Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Parenting a Strong Willed Child

Here's an update after an extremely long hiatus.
Kayleb has grown up very much over the year. His strong-willingness is getting more obvious by the day and he wouldn't stop until he gets what he wants.

There are parents who regard his behaviour as disobedience and he's no more than a spoiled child. I beg to differ, not just because I'm his mother. The truth is, there are strong-willed children and parenting them comes with techniques.

I admit I'm not the best mother. There are tonnes of things I've to learn. This is one of the hardest lesson - Dealing with a strong willed child without losing sanity.

I'm short-tempered. Sometimes when he insists, there's this build up in me that wants to explode off my head. There are times where I lose it and there are times the sane part of me persuades myself to take a deep breath and restart my engine.

There are many articles that teaches parents on how to deal with a strong-willed child.  I practise what works best for me:

Give Choices
Since strong-willed children needs to feel in control, thus, offer options. Instead of a flat "No" and expecting him to obey, give alternatives.

Meal times are not the easiest. He isn't much of a big eater and getting him to consume meat is a tough task. Instead of forcing him, I offer choices. "Would you like noodles or rice for lunch today?"

He makes the choice of either noodle or rice, and mommy gets to choose the dining venue or recipe if I'm cooking. 

This apparently works. And it has saved me tonnes of time and energy in getting food down his throat. He fills his tummy without putting up a fight.

Set Routines and Rules
We set daily routines so he knows of what to expect everyday.

Weekdays starts early so we get to work and school on time. We start by going to the toilet, brushing our teeth, washing our faces and then getting dressed. If we're earlier than usual, we can have time for light breakfast, other wise, we have them in school.

When we get home, our priority is finishing any home work before play time. The quicker we get homework completed, the longer our play time. He gets options of having a shower before or after home work. He gets to choose the type of play time depending on how much time there is. Playstation is a luxury play time only when it is still early or over a holiday evening.

Preparation of bed time starts at 9pm. He gets to choose the type of milk (chocolate or orignal) and the storybook. 

There are definitely moments where both of us lose it and those days where parenting sucks. But I make it a point to remind myself to always listen.

He may be throwing a fit and yelling. And Bad Mommy me wants to scream even louder to shush him up. But Good Mommy me lowers myself to his height (so we speak eye level to eye level) and speak in a soft and calm tone. 

He calms down as well and starts explaining himself.

Feeling like he's being understood is important for a strong-willed child. They yearn for understanding and respect. Fighting head strong isn't going to resolve anything. Be in their shoes, understand their situation and meet them half way with parental limits. 

There was once Kayleb insisted to bring his bear to enrichment class. He refused to enter the classroom without his bear. I told him "I know you love pi-pi very much and wants to be with him. But we are going for class right now. How about I put him in your backpack and you can take him out and cuddle him when class is over?"

Parenting ain't a bed of roses, especially with a strong-willed child. Everyday is a lesson. And I'm still learning to be the best parent I can.
Setting limits with understanding of your child's perspective so they can co-operate.
See the whole list of tips from AHAparenting.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Having fun while walking the dog.

Was home alone with Kayleb and I thought I might as well make full use of the opportunity to let him have fun while we walked the dog.

His current definition of fun is: Putting on rain boots to jump in rain puddles (inspired by his favorite Peppa Pig) and also blow a thousand bubbles in the air.

Kids just grow up so fast. It is fascinating!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Friday, 6 December 2013

Celebrating his 2nd Birthday in his Day Care Centre

With his favorite Strawberry Shortcake

Little pumpkin had fun celebrating his 2nd Birthday with his classmates.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Sunday trip to Kluang, Malaysia

Hunz & I decided to bring kayleb for a short Sunday trip to Kluang, Johor, Malaysia. Our main purpose was to show Kayleb the Kluang railway station, something that Singapore no longer have after they bought over the land that used to house the KTM railway station.

Sometimes, some things are such a pity gone. I personally never had a chance to ride on the KTM railway or a traditional steam engine train. You can call me a true city girl.

Our first stop was heading through the Tuas checkpoint towards Luang railway station for the famous Kluang railway breakfast.

We had nasi lemak (came only in rice, little ikan bilis, peanuts & chilli), curry puff, half boiled eggs, charcoal toasted buns, malay noodles, teh-susu and coffee.

I'll be honest to tell you the food was pretty average because I have tasted better ones. Nontheless, the breakfast ambience wins hands down. 

I think Kayleb was pretty fascinated when he saw the train came to a stop right before his very eyes. He hasn't had a chance to ride the train very much and when he does, well, our train stations were aways subway-like. 

We headed to the premium outlet mall thereafter and had our lunch at Taman Sentosa. He got to ride on the kiddy ride we have always wanted to get him. Hunz said he got bored after 10 minutes of fun, so we probably shouldn't waste our money to get him something he wouldn't play long enough. 

I hope Kayleb had enjoyed himself today. Can't wait for the next short trip out with him. It's always enriching for me as well.

Parenting is truly not just teaching your child, it is also a learning journey for the parent. 

Thank you Kayleb for the opportunity. 

Before i end this post, here's a shout out to hunz, my grandfather and my father in law: happy father's day to three great fathers/grandfathers. keep rawking on & i love you three much!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Marching on to the "terrible two" phase

I'm always intrigued by the "Terrible Two" phase and even more amused as to why it is called "Terrible Two". As Kayleb nears the age of 2, I'm beginning to understand why.

He's starting to have random outburst of tantrums and frustrations and likes to hit us whenever he feels frustrated. Everyday, it is a repeating cycle of trying to explain to him what's right and what shouldn't be done, squatting down to his height so we can speak to him respectfully, trying to figure out what he wants (since he can't speak yet) and keeping our cool whenever he stretches our limits.

As I'm a very impatient person, I am constantly reminding myself that I cannot raise my voice at him, and I need to use my words since I want him to use his. I'm using each and every day as a learning platform to communicate with him through explaining, reasoning and more explaining and more reasoning. More importantly, I keep reminding myself that I should not use the typical Asian physical disciplinary action on him. One, because he is too young to understand and two, hitting is just not ideal for his psychological and emotional development.

I'm not a perfect person and I do lose my cool from time to time. So I have to step aside to take a deep breath before I try to re-connect with him.

I'm using less baby-talk and more adult sentences. Sometimes he needs me to repeat myself a few times, slowly and using signs/gestures before he understands what I mean. It is not easy but I believe the effort is well-worth it. Lately, he is starting to grasp the idea of what it means by me telling him "Kayleb, could you please put Stripey in the bed, so we can put on your socks and shoes to get ready for school?" And I'm grateful for that.

I know there are more to teach Kayleb as he approaches two years old, and even more things for me to learn as a parent. I'm full of anticipation and I will keep boosting myself from time and again, to keep things going.

Well, I'd like very much to see "Terrible Two" as "Tremendous Two" - Tremendously tiring but exciting journey to Kayleb turning Two.

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