I am so confused with this parenting advice: “gently firm” to encourage positive dicipline. How to be firm and gentle at the same time? I always end up with cruel firm or be gentle and forgot the rule. Because I see how consistency fruit is really good, I mostly choose to be firm. That decision gave a lot of crying, yelling and anger in my child.
Know what I do? I just let it be happened and wait until it’s over. When my mood is not good, I easily lost my logic and then anger control my word. I scream to him, give a hard look and grab him to do what I ask. Even worst if he did not do it, I threat him from minor punishment like took his toy, put him in bedroom alone, to major one like no TV, no Ipad, and no talking with me that day.
When the process is over, I usually fill with guilt. I felt I was the worst mom and it hurt my heart to see him cry out loud. The best thing I can do is to say sorry. I look at his eye, truly said sorry and tell him why I did that. Hopefully he did not repeat it next time.
I thought O, Jesus , It’s so hard to be a mom.
Is it what happened to you too?
I recently realized that the problem is emotion. I never see how emotion plays important role in human relationship. That emotion fully shown in unspoken word, through body language, face expression, and voice tone. It also happened with adult-child communication and relationship.
From birth to 2years old
A baby was given a great learning ability since he was born. He use his observation of his surrounding especially from another human near him and copy the one that he saw a lot. He is able to copy not only act, but also emotion that was shown in face, body language and voice tone. Oh yes, he is very good in detail observation. He keep all those data in his pre wired brain and practice to do them. When he manage to wired the right part of brain, he will show the copied act to the world. Some of act will need time to be mastered, like talking, walking, etc. The simple one like smile, will be shown in few weeks.
In his first 2 years, a baby seems to be very passive, shows only physical ability such as crawlimg, sit down, walking, grabbing, etc. He actually store more than that in his brain, his subconsious mind was fill with values that his parents showed. If his parents show him happiness, smile, care, all positive value will be his default character, and vice versa. However, it just has not seen yet from outside.
After the second year
After the second year, the baby start to express his choices, his feeling and his character. He showed what he learned all this time including copying how you’ve treat him. This when you see the result of the first two years of learning.
This period also called the terrible two. He is testing all possibilities and see how it goes. At this age, consistency is a must, otherwise, it will be more difficult to build discipline to him. But it will be more difficult to do, as I said before it should be “gently firm”
The missing link is emotion. Parents did not know that at this age, a child has owned feeling and emotion, but not very good at expressing it. Before you tell them what to do, you need to let them express his emotion first. Just like us, when we are angry, we wont able to use our logic and let the instinct work. By the time that emotion has been released, then you can talk and ask him to do anything.
To do that, of course, parents must have empathy. Feel what emotion your child felt and describe it.”you are sad? You are very upset because mama ask you to stop playing?” Just guess it. When you hit the right one, the child will say yes and start to calm down. At that time, it will be more easily for you to ask anything to him.
But there are time that the child do what hurt your feeling, and usually you will be angry and called him bad boy or other bad label. This is the time parents need emotion intelligence, realize what emotion they felt and express it by word so that they will not act based on anger (fight, fly or freeze)
When it happened, try to describe your feeling to the child. “I feel very upset if you yell to me like that. My ear hurt and I can not hear you.”I’ve tried it and surprisingly, my child showed his empathy and start to listen to me.
Is it true? Could you try it and comment if it is working or not?