Parenting | Avoiding the judgment trap

These days I am reading the book “Your Child’s Self-Esteem” by Dorothy Corkille Briggs.  I am still in the process of reading and plan to finish it by next week.   As a mom, I often got gusts of guilty feelings along reading since many of the inappropriate examples seem talking about me.  That proves this books is very worthy reading.  It pin-points the usual questions of each parent face and give step-by-step solutions to build your children’s self-esteem.  I plan to read this book in a way to read a school textbook and prepare school exams.  In this way, I’ll understand and absorb the content better, in hope to put the theories into my daily parenting practice. While reading along, I’ll exert some chapters or examples in this blog for self- examination, and also for sharing.

Avoiding the judgment trap

(Page 65)

Parents are constantly advised to spend more time with children.  Yet, it is the quality of time and not the quantity that affects the feeling of being loved.  Mr. H spends hours with his youngsters, working with them on projects and games. On the surface the time spent looks like proof of devotion.  But when you observe, you hear a flow of comments like these:

“Stop dawdling over your turn, Jimmy. Get going!”
“You’re not holding that saw right.  How many times have I told you to hold it this way?”
“Why can’t pitch that ball the way your brother does? When will you learn to throw from your shoulder?”
“You’ve messed up this paint job.  Here, let me do it. For Pete’s sake, this time watch me. If you’re going to do something, do it right!”
The hours with his youngsters are filled with criticisms, lack of respect, comparisons, and high demands.  The more time his children spend with him, the less adequate and lovable they feel.  Sheer time does not necessarily add up to love.

(Page 86-87)

To avoid judgments, tell your youngsters what is going on inside you without using labels.
The labeling words — adjectives and nouns that describe a person — are the ones that cause trouble. Words like “dawdler,” “messy,” “procrastinator,” “sloppy,” “rude,” “mean,” “selfish,” “naughty,” “nice,” “good,” “bad,” “shameful,” and so on are judgmental by nature.  Such labels have no place in the vocabulary of nurturing adults.
In general, using “You,” and following it by a noun  or adjective describing the child, sends a judgment.  Ordinarily, “I,” followed by what is going on inside you, sends a reaction toward behavior.  Let’s look again at some messages send first as judgments, and then as reactions.
 Judgement_reaction
Self-application
1) Stop nagging.  Kids are kids.  They develops according to their growth path.  It’s not fair to treat them as perfect figures, or as mature adults.  Honestly speaking, how mature an adult is?  I am in my late 30′s, but still in the process of self-improvement.  Be aware of any words coming out of a parent’s mouth.  Examine them before shooting them out of mouth.  If the words are not positive or productive, the parent and kids would be better off if the parent shuts up.  Sometimes, kids performs something improper in the parents’ eyes, they make funny noises or gestures in public, they go to scrutinize the flowers on the road side while you are rushing to somewhere, they refuses to cooperate to your request in face of your friends.  If they are not big issues, just live with them.  Only if you understand and tolerate their trivial childish words and actions, will you find the virtue of your kids, and will you enjoy every minutes spent with your kids.
2) Practice nonjudgment.  Use “I-reaction” – “I,” followed by what is going on inside you, sends a reaction toward behavior. Learning to suspend judgment is far from easy, because most of us have spent a lifetime being judged ourselves.  Below is one excise I did for my situation:-
“You are such a picky eater.” –>> “I am worried you don’t have enough energy to play ball later.”  “I really hope you can try this new food.”  “I feel so happy you like this pie.”
3) Treat the kids as friends.  Parents sometimes act as if kids don’t have feelings because they ignore their existence and discuss their kids’ shortcomings publicly in front of the kids.
In the book one page 90, the author wrote,
Ask yourself this question: “If I were to treat my friends as I treat my children, how many friends would I have left?”  Few of us would think of shaming or analyzing friends in front of others, jerking them up short with sarcasm, humiliating, embarrassing, hitting, or ordering them about like soldiers under our command.  Of course not.
A child is no less sensitive because of his size.  Disrespect always encrusts caring so that it can’t be felt.

Cruises to Mexico

We did the trip to Mexico Ensenada during spring break, at the end of March.  So this is a very belated review.   We all had a lot of fun.  Cruise trip is highly recommended for families with youngsters.  On the ship kids have a lot of activities: mini golf, water play, camps, games, etc. etc.  Parents are able to completely relax on the ship, no need to worry about traffic, no need to think hard about what to cook, and the best part is you can have fun without taking the kids with you all the time.  There are camps where you can put your kids there.  All cool!

 

This is the cruise ship, Carnival Inspiration.

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Gege had a good time there.  Look at the sweet smile.

 

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Meimei likes to make faces in front of cameras. I love how cute she is!

 

 

6  4

 

Gege loves meimei, and meimei loves gege.  They play well together :-)

 

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Am I pretty?

According to the aesthetic standard of ordinary Chinese people, I am pretty, at least I was so when I was little.  One of the proofs is that, very often a random passer-by pointed at me out of a group of girls on the way to and fro school, and said, “Oh, look at that little girl.  She is so pretty.”

I never knew I am pretty though, although the above said proof.  One of the reasons was because my mom often scolded me by saying, “Don’t stare with your stupid big eyes.”  Due to my own character, I was very sensitive to my mom’s judgement.  I thus believed that I was very awkward; especially with my big eyes on my face, my expression might be very stupid.  When I grew up, whenever people admired my pretty, alert, penetrating, big eyes, I was very surprised and thought it was only their politeness.   I finally trusted their appraisal to be true when my dearest husband also liked my big eyes.

I don’t blame my mom.  Being a housewife from the small village of rural area in China, she didn’t take any school.  So the way she taught us was primitive, without any deliberate methods.  Actually most parents in our village taught their kids in this way.  That’s why most of the kids dropped out from elementary school or middle school.  Very few went to high school, not mentioning college.  So the case like my life path was very rare and exceptional considering my growth environment.  My parents have been very proud of me, because I jumped out of the rural area and went to big cities, and then went abroad.  My fellow villagers are  proud of me too because the world I saw was out of their imagination.  For them, some of the elders never went out of the rural area, and they even don’t know the earth is round.

I am lucky that I can explore the outer big world.  However, due to my primitive educational method, there have been lots and lots of inner struggles in my mind along the way when I was trying my best to adapter to the outer world. For example, my mom used to tell me that, “all our neighbors look down upon us, you have to study hard to be distinguished.” I followed her advice and studied hard and fulfilled my (or her) dream.  However, the success was based on distorted motivation.  I found myself end up caring too much about others’ opinions, and being very socially awkward.  Looking backward, I don’t even know what my mom’s theory “all our neighbors look down upon us” is based on.  Maybe she only wanted to motivate me.  My obedience to my mom helped my outward success, but also deteriorate my inner value.

Now that I am literate with one bachelor degree and three masters degrees under my belt, I should be responsible for myself, instead of complaining around.  I would like to cure every single wound inside.  I want to become a person with high self-esteem and lead a life with meaning.  Honestly speaking, I still don’t know how.  But at least, I have the courage to face up to my inner world, and write an article about it.   To me, this is a big step.

I am a mom of two lovely kids now.  I know the enormous influence of a mom upon their kids’ future lives, given myself as an example.  I understand the huge responsibility to educate my kids in the proper way.  Not a time I felt like treading on the thin ice,  and sometimes I got the feeling of helplessness.  I know myself well enough so when my kids perform short of my expectation, I would figure it out that, “even I myself is kinda messy inside, how can I impose high request on my kids?”  Secretly I am convicted that I shall elect example for my kids.

Self-improvement is a learning process.  Parenting can be learned too.  Thankfully, there are a lot of classic books on both subjects.   I am eager to devour them and apply them to my life.  Stay tuned!

09 | The little moment

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When:  07/10/14, Thursday.

Where: Chinese summer school.

Who:  Gege.

What:  Chinese summer school performance.

The kids sang and danced according to music.  I was surprised how many songs and dances they had learned in just several weeks.

Gege danced 3 times and did a nursery rhyme recitation.  I felt so proud of Gege because he performed confidently and did his best.

In the beginning when he just started the summer school, Gege was shy and didn’t talk much.  Now after several weeks, he made a huge progress.  He made a lot of friends.  He became cheerful and talkative.  He also learned a lot academically.  I felt so proud of him!

reflection

I got a serious diarrhea yesterday.  It took me one and a half day to completely get rid of the virus and be fully recovered.  There is nothing much to say about this sickness.  However, I was moved by my hubby’s good deeds.

Yesterday morning I struggled to drive to the office after sent Gege to school, hoping I would get better later.  As soon as I arrived at the office, I felt a sharp pain in the stomach.  Without turning on the PC, I went directly to the bathroom.  After vomiting and diarrhea for about 20 minutes, I called the hubby for suggestion.  He immediately decided to send me home.  On the way back home, I couldn’t even sit still but have to lay on the back seat.  That’s how sick I was.

As soon as we arrived home, I went to bed at once.  To avoid me to be dehydrated, Hubby immediately went out to buy pedialyte and drinks.  Before he went back to work, he put snacks beside the bed so I can fetch easily.  He even put the wireless phone on the bedside table so I could call him anytime.

I didn’t have any appetite to eat, so I skipped the noodle that hubby prepared for me as dinner.  In the midnight, I woke up with a severe headache.  The pain made me moaned a lot, which woken hubby.  I told him I want to have porridge.  Without a word, hubby got up and cooked me porridge.  How a wonderful hubby he is!

I tend to complain hubby sometimes because he spends too much time playing chess.  However, comparing all the good things he has done for me, his laziness isn’t something that I couldn’t put up with.  Besides, playing chess isn’t so bad as playing video games.  Next time when I have the intention to criticize him, I shall think twice of his goodness before talking.

 

Bible Reading | Deny the self

Galatians 2:20

 I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Subjectively experience life

Our old man has been crucified with Jesus.  This is an objective fact.  When we became Christians, we admitted and accepted this fact.  However, when it comes to subjectively experiencing life, there is much more to it.  When Lord was crucified, He solved the problems of our old man.  Since our old man has many facet, there are likewise many aspects of dealings in our experience.  We have to deal with soul life, flesh, temper, self, and the breaking the natural constitution.

The subjective experience of dealing with self is the Holy Spirit.  If we have seen the fact that our old man has been crucified, then in our daily living, whenever we discover our expressing of our own ideas and opinions, we must let the Holy Spirit work the death of the cross upon our ideas and opinions to put them to death.

Deny the self and live by Christ in spirit

We should live in spirit.  Galatians 2:20 says, “It is no longer I.” “I” is the self; “I” is the soul, and soul consists of three parts: mind, emotion, and will.  “No longer I” means no longer mind, emotion, and will; will but “Christ who lives in me.”  Christ lives in me, in my spirit, and we have to learn to deny the self and live by Christ in spirit.

 Giving up our natural life

Our old man, our life of soul has been crucified with Christ. We now have to take the Lord as our life.  We take the Lord in our spirit as our life.  This doesn’t mean, however, we’ll have to give up the faculties of our soul, but the life of the soul.  We’ll keep the faculties of our soul to be used by Lord in spirit.