Thursday, September 06, 2012

New Learning Journey in Parenting

Parenting, a big word, that comes with even bigger responsibilities. In all honesty, I am still groping my way around being a parent. There's just so much about parenting that I can never seem to learn it all. So many situations I face daily that just threw me off guard or out of balance sometimes. What I do know is I needed help in my parenting journey.

7 years ago, when we were expecting our first child we took upon ourselves to learn about parenting from the experts. We signed ourselves up for the Parenting with Confidence (parents with kids 0-5yr old) workshop and it was useful information and great tips we've taken back with us. We have put some of the learnings into practice when our son came along.

Seven years later, we have signed ourselves for the Parenting with Confidence workshop again, only difference is, we are embarking on the next phase in life as our kids are soon turning 6 and 7. We attended the workshop designed for parents with kids age 7-12 yrs. 

Behaviour changes as our kids grow older. We've seen a marked difference in both our kids, they are no longer naive as before and would not hesitate to challenge us in many areas. They have a lot more external influence (beyond home) that made them grow too fast (not physically). My once cutesy toddlers have grown so quickly that I really need to work harder to catch up.

The long and short of it, after having attended the Parenting with Confidence workshop (parents with kids 7-12yr old), has given me a glimpse of the psyche of the kids at this age. What I as a parent should do in order to build up the child in the way that he should go. I've also seen the pitfall in my parenting style and how I should take time to correct and adjust that.

A few key take home points for me were -
  1. Reflective Listening - a skill of acknowledging that we understand what our child is feeling.
  2. SSR - when you find yourself in situation that is beyond your control with your child, speak Slow, Soft, Repeat your instructions or what we need to communicate to our child.
  3. Rules - avoid using the word "No" when setting rules. Use more positive words eg. instead of saying No TV during weekdays. Use words such as TV is only for weekends.
After the four weeks of workshop, I am still in the practicing mode trying to apply all that I've taken away from the workshop as much as I could. It really does take a conscious effort because I am just so used to my old way of handling the kids.

Will I succeed eventually? Well, only time will tell. I am incline to believe how our kids behave, a lot has got to do with our parenting style. Of course, I wouldn't rule out the child's natural temperament and personality has a part to play as well. It's really a matter of Nature + Nurture. 

Before I end, here's a great video that demonstrates how reflective listening should be carried out. It's similar to what we've been taught in the Parenting with Confidence workshop. You might find it useful.

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