Parenting

Avoiding Negative Labels

By March 3, 2019 No Comments

Yet another weekend has passed where I experienced highs and lows in parenting. One day seem to pass so beautifully, and yet, another day can just go by in a flash where I am just overflowing with negativity. It’s conversations like these that get me down…

“Pick up after your mess… if you don’t do it by the time I get back to this room, you’ll get a smack!”
“Do your homework. Stop fooling around and purposely making mistakes.”
“Brush your teeth now. Are you even listening? Why are you so stubborn?”
“Aleeeexxxxx….. help him with his homework before I kill someone!”
“Why are you so mischievous?”

Usually I end up feeling so lousy inside and really angry. Small human beings are impossible to control and being the control freak that I am, it frustrates me to no end when I do not have compliant kids. As I hear myself speak, deep down, I know that my methods are not the right way to bring about the behaviour that I desire.

I have never heard of anyone saying their mother’s nagging improved their self-esteem and made a huge positive difference in their lives.

Worse still, I am perpetuating my child’s negative behaviour by labelling him or her through my words.

At times like these, I have to stop myself from spiralling downward in my own negativity by labelling myself as a lousy mother. As I scramble to find ways to help myself, I pray, read, journal my thoughts and pray again.

Some helpful tips I read from “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

  1. Look for opportunities to show the child a new picture of himself or herself.
    “You wanted to do more pages of your homework even though you didn’t need to! You are so hardworking.” (instead of being lazy)
  2. Put children in situations where they can see themselves differently.
    “I am going to clean the room. Could you ensure that all my plants have been watered properly?” (instead of labelling them as irresponsible)
  3. Let children overhear you say something positive about them.
    “Wow, grandma, look, your grandson performed so bravely in his school concert in front of so many people. It must have been scary, but he did it!” (instead of saying he is always timid)
  4. Model the behaviour you would like to see
    “I dread cleaning up the toy room. It’s a mess. I know. Let’s tackle one cupboard at a time so that we will not feel overwhelmed.” (instead of labelling the child as always being disorganized)
  5. Be a storehouse for your child’s special moments
    “Last week, you helped to keep your sister’s shoes in the cupboard and even offered to bring her school bag in from the car. That was really thoughtful of you.” (instead of saying he/she is selfish)
  6. When your child behaves according to the old label, state your feelings and/or your expectations
    “I do not like seeing new toys thrown on the floor and stepped all over. I expect you to pick it up and put it back into the box once you are done with it.” (instead of calling him/her destructive)

As a parent, it takes me great restraint from yelling, “There you go again!” whenever my child does something wrong. It takes great will power on my end to break my own bad habits. It also takes a lot of practice to keep on doing the right things over and over again. I can do this. I can raise positive, well-mannered and balanced children.

You are not alone either.

Let’s build a positive support system for each other so that we will not have to struggle alone.

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