Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Answers to Questions
Mama Jama asked me some direct questions and I'd like to answer them. She wrote:
You are a super mom - how do you do it?
I respect your desire not to go into details of misbehaving and discipline issues, but I would really love to get more insights on your discipline approach and consequences.
And importantly - do you speak Chinese? I assume you do or you would not be able to communicate and discipline in the early weeks.
Thank you, I do feel like SuperMom! My faith gets me through anything! With my entire soul, I know that God helps me most when I'm doing His work. He wouldn't ask anything of me unless He was going to help me do it. Prayer is one of my most valuable tools. I have been blessed with a TON of energy. I've always worked with kids so a lot comes easy for me due to experience. I forgive myself for my mistakes, ask my children to forgive me, and move on. Being able to switch gears is super crucial. What works one day might not work the next, so have the next trick ready to pull out of your hat.
I speak some very basic Mandarin, about 50 words and/or phrases and I'm learning more every day. When speaking English, I try to limit my vocabulary and use the same words and phrases every day so my girls get used to hearing certain things. I use an online electronic translator every day, too, and have some Chinese friends I can call on for serious things.
Remember, verbal communication is only one form of communication. Body language, context, and gesturing are just as crucial. For example, how does a mother care for her infant, who is pre-verbal? Pointing goes very far, so does an emphatic "No" or "Bu" which is the Chinese word for no. Kids only need to hear something a few times before they pick up on it.
Discipline is hard because whatever I do, I want my daugher's to feel loved. The single most important thing is to be CONSISTANT and always follow through. If you say they are going to lose TV for a week, then stick to it. Otherwise, you're lying and you lose their respect. Don't say it if you don't mean it.
Establish yourself as the parent right from the start! Don't be afraid! You know so much more than they do. They don't love you yet, so you can't lose their love. Sometimes this does mean physically moving your child, with or without their cooporatation. This can be very unpleasant and confrontational, but you need to be the adult, the PARENT, and do what you think is best for your child. If you've done your homework and had good classes, you know the difference between Time In and Time Out. Time in is working great for Blossom right now. Don't be afraid of Time Outs either, using all your knowledge of attachment and bonding, though. If you have a child who prefers to be alone in order to avoid you, then Time Outs can hinder bonding, make it a Time In instead.
Meet THEIR needs, not the needs you think they need met. I mean this on all fronts. They need so much sleep, so get them in bed early! Feed them good food, not fast food. Keep their world very tiny, even if you are going stir crazy. It won't last forever.
Give them chores right away, within reason. My girls must empty the little trash can in their bedroom, get all their laundry into the basket the right way, wash their cups after meals, set and clear the table, keep their toys picked up. They also sort the utensils and put them away after the dishwasher is finished. We also do yard work together.
I'm pretty frank about money. I will say to them, "Don't use a lot of toothpaste, it costs money." "Don't turn the faucet on full-blast or waste water because it costs money." If something costs a lot of money, I say so, likewise if something isn't expensive. Therefore, if they abuse a toy, I take it away.
So, here's a good place to mention the learning process...
My girls didn't come into my home knowing all our rules. They had to learn them. So, in the beginning, I teach them and/or correct them a few times to make sure they understatnd the rule. After that, when they break the rule, they get a consequence. Make consequences resonable, but firm. Make sure they know what the consquence is.I give a warning or two, but that's it. After that, the clock is ticking and they need to obey me.
Ask for help whenever you need it! This isn't a contest. Last Saturday I hired my friend's teen daughter to keep the girls occupied while I worked around the house, hanging more towell bars, etc... I've also got a friend bringing us dinner tomorrow night. We need a night where dinner magically appears so that, after dinner, we have some family down-time, reading, dancing, singing, etc...