PART 3

Putting responsibility in your child 
Have you allowed a 2 year old toddler to walk down the stairs on his own? Do you think you are capable of risking a potential fall?

Lee Chong Jian shared with us in the seminar. He asked his nephew:
“Do you think you can walk down the stairs on your own?”
“Yes”
“Alright, just walk down the stairs one step at a time like this,” he held his little hands and walked a few steps down. After that, he let go and told him he’s going back to the room but he went to observe from a corner.

The child hesitated. Lee came back and asked if he was sure he could do it. He replied yes again and Lee went to hide and observe. The child walked cautiously, and in the end, he made it.

As I listened to this story, I remembered my hubby letting my 2 year old toddler walked up the overhead bridge and down the overhead bridge step by step on his own. Partly because my toddler refused to hold his hands. If it were me, I would have carried him by force against his will and cross the overhead bridge anyhow. I could not bear to imagine how a trip of a foot would do to him. But my hubby let go and allowed him to walk alone. One thing different from Lee’s experience was Lee walked away from the toddler while my hubby was a step in front of him to anticipate a fall. Another difference was Lee’s experience was a home stairway while ours was a long concrete stairway. I would have fainted if my hubby were to walk away from my toddler. Letting him walk on his own without taking an adult’s hand was worrying enough.

Let go and give our children responsibility. But not without some basic rules.

Putting responsibility in our children is like imparting our children an important life skill.

Let your child experience negative emotions
We all grow up handling big and small responsibilities along the way. Being parents, we are naturally protective of our children and hence could not bear to see them make mistakes. We feel sadder than them when they have setbacks.

One day, when I discovered from my girl’s diary that her best friend had ignored her for some months and then decided to be BFF again a few months later, my heart went out for her and I was very sad. Deep down, I wanted to confront the best friend about it but of course it was an impulsive passing thought. I looked at my girl’s solemn eyes and asked how she felt about the cold shoulders. She told me that she would just wait for her BFF to “come back” to her and then with a twinkle in her eye, she added quickly,”She did! She’s always like this. Ignore me for some time and then come back to befriend me again.”

And I start wondering if this reaction will extend to BF (boyfriend).

I am not sure if her way of tackling this issue is a right one. She kept everything to herself all this while. One thing I am glad is that she was cool about it albeit feeling sad. She just quietly waited for her BFF to come back. She was not violent and did not attempt to make any form of retaliation. For this, I am proud of her way to manage her emotions. And I think the best thing I, as a mum can do is to let her deal with such situations on her own and give advice and support as and when needed.

If I do not let my children handle disappointment, sadness, anger and negative emotions, they will never be responsible for themselves.

If they do not learn the hard way, they will take everything for granted and never can appreciate life. They may end up expecting me to deal with all issues for them. I cannot rob them of their basic survival skills for they will fall even harder on a small setback.

I must not be afraid to let them experience negative emotions.

Allow your child to guide you through play

I once heard from an early childhood expert who shared that parents should let go and let toddlers lead the play. Rules are for older children who have reached the age of structured play and older children love rules to be put in place to ensure fairness and all.

And I find it can’t be any truer.

I start to observe Little YT play a simple toy. Many times he does not play the conventional way if left a new toy for him to play by himself.

And why should he follow the proper way of playing when he is at an age of curiosity and led by his own creativity?

Why should we even say,”No no… not this way… you should do this or that!” when he is still exploring the new toy?

I shall remember to let my toddler lead the play and appreciate his creativity until he needs my help and needs my guidance.

It’s again a “let go” mindset that I have to remind myself.

The basic rule for me is:

If my child wants to tread on unknown waters, I shall give him basic rules for safety and allow him to explore, experience and even allow him to fall.

What’s yours?

This post first appeared on Kids R Simple and is the 3rd and last post on “How to deal with children with behavioural problems” series and is what I gained from Lee Chong Jian’s talk. If you have missed the first post on Reach out to your child’s innermost emotions, and second post Put down your expectations on your child, click on the links in the words.

Every parent has their own set of teachings and what works for me may not work for you. However, I would love to hear what works for you and your parental experience! Share with me in the comments!