Friday, March 21, 2014


When it comes to parenting, nothing seems to work.

Or is it just me?

Many years ago, in my idealistic youth, I first heard about "positive parenting", which is using positive instructions to direct your kids. For instance, instead of saying "Don't run", you say "Please walk".
It made total sense to me. After all, humans tend to rebel, defy, break rules. So the kid is more likely to run if you forbid him from running, rather than if you don't say anything.


In my situation, vain as I spent years to learn using positive words, it doesn't work.

You see, my son, whom I sometimes believe to have ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disoder -yep, looks like they have a name for every childhood mischief nowadays), has the tendency to test his limits.
I have painfully learned that when set properly, limits are VERY healthy for the special kid that my son is, and surely life-saving, and sanity-saving (for our part, the parents).
So, I applied the positive parenting into setting my boy's limit. For example: when we were in the parking lot, instead of saying "Don't run, keep away from car lanes.", I say "Please walk, stay on the sidewalk."
Sounds good, huh? Made me feel like an award-winning, honorary Mom just saying those words.

Until his cute little smarty brain began its adventure: let's see how close I can get to the final frontier, while not crossing the line. Or maybe even go just a teeny bit over it....
"Like this, Mom? Look, I'm fast walking..." whilst starting to forget to stay on the sidewalk. Of course striding was so much fun and he couldn't think of anything else for the moment.
Being a patient, honorary Mom, I replied calmly, "I said walk, not that fast, you're almost running. And stay on the sidewalk."
"Oh. Like this, Mom?"
"That's right for staying on the sidewalk. Let's go a little faster, it's very hot." Because he was tiptoeing sloooowwwly, like a scene in an episode of Diego. Mom's patience is now rather thin, her honorary title fading away.
"Look, Mom, I can balance along the edge" (of the sidewalk), staggering a little too close to a passing car. I know his visual-spatial sense is challenged, but under the hot, scorching sun, with a little low glucose level, Mommy's patience is now dangerously thin. That fine line between her eyebrows, which isn't so fine anymore nowadays, got far more visible. "Stop it! Just stay away from the car lane!"
Shortly afterwards, he started hopping, bouncing, jumping, while trying to remember the difference between all three, like miss taught in english class. "Hopping... like a kangaroo... Jumping... like this..."
"You're bouncing, like a ball. Jumping is like this..." Mom digressed, showed him what jumping was. Then she came to her senses, and got more upset from shame. No more fine line between her eyebrows, one can now swim in its deep pit. The honorary title and patience eloped mercilessly.

Do you see my point?

I should have just said the freakin "Don't run, stay away from car lanes" in the first place.
That, on good days, might just feed his pride of coming up with the idea to walk, nice and normally, on the sidewalk.
On bad days, he would run anyway. Then I would use my stern, controlling, dishonorable Mom tone that make everyone within 100 m winch in despise, to try and make him not run, especially not to the car lanes.
On bad but lucky days, he'd come to his senses right away after one reminder.
On bad unlucky days, he'd soon forget and run again, and it'd take another rebuke to set him right.
On really bad days, words don't matter, a good pinch on the buttock could sometimes do the trick. Even I wonder why, but a bit of pain always seem to knock some sense into him. Ha! I guess just lost every possible award from admitting to conduct corporal punishment. Even so, I insist I deserve a trophy for not becoming an abusive Mom (yet).

See? Told you nothing seems to work.

Oh, your kid isn't like mine? Let's hope it lasts ;p

So my (rather sensible) conclusion is:

We can only do so much when it comes to good parenting. Too many factors play along, most of which are totally out of our hands. 
But nothing is out of God's hands. He can turn good into bad or bad into good, all in His sovereignty and infinite wisdom. 
Our children are His. Invisible as it may seem, He is working in and through our children. Molding them and shaping them, also us, the parents. 
We make many mistakes, but He doesn't make any mistake. 
While nothing from us seem to work, everything from Him work wonders.

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