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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?
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