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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!!!!

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


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.


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)
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.
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.
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 : )
Oh wow. This came in in such a right time especially after my previous post

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.

Two days ago, I had a very terrible headache since afternoon and it got worse towards evening. It was at a stage that if I went up one more level, it would make me feel nauseous. Hence, I was dreading a little on handling Ayden that day because of all days, it is a day when AK is not around and I had to handle him alone for the rest of the day until he sleeps. Although it is just a few hours but if you are a parent of a very young toddler, you will know that a few hours sometimes can feel like a whole day has passed.

Anyway, I did remind myself to stay calm or else my headache would get worse. During his play time when he asked me to do certain stuff which I knew I cannot do with my head hurting that way, I replied “I am sorry Ayden. Mummy head hurts. Pain. Why don’t you play with your car instead?”. Everything seems fine until it was time to change him after bath. He refused to put his diaper on, refused to put his pajamas on and kept running away. I lost it at one moment and said loudly “STOP IT!!!” and then tried to put his pants on. So he started crying and it got to a point when he just cried and would not move (this means he is very very upset emotionally). During the process of dressing him up while he was crying, I already started feeling guilty that I had to resort to force and shouting. But I knew I had to continue dressing him up before I settle the situation with him because my pain in my head would definitely burst if he continues to refuse on dressing up eventhough I had tried settling with him.

So, I did it as quickly as I can and sat him up. Then I apologized and told him my head hurts and that I was wrong to have shouted at him. I got up to put some stuff back into the cupboard but was stopped by him because he wanted a hug and for me to carry him. Normally when he is not as upset as this moment, he would have used his hands to hit me. But he did not. So I carried him and tried to pacify him and said I was sorry again. After awhile, he was alright.

Then it was time to go into his room for bedtime story and his sleep. Once we entered his room, he went straight for the mattress next to his baby cot and lie there. So, I joined him on the mattress and laid down facing him. He was smiling and I felt love. I smiled back and touch his head lightly and said “Mummy is really sorry about what happened earlier. Mummy had a bad head pain (showing him my head hurts with my hand)….”. Then he placed his hands on my head and said “sayanggggg….”. I was happy. Then I continued saying “Thank you Ayden. But mummy should not have shouted at you or used force on you. Mummy was wrong and mummy is sorry. Mummy promise to control better and try my best not to shout or use force on you next time, OK?”. He just smiled. Then I showed him my little finger and said “Pinky promise?” and guide him how to do a pinky promise. He liked it and wanted to do it 3 more times by saying “Pink---ky Por-mis”.

Although I know he does not quite understand the concept of forgiving yet, but I really felt like I had a magic moment with him then that made me feel better and that I was not a bad mother for him afterall because he accepted me back willingly and happily

Everyone knows how challenging it is raising a child. From my previous posts about parenting, you should be able to tell on which type of parenting I am trying to adopt – Positive Parenting. This by itself is a huge challenge for me as I will need to actually change myself to discipline my child. So how when it comes to telling other people they should “change” too when handling my child?

I have been trying my best to tell those close to my child on how they can help me by explaining to them the methods I use in raising my child. On how I do not use salt in his food (so that when they help me prepare food for him, they will know what to do), on how I allow him to try to close those screw type caps on bottles/ tubes until he asks for my help, on how I allow him to try to feed himself while I feed him eventhough it means it will be a mess and loads more.

But what if I needed them to change their internal habits? How do I tell them? My latest problem I am having will be arguing in front of Ayden. Of course it is normal for couples to argue. I myself have a bunch of arguments with my husband but since we had Ayden, we try our best not to argue in front of him. Arguments will be done in closed doors. But lately I have encountered this couple who argues so loudly in front of Ayden. Here we are trying to teach him to deal with his problems without yelling or hitting people, and here he sees an example which show the other way around. I would not blame him if he were to think “Hey, these adults solve their problem by screaming at each other. Why can’t I?”

I am still scratching my head on how to deliver my message to this couple nicely. Yikes, being a mother is MORE than tough when you are dealing with other people.
For the past two mornings while we were getting ready to place Ayden in the car to send him off to his daycare, Ayden starts making a fuss by wanting to wear his shoes first. We tried to tell him that he can wear it when he reached his school but he let out a tantrum instead. Normally, we do not let him wear his shoes first because he will insist to get down and walk.

So, I decided to use more words to explain the situation to him. I know that wearing shoes in the car is alright and I just got to deal with his thoughts about walking right after he wears his shoes. So this was what happened:-

Ayden: Shoeesssss

Me: You want to wear your shoes now? How about mummy place them in the car and you can wear it when we reach your school?
Ayden: *showing signs of tantrum by hitting me* SHOESSSSSS!!!!!

Me: *stop Ayden from hitting me* You do not hit mummy. Mummy feels pain
Ayden: *hits again*

Me: You do not hit mummy. Mummy feels pain. *and quickly adds on* Mummy know you want to your shoes. You really want to wear your shoes now?
Ayden: *stops his tantrum and nods his head*

Me: Ok then. If you really want to wear them now, daddy will help you put it on…BUT, you need to go into the car first after you wear your shoes. Once mummy drive the car and reach your school, only you can walk into your school.
Ayden: *just concentrating on staring at his shoes and wanting daddy to faster put it on for him*

Me: *repeat the previous sentence two more times while daddy puts on his shoes*
Once his shoes were on,
Ayden: *points to the ground* Walk!

Me: What did mummy say earlier? You can walk when you are in school but not here because you need to go into the car first
Ayden: *points to the ground* Walk!!!! *slight tantrum*

Me: Mummy said you can only put on your shoes if you get into the car straight away after that. Do you want mummy to take it out now?
Ayden: *shakes his head*
Ayden: * whines a little*

Me: Mummy know you want to walk right?
Ayden: *calms down and nods his head* Walk

Me: Then you got to get into the car first and mummy will drive you to school and then the teacher will hold your hands to walk. OK?
If there is not much response or he still whines, then I repeat myself again
Ayden: OK

Me: Ok ya. Mummy will bring you into the car first *brings him in and talks to him while I buckle him up in his carseat* and you can sit here with your shoes on BUT you can only walk once we reach the school. But remember to hold teacher’s hands when you want to walk.

During the car ride to his daycare, he may whine about 1-2 times about wanting to walk now. So I will just say that I am driving now and we have not reached his school. I will again repeat about being able to walk only when he reaches school and remind him to hold the teacher’s hand.

When we arrive in front of his school and while waiting for the teacher to greet us,

Ayden: Take out *pointing to his seat belt*
Me: Ok, mummy will help you take it out *take my own sweet time to get down to allow the teacher time to come out*
I spot the teacher on the way out to get Ayden

Me: *takes out his seat belt* Ok, teacher is here. You wanted to walk right? You can only walk into the school while holding the teacher’s hand

Teacher comes and gets him. At times he will want to walk on the road, away from the school. So I will just say,

Me: Remember what mummy told you? You can only walk if you walked into the school
Teacher takes over and guides him in.

Wow, even writing this makes me feel tired. Imagine I have to do this everyday until he gets it *faints*. I have to have loads more practices on such situations like this before I can stay calm myself down. However in this case, I missed out on dealing with the fact he hit me during his tantrum. Got to include that it next time.
I think this is a wonderful example on how we can control the situation when your child hits you. I do agree that punishment will not help because your child does not know how to manage his or her anger. Even this happens to adults sometimes. Hence, it is our duty as a parent to help guide our child the right way to manage their anger without hurting anyone in the process.

I know this will be a long process for me as Ayden is only two years old. And since I have a hot temper, I need to learn how to calm myself down before I calm my kid. So, I am sharing this here as a reminder to myself on how to deal with such situation. Hope it helps you too :)

From the blog post at

"For me the biggest problem still remains my own anger and fear when my boy is crossing the line -- especially regarding safety. He has hurt me badly so many times. I know that probably he didn't mean it but the pain sometimes brought me to tears. I wish I could remain calm in those kind of situations."

Staying calm when our child hurts us is almost impossible. Pain sends us immediately into our lower brain stem, which governs the "fight or flight" impulse, and our child immediately looks like the enemy. That automatically drops us onto "the low road" of parenting. You know the low road. It’s when you snarl at your child through clenched teeth, or start screaming, or become physically rough. When you lose all access to reason and feel justified in having your own little tantrum.

What should you do when your child hurts you? In that moment, nothing. Any action you take with your child from that state will have results that aren't good for either of you. You will almost certainly perpetuate a cycle that includes physical violence. That doesn't mean you don't set clear limits. You actually have a lot of power to prevent this situation from recurring. It's just that you need to regulate your own emotions before you can help your child regulate his.

Children learn to regulate their strong emotions when we:

1. Accept all feelings.

2. Set firm, clear limits on actions.

3. Regulate our own emotions so that we act with respect.

Let's look at this in action:

Six year old Adrian hurls himself at his mother, scratching and clawing. "NOOOOO!!! That's not fair!! I hate you!!!"

Mom sidesteps, but not fast enough. Her arm has a long, nasty, red streak. She shrieks, in pain and outrage. She takes a deep breath, says "OOOWWW! That hurts!! I need to take care of myself right now. I will talk with you after I calm down." She goes into the bathroom and shuts the door. (If the child has abandonment issues or is younger than five, she leaves the door open.)

Mom does NOT use the time in the bathroom to review all the reasons her child is an ungrateful, mean brat who is on track to becoming an axe murderer. Instead, she tenderly washes her arm to calm the wounded child inside her who wants revenge. She counts to ten, taking deep breaths. She reminds herself that her child is having a hard time regulating his emotions, and that HER ability to stay calm is a critical factor in his learning this skill.

She reminds herself that her goal is to raise a child who WANTS to control his anger and has the emotional intelligence to do it. That means punishment actually won't help here. Instead, he needs to reconnect with her and to get some help managing his emotions.

By the time Mom comes out of the bathroom five minutes later, she has shifted herself onto the High Road of parenting. You know what the high road is -- when you're seeing things from your child's perspective so you can respond to him with patience and understanding.

Mom goes over to her son and gets down on his level, although far enough back so that he can't hit her face. (This reduces his fear so he's less likely to lash out.) "That really hurt me. I know you were angry. But I won't let you hurt me. People are NOT for hitting."

Adrian: "But it's not fair. I NEED to go to Jake's house. You said I could, yesterday." (Notice that Adrian is ignoring the fact that he hit her. Mom realizes that until she helps him with these feelings, he won't be able to absorb the lesson she wants to teach about hitting.)

Mom: "Yes, I did. I see why you're so disappointed. But things have changed now, because Grandma needs us to come spend the night with her. I won't be able to come back to pick you up at Jake's. I'm so sorry. I know you were looking forward to it."

Adrian: "You broke your promise! You're a liar!"

Adrian is still very angry, but Mom's empathy keeps him calm enough that he doesn't lash out physically this time -- only verbally. He storms away from her, across the room. Mom knows this is actually an improvement -- he removed himself rather than hitting.

Mom: (Accepting her son's anger.) "You're really mad at me, Adrian. You think I broke my promise." Mom ignores his calling her a liar, which, to him, she is at that moment, even if she usually keeps her word to him. She acknowledges the anger and upset that are causing him to attack.

Adrian: (yelling) "You DID break your promise! You told me I could go!"

Mom: (Ignoring, for now, his raised voice, mom speaks kindly and calmly, validating his anger. She models taking responsibility.) "I gave you permission to go and now I won't let you. You're right; I didn't keep my word. There was a good reason, but I still broke my word. No wonder you feel mad and hurt."

Adrian: (Mom's empathy is helping him trust her with the source of his upset.) "All the rest of the kids are going! I'll be the only one who isn't there!"

Mom: "Oh, Sweetie. No wonder you're upset. You want to be there with all the other kids."

Adrian attacks again. He'd rather fight than cry -- it feels better. "You never let me go! No wonder I don't have any friends! It's because you're a liar and a terrible mom!"

Mom doesn't point out all the things she does for him, or that she keeps her word to him most of the time. She doesn't even argue about whether he has friends. She stays compassionate and empathizes with his upset. "Oh, Sweetie, I'm sorry this is so hard...I wish I could let you go today."

Adrian's tears well up. Mom's understanding is helping him feel safe enough to feel the vulnerability and fear under his anger. "You don't understand! If I don't go, they won't let me play basketball with them at recess!"

Mom: "You're worried you'll be left out after this?"

Adrian begins to sob. Mom moves closer to hug him. He cries for awhile, and finally stops, sniffling.

Adrian: "Jake will be mad at me."

Mom: "Hmmm.....You think so? Just because you can't go today?"

Adrian: "He says only the regulars who practice together can play."

Mom: "Wow! I see why you're worried...Do you really think you'll get left out at recess?"

Adrian: (Thinking more clearly now that he's had a chance to express his feelings) "I don't care if Jake is mad at me. I still get to play basketball. I'll get the teacher to help if they won't let me play."

Mom: "That's an idea. Is it the rule that everyone's allowed to play?

Adrian: "Yeah. And anyway, they should want me on their team. I'm a good passer."

Mom: "I would always want you on my team."

Adrian hugs her.

Mom: "But Adrian, there's something important we need to talk about. Look at my arm."

Adrian: (Non-defensive, now that he's come to terms with the source of his upset) "I'm sorry, Mom. Does it hurt?"

Mom: "Yes, it hurts. Adrian, I understand why you were mad. You can be as mad as you want. But I will NOT let you hit me. People are not for hitting."

Adrian: "I didn't mean to hurt you. I was really mad."

Mom: "I understand you were really mad. Mad is ok. But there's no excuse for hitting, EVER. What can you do next time you get so mad?"

Adrian: "I know, I'm supposed to use my words."

Mom: "Yes. And if you can't do that, what can you do?"

Adrian: "Scream?"

Mom: "That's better than hitting."

Adrian: "Stomp my foot?"

Mom: "Great Idea! And you can also try what I do. Count to ten, taking deep breaths. Let's try it."

Adrian: "Ok." (They count to ten together, taking deep breaths.)

Mom: "Adrian, do you think you can do these things next time you're angry? Because angry is fine, but hitting is NEVER ok. I would never hit you. I will not let you hit me."

Adrian: "Mom, I won't hit any more. I'm getting better at controlling myself. I was surprised when you told me, that's all."

Mom: "Adrian, it was fine you got angry. And maybe I could have done a better job telling you. And I understand that even though I had a good reason, I broke my word to you. But even if you are completely right to be really mad about something, it is NEVER ok to hit, no matter what. Ok?"

Adrian: "Ok. Shake on it." (They shake hands.)

Mom: "Do we need a reminder code for when you're getting angry?"

Adrian: "Can you yell 'Time Out!'? Like a referee?"

Mom: "Sure, I can try that. What will you do when you hear 'Time Out'?"

Adrian: "I'll count to ten and breathe, no matter what."

Mom: "Ok, it's a deal. Now, let's get ready to go to Grandma's. We're behind schedule now, so I really need your help to get ready."

Adrian: "I'll be fast!"

Do kids always recover so quickly? No. But the more you practice this approach, the more quickly they can get themselves regulated, and the less often they'll lose it. When you calm yourself, they follow your lead.

What has Adrian learned?
•Some valuable skills to control himself.
•That his mom can help him sort things out when he's upset.
•That when there's a problem, the mature thing to do is own up to your part in creating it, as his mother did.
•That he's capable of hurting someone else, and he really does NOT want to do that.
•That his mother will set limits on his actions to keep everyone safe, which is a great relief.
•That his feelings are acceptable, and have a way of evaporating once he lets himself feel them. He can choose whether to act on them.

And, maybe most important of all, that his mother's love for him is unconditional, even when he's crossed the line. Because with love, there is no line. There is only love.
It really isn’t easy to stick to my decision on how I want to raise Ayden. From the food he eats to the way we deal with his tantrum. This also includes things like bedtime schedule, TV time, having outside food, etc.

As you can guess from my many posts before this, I am trying to instil positive parenting with Ayden and those who went through it or going through it now knows it isn't a smooth ride. All that I do now isn't something that I plucked out from the sky. It is through some research done and I feel it is the right way of parenting.

Instead of letting Ayden have lots of TV time or handphone/ipad games time, I decided it is better for him to have limited time on TV and more time playing with us and make sure he have his activities out of our home. I prefer if he have more outdoor activities during the weekend where he can learn to enjoy the nature while instilling the idea of exercising outside and not just being cooped up at home with his computer games or PS games etc when he grows up.

Instead of letting Ayden have any kind of food available outside including fast food, I decided that I should limit his salt intake and hence even when we have our meals outside, you will definitely see me washing off the food with water before giving it to him. Fast food is definitely a No-No and as a parent I am also cutting that down. On top of that, I insist on him learning to sit down while having his meals.

Instead of hitting Ayden or threatening to hit him when he shows his tantrums, I try to use the positive parenting method and make him feel that it is not the end of the world when something do not go his way. That feeling angry and sad and disappointed is normal and even adults goes through it. I would say this is the toughest as my temper isn’t that good either.

Then something dawn me while I find some of the parenting I take up is really tough. IF everyone close to Ayden feels the same way as me, my life would be much easier. But this isn't the case. I have lost count the number of times I have closed an eye on things people surrounding him does to make life easier for them in helping me care for Ayden. I can always be a mother who takes charge of everything and even disallow others to help me. But deep down inside I know I need their help for me to stay sane. All I can hope is that these people will eventually understand my choices and try to follow it through even though they find it hard..because this is all for Ayden's future
Everyone knows parenting is not an easy task. Some say that is why you have both mother and a father to share these task and make things easier while bringing up a child way into his adulthood. But what if both parent have a different idea on how to bring up their child.

I noticed in the Asian country, normally one parent makes most of the decision while the other just execute it. Lots of family also have one acting as the "bad cop" and the other as a "good cop". Well, nowadays it is different and more and more parents are going for the method which both agrees on, whether on how we want to bring up our children or how we want to discipline them.

There are so many decisions that need to be made. From small issues like what food to provide, bedtime, bath time, nap time, type of clohes to wear on rainy day or a hot day to the bigger issues such as to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, to use spanking in disciplining or not, to use time-out, to take medication or go for the natural way, which school to go to and many many more. This would not stop until they reach adulthood.

So, what if one parent have a different idea on any of the issues above? Both parents wants the best for their child, this I agree. But it is an heartache to execute a method for an issue when the other parent doesn't show a full support. It does not help when the other seems to agree with the method but have major doubts about it. What if a parent decides to stick to that method and something goes wrong? Does the other one gets the blame for making that decision?

I have respect for those parents who sticks to their decision TOGETHER and make the necessary decision to change if needed.

Perhaps we should all just go back to the olden days where a decision is made just by one person. I feel it ain't right and yet it does seem like an easier way out.

Like I said, parenting ain't easy but it will be made easier when both parents stands hand in hand together. I guess both parent have to find an equilibrium which is comfortable for the both of them. It is just like a relationship. Two different individuals getting together and living together cannot be succesful if both do not find that equilibrium. In parenting, it would be two different individuals trying to raise another being. Now, that got to be tough, ain't it?

In my previous post (, I promised to reveal my personality.

My Personality Priority is “Comforting” and Secondary Personality Priority is “Pleasing”. I am a little surprised by the first one as I like to follow schedule especially when it comes to my kid although I am not rigid about it. Which personalities did you fall into?

In any case, let us look at how we can improve ourselves knowing our personalities.

1. Love Unconditionally – make your children feel you love them under no conditions
2. Push away the negativity – keep in mind that even your child is doing something the wrong way, they are still trying
3. Listen instead of lecture
4. Encourage effort
5. Let the children choose – let them make age appropriate decisions
6. Give yourself some slack

1. Limit ordering, correcting and directing
2. Quit correcting – don’t insist on everything to go your way
3. Give up control & give choices – Let your children make some decisions throughout the day
4. Relax! – Choose your battles and deal with those of importance first
5. Limit your “no(s)”

1. Learn to say No – whether to your kids or other people. You cannot please everyone and your job as a parent is not trying to
be their best friend
2. Let yourself be loved unconditionally – your kids respect and affection is not based on how much you do for them

1. Root for routines – consistently follow routines made up for your children
2. Balance tolerance with toughness – Too much tolerance may cause a kid to be spoiled
3. Allow natural consequences to play out – establish natural consequences where appropriate

And now for TOOLBOX SOLUTION NO.2 ….The CALM Voice

Just as I shared a little earlier on a post by Dr Laura, McCready also promotes on being calm in any situation. Her advice is to always use the “Calm Voice” whenever you can even if you aren’t talking directly with your child

By using your calm voice, your child will eventually learn that they do not have to raise their voice every time things don’t go their way. And with using that calm tone, it is much faster to calm a child in tantrum rather than raising our voice trying to get our message through

Using the calm voice, it will even help you personally to deal with your everyday issue. So, why not try it?

I have to admit that I have a bad temper since young up till I am an adult. It is not easy for me to go through the process of positive parenting. Therefore, these posts from Dr Laura helps remind me that I am not alone. That I am not the only one who finds it hard. I feel that the post below is one of those posts that helps me remind myself on how it would help making the process easier. First, I need to learn how to control my own emotions. This is not a bad thing, because no matter how old you are, being able to control your emotions brings so much more positive outcome rather than negative. It may even help improve my relationship with my spouse :)

"I find I’m already 10 steps into reacting and I’ve headed down the “traditional” path with whatever issue is at hand with my kids. When I can remain calm, it certainly helps the situation as opposed to when I get heated up and emotional, which only makes things worse. It makes me sad to know that until now, I have not been a good example of emotional regulation at all. And it's so disheartening to see my kids doing things that I know they saw us do.....throw something, slam a door...."

Sounds familiar, right? Regulating our emotions is at the heart of our ability to parent the way we’d like. In fact, it’s at the heart of most of the ways we trip ourselves up, from over-eating to procrastinating to fighting with our spouse.

As parents, we know it’s our responsibility to provide for our child’s physical needs: food, shelter, protection. What about our responsibility to parent from a state of love? We often hear that good parents love their children unconditionally, but we all know that no parent always feels loving. So we’re left on our own to figure out how we can restore ourselves to a state of love during the inevitable ups and downs of daily parenting.

This task -- regulating our own emotions so that we can offer loving guidance rather than anger to our children -- is fundamental to good parenting. But it's not just good for our kids. This inner work is what allows us to grow into our own full potential.

Is it hard? Yes. I think it's the hardest work any of us will ever do. But it's completely possible. Here's the secret.

When you let yourself experience your emotions, they dissipate. So by simply sitting with your upsets -- breathing and feeling but resisting the urge to act -- you clear out your own feelings of frustration, disconnection and unhappiness. Love rushes in.

What about anger? That's just a defensive reaction to fear, pain and grief. Once you let yourself feel the more vulnerable emotions under your anger, they'll evaporate -- and so will your anger.

You might even say this process transmutes fear, pain and grief into love, because we're creating love where there wasn’t love before. Our hearts get bigger, and we grow as people, as well as parents.

Does that mean we don't address what's bothering us about our child? No. In fact, we become more effective in creating the life we want, which is always a life of more happiness, joy, and loving connection with our child.

That isn't just a fancy way of saying that we become willing to tolerate something that we may have yelled about before, although that may be true. For instance, we may realize that it's okay for our child to feel angry, and stop reprimanding him for that, even as we teach respectful interaction. Or we may realize that her jacket on the floor isn't nearly as important as how she treats her sister. Or we may begin to see our child's strong will as a positive trait, and find better ways to partner with her. None of these positive responses is possible if we don't start by managing our own emotions.

But what if our child is stuck in a counter-productive pattern and really does need to change? Our own emotional self-regulation is also the key to helping him.

Here's why:

1. Children learn emotional regulation from us. If we go into "fight or flight" so will they. If we can stay calm, they learn that it's not an emergency, and they calm down.

2. The emotional safety we create for our children is exactly what allows them to heal, grow and thrive. Like us, children WANT to feel happy and connected, but sometimes their fear or anger gets the best of them. Our calm gives them a path back to loving connection.

3. When we provide a calm "holding environment" for our children, they feel safe enough to experience their emotions, which is what allows those big feelings to evaporate. Kids learn that feelings are just part of being human, and we don't have to fear them OR act on them.

4. Children are sensitive barometers of our moods and tensions. If we have an unresolved issue, we can count on them to subconsciously pick up on it and act out. So very often, when we work on our own issues, we find that our child's behavior changes.

5. When we show up differently, so does our child. Remember, it's always your child's action + your reaction that produces the outcome.

The good news is, even if our children have learned some counter-productive habits, it's never too late for them to learn to manage themselves emotionally. The key is our role-modeling.
Learning to regulate our emotions is a lifelong journey. For today, just notice your own moods and feelings. Breathe through them, but don't act until you're calm. Every time you do this, you're actually rewiring your brain...and creating changes in your future behavior.
I guarantee you'll see your child change, too.

May you make miracles today, large and small.
Dr. Laura
Before I was a mother, being sick was no big deal. Just need to take my medical leave and rest as much as I can at home, not bothering about the outside world and that includes my husband because he is an adult who is well capable of taking care of himself....and me :P. Sometimes, I am actualy glad I am sick so I can get a break from work and just sleep and watch TV for the whole day.

But now that I am mother, I dread being sick especially when my child is also sick at the same time. I can't even care much for myself, how do I care for my child? Then you might say, how about your hubby? What if my hubby was also sick at the same time??? Yikes!!!!

All I can say is, being a sick parent with a sick child is a disaster
With the GE13 over, everyone is still speculating on what went on. Was there or wasn’t there a blackout in Bentong? Was there or wasn’t there “magical” ballot boxes appearing at the last minute? Apparently, there was no blackout as confirmed by an opposition supporter who was there at that time. If this was really made up, I am really ashamed about it as it means the opposition supporters this time stood at the same level as BN who is well known for their dirty tricks. Do we really want to be at that level? As for the believers to the “story” on what happened, which included me, can you really blame us? We have been living in a country lead by a government who lied to us for so many years. Corruption, money laundering, cover up deaths, accusation, etc have made us one angry bunch of Rakyat. Hence, whatever stories that was made up about them, we would have believed it. As of now, I do not even know what is real and not.

Looking at all the movements like Bersih being held and the support of the Rakyat for a clean country with a fair democracy, it was never about racism. All race stood together to fight for this. I do admit, as a Chinese Malaysian, I did utter words like, the Malays have it all etc. And I know personally some Malay friends who are afraid that we Chinese will take over everything. But for the past 2 years, I have never felt more Malaysian than I did before as the mindset has slowly changed especially in the younger generation. Although the older generation still have the same thinking, but the younger generation are now more open minded. The Malays in the younger generation are actually fighting for equality as much as what we the Chinese wanted. And with this, slowly, everyone’s eyes are opened and realized the culprit to such feeling before is due to how we were “raised” by our government. This was when we join hands and start fighting for our rights as the Rakyat of Malaysia

The elections were never about siding the opposition or the government. The core reason is for us to get what we deserve. We do not know for sure IF the opposition wins, that we will have a brighter future. But we do know we need a change. Not a change on the party who rules us, but a change on our system who does not side us. Hopefully (*praying real hard*) that the extra wins by the opposition for the GE12 & 13 will put our government in an alert mode and start changing according to what the Rakyat deserves. In the meantime, let us continue to fight for a clean government.

As for me, I am ashamed to say I only stood by the sideline this time around as I am not even a registered voter. My first step to change is to register myself as my children deserve a better future.

Hmmm...I wonder which personalities we fall into as parents :P

In this chapter, McCready looks into the parents’ behavior instead. She has a point when she said we all have the same thoughts about kids. We feel every kid is different and we need different approaches to deal with them. How about parents? Below is a short quiz to determine your personality which might later help you to focus on what to improve in in raising your kids.

Answer in A,B,C,D and do not take too long to answer each question. Whatever answer that pops into your head at that time, just note it down.

A: Most of the time
B: Often
C: Sometimes
D: Almost Never

1. I find I can do most tasks better than other people
2. I prefer to do tasks that involve significant contributions
3. I work hard, accomplishing much more than most people
4. I try my best in whatever I choose to do
5. It is very difficult for me to cope with failure
6. I try to be perfect
7. I usually know what is right or best
8. I deserve special treatment
9. I am always busy; I usually handle two or more projects at a time
10. I am determined to see my plans carried out, and get things done
11. I am a self-starter
12. I try to make sure things are done right
13. I don’t like to be “out of control”
14. I try to get others to do what should be done
15. I work best when I am boss
16. I try to protect others
17. I like to get praise from others
18. I try to gain approval from people who are important to me
19. I am sensitive to others’ opinion of me
20. I have difficulty saying no
21. I do things for others when I don’t want to, to avoid hurt feelings
22. I let others have their way even when I don’t agree
23. I don’t like to interrupt my kids or bother others to do tasks that I can do for them
24. I feel guilty when I say no to someone
25. I have difficulty getting around to getting things done
26. I don’t volunteer to take responsibility
27. I cannot handle stress
28. I dislike it when people have expectations of me
29. I do things to avoid dissention and conflict at home and work
30. I try to get other to slow down and be comfortable
31. I dislike being the boss for projects or activities
32. I feel that in several areas, I am somewhat inadequate

At the end of this quiz, give yourself marks for each answer. A = 4, B = 3, C = 2 & D =1

Then add the values for 1-8, 9-16, 17-24 & 25-32. Lets name these groups as Quadrant P, Q, R & S.

Choose the top two scores from these 4 quadrants. The highest scored quadrant will be your “Personality Priority” and the second highest scored quadrant will be your “Secondary Personality Priority”

Now, to define those quadrants;

P = Superiority
Q = Controlling
R = Pleasing
S = Comforting

You would find that most of the time, things come fairly easily to you and you often have high achievements. You are a model of confidence and success and demands for perfection and high expectations on yourself and others which sometimes can be unrealistic. In raising kids, these kind of parents will normally correct their kids often and may make their kids feel that they can never measure up to your expectations

In this personality, you will always feel the need to be in control and you like things done in a certain way. On a positive note, you are comfortable in making decisions and managing aspects of your work or family life. At work, you will most likely excel. However, in parenting, the need of control makes you act primarily from the ‘Parent Ego State’ and tend to order, direct and be a bit rigid. This invites power struggle with your kids.

In this personality, you may be fun to be with and have a lot of friends. You like to keep people happy and try to avoid conflicts, often by saying yes when you mean no. In raising kids, you may find yourself reminding them a lot but may end up doing it on your own, giving in to their whining because you rather avoid confrontation. As a result, you may end up feeling resentful and ignored.

This probably means you are an easygoing parent. You go with the flow without many rules or limits. You will probably not follow routines and may be give more freedom to your kids.

So, which two quadrants you belong into? Do you think it best describes you?

I will reveal mine in Part 2 of Chapter 3 and also ways on how we can change our reactions using our personalities by just making small adjustments.
A good article on how we can control ourselves when we feel like blowing up. (A reminder to myself too since my temper ain't good at all). The problem for me is my inner self (and also many other people) feels that if I do not correct my child there and then, he will always do the same mistakes again and again. I guess for me I got to accept that it is ok not to do anything at the moment I feel my temper arises and deal with it when I am much calmer. This isn't easy for me as I was not brought up like that nor it is an Asian thing to do. I have to try to look pass all of this and work on what I think it is right. Phewwww..parenting is a crazy job

Notice your feeling, BREATHE, RESIST taking action, WORK HARD on seeing your child's point of view and choose LOVE

Article from Dr Laura

Question from a mother: "Dr. Laura, I see how all your mindfulness techniques make me a more patient mother. But when I find my temper rising, what can I do in that moment? I know yelling doesn't work. I know that my inner critic that tells me I'm a bad mother just makes things worse. But what do I actually DO?" -- Cara"

Answer from Dr Laura:

Nothing. Really. You notice what you're feeling, you breathe your way through it, and you DO nothing.

When our temper rises, we all feel an urgent need to DO something, anything. But that's our emergency response system operating. And parenting, despite how it feels, is not usually an emergency.

So the most effective thing you can do is restore yourself to calm before you act. Why? Because the rational brain stops working when you're angry. So when you act from anger or fear, you're never taking constructive action.

I define mindfulness as just noticing our own feelings and thoughts without acting on them. Meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg says it more directly: "Mindfulness is not hitting someone in the mouth."

Sure, it feels like we MUST intervene at that moment. Otherwise, our child will "get away with" bad behavior, and will become a terrible person. But that's fear speaking, and it drives us to take actions that make things worse. Later, we realize that we let our emotions run amok. We didn't guide our child with love. We didn't help her WANT to be a more loving or cooperative person. Instead, we dumped those yucky feelings from our full emotional backpack onto our child.

So what can you actually DO when you feel your temper rising?

1. Notice that you're starting to get swept into "fight or flight." It might be an exasperated sigh, your voice getting louder, or your jaw clenching. Or maybe your mind starts churning with angry thoughts. Once you notice your "temper rising" you've given yourself a heads-up that trouble's brewing, and you have a choice about how to respond. (Yes, this is hard. But it gets easier if you practice on all those little upsets every day.)

2. Breathe. If there's no physical intervention absolutely required, just hold still and breathe deeply. Even if you're moving toward your child to stop him from hitting the dog or throwing his toy, breathe deeply! This interrupts the stress hormones flooding your body. It makes you aware of all those sensations of anger, so you don't go on auto-pilot and start raging.

3. RESIST taking action. Just breathe and tolerate the feelings until they pass. I guarantee you those feelings will feel awful. You'll feel like lashing out (fight), running away (flight), or numbing yourself with food or a screen (freeze). You might feel like you can't breathe, or like throwing up. But if you keep breathing and tolerate those feelings, they'll pass. Every time you do this, you're emptying your emotional backpack of old baggage, so you're less likely to get hijacked by anger the next time. And you're modeling emotional intelligence for your child. In fact, neuroscientist Dan Siegel says you're actually helping your child's brain grow.

4. Work hard to see things from your child's point of view. If you're sure you're right and the other person's wrong, you're already moving into fight mode, where your child looks like the enemy. So notice those thoughts building up throughout your day that your child is giving you a hard time. If you don't catch them, you'll blow up sooner or later. Re-frame to something that's actually more true: "He's expressing legitimate needs as well as he can; he needs my help."

5. Choose love. Every action we take can be seen as a choice between love and fear. (Fear is always lurking behind your anger.) Once you're breathing and not driven by "fight or flight" you can do what we always tell our children: Make a better choice. You'll know, in the moment, what that means. Maybe you:
•Set a limit, but set it with empathy.
•Summon up all your compassion so your angry child feels safe enough to burst into tears and have a good cry.
•Move into playful mode to let your child save face.
•Hold out your arms for a hug.

Should you teach? Sure, once you're calm, and your child is calm. You'll be able to listen to your child and empathize. You'll make better decisions, more in keeping with the parent you want to be. Until you're calm, don't try to teach, or you'll be inadvertently teaching the wrong lessons.

You're human, so you'll find yourself moving into fight or flight on a regular basis.

Your child is defiant.

Your child is whining.

Your child is tantrumming.

Your child forgets something.

Your child isn't listening to you.

Your child clobbers your other child.

When you feel your temper rising, just Choose love.

And create miracles today, large and small.


Me and my son on Valentine's Day 2013

There are basically 3 types of ego states that we use to communicate with our children but normally one trumps over the other two. Those three are “The Parent Ego State” which we most often use, “The Adult Ego State” which other adults normally use especially teachers and “The Child Ego State” which parents rarely use. But surprise, surprise! Our child loves it the most when we are in the child ego state and the least when we are in the parent ego state (not hard to believe when you really think about it). Ok, let me explain these three ego states.

The Parent Ego State automatically comes to us. We give instruction, we correct our children, and we teach them what is right and what is wrong. For example when my child climbs the sofa, I automatically correct him to not stand or jump on the sofa. It is afterall my job to tell him right?

The Adult Ego State controls the situation better by letting go a little but still does some disciplining just like the teachers in school. So to us parents, it might make us wonder why at school our children are “better” behaved compared to at home.

The Child Ego State is where we can play and do stuff without thinking so much but just to enjoy ourselves.

For our children, they will always want us to be in the child ego state and this ego state makes the strongest emotional connection between child and parent. But of course as a parent, we cannot always be in this state…it will be chaotic!

And now, the Toolbox No.1 : Mind, Body & Soul Time

This is the most important tool in the Toolbox, according to McCready. It helps in giving the emotional connection that your child needs as well as increasing their sense of belonging and significance. Her idea is to give each child 10minutes of your time, twice a day just to do what he wants and for you to fully participate without any interruptions. When you spend time with him, make sure you are in the child ego state. Just enjoy the interaction with your child and go crazy with him.

These 10minutes should be spending on activities that provide interaction between the both of you such as playing football, ‘masak-masak’, train, etc etc. No TV or video games as this lessen the interaction. However if you child is much older, perhaps you can play those video games that needs both to interact with each other. During these activities, make sure you are fully there (mind, body and soul). Do not think about what to cook for dinner or when can you iron the clothes etc during this time. The child can sense you are not fully there and this will defeat the purpose.

If you are afraid that after that 10minutes, he would whine for more, plan another activity right after this that does not provide you to be next to him such as drawing, painting, reading near you while you cook etc.

It is not a good idea to lump these two sets of 10minutes into one session as they need reassurance of having you for themselves as the day passes by. If you are able to spend more than 10minutes for each session, this is even better.

It is also better to schedule these time for them as kids actually love following routine. You can always name these time with special names such and “Mummy and Ayden special time” or “Daddy and Ayden play time” etc

McCready claims that most parents notice the difference within few days. There were less tantrums, whining, etc from their children. Overall, it actually makes the relationship closer and stronger between parent and child.

As for me, AK and I spend at least half hour to an hour a day just doing the above with Ayden (during weekdays). During this time, we just concentrate on spending time with him by doing activities he is interested in and just get down and go crazy with him by singing, dancing, rolling on the floor etc. However, it is for half hour straight and not divided into two times a day. We may need to strategize our time again.


Me and my 21month old bub Ayden :)

In Chapter 2, McCready explains which principles influenced her strategies and also introduce Toolbox No.1 to help parents to start of her strategy. The Toolbox No.1 will be shared in another post (Part 2)

Basically, McCready is influenced by Alfred Adler’s principles. There are generally 3 premises to a child’s behavior:-

Premise 1

Other than their basic needs (food & shelter), the children needs a sense of BELONGING and SIGNIFICANCE. Belonging means they need to know how he fits in the family and how is he emotionally connected to each of the members. Significance means feeling capable that he is able to contribute into the family (sense of power)

Premise 2

Actually all their behavior is goal oriented. According to this premise, all those “misbehaviors” are not random and are not purposely done to make your like miserable. It actually means they are in a process of learning about belonging and significance. All those misbehavior is actually a symptom of a deeper issue

Premise 3

A misbehaving child is a discouraged child. This premise means that children misbehave because they are lacking the sense of belonging and significance. Those tantrums and being clingy over you actually means he needs more of those which he does not even know. Children will try few ways to get what they need and this includes undue attention (whines and plead for help even when they can do it themselves), power (challenges and provoke parents so that he can win the battle) and revenge (when he feels he cannot achieve it, he will inflict physical pain or emotional harm)

Adler also categorized children according to their birth orders and feels it makes a difference (I can relate to that and am sure my siblings felt it too growing up). Generally, the older child feels a high sense of belonging and significance because all the attention was given to him at least the first one to two years of his life. But this will change once a younger sibling arrives. The middle child normally have low sense of belonging or significance because attention is normally given to the older child (given more power) and the younger child (given more attention) and the youngest child feels the highest belonging but the least significance in the family (attention given but power rarely falls to the youngest sibling).

As for being the only child, most likely their sense of belonging and significance are high. However, lots of parents do everything for their only child and this may make the child to have low significance.


Note: This is just my personal summary of what I understood from Amy McCready’s book “If I have to Tell you One More Time”

There is a big difference between punishment and discipline. I feel most of us were brought up in the punishment era more than discipline. We were afraid of the outcome, hence we stop ourselves from doing it OR we find a way to do it without our parents’ knowledge. I recall the time when my parents used to punish me for not doing well academically by forcing me to increase my study time. So what I did was I went to my room to “study” but in fact I was reading a story book in between by school books.

Punishment means that we always act negatively to a negative behavior. You play with your food, hence you are grounded to your room early. You do not want to keep your toys before meal, hence you are sent to a time-out until you repent or you finish your course of time-out period given. Punishment normally ends up with both sides unhappy, tired & some do not even recall what was it all about and just wants the day to end quickly.

Discipline on the other hand teaches your child what was wrong and give a higher percentage of cooperation..wait, it is WILLING cooperation in future. And as they grow, they will truly understand the reason behind the discipline rather than not doing something because they are too afraid of what punishments will be given to them.

Now, many of us asks ourselves, why can’t these punishment work on my own kids as they did work for myself when my parents imposed the same type of punishment. I recall how “good” I was when I refused to take even fruits from relatives without my mother’s consent (however, as I grew older I ate junk food behind my mother’s back..hahahaha). According to McCready, it is because our environment has changed throughout time. Democracy plays a huge role in this generation. They are also exposed to the internet where they can communicate with friends or find more information and realized that parents do not really have the right to punish them as they like. They notice how the teachers at school respect them and respect their colleagues. Even at our workplace, it is a different ballgame altogether. Previously it was more like “Do as you are told and do not ask too much questions”. But in this era it is more open and management of a lot of companies is open to employee’s thoughts on how to improve the working environment. Kids are the best observers. And when they observe that the environment now is more to democracy, they tend to NOT follow your punishment and hence the daily struggles.

Another point in McCready first chapter is why Time-Outs and Counting to 1,2,3 does not work in a long term running. Time-Out may work the first few times or when the kids are younger. However, it will normally turn out to be a power struggle. An example was given n a kid who played happily with his toy train and wanted to try to put it up on a shelf when suddenly his mother calls him for dinner. Of course he would not want to leave his train without reaching his mission. Hence he said just a few more minutes. And of course as a parent, this is unacceptable because it IS dinner time afterall and not playing time. So, after a few tries on getting her kid to get ready for dinner, she got fed up and punished him to a time-out zone. All the while sitting at the corner, the kid was trying to figure out how to put his train on that shelf and whenever he gets an idea, he will go for it. Mummy of course catches him and forces the time-out to start again. This goes on for 45minutes. Do we have a winner? Or do we have two individuals who went through a POWER STRUGGLE and were just too tired to eat or even talk to each other.

Another way is counting to 3. This way may also work for many occasions, but in actual fact, we are actually giving our child more time to do what they are doing before they follow your instruction. They know that it is wrong but since you have given them more time to finish off what they were doing, they will surely do it as fast as they can before you reach 3.

Personally I have never tried time-out before but have seen it with my own eyes when my sister used it on her children previously. I still do not find it harmful but it does make sense on the power struggle. And thinking back, IF my parents did that to me when I was younger, I might have just think about how much I hated my parents who does not understand me and just think of a way to run away from this punishment the next time. My son is just 21months old, I cannot promise I will not use this way as a way out from positive disciplining but I will surely try my best.

As for counting to 3…I am guilty. My husband and I used this way quite a number of times now especially when my toddler stands on the chair which he knows he is not allowed too. He does wait till we count to 3 before he sits. I am trying to change my approach on this, so wish me luck :P

It has been almost a year since my last post. I have been a busy working mother and trying my best to bring up my child the way that I feel is right.

Currently I am reading this book called “If I Have to Tell You One More Time” by Amy McCready. How often have you heard or even used these words on your children or other people’s children? Well, for me I have heard it many times throughout my childhood and sometimes find myself using it on my 21months old toddler.

I am trying to raise my child through positive parenting and not through the old fashioned Chinese/Asian way of upbringing. But, how do I do it? I need guidance and find that by Dr Laura Markham helps a lot. On top of that, I try to get hold of books that may be able to guide me through this process of trying to be a better parent for my child.

I am only at Chapter 2 of this book and yet I have a feeling it is a really good book. Anyway, thought I might summarize some of the key points from every chapter as a reminder to myself (without reading the whole book again) and also for some of my friends who was always interested in learning positive parenting but just do not have the time (nor energy) to read in detail. But bear with me as I will always compare this parenting method with the ones which my parents or many other Asian parents used and still are using. This is just my own thoughts and not to make anyone feel uncomfortable with it.

In any case, I have always tried to follow things which I myself find it to be truthful and make proper sense in following. Hence, I might not agree 100% with what is in the book. So, it is always up to individual and also to your family values.
Summary of Chapter 1 will be coming up soon. Stay tune 

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