Let him fall where he may

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Despite our numerous differences, I'm so grateful that DaddyMoo and I share the same views when it comes to the things that matter. I cannot imagine how it would be like if we were to have diversified opinions on the best way to approach parenthood, as well as the multitude of challenges that come with it.

When BabyMoo was just cruising, we didn't hover around him, ready to catch him when he so much as wobbled. We kept a watchful eye within a reasonable distance, so that we can prevent any untoward accidents from happening, but at the same time, we give him his 'space'. We felt it best to do this so that he will develop a sense of courage, and have the confidence to overcome challenges on his own. 

He barely cruised, before he started to attempt to run. And run he did, with arms outstretched, because we taught him to walk safe. He fell, but knew how to break his fall using his two arms so that he wouldn't fall flat on his face. 

We let him fall. He cried piteously the first few times. We asked him to get up (when we know that it's just an attention seeking ploy) and sometimes offer our hands to help him up. All this while telling him to always watch where he's going, and to not run when the terrain and environment is challenging.

He has had his share of bumps and bruises. Even now, although he knows now not to complain to Mummy and Daddy when he obtained those because he didn't listen, or simply did what he was told not to.

During the few times he fell while playing with his cousins at extended family gatherings, the hubs and I have been 'admonished' by the older folk in our families for our seemingly 'care-less' attitude towards BabyMoo.

Now kids, being the smart little ones that they are, figure out very quickly who they can manipulate, when to do it, and the best way to milk it for all its worth. BabyMoo lapped up the attention from all the fussing, and screamed a little louder and cried a little more. He even did the grab an arm / leg / body part dramatics while scowling and yelling 'Ow! Ow! Oooowww!!' for effect.

Whereupon, the grandaunts will all descend on him, and fuss over his (non-existent) pain.

We were told off for not carrying him up or fussing over him when it happened. We only checked to see if he's ok, brush away the dirt, and let him go on at play, while telling him to save the dramatics because he would just be wasting his energy.

Even at shopping malls and in public places, when he falls, we usually tell him to get up on his own, and this has earned us many judgemental stares from well meaning strangers, who would perhaps be thinking that we are simply not worthy parents.

It's come to a point where we, ourselves, sometimes question our actions, but thankfully, we stay firm in what we believe works for our son.

We want to let him find his own way. There are certain things which we have to guide him on, and there are others whereby it will suit him best to learn through experience. BabyMoo is very headstrong, and a simple 'No, you should not do this!' (said in various tones and octaves) will not deter him from doing it. He needs to be educated about dangers, and lest you think that the style we adopt makes looking after him a cinch, that could not be farther from the truth. Due to his curious nature, we have to actually be extra vigilant, and even though we let him fall, we have to ensure that when we let him run about, these are at places where it's relatively safe.

It's the same concept when it comes to discipline. We let him make mistakes, and make sure that he learns from his mistakes. We tell him that it's okay to not be able to do things, even as he gets increasingly frustrated when he sees us able to do it with ease. The approach we realise works for him is different. It's not enough, in his instance, to be told to stop doing something because he's only two. While he tries and tries and tries, we encourage him (and sometimes help without him realising it), to assist him toward conquering the challenge. We do so, because we want him to feel that he IS able to do a lot of things, if only he tries.

It's okay to fail the first few times, and perseverance will justify the end results.

When faced with challenges or disciplinary issues, we don't tell him that this is the 'right' way, and 'wrong' way. We don't tell him that he should not do something because it's 'wrong'. Instead, we usually tell him that he should not do it because (the resulting effect) will not be good on somebody or something.

When he started throwing toys and objects around, we don't tell him that he should not do it because it's wrong. We told him that he might injure someone while doing so, and there are toys which are not meant to be thrown about. We then brought him to the park, where Daddy played ball and paper aeroplanes with him, while we take the opportunity to explain that there are certain toys which are made to be thrown, kicked and flown. He's never thrown his regular toys at home ever again from that day on, and will always ask to go out to play when he feels like kicking a ball about.

Children are reflective of their parents. I dare say that BabyMoo's personality is made up of a mishmash of both his parents' traits. We have realised this from very early on, and thus have adopted our parenting style to mirror what works best if we were in his shoes. Both the hubs and I don't respond very well to direct authority, and I am sensitive to a point that I am very aware of how intonations in every day verbal communications can convey different things.

We hope we are not strong contenders for being the worst parents there are. We let him fall where he may, because we don't want to overprotect him. We let him fall where he may, in order that he will learn through experience.

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  1. Great Job!
    This is what we do with DinoBoy too but I urge you to look at him as an example or guide and make sure you make any adjustment(s) to your teaching and guidance to BabyMoo to avoid walking down the same road as DinoBoy =)

  2. I agree with you, Regina. We are cool about letting the little ones fall and take a few knocks (where it's still deemed safe of course, not like walking on a window ledge or something).

    When they fall, we just say "it's okay, stand up". It's funny because the little one will have this automatic pre-crying grimace on his face, and when he hears the "it's okay", it will disappear. He will pick himself up and continue on his way. It's funny how they take our cue!

    Sorry if this is late, but I love your new blog look, btw. :)

  3. Same as June, we also taught our boy the same way~ my husband will tell him in a singsong voice~ 自己跌倒自己爬~ haha~ Love the new look too!

  4. Baby C really have great parents who give him the space to grow. I too feel that it is important for them to learn from their own experiences in life and get their own foothold.

  5. First time joining your linky. :)

    I like that you allow your child to fall and make mistakes. Life is not a bed of roses. I guess letting our kids fall and learn from their mistakes is a great way to equip them with resilience and life skills, something which I'm learning to do too...



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