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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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