Monday, 27 May 2013

As Sonshine grows older, he's personality is coming through. There are strengths and unfortunately weaknesses. One of the things that is apparent about him is that he is driven by fear. His fear of being reprimanded, fear of losing out, fear of being the different one, fear of being the last; these fear (& probably more) drive him to do his best- at least in school.
I do not know if it is acceptable for him to be this way. On one hand, this fear has allowed me to trust him and be hands-off when it comes to school work. For instance, i know for certain (and the teachers confirm this) that he pays FULL attention in class; he voluntarily brings any forms/revision books to me for signing, he takes his homework out without our prompting, completes them (without supervision from us) & puts them nicely back into his bag. He also takes upon himself to learn spelling on his own. Once, i had to get him revise his spelling the night before only to find out he had already learnt it on his own. Even for Chinese spelling; he would double check if i have taught him correctly (after being taught wrongly). There are alot of initiatives but all these are done in fear, fear of being scolded by his teachers if assignments were not done promptly. 
On the other hand, i suspect this fear affects his self confidence.  I was told that while there is no doubt that he knows his work, but he still wants to double check his answers with his friends. The fear of not perfecting his answers dent his self confidence. He is afraid to make a mistake to a point of not being sure if he is correct. I suspect too that this fear of saying the wrong things has been holding him back from being vocal in class. This fear, restricts him to be himself, it prisons him to do and say the things he desires.
I question myself what i have done wrong. Was it those countless times when i reprimanded him for doing the wrong  things? Or perhaps I haven't been giving him enough space to falter like any child does. Or was it that the day to day errands that have made me impatient, demanding him to quickly grow up so that i can keep up with my tight schedule?
Sonshine is very much like me. As a child, i was afraid of alot of things; not just mentally but also physically. Like him, i cried buckets at the littlest of things which annoyed my entire family to no end. Now, this boy is doing the same to me! It seems that we were born with alot more fragile personality then an average person. We are more sensitive about our place in the society then most and are so at a very young age (Sonshine even younger). And i was also a very quiet student in class- this was written all over my report book. Similarly, i was quiet for fear that i would be laughed at or scolded at for giving the wrong answers. In some ways, Sonshine takes after me- the bad side of me that is.
So, is it nature or nurture? I do not know. But i am reminded to be more sensitive toward him and to step up my parenting. There were things i wish my elders did better when they were raising me; i distinctively remember telling myself that i will never commit the same mistakes as them when i become a parent.  I clearly have forgotten that promise i made to myself.
In the past, my error was that i placed more attention on his mistakes than the things he do very well. I should have given more if not equal attention on his right doing than his wrongs. I now consciously pick on his wonderful behaviours however small and give him his due praises & pats on the back. I would now say things like "I like that you threw away the empty milk packet without me telling you to".  I am mindful that sometimes him making a mistake is a good thing. Mistakes are opportunities for him to learn. So, if he spills his drink on his pants but that taught him not to tilt his can of green tea too high the next time. Sometimes it is better for him to make mistakes now when i am around to guide him then when he is alone out there in the world where people would readily take advantage of his wrongs.

Also, i realised I have been too quick to correct him to the point where he may think all he ever do is wrong. That may caused him to hesitate in doing something-especially academics, worried that he may do it wrongly. He may also be well aware that he isn't as eloquent as his peers. These probably made him less confident. To boost his confidence, i use any pockets of time to remind him of his strengths. To point to him that not many 6 year olds are aware that there are about 200 volcanoes in Indonesia nor can identify the world maps, or add 20+12 mentally like he can. I am not trying to make him feel arrogant but i want him to know that while he isn't as good as his peers in some areas, he is stronger in other areas.
While i will be more conscious moving forward, i am also well aware that i am but a human who's weak in the flesh.  This is where I place my dependence and trust in my Lord.  I know no matter how hard i work at improving my parenting, i will never be as perfect as my Lord. So the wisest thing to do, is to submit my entire parenting know-hows into His hands & just trust in His love for me & my children. I am hearten to know that i am not alone in parenting my kids but alongside with the Lord.

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