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Ng Elyssa
It has been awhile since I wrote. Been busy with my son and being pregnant for the second time..hehehe. Just like my first pregnancy, my second pregnancy’s symptoms were also quite bad (headache, nausea, vomiting for 19 weeks before it subsided. Vomiting from 4 to 7 times a day was the average). However, I am thankful that this time around I manage to keep my sanity intact unlike my first pregnancy. Sure there were crying episodes and lots of complaining, but it never came close to losing my mind.

Anyway, I am now at 38 weeks and will be meeting my second little pea in a week’s time. This time around, it will be a princess. I am very excited yet nervous at the same time. Having a newborn again in the family with a 3 year old toddler to care for would be a challenge.

Motherhood has been challenging even after 3 years of experiencing it. I think it is a never ending challenge till I leave this world. I can be so in love with my son at one time and yet feel like hitting him for being so “ungrateful” at another time and thoughts like “why did I have to insist on having children” will pop in my head once in awhile. But at the end of the day, I will not want to change the fact that I am a mother to Ayden and I am sure I will feel the same about my second child.

Meanwhile, I have to start getting my emotions ready to receive this newly god given child of mine soon. Wish me luck and wish me lots of patience in handling my children…hehehe.


AKPP with our little princess at about 31.5 weeks
Ng Elyssa

Photo courtesy of www.prevention.com

From my previous post Sleeping Beauty, I mentioned that I rarely get a good nights’ sleep. I cannot seem to remember when was the last time I had a good sleep. Things did not get better. In fact it got worse especially after having Ayden. After having Ayden, I became even a more light sleeper than I ever were.

I have summed up the items that have been causing me to have sleep deprivation these days:-

1.       Ayden waking up at 4 to 5 am in the morning screaming “Mummy!!” and goes back to sleep

2.       Pee

3.       AK snoring

4.       Sinus like symptoms (stuck and pain along my nose, eyes and cheekbone area)

5.       Never ending dreams (which was my main problem previously)

6.       Any noise from Ayden’s room (cough, sneeze, etc)

7.       Dogs barking (DJ inclusive)

 When will I manage to get a reasonably good sleep? I am getting worried if this goes on, my health will end up deteriorating more than it should. YIKES!!!!
Ng Elyssa


In this chapter, Mc Cready talks mostly about ENCOURAGEMENT. Before that, she mentioned the below:-

Discouragement:-

1. Name labelling: Names such as "the shy one", "the more helpful one", etc
2. Jumping in to help your child with a task that he can handle, you are undermining his capabilities and feelings of significance
3. Overprotect: Often use words like "Be careful!", "Don't go too fast" at the playground shows you are lack of confidence in them
4. Expect perfection of your child

And a surprising discouragement is....

5. Rewards and Praise
 Rewards may work for a short period of time but your child may want more reward once he feels the current reward is not enough. If he does not get it, he will not obey anymore. In Mc Cready's words this is called "Discouraging towards future positive behaviour"

Praise works until your child fails. Example: Your child goes to a soccer game and first thing you say "How is my little champ?". Your child replies "Great! I am going to score 2 or more goals today". But she does not even at first half and you say "Don't worry, you are a star player, remember?" and the coach say "You are going to land a goal for me today right Super Star"? And in the end, he does not. You say "You were awesome. The other team got lucky. You are still the super star" and he will say "No. I am not. I did not score a goal even. I hate soccer"

Or another example which is typical is when your child brings home and A for History and you praise him "Great job. It just goes to show you are the smartest kid in the class". The week after came and his Math scored a B. He will feel ashamed to bring this result home because now he isn't the smartest anymore and it will disappoint his parents.

Rewards however can be given if a chore at home is a special or rare chore and not a daily chore. Example to wipe the windows is a not a daily chore but to clean up the dinner table is a daily chore and should not be given any reward.

ENCOURAGING GOOD BEHAVIOUR

Everything positive and negative our kids do is based on MOTIVATION. Motivations comes in two forms: external and internal. External means by praise or rewards and those who are motivated externally are hoping for something tangible or gain esteem from someone else. However when someone in motivated "internally", they look within for their reward (pride in a job well done, a feeling of accomplishment, personal enjoyment, etc)

If you only have a pre-schooler, you may think that external motivation is much easier and works well. But if your pre-schooler grows up to be a teenager and you are not with him for long period of times, you will not be able to monitor his behaviour. If his peers offers good "rewards" to him, he may take it. But if we build the motivation internally, they can then make their own good decisions and be more confident in themselves when they grow older.

In part 2, I will summarize Mc Cready's Toolbox Solution No.3: How to Use Encouraging Phrases and also example on how to approach both situation stated above (one on the child at the soccer game and one more at his History and Math results)
Ng Elyssa
It was a long weekend last week due to the Raya holidays. 4 days in a row, 24/7 with Ayden is nice but really tiring. I had to think up of activities that will be able to satisfy my active little beanstalk, do some housework and cook. It is more tiring than working I tell ya, So by the 4th day, I was already at 20% of my energy but Ayden was still at his 100% energy level.

He ran out to the backyard without his shoes on as I was washing vegetables outside. This was what happened:-

Me: Ayden, aren't you suppose to wear your shoes when you are out here? Please wear your shoes first
AK (who was inside the house): Ayden, please wear your shoes

Ayden ran in and ran out laughing. As I repeated myself I could feel my energy is getting even lesser as my temper rise. AK was already prepared at the door to put on his shoes but he still ran out without it. I got mad and just grab Ayden and told AK to hurry and put on his shoes. As expected, he did not like that. He struggled and screamed but I just did not care anymore. I was tired and he is making me more grumpy.

Once he had his shoes on, I let go and stomped my way to continue to wash the vegetables while AK went on to do his housework. I did not realise Ayden was still mad till he came near me and started hitting me. I did not want to look at him at all because I was afraid I would want to scream at him. I allowed him to hit me a few more times as many thoughts ran in my head. Thoughts like (It was YOUR fault for not putting on your shoes earlier and now you are hitting me?? I should just scream back at you for being so rude to me or push you away). Then I recalled my sister's advice on breathing. I started breathing (1,2, 3) till I calmed down a little.

I look down at Ayden who was still hitting me. I saw hurt in his eyes and I felt pain. So I went down on my knees:-

Me: I am sorry Ayden
Ayden: *close to tears* and wanting to hit me again
Me: Hands are not for hitting ok? I know mummy made you feel really angry right?
Ayden: *stared at me close to tears*
Me: Mummy is really sorry (gestured my hands on my head to show I am sorry) for forcing you to wear your shoes. Although you are supposed to wear your shoes here, mummy should never do that again. Mummy is sorry. Mummy promise she will try her best to remember this and never do it again. Ok?
Ayden: *sobbing a little*
Me: You want a hug from mummy?
Ayden: *reluctant but eventually came near me*

I hugged him and apologise again. Then things got much better for the rest of the day. If I decided to scream back at him for hitting me, I think my day (and his day) would have gone the other way around. I am glad I said sorry to him.
Ng Elyssa
Me and my beanstalk at the swimming pool
 
My mum used to tell me how when I was a toddler, I used to love hearing her sing the Lullaby song and will finish the last word of each lyric sentence. Example when she sings, she will sing as “Lullaby and…..??” and I will say GOODNIGHT. Wasn’t I adorable? Hehehehe.

Now that I am a mother, I know how it feels to sing to my own child. For the past two weeks, I have been singing this song to Ayden every night and he will sing along. The difference between him and me (when I was young) is that he tends to try to sing the whole song with me even if he does not know how to sing every word. But he will sing the last word of every sentence louder. As he sings he will smile and I find that to be very loving :)
Thanks to my mum who sang for me and now I shall pass it on to my son. Hopefully one day he will be able to feel what I felt and how my mother felt when she sang for me.
Ng Elyssa
Being a mother, my mind works so differently especially when it comes to my kid. Each step that I make, I have few different scenarios that play on my mind in just a few seconds before I make a decision. This is really crucial especially when handling a toddler with tantrums (or on the verge of showing his tantrum). And with this ‘ability’, a ‘curse’ comes with it. I expect others to think like me when handling Ayden.

At first I thought it was just common sense for them to think up all of the scenarios before acting on it until a close Aunt of mine told me this “Give them proper instructions and do not expect them to know every detail like you do. You might think they should know, but they really don’t”. That got me thinking about how many times I was disappointed with so many adults for not thinking first. To me it is just common sense. But to these people, they can’t think like me because the person they are handling is not their children.

I will try to improve on this but it ain’t easy especially when I am lack of time ‘educating’ others. But at least now if I get upset about something they did, I will feel guilty about it. For those who are wondering what I am talking about, here is an example:-

My dad was carrying Ayden. Ayden wants to go towards the kitchen which has already been barricaded with his safety gate (only we can open it for him). As it was already time to go to school and we have already let DJ in from the backyard, we do not want Ayden to get distracted in the kitchen area. So my dad tried to distract him with other stuff. AK opened the safety gate for DJ to roam while we get our office bags and car keys. My dad suddenly puts him down so that he can pass me an empty cup. And of course, my dear toddler will run towards the gate which was already opened. Story short, I was irritated. To me, it is like this…”Why the hell did you put down the kid who wanted to go the other side when you should be well aware the gate was opened and he would run towards it once he gets the opportunity?? Isn’t it obvious????”. After that, I thought it through…he might have thought that AK would have carried him or he did not notice the gate was open or…..well, you get the idea.

So, in conclusion, I should not expect others who are just helping me out to do exactly what I expect them to do. I have to have a lower expectation on them and remind myself they are there voluntarily to help me out and I should always try to ‘educate’ them by explaining how I like things to be. I should not also get mad when it does not go my way because I know deep down, they do not mean it.

Phew. Being a mum, a wife, a daughter & a daughter in law is pretty difficult. I think the easiest so far is becoming a sister because I have great understanding siblings : )
Ng Elyssa
Oh wow. This came in in such a right time especially after my previous post http://lyssapathoflife.blogspot.com/2013/06/i-lost-it-and-was-sorry-then-i-felt.html

Another lesson from Dr Laura Markham. Currently I am testing out No. 3, 4, 5 & 7. NOT AN EASY TASK I tell ya!

"If you're upset, it is the wrong thing to say or do and will only aggravate the situation. It is not what you want to say. It does not represent your true intention and is therefore inauthentic. The proof to this inauthenticity is that later you regret your words and actions and they build walls between you and your child." -- Naomi Aldort

When we're angry at our children, most of us burst out with comments we would never say if we were calm. Later, we're remorseful. We apologize. But kids react to our yelling by putting another brick in the wall between us, and dismantling that wall isn't easy.

Or, we justify having yelled: "There's just no other way to get through to that kid." (That reinforces the wall.)

Wouldn't it be amazing to simply stop yelling, even when you're angry? It's completely possible. No matter who you are, no matter how your child acts.

Hard work? The hardest there is. But you and your child will be much closer, which means he'll want to behave better. And watching you manage your emotions will help him learn to regulate his own emotions better.

The key is supporting yourself so you're less likely to lose it. Here's your ten point plan.

1. Take a public vow of Yellibacy. Make a sticker reward chart for "Respectful Voice" and put it on the fridge. Your child decides whether you get a sticker each day. Obviously, yelling is not a respectful voice. Notice you can still guide your child -- just respectfully.

Are you against sticker charts? Me too, for kids, because they teach the wrong lessons. But since parents have all the power in the family, this is a way to empower the child to hold the parent accountable. I'm not worried about teaching the parent the wrong lesson. :-)

2. Make sure you aren't running on empty. You can't act much nicer than you feel. If you're running on empty, how can you regulate your emotions? Find sustainable ways to keep your nature sunny, so you can give your child the best of yourself. That keeps you ready to rise to the occasion when your child pushes your buttons.

3. Set limits with your child before things get out of control while you can still be empathic and keep your sense of humor. Notice that by the time you're losing it, not yelling is only possible if you bite your tongue so hard you give yourself a piercing. You’re only human, so of course you’ll yell once you get pushed over the edge. It’s your responsibility to stay away from the edge!

4. Remember that children will act like children. That’s their job. How will they know where the limits are unless they test them? How will they let you know they need your help with their tangled-up feelings if they don't "act out"? Your job is to set the limits with empathy and kindness, and stay connected while they express their upsets.

5. Stop yelling and start connecting. You're yelling because you want to change your child's behavior, right? That's not actually the best way to change her behavior long-term. Instead, try empathy.

You can still set limits as necessary. But take the time to see things from your child's point of view. Empathize with her, and help her meet whatever needs she was trying to meet in a better way, whether that's

Mastery ("You're screaming because you wanted to do it yourself? Here, let's pull over the chair for you to climb up, and you can do it yourself"),

Connection ("I hear that whiny voice...this is a tired time of day, isn't it? Come, let's put you in the carrier so you can watch over my shoulder while I make dinner and stay very close.").

or some other need. If you address the need or emotion behind the behavior, you change the behavior. Without raising your voice.

6. Teach emotional regulation. Kids learn emotional regulation from our staying calm and empathic in the face of their upsets. When we say "You are so mad! Tell me in words! No hitting." to our toddler, he learns that being angry is ok, there's even a word for it, and Mommy understands how he feels. That helps him control his impulse to hit. If, instead, we tell him he's a bad boy, he may try to squelch his anger, but that only works temporarily, so his anger will burst out uncontrolled at another time.

7. Play instead. Kids respond to the "tone" of our energy. When we have an edge in our voice, they feel frightened, and move into "fight or flight" which means they start raising their own voices, arguing, or melting down. If, instead, you can respond to minor infractions with a sense of humor and playfulness, kids tend to relax and cooperate. So instead of "I told you to go take your bath right now!" try "I am the robot of the bath...I have come to carry you off to the bathroom" with a mechanical voice and lumbering gait that gets your child squealing with laughter and running ahead of you up the stairs.

8. Notice what triggers you. When we yell, it's because we're triggered. Before we know it, we're acting like our own parents. The best way to avoid getting triggered is to talk about your own childhood with someone you trust. How did your parents handle your anger? Did you get yelled at? How did it make you feel? Surface those feelings and breathe your way through them and let them go. You're deactivating your triggers.

9. When you find yourself yelling, or in the middle of losing your temper, just Stop. Even if you're in the middle of a sentence. As soon as you notice your voice is raised, shut your mouth. Walk away. Breathe.

10. Teach only love. If you're angry, don't try to teach your child "a lesson." You won't be teaching the lesson you're aiming for. Instead, just stop. Breathe. Say a little mantra, like "Kids need love most when they deserve it least." Wait until you're calm. You'll intervene so much more effectively then.

If you're still yelling, why not take a vow of yellibacy? Try it for a week. I'm betting you'll see a wonderful change in your family, one that will keep you going long after your experiment ends. In a year, you won't remember the last time you yelled. Miraculous? Yes. But this is something you can do. Which doesn't make it less of a miracle.
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