. In the end, he did go to school without eating lunch.

Is this what natural consequences is all about? I guess so. I don’t want to play tug of war with him anymore. So tired.. If I still need to resort to yelling/ spanking/ threatening to get him to do stuff when he becomes a teenager, I can imagine what kind of relationship we are going to have–one that hates each other. 😆

I’ve been jotting down little successes of my attempts to apply new techniques I learned from books, courses and Facebook groups. Hopefully, I will use these techniques more often to reinforce them and slowly change my parenting style to one that I believe will bring up more secure children. 🙏

Indeed ❤
Source: twitter.com/AneteAbola

I feel like I’ve gained so much insight reading books during my maternity leave, along with self-discovery and increased awareness of my parenting style. Professionally, I’m also more aware of the students at risk I work with and the impact of their family backgrounds on them.

After sitting on my bookshelf for years, I’ve just finished this book: “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids : How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting“. And I must say this is one of the best parenting books I’ve read. Simply because it combines many aspects of parenting — the brain science, attachment theory, coaching, communication skills and respectful parenting. All the key concepts are in this book. So if you only have the time to read one book, this is it. Read and decide which aspect of parenting you like to work on. Thereafter, go on to find resources or read up on books that delve deeper on that particular topic.

When I started reading parenting books, I had no concrete plan of what to do next but reflected a lot on my own parenting style. Well, at least there’s this awareness to begin with. Subsequently, it’s about putting what I have learnt into practice and consistently implementing the new methods that I think are best for my children and me.

It’s difficult to change parenting style from autocratic to democratic. This change is hard for the children too, because they are so used to their parents giving decrees that they don’t know how to function without external control exerted on them. So I guess it’s going to take a long while for us to adjust and for the change to effect and work. #patience.

But still glad things have improved over the two months since I intentionally changed my parenting style. Previously, kor kor’s teacher commented that he was very scared of making mistakes and I was super concerned. That was why we changed our parenting style/ approach/ strategy.

Fast forward two months, and the same teacher said that he now participates actively in class — raises hand to answer questions and clarify doubts to learn more. Other than that, he is helpful to peers, which I believe all along, and very endearing towards the teacher.

Anyway, the teacher believes if kor kor continues to be like this, he will not have issues in primary school both socially and academically. Let me heave a huge sigh of relief, although I met the teacher with the mentality that it’s perfectly okay even if there were issues to work on. End up everything was great! Except his handwriting sucks and he isn’t confident conversing in mandarin. 😅

Shall continue to apply and reinforce whatever principles I’ve learnt. It’s true our brain is so amazing that it’s capable of creating new neural pathways. For example, when we kick a bad habit of yelling and form a new one of speaking in love. 

I just want a secure child at the end of the day, one who is capable of exploring the world, and yet is assured that if anything happens, we the parents are here for him. That is the gist of what secure attachment is all about actually ❤. The other key principle which I’m trying to apply is “whenever possible (basically almost everything) follow the child’s lead, when necessary (i.e. danger) take charge“.

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Article drafted by HY and edited by Christina Siew.

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