Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Tag: parenting

Parenting 101: Rules

I was so happy when I found this parenting blog. Many parenting-related websites that I found did not suit me, but this one was something different. Sadly to say, there aren’t that many posts you can find there, but I greatly enjoy reading all of them! Cynthia, the blog owner, really knows how to tell stories and write them! Anyway…

One thing I like about her approach on how to parent is how she handled things without starting confrontations with her daughter Maia. Many parents set the I-am-right-and-you-have-to-obey-me and I-am-right-and-you-shouldn’t-ask-why-or-argue-about-it kind of rules. That’s probably the fastest way to handle it and get things done real quick. But I would agree more on her approach, by letting the kids violate the rule and learn the lesson by themselves.

When Maia insisted on not taking a bath and not sleeping early, Cynthia would let her do it. Eventually, she found out after few days that although she’s not smelly, she scratched her head all the time and felt so itchy. That’s when she understood that she had to take a shower everyday and no questions being asked anymore. The same thing with sleeping early, Cynthia told Maia that she would be responsible for it if she missed school (i.e. she would need to go to the head of school herself and Cynthia would not write an excuse letter for her). As expected, Maia missed her school. The next time Cynthia told her to go to bed, she went to bed straight away. No plea. No discussion. Nothing.

This is not an easy approach, I agree. It requires a lot of patient (and patient has never been in my department — I guess a bugis blood is to be blamed haha). When you disagree with your children, you would argue why they had to do it and they would argue you back. So it’s an endless journey, one of them — either the parents or the kids — need to give up. Eventually, you need to let the kids know why they need to obey your rules, instead of saying "Obey me, stop asking why!" or screaming or name-calling or punishing them.

I believe there is a reason in everything. But not every reason is "reasonable" enough to the kids. That’s why they tend to break the rules. But when they understand the consequences of not doing them, they tend to try to obey the rules. I have to agree with Cynthia, parents need to handle everything creatively if they want to avoid the shouting, screaming, and forcing. They need to present as many reasons as they can — creatively — to ensure the kids understand and satisfy with it.

Cynthia does have 5 rules set that were unbreakable. But these rules were strictly applied not only to her daughter, but the rest of the members in the house. That means, she and her husband had to conform to these rules as well. Parents are their role models, so when exceptions are made to the kid alone, they tend to break the rules. Simple things like, limiting the kids to watching TV maximum 2 hours a day — that needs to be obeyed by the parents too! If they want the kids to do what they expect, parents need to change their lifestyle and behavior.

But can everything be done using this approach? I’m actually not sure. Definitely, as a parent, there are certain things that you want your kids to do. Take for example: praying. What kind of argument would you give to the kids if they refuse to pray? Tell them that God would be angry? Tell them about the consequences in the hereafter? It definitely won’t work, simply because they can’t see the danger of not doing it now. Well, for me, the best solution would be to instill this ritual early on. Praying together rather than individually and setting it as an unbreakable rule for the whole family would work, I think. And of course, providing a good base on religious knowledge to the kids is important!That’s what I have in mind. That’s what I’ve observed or experienced. Clearly, I still have a lot of things to learn! 🙂

Parenting 101: Praising

* I decided to post the series of Parenting 101 that I found through the stuff I read (especially on Twitter), so that I can refer to it again when the time comes 🙂

Research study shows that praising children for their brain and intelligence can have adverse effects on them, especially with regards to their academic achievement. These so-called fixed-mindset children tend to:

  • Consider failure as a result of intrinsic factor, i.e. their intelligence. Therefore they tend to think that failure is beyond their control.
  • Put an extra emphasis on being smart and “looking” smart rather than trying as hard as they can (and learn from their success or failure)
  • Be more reluctant to make efforts and attempts, and to learn from their past mistakes or failure.

So what’s the solution?

Rather than praising children for being smart, parents should have praised them for working hard. On the successful completion of a test, parents should not have said, “I’m so proud of you. You’re so smart.” They should have said, “I’m so proud of you. You must have really studied hard.” Big difference. This appeals to your child’s controllable effort rather than to mysterious, unchangeable talent. It’s called “growth mindset” praise.

More than 30 years of study show that children raised in growth-mindset homes consistently outscore their fixed-mindset peers in academic achievement. For example, kids regularly praised for effort solve 50 to 60 percent more hard math problems than kids praised for intelligence. Because these growth-mindset kids believe mistakes occur from of lack of effort, not from a lack of ability, the kids know exactly how to remedy mistakes: simply apply more effort.

With regards to praising, I also have to agree with Nouman Ali Khan that praising someone (anyone, not only kids) boosts their ego. It does more harm than good, although I admit I praise people without me realizing hahaha… I have to be more careful next time!


Parenting & Favoritism

I stumbled upon an interesting post titled Mom Confession: I Think I Love My Son Just a Little Bit More. Although I may not agree with her approach by publishing it online (what if her daughter read it in few years time?!), it is quite interesting, because she had the courage to say it. All this time I always wonder, how can you treat your children equally? How can you equally love them with all your heart? It’s surely not easy and it reminded me of my childhood, actually.

When I was around 8-15 years old, I used to be so jealous of my sister, because I used to think that my mom loved her more than me. I did tell my mom about it and (of course) she said she loved and treated us equally. But after I went to high school, I realized that I was indeed the source of the problem. I was a rebellious kid, very hard to control, and often got scolded (you can see how messed up the adult Amalia is right?! hahahaha). My sister, on the other hand, never got scolded, because she almost always followed whatever rules or orders that were given to her. She was very quiet and lovable. And you know the stupid rule of "you are older, so you have to give your younger sister the chance"? I hated that. It’s so unfair. I always got scolded and I had to give up whatever things I wanted to do. LOL 😛

This parenting stuff is veeery interesting. The thing I hate about it is that you can’t really "practice" it. You practice and at the same time jump into it. And the fact that every child is different makes it even more interesting and challenging. So things that work out with your first child may not work out with the second one.

I know what you’re thinking, "it’s about time". Don’t ever bring that topic up!! 😛