Monday, June 26, 2017

Lembut Vs Garang

June 25th 2017

Few years back, when my eldest brother's children were still toddlers, I never understand why their father was too calm in dealing with the kids' antics. Every time I saw the kids running around my mom's house like mad cows, I would get pissed not really to the kids but to my brother who did not seem bothered to scold his children. Or when he did, it would be too kind that I didn't think the kiddos would learn from it. And I blame his psychological teaching method (Read: Be kind and gentle and understanding) in raising his children.

You see, my siblings and I, we weren't raised like that. Mom was a very strict mother. Ikat di pokok langsat satu hari kind of strict. I never attended friends' birthday parties (except one time, accompanied by eldest bro) cos mom didn't approve. If she allowed me out during day time, the Before 12 & 6 rules will automatically applied; go out in the morning must be back before noon, out in the afternoon must be back before 6pm. But of course I don't take the matter to my heart. Dulu lah masa muda-muda belia. 

As I grew up into adult, I eventually understand why mom did what she did. And the key factor to understanding her way of raising us is via her unspoken love. Yes, she is one of those people who doesn't express her love and care publicly. She doesn't hug as often. Heck, I can even count how many times she had hugged me. Seriously. And the last time we hugged each other was last year during her wedding reception.

Despite her garangness, she has proved her love for us (Ishhh, why do i even said that? Mothers do not have to prove their love bah) through her unending and sometimes annoying way of putting her nose into our lives (still is). Well, most of the time for our own good. So yes, her method of raising us from infant to adulthood had made us what we are today. Not a celebrity or a respected public figure, but yes, a person that I am now.

When Leticia came into our world making a small family out of the two of us, I thought I would become my mother. A strict mommy. A garang mommy. A no-show affection mommy. Fast forward today, with a child who is barely two, I start to absorb and comprehend my eldest brother's way of teaching and raising his children. Not that agree 100% with him but yes, I am slowly getting to understand his ways of raising the children.

My daughter is going to a stage where; quoted a friend, possesses ego at the highest. It is the phase leading up to the terrible two stage although I reckon with this girl, she has started much earlier. She starts to challenge the Nos and assume everything must be by her own way. While initially, it seems adorable cos you get to realize that she IS growing up, on certain times, especially when you have other things stressing and occupying your mind, it drives you up the wall. Yes, ALREADY.

Admittedly, I do raise my voice AND practise the tapap leg or pacik fingers as way to discipline her. Unfortunately, I find these are not ALWAYS the way to make her adhere to rules and subsequently respect the Nos. As a teacher for 12 years, I do use this method as way to discipline problematic students. Some would listen while the more hard headed ones won't (duh). We (teachers) collectedly agree that the latter acted that way because they are used to being scolded and/or beaten at home. HOME. So, do I want Leticia to be like those in the latter group because she is used to pain from home? No.

And so, in attempt to try to understand my daughter's growing up phase, I (almost reluctantly) tell myself to be less of a Tiger Mom and be more gentle yet consistent in my approach in ensuring my daughter acknowledge the rules and boundaries.

In stead of immediately shouting at her for the wrongs that she does or the rules that she breaks, I try to tell her in strong stern voice while keeping my eyes locked on her as to show my disagreement to her doings. As much as possible, I don't want to be so lenient with the pacik fingers or tapap kaki method cos I believe she will eventually get used to the pain and take it for granted.

Aaaah, this is one issue that's been pestering me ever since our girl starts expressing her disagreement. At home, she would self-hit her head on any surfaces to show her frustration. Or lie down on the floor with legs kicking. Or simply cry. I would usually hug and calm her down. If that fails, I let her cry her lungs out until she gets it, 'mommy won't come to me, let me go to her.' I don't really mind her crying if it is at home. But what if it's in public? Not that she ever does it (yet). The question persist.

Does it work? The stern voice and eye-locking method?
Sometimes. It's not that easy to restraint yourself from shouting when you are angry. So yes, this takes a lot of effort.
But who says disciplining your child is a one hit wonder?
I'm pretty sure seasoned parents would unanimously answer; A LIFETIME EFFORT.

I do get people telling me that I kasih manja anak.
To that, I rather bite my tongue than to argue.
Even if I do know (and would defend) the path I take in raising my child, it's not worth explaining my ways to people who are not there personally to raise my kid. For now, my daughter needs my utmost attention and that includes showing her love and affection as well as provide the best that I think she needs.

Raising a child is not fixed to just one method. It changes over time. It is a long journey for me (and husband) but one thing for sure, I eagerly look forward this journey cos as far as I am concern, this is by far the most interesting and challenging phase currently going on in my life.

PS: My nieces and nephews grew up to be kind and gentle children/teenagers.

Till next post!

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