Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rise and Shine Child,Rise Rise and only Rise!

We have interesting conversations in our coffee meets and at the end of it, I always bring back happy feelings and of course thoughts to ponder.

Why do we send our children to school? I know for sure and you know as well. Being highly educated and a Harvard drop out(Sigh! - long story), I do believe I go into school for knowledge, social interaction, and some fun time in learning. Yes, learning has to be fun.

To make it clear, I am talking about pre-primary, primary, middle and high school. Going to school has always been about studies, more studies and more studies and more competition and more competition. Well, thats how I spent my childhood days. But what did I learn at the end of school. All I rememered was I did memorize and mugged (studying without passion). That's my childhood, but of course as I grew up, studying things further of not my interest, I did do well etc.

But ask me about history, about my physics, about my chemistry, about my math. I would blink. Huh, i dont know,all I know is I remember studying that. Ya, ya, over time, doing a masters, dropping out of it, working, all fell in place, because I made a secondary effort to relearn many things with conceptualization. I was mature. But learning could have been fun! I realized this when I went to Harvard.

Now I feel, after pondering again, on school systems I am more mature, to understand, to give enough time to my child, to teach 1 or 2 or many more than what he does in school. I am not afraid to let my child go against, I am not afraid to teach my child something which is different. 1+2 = 3 always, but there is more that in life. Correct, I think you get my point, addition always gives you more.

Again, there is another phase which gets always passed on to me, too much knowledge is a dangerous thing. Well, I think it at the end of your life, it gives you immense fulfillment to know you experiment, innovative and learn.

Back to bras-trax. Does dictation tests tell you how bright you are. Yes of course, it tell you the knowledge you have. (what rubbish!!!) Child you HAVE to show the knowledge you have. If you know it, answer it. Day 1: 10/10, DAy2: 10/10, Day 3: 8/10, Day 4: 7/10, Day 5: 10/10, Day6: 10/10. Child, you knew the answer " WHY DID YPU NOT WRITE IT" THAT'S NOT DONE". (what rubbish).

You see patterns in scoring change. Let me tell you an analysis. My son is probably crazy about numbers and he loves reading, can read huge words with much ease. But really, that is his skill, he learned the "techniques" from school and home. Fantastic. But he scores 10/10 some days, he scores 7/10 some days, he scores, 9/10 some days and even 6/10 some days. But he knows his stuff? Yes he does, read further.

So those marks really matter to knowledge? Marks matter yes as you grow, helps you analyse yourself and focus on weaker and get to admission and fame and name. All that is fine, but he is a day dreamer. When asked, how come you forgot and missed a word. He tells me " Mummy, i was thinking". By the way, I believe he started to day dream on the depth of the word. The word was "come", which he missed, but he said, he was trying to make sentences on that word and was telling me all those little details of his little dream. So much fun, right?

Now hold on, he was thinking something, he was dreaming of making sentences. Such a beautiful phenomenon, isn't it. I am convinced children are the innovators or tomorrow!

Now, he is a child and all children are, really :). They dream, they think, they conquer their own minds. I stopped then, to not say further. Sid, you shine!. You knew the word, but was dreaming about it :). And we laughed. But I guess he knew about the 7/10. I did not tell him 10/10 is the best. Why? Because he was fine, happy and he was dreaming and conquered something more. I call this giving my children incentive to grow on their own. I was also happy to hear one of the teachers telling a parent, we are not worried about the marks the children get, as long as they are learning.

Yes I do see some change in the Indian education system, but the system has to grow more, parents, teachers, children all have to work together to enhance and nurture the child to innovate, think, motivate themselves, not forced motivation (Which means more stress on all and more on the child, which reduced the absorption capacity). I hope as my children grow older, and get more time I can be one among many to bring positive changes to the education and knowledge base.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Successful Week of Screamfree Parenting

Yes I had a successful week and hope to continue it to the weeks to come. I feel relaxed and happy. I truly do, making an open diary of my thoughts makes me feel proud of myself.

Motherhood does not get any appreciation from any one, not even the DH or friends. DH does care the least, as long the house is running right and all is well. Friends have different views and envys, but such is life.

But today, i had a very dear conversation with my MIL, she was so proud of me with the progress I am making. She said, you are gifted to help analyze yourself and make a change in your life for the better. Many, many live in self denial and dont want to accept the mistakes openly. I was happy and pleased.

I am a very open and frank person who has open thoughts and give my children their space and time and get my time as well. I have a perfect routine, without which I cannot live without, but to some routines are not their best friend. I am sure you are one of them and many are. I have been living with routines since a child, not because my mom told me, but it was me, it was my dad. Yes, my dad, who used to travel all the time, the fond memories I shared with him. He had a routine, he loved it, punctuality and perfection in his field. And I am a copy of him.

So why the anger, well, I have two children of almost the same age, who have an immense competition with each other. The younger was ignored for the longest time and he was traumatized by me for the longest time. Well until I realized my screaming was not helping me and my children.

A week later of practicing self control, I see P getting closer to me, I see him beginning to understand my reasoning. My screaming had become a habit for his childish behavior, caused due to sibling rivalry/love/competition. Many termed it as terrible twos, but I know what they are, I have been through those with my first. This was not terrible twos, it was sibling rivalry/love/competition. Yes I got Sid involved. Started positive reinforcement and reasoning to P 's good behavior. Sid always got that from both his parents, he always required more attention, but P lacked it and was craving for it. It took me thing long to understand the child's mind. So now I address P's bad behavior screaming, I just mention his bad behavior and reason with him. And leave it, I don't question him, I don't say "WHY DID YOU DO IT" to him. Yes no "WHY". Realized they are too young, they are children, I need to make them understand through explanation and reasoning. I am forcing myself self not to repeat my reasoning and torment him and it lessen my anger. And he was happy and so was I.

All these things are simple right. All you guys have been doing it or are doing it. But No me I guess. A fact I am accepting. Basic things every parent does? But I guess i faltered with my younger son. The younger got ignored because the older got more attention. A nice way of talking without screaming was easy with my first child and it still is, not that he is easy, but he has been always spoken to and the younger is always shouted at. Now that was wrong on my part.

Also realizing that P never liked to see Sid with his friends. So its another thing I want to work on hence forth, make a set of friends for P different from Sids. He loves his brother so much, but cant see him with someone else.

Sibling love and rivalry has to be dealt with at its growth and I am feeling proud of myself to have caught it at the nick of time. Helping Sid and P work together and giving P positive reinforcement to undo all the nasty things I have said and done to him. I have seen this sibling rivalry among many cousins of the same sex and age. My DH will agree on this?

As much as I feel I am relieved with the progress I am making with myself to be a Scream-free parent, I do see that many judge me as a over doing parent. Well as one person rightly put it, each child each parent is different. Each parent has a different philosophy or parenting and how to bring up their child. And having more than one child is different.

I thank my friend Jandy for giving me huge inspirations to start writing.
I thank my mom and my mother in law for helping me and giving me good encouragement to change myself and progress through my behavior positively.

And thank my children for putting up with me for so long. Kids I am human, hope you read these when you grow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 2, Day 3...and More Thoughts

I started with a whole lot of guilt, trying hard, not scolding my children. Elaine and Adel started me off a guilt trip. I had to close those parenting books, lie down and think.

Infact, after half an hour of rambling thought, i am feeling happy, rather relieved. I want to be a better parent. I am putting off my guilt of being nagging and Screaming parent, to be more reasonable and involving parent.

Day 2, went off fine with me trying to involve and reason. Day 3, was not too goood, but I tried to end it well. Went back into Elaine's books and tried to reinforce my behavior and attitude towards being a better parent.

So hear are my challenges

1. Labeling my children. I hate it when I do it. This is something I am going to work hard on. Its going to help by children gain better confidence and independence and positive attitude about themselves when I STOP labeling them. I don't want to name the labels, so I feel less guilty. I know they are harmful!

I am beginning to believe that my tone of contempt can hurt deeply. Words like careless, irresponsible, you'll never learn, lazy,do get uttered and I am so hurt to use them and hurt my children. I am definite I am going to find positive ways to deal when circumstances arise, which is like 5 times a day!

I have to engage my children to cooperate. I have to reason and be descriptive of my feelings, instead if saying NO's. I am sure for many of us, sarcasm, lectures, warnings, name calling, and threats were all woven into the language we heard as we were growing up. I don't really want to be doing the same things I probably grew up with. (I don't remember much of my childhood though, i guess some things do get passed on).

In the days to come (i want to set short term goals), I am hoping to feel good about hearing myself talk positively and with reason and involvement. I don't want to hear myself scream. Really, I want to feel good about myself, this is going to be my weeks mission! Hopefully I can make this a habit of passing it on to the coming weeks.

Its not going to be easy! I am going to try to avoid " Whats wrong with you kids, you don't gargle and wash properly, or turn of the light, or flush , or keep your shoes in the rack, or brush your teeth..."

My approach instead " Boys, the light is on in the bathroom!". "Boys, I am tripping off your shoes, its coming on my way"

I a beginning to realise my children need my attention, as in my time. Time Outs, punishments now i feel are just going to lead to hatred, revenge, guilt, unworthiness and self pity. Punishment and timeouts now only seem distractions to me. I am beginning to realize they don't work. Don't work at all. Its so short term that they tend to forget the reason for the Time Out and are happy playing in the corner. When asked why Time out " You shouted at me, that's why". Now that means it does not work! As all they remember is me shouting at them.

Now with Elaine and Adel's help. I want to list out the ways I can avoid punishment.

1. For sure, I want to make my disapproval of the behavior and NOT of their CHARACTER(like, "Jumping in the car is dangerous" would be better than saying " Don't behave like a roudy jumping in the car")
2. Tell the children, what behavior I expect (for example in the car - they cannot jump in the car,)
3. Reason with them (" You can meet with an accident and get hurt, It distracts me and I cannot drive in peace")
4. Allow at some point to experience the consequences of his behavior. I have done those many times.

Today there was an interesting incident.
A friend had a return gift due - which was a magnet made of clay. She handed them over to me.

P saw them, and wanted to hold them. I let him hold it warning him to be careful else they would break.

The warning was enough for him to have more fun and to try to may be break them, may be to see my reaction.

I took away Sids gift and kept it aside with me, saying he can hold his. I also warned him again to be careful else it would break.

So P finally did manage to crack it, as it fell off from the bag, which he kept swinging side to side

He was upset. He immediately wanted sids on exchange. I refused and said thats not right.

But, he cried, went home and cried more. Finally put both up on the fridge. He still insisted the cracked was not his. But I told him, his was cracked, but it still sticks to the fridge and still looks good.

Now that was a big step for me. Not to label him. I did not label him careless. I left the topic there for him to understand what had happened and that his still was cracked. Hopefully, over time he will begin to understand the consequences of his actions.

If I had labelled him, he would have cried more, I would have shouted more, more tug of war of the wants and more and more of ill feeling between him and me.

My day has ended well, hope to get up to a better day and to better parenting.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 1: Reasoning..

List of events through the day

1. Morning Potty Time:

I: P go and sit now
P: NO, its not coming
I: I have heard this many times ( I know he wants to go), do it now
P: NO.
I: If you don't, you will be out
P : Did it!
Did I Succeed in Reasoning: I lost. I should have reasoned. I should have said, your tummy will pain, You need to clean your stomach etc etc...

2. Breakfast Time:

P: I want cheese
I: Gave him
P: I will open it
I: ok
P: Mummy help me
I: did it
P: I want your bread, it looks more dark(crip toast)
I:ok, take it
P: I want butter now
I: Ufffff, P...., cant you just start eating
P: I want butter, (in the mean while cheese slice broke)
P: Whaaa,... Baaahhhh.. Cheese broke... Fix It, Fit It
I: Cannot fix it pranav.. and took it away. NOW EATTTTTT
P: I want Baked Beans ( I was eating it)
I: Gave him
P: I want spoon
I: PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP.... GO TAKE IT URSELF
P: Crying and Took it
I: NOW EAT
P Finally did finish his food.
Did I Succeed in Reasoning: Almost, but lost it on voice. Can I give myself a few points atleast?

3. Wanted keys to open the main door after we came back from shopping vegetables.

P: I want to open door, give me key
I: No, I cant (as he has a history of breaking keys and everything)
P: NO NO I want
I: Sat down at his level - Children dont haldle keys, Keys are only for mom, dad, aunt, uncle
P: NO I want
I: If it breaks, we will have to sleep on road. You want to sleep on road?
P: No
I: You want to go sleep at home?
P: yes

He kept quiet.

Did I Succeed in Reasoning: I think I did. And avoided a few mishaps.

Similar things happened during the rest of the afternoon and evening and I finally did succeed in reasoning.

Now I succeeded, but did he? He listened with the least amount of ears. Running about and playing, but surely did not demand more after reasoning. Strangely his ears were listening to me even as he was playing.

So my change of behavior worked. Reasoning is helping my anger and his behavior. Now this has to continue onto DAY 2. Good Luck to me.

Whom to Change or What to change? Or do we need to have a change?

So many decisions in life had to be made after becoming a mother. Now did I keep hearing that children are good when they are young, like babyhood, as we do treat them as babies and they tend to be forgiven for any action done as they are babies. Phewww.....

True, may be, but every age has its own battles to be fought. Motherhood is not easy and more so being a SaHm. Each passing year, I have had battles with my children and myself, for the following reasons.

1. NOooooo dont touch that electric socket. Its dangerous... blah blah blah..
2. NOooooo dont turn on the oven switch....blah the reason....
3. NOooooo dont drive in front of the car...blah the reason for not doing so
and so on and so on.

The recent one when I had taken the Sid to the doc because he had fever.
P: throws the sandles of Sid to the doctors face!!
I reply Calmly - "please don't throw, its not a nice thing to do. blah blah"

P: " Starts playing in the docs chamber as if its a playground"
I say - " Sit on the chair, this is not a playground..."

If only he had the mind or the hear to listen. No obviously he did not. As he was not affected in the affair. It was someone else who got hit and his mom got upset. Not him. To him life is all about play.

Now I repeated all that he did to their dear grandparents, my inlaws.

Grandparents: " Oh he is a child, we cant do anything, it will take time"
My Mom " Be calm, dont shout at him or hit him, be patient, time will heal".

Yes inlaws, yes mom. They were right. He is a hyperactive child alright! He loves to play. Sid has been sick for over a week and been getting that extra attention. So did I just notice that P is trying to get more and more attention by doing unwarranted childish behavior. Yea surely, he is a child.

No amount of time outs, no amount of punishments, no amount of love, no amount of shouting, no amount of positive reinforcement have helped so far. Did I just list the list of right things that have to be done

With DH travelling, now I am on a mission. Let's get the Patience into the vocabulary. With Patience, its going to be Reasoning! Again Reasoning will work only if he stands beside to listen.
Well go on to read my first day!!