Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Teach them the skills instead of being a worrywart

Its the 3rd week of the new year, how are your kid(s) coping with the new routine and environment in the new school?  And especially for those starting primary one, are your kid(s) adapting well?   For the pass weeks I have heard or read comments by friends in facebook on things their Primary One kids did in school, here are some of the example;

"My child has been eating the same food from the same stall for the past 3 days because  she doesn't know what the rest of the stalls are selling."

"My girl has not made any new friends and she is feeling miserable.  She keeps crying and refuse to go to school, she wants her kindergarten friends back."

"I just realized that the buddy system in my son's school is only on Day 2 & 3, they will be on their on after that."

"My son got bullied in school!  He got strangled by another classmate, he retaliated and got caught by the teacher who punished him without finding out the truth!"

"My child cannot understand her Chinese teacher who speaks with an accent.  I had a chat with this teacher and also have difficulty understanding her.  I am afraid that my child will not be able to catch up with the teachings, what should I do?  Should I feed back to the school?"

Truth to be told, I was caught worrying in a couple of the situations above, but my nightly chat with DinoBoy proves to be more assuring to me then to him, I know for sure that he is adapting well in the school.  Yes he did have sandwich for at least 3 days in a row; Yes the buddy system is only for the first 3 days of the school; Yes he was the one grabbing classmate's shirt at the chest *YIKES!* - ok that's not the topic for today, but in the end all turns out well; YES even for that last one.

So does it means that we should not worry about our children?  Of course not!  Since eon ago, parents earned the right to worry about their kids from the moment they were born.  We worry from every day little things like "is our baby drinking enough milk" to future things like "will he be a successful person when he grows up?".  However, has it become a habitual worrying that you hope and wish that it will turn out fine when the day comes OR do you teach your child the necessary skills to survive in any given, especially new situations?

We think we did a good enough job in this department.  We have taught DinoBoy to speak up, to be heard, to question, to participate, to defend, to retaliate, to obey, to show respect, to think, to analyse, to learn, to love etc... just to name a few.  We have taught him the skill to survive in a society. 

Since DinoBoy was a toddler we have given him much freedom and independence to explore on his own.  Being a toddler with curiosity crawling inside him, he explores, he check things out, he smile, he greets, he made new friends without any reservations.  This has built his level of self confidence which we think is an important basic element in the equation of life and in the world of surviving. He was 3 years old when he ordered his first bowl of fish ball noodle from the hawker centre and few months later paid for it after ordering, running back to me with the change in his hands.  He was not shy or unsure, he knows what he wants to eat and he set out to order it.  I need not push him, I need not urge him, I simply asked if he would like to order his own food and he eagerly said OK!

However, we know that not all children are as out going or out spoken or ready to jump into every challenge, some needs more encouragement then others, some needs a little harsh push too.  Which ever the case, we as parents must take the first steps to give our child the appropriate guidance and advice, teach them the necessary skills, show them the correct ways to progress in life.  Also, we must learn to let go a little bit, let them explore on their own even though there will be bumps and bruises, you will be there to nurse them back.  Sit back and watch how your little one transform from a defenseless caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, you will be amazed by the changes in them.  Children have an amazing ability to adapt and survive in any situations, equip them with the proper tools and they will breeze pass the difficult times easily.  

Ok back to us, DinoBoy had cheese sandwich for the first 3 days in school because he likes cheese and saying that he does not know what the other stalls are selling are just plain excuses (in my view) to keep eating cheese sandwiches and of course from being reprimanded by me.  That 3rd night I encouraged & suggested to him to try to find out the food from the other stalls but was given the "No Way!" look plus a "I don't know how!" reply, I was starting to worry that he does not know how to READ (see, the worrying again).  However the next day he came back declaring that he had fish ball noodle during recess, in his exact words "I bought fish ball noodles to eat today.  Yupe, I just go to the stall and bought it, so easy."  See!  He can do it, its just a matter of whether he wants to do it or not; he also bought a packet of milk from the drink stall to go with his noodle.  Well done son!

Last but not least, make sure you make friends with the uncles and aunties in the school, namely the canteen stall holders, security guards and the cleaners.  They are the ones who see you child in the school everyday and it sure does not harm to have another pair of eyes to watch over them while we are away at work.

On a lighter note, what did Gloria Gaynor sang that inspired most of us, make us raise both of our hands and sing in agreement? *hold the image of Archie the bear in Dr Dolittle and sing together now*

Oh, no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live, I've got all my love to give
And I'll survive, I will survive, I will survive

~ ~ ~

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  1. You know what Jen? When my kids are in school, I leave it to their own devices to be independent. It's their only time away from me so have to close an eye. As long as they don't get into big trouble. :p

    1. That should be the way, but many parents don't, especially those with only one child.

  2. *high five* I agree with you that our children are intelligent being and are capable of adapting to new environments and people. :)

    I observed that with my second one. I don't teach her a lot of life skills (I must confess that I am busy handling two kids at home) but she managed to get up buses by herself (at age 2), use a fork by herself and negotiate whatever "obstacles" there are at the fitness corners and playgrounds, which even some grandparents would not allow their 3 or 4 year old charges try. And all because she sees her brother doing so and followed.

    Of course as parents, we should still provide the necessary guidance and support from time to time but I agree with you that there's no need to be overly worried about everything. For info, I ate from the same stall almost every day in my 6 years in Pri school, simply because it had the shortest queue and I wanted to have more time for play. :P

    1. Agree! Kids learn by observation and they catch on real fast, thats why we are afraid that they are with the wrong company and learn the wrong things :D Wrap them up or cocoon them for too long and you have a child who does not know how to deal with the world.