I haven’t read a parenting article for a long time, but with my son showing particularly difficult (‘challenging’) behavior at the moment, I was reflecting on ways to…..well… stop him from doing it! I’m missing my support from 3 fabulous educators back in California: Juliette, Salome and Lia. It’s also tricky being Australian, married to a French man but having brought up our children in the UK, the US and now China because all of these cultures approach childrearing differently. It’s also tough not having grandparents, aunties and uncles, cousins, childhood friends around to help keep things in perspective and to offer advice.
Before coming across this fabulous quote: – ‘as long as a child knows that they are loved, you’re doing a good job as a parent‘ – I was slightly more obsessed than I am now about doing the ‘right’ thing when it came to parenting. I really liked the following ‘C’ concepts which I gathered together over the past 5 years in my quest to know what the ‘right’ thing to do actually was.
Unfortunately I usually forget to implement these ‘C’s’ when faced with a full blown tantrum:
co-operation v/s obedience – the goal being bringing up responsible little adults and not sneaky little children who are only obedient in our presence.
connection before correction – its best to not try to talk about the child’s undesirable behavior with him/her before connecting with the child through hugs, calm voice, deep breathing, waiting until later…. what ever it takes to be heard!
calm, consistent, caring
I’ve been Interested to see how Chinese parents interact with their children – or more often their child, given that many parents are governed by the One-Child policy. This policy is not actually applied to everyone. For example, those in non-urban areas and those couples who both come from one-child homes are allowed to have more than one child. The thing is, even when given the option to have more than one child, it appears that most couples now choose to have only one child.
Children seem to be very much free to do as they wish until they reach school-age at which point they have strict rules to follow and lots of homework. This was evident at the local playground this week-end where for all of the preschoolers NOT taking turns to go down the slide was the norm. I’ve also heard that the concept of sharing is a difficult one for many children from Chinese single-child families to apply.
Encouraging independence doesn’t seem to be a priority and my Chinese teacher was surprised (slightly horrified?) to see me letting the children use knives to cut vegetables up for dinner. She then went on to describe some people she knew who had reached college-age and who didn’t know how to cut their own fingernails.
‘Shanghighs‘: still discovering new foods. This time jujube (chinese dates).
‘Shanglows‘: The children’s school is facing a major crisis. Apparently the Financial Director has changed and is implementing a very strict adherence to the Chinese education system to the demise of the French section and over-all staff morale. I’m busy looking yet again at schooling options 😦