Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Parenting with Love - "No" is not a dirty word

Hubs and I have vastly different parenting style and the most interesting discussions would stem from our different perspectives in bringing up Dumpling. Some time ago, hubs asked for a kiss from the kiddo and the kiddo was busy and said "no" and he saw red. Now, I have heard from many of my mummy friends that this is a common scene where the man would see green and sometimes red when the little ones are closer to the mum at times. LOL (Mums, please raise your hands if you have been there!)

To me, it is not a big thing and I tried to reason out with the man and he did not seem appeased. So, when all else fail, I left him to the 'hubs-sitter' otherwise known as 'Cable TV'. :) Now, let's park this aside for just a while as I want to share something else.

I met up with some friends over the December holidays for a playdate. As usual I took the time to 'nuah' (singlish for chill) and do what I like best - people watch, drink coffee and observe. The kids were playing in a corner on their own and one of the mums turned to ask the kiddo if she wanted to head back to the exhibition (where we came out from). The kid first said yes but when she realised that her other friends were not keen to head back in there, she changed her mind. What ensued was interesting for me.

The mum looked to be a tad annoyed and started telling the kiddo that it is OK not to follow the crowd. And what followed on was a good few minutes of asking the kiddo why she changed her mind (kiddo was silent), and how she needs to stand up for herself (more silence, just a few nods) and that she should learn to lead rather than being a follower all the time, and back to why she changed her mind (total silence again) and how is it that she does not lead, etc.

While I applaud the mum for her effort in encouraging her kiddo to be more confident, I can't help but also ponder over something else. This mum is one of the most focused mums that I know, having mapped out her kiddo's academic / educational path till possibly secondary school. She started sending the child to some classes since 3 twice to thrice a week, to prep the child to join a school team in primary school (kiddo just turned 6) and is sending her child to another class to prep for Direct Admission into an elite secondary school to get further credits. And this entry is not via music or art, instead something that requires serious brainiac effort.

While some children are more vocal and would lead better, I believe that the environment plays a big part too. With all the shepherding and the molding since Day 1 where the kiddo's life / direction has been planned for the next 10 - 11 years, how would one expect the child to step out of the shadow, to lead and not to follow? Wouldn't parenting style affect this trait too? Is it a bad thing if we do not (whether consciously or subconsciously) allow for the child to deviate from our well-intended plans, to allow them to speak up and say "No" once in a while?

Back to Dumpling versus Dad. What I shared with the man was that saying "No" is not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps I sound perverse and I may regret this during her teenage years but for the moment, I am glad that the kiddo is able to stand up for herself and for her beliefs. While I do not appreciate the sassy attitude that comes with her exerting her independence at times, I truly want my child to dare to stand up, stand out and say No at times. This is especially when peer pressure is so strong these days. So, how can we encourage that? For me, it is pretty much allowing her to pursue her interests, to discuss (as in having real discussions where I listen to her point of views, do not force my opinions on her) and not to force her to take on anything that she does not enjoy.

Because I truly hope that by respecting her that way, she learns to respect herself and others too, and remain steadfast in this society where temptations are aplenty.

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  1. DinoBoy will say No and then follow by a reason =) And sometimes I respect his decision because this is the way we brought him up, to be able to express his thoughts and feelings follow by being respected for voicing out.

    1. And that's why we get along so well Jen! :p

  2. I'm with you in this but hubby will question why we are even giving her so much choices in the first place. I do agree that kids sometimes need guidance to make decisions but giving them the autonomy to makes choices and Thibk for themselves is just as important. Now that Sophie is older, I will ask her questions on her choices and also explain why her choices like staying up late on weekdays is not a good idea.

    1. I think I understand what Alex means and I think it depends on the direction we wish to nurture our children. My thoughts are that if we wish for a child to be more creative, then surely there needs to be room for the child to experiment, to practise, to build to imagine. Hence to me if I wish for my kiddo to speak up, then I would not expect her to be a "yes" girl. LOL. It seems like Sophie is an independent little girl too! :)

  3. I feel that it depends on situation and also the maturity of the child. I too do let my children say no and exercise their option and if they can give a valid reason it is accepted. Thanks for liking up this week.

    1. Hi Dominique, yes, I agree fully too though if my memory serves me right, I think my kid started saying "no" before "yes"! LOL


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