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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Baby Trusts Me

The previous post talks about teaching my baby some etiquettes & attitudes which I hoped would set the stage for future education & discipline. (Of course there're more which I'll share in the near future.)

Well, did that result in him resenting our code of expected behaviours? Did that make him an unhappy baby who felt restricted in everything he did? Did he become rebellious? On the contrary, a baby naturally trusts & relies on his care-provider. We never used a cane to discipline him. In fact, we never bought one.

I hoped he would learn positively and not be frightened or threatened into doing "correct" things. I reckoned I wouldn't need to punish him severely just for harmless mistakes (who doesn't make mistakes?). Of course I have no qualms about punishing him if he made a grave mistake or was purposefully defiant. The bottomline? The act of punishment is to convey the message that he is wrong, not to vent my anger or frustrations.

What do I do if I really become angry? As much as possible, I try to refrain from talking or taking any action until I'm calm enough to handle the situation. After the incidence I would reflect on why I was angry. Was I overly protective? Was I unduly worried? Was my expectation unrealistic? Did I feel helpless? It usually boils down to the fact that I love him. This is sufficient to reassure me that no matter what happened, my intention was good though the results might not have turned out favourable. Next I ask myself: Can I do it better next time? So even though both of us made mistakes on the way, they strengthened our mother-and-child bond and left fond memories of us growing up *together* in the process.

I believe loving him means giving him what he needs, not what he wants. My child has to learn to trust me and accept that he is part of our family. He has to behave accordingly and not just copy the behaviours of other people. Of course, he was encouraged for good behaviours. But the key was not in punishing him *after* he did wrong, but in avoiding possible undesirable behaviours *before* they happened, thus reducing the possibility of conflict & clashes. (Prevention is better than cure.) This required an understanding of my baby's nature & his stage of development, and believe me, most of a young baby's actions can be anticipated & accidents prevented.

For instance, I kept all dangerous objects out of sight. To a young baby, out of sight means out of mind. I also kept things which I didn't want him to touch out of his reach. His play area & surroundings have to be carefully planned & scrutinized for safety. If I failed to notice in advance and something unsuitable caught his eyes & interest, what could I expect? If I were to remove it by force, resistance and tantrums were likely to follow right? However a young baby is easily distracted. So instead of just telling him "no", I quickly substituted it with some other toys or activities. Whew! No wrestling, no crying. Happy baby, happy mummy.

However there were still "accidents". For example, once I caught him climbing up onto the window grilles by first climbing up on the sofa then using that as a "stepping stone". Of course I warned him sternly against doing that in future. There was no danger of him falling out of that window because the grilles were locked all the time. Nonetheless it's dangerous to climb so high and definitely not a "proper" or acceptable behaviour. I have no intention of training him to be a spiderman either. But whose mistake was it? Mine! I had not prevented this incidence because I lacked the foresight that he was going to climb at his age & stage of development. Did he ever do that again? No. Not because he understood the danger & my worries of him getting hurt (though I do believe he understood somewhat). Why? Because I moved the sofa away from the window!

On hindsight, I think I developed a sense of authority & confidence which evolved from my natural love for him as a mother. I love him. I do what's best for him. I believe he could sense it. So even when there were times that I had to stop him from doing something he liked, it was acceptable to him. Or when there were times that I wanted him to do something he wasn't comfortable with, he obliged. He trusts me.

What more can I ask for? What should I do next? The answer inevitably lies in improving myself. That is the first step towards bringing up a child who is strong & upright. I have to make sure I deserve this immense trust from a tiny being, whose life is so fully dependent on me.

2 comments:

Ropheka said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR :)

Kia Li said...

Thanks for visiting, ropheka, Happy New Year to you too :-)

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