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Monday, April 25, 2011

Independent or not?

How did you teach your son to be so independent?

This is one question many people asked me. Actually he's not yet "independent" in the real sense of the word. Well he does practise his piano without prompting, does his daily school assignments without needing any of us to sit down together with him, eats breakfast and prepares for school on his own every morning, packs his school bag by himself daily, washes his dishes after meal, helps with housework and babycare at times, and so on. But isn't that what a twelve-year-old boy is capable of doing?

I usually replied to this question that he was "forced" to be so independent by circumstance. Looking back, I think it started because I encountered a difficult pregnancy while he was in Primary One. Starting from around July that year, I barely had energy to do much and could only manage to take care of his basic needs, due to my condition. Worse, on Children's day, I was in hospital for an operation due to miscarriage. After that I had to do a "mini-confinement" for two weeks, as advised by the gynae. So for the whole second half of my son's Primary One education, he had to do whatever school assignments and revise for his exams, all on his own. Most of the time I could only "talk", eg asking: "have you done your homework?", "go do your revision now" etc. Guess he *had* to be independent because I couldn't "peer over his shoulders" or guide him in his studies most of the time. 

However I don't recommend "forcing" your child to be independent. Though I didn't do much physically, I tried to provide more in terms of emotional support. For example, praising him for every achievement no matter how small, explaining my situation so he cooperates with my efforts, involving him in the growth of the tiny foetus in me and so on. He was just as sad as us with the demise of a precious life. So I also had to support him by a simple explanation (our baby took the wrong "flight" or "boat" and has gone back, if it's meant to be, the baby will come again in future).

He's a rather sensible boy. Perhaps the feeling of love and security which I strived hard to provide, could also have helped him move towards an independent learning journey. When he was in Primary Three, I became pregnant again. She was born in December that year. Thus it's such a relief that he could take care of himself while I was so busy with the baby. (Friends also chipped in to help during that first few months. Many thanks to all of u:-))

I prepared him mentally before his sister's birth, that I could be totally focused on her needs for a few months. But once everything was more settled, I spent more time "talking" to him again. I enjoy sharing with him motivational stories, which I hope would encourage him in his every endeavour.

He's still a child and needs guidance and love, I try hard to be a parent who provides that. By being positive and building good habits myself, I hope to give him an example to emulate. I'm so proud of him for doing so well academically, but even more because he has developed into a young man that every mother would be proud of, in terms of personality and character. Oops can't help bragging a bit again huh? Haha, just taking my "daily dosage" of counting my blessings.

I believe that in the hearts of every parent, our child is a gem in many ways. We may get disappointed or angry at times, but we cherish them nonetheless. We may ask questions, but it is precisely these questions which show a deep love and concern for our kids.

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