Sep 21, 2009

A mom's greatest challenge

motherhood, book on discipline

Perhaps the greatest challenge that moms, and all parents, face is how to raise their children well, effectively  and equitably instilling discipline to them, while maintaining their poise, without exploding. For someone whose patience is as short as my, I don't know, eyelashes, I do consider this part of the job the toughest. I'm a mom to  two boys, one is a relatively calm, quite passive eight-year old and at the opposite end, an explosive, hyperactive four-year old. The hubby's away and I, a working mom, am basically handling all the things around here for now.

Among the things that I deal with on a daily basis is how to teach the younger one how to respect another's property, to not always grab whatever toy or book his brother is already holding, and to not scream when he could not have his way. The younger one is way too playful, a very rough player, and he doesn't seem to realize others could be hurt. The older one gets frustrated most of the time. He's  mostly torn between trying to play along with his brother and getting his share of playing with the toys he wants. And  I can always sense that he's keeping these frustrations all to himself and it's not at all healthy.  Teaching him to deal with that is another challenge.

The TV. Yes, it's the thing (besides when they're asleep) that can give my kids and the entire household a few hours of precious silence we all yearn during the day. Its great that the two share common interests on this part. But since I am cutting down their hours in front of the TV, this diversion is quite temporary.

And then, there's dividing my attention between attending to the needs of my busy grade-schooler and to the ramblings of my pre-schooler who always seems to try hard to get my attention when I'm helping his older brother with his homeworks. At bed time, the conversation gets a little noisy as they both want me to read  their favorite books. I don't know if this bothers me more than the guilt  that I feel whenever my older son tries to just sleep all by himself because I'm busy reading to his brother. At times like this, I  turn to the other members of our household, like my mother-in-law or my niece who lives with us, for help. And thank God they've been really helpful.

The peer pressure at school is another issue at hand. My son who's in an all-boys school is recently having difficulty expressing his feelings in a nice tone and is beginning to show a temper. Sometimes I'd hear words that really turns my head around and when I'd ask him where he got those words, he'd tell me their from fellow students, mostly higher grades, or those from the school bus service themselves. So I'd call the bus service and raise the issue. Although I pretty understand these are inevitable and sooner or later they'll be getting more of these in the outside world, I'd like my sons to learn these one at a time so  that I also have ample time to prepare for them.

And so on and so forth etc... I can go on and on with more stories. But the thing is - everyday is a challenge. I admit that most of the time, I can't maintain my poise, it's not easy to be cool. But then everyday I try harder and harder. It's great that I get a lot of support from other members of our household. They provide tremendous help in doing  the difficult tasks. Regular meetings with the concerned teachers and regular communication with the kids are also secret weapons. The interaction and communication is vital into nurturing the kids' intellectual, emotional and social growth. I make it a must to be the one to take my preschooler to school at least 2 times a week so there's frequent face to face communication with the teacher. And I'm always there to assist my grade-schooler every morning at breakfast before he goes to school. That's the time when we talk about who's bullying who in school. It's a great time to do the check and balance with the kid's emotional and social whereabouts.  As for my younger one, I've realized that I myself need to be physically fit because it's not very easy to play along such energy when I myself is not that physically active a person.

Being a mom is an endless learning experience. I'm having difficulties yes, but enjoying every moment of it, especially when they race to hug and kiss me when they see me at the doorstep in the evening.

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