Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Parenting & I-Ching IV

Another sharing by my graduated I-Ching student on his journey with his hair-tearing boy.

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Since I went into my facebook archives, I retrieved this more recent post:

Another parenting principle I have recently discovered in relation to teenage kids: Any improvement, however infinitesimal, is cause for celebration. And even if you don't agree, the kid thinks it's a big deal.

The good thing is, the positive feedback or affirmation, or whatever management drivel you want to call it, is like a snowball. It's like the proverbial virtuous cycle.

A positive compliment may (and yes, it may not) lead to more of the good stuff.

But you know, with teenagers, sometimes the snowball just goes haywire and rolls off a cliff. So, we just start again....

From the earlier Facebook post (April)

As my son hits teenage, I have realised that two parenting principles are paramount:

1) Lead by example
2) Have a good and rational reason for everything you want the teenager to do.

Nagging seldom works because I think those who nag have seldom actually done what they nag the teenager to do - homework, exercise, respect for others.

When you are in the trenches with the child / teenager and doing the same thing as he, what is his excuse not to follow your lead?

Teenagers desire their independence and freedom, so letting them come to their own conclusion after giving your reasoned views works with much less angst.

Of course, with teenagers and their emo side, no outcome is ever guaranteed.

But I will take those odds as they are, compared to screaming and yelling.

And the catch is that the parent needs to put in much more effort in leading and explaining, whereas just nagging and screaming, although futile, are ironically easier.

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Knowing him for 2 years, and seeing him growing through the stages, I've nothing but admiration for his diamond will.

Even when his health was in the dumps in the teenage years, he never fail to try different avenues to steer the body back on track.

Now, he's a Qigong, Taiji and Shaolin martial arts expert, and a part-time vegetarian. Part-time, because it's not easy to get vegetarian food everywhere, and he eats up whatever the family couldn't finish on the dining table.

If he's so proud as a person, he could have stick to his "principles" and not touch any meat.

But those who really know the Chinese arts + philosophies, principles can be bended for greater good, or the smallest evil; to different situations and people, for the sake of harmony, or the least harm to all.

This is then learning the true spirit of Chinese philosophies, and it's found in I-Ching (易经), Dao De Jing (道德经), Lie Zi (列子), Zhong Yong (中庸) etc.

We'd even exchanged pointers on Qigong in one of our lessons before, my meditation has gone into the more mystic realm of Qi activation and steering, not far off from his Qigong sect.

Recalling the days, it was fun discussing many things in our one-to-one lessons.

His boy was very very difficult, to the point that many parents will just give up or purely focus on the 不打不成器 way to coerce him straight.

But not everyone yield in this manner, especially the kids these days who are smarter and faster than many adults.

Or give up and lament that if the kid does wrong one day, let the law catch up with him.

This is the most depressing thought to have on your own flesh and blood, but I know that to a lot of people, this is the only way.

So this is why I'm sharing my student's experience to give some inspiration to all, on his difficult journey and his never say die attitude.

My dear friend in Melbourne, trains her toddlers even more hard-heartedly.

Once, her 2 year old boy forgot his socks to pre-school, and he was crying + begging to go home for it. This feisty mother says, "No. We're going to school now."

He never forget his socks again.

Another time, he forgot his undies before school, tears and begging came as well, and the same that mama replied, "You are responsible for your own stuff."

He was most embarrassed when his schoolmates asked why he's missing his undies when they were in toilet.

Are these people evil? Hard-hearted? Stubborn? Oh, they're just kids, come on!

Depends on how you look at it.

The boy doesn't forget his socks + undies ever again. Right, maybe once in a blue moon, but he's slowly learning what's responsibility and it's taking roots in his tiny baby growing brain.

And we must never ever forget = family is a society to young kids, how they're educated in this first society in their lives will stick to them forever.

The perceptions and mindset will follow them into adulthood, the real society at large. What they learn in their family will affect the society on the whole.

If we don't want to hear strangers calling your adult kids 没家教 or worse, into the bars by law, we have to be damn motivated to do the right things for them.

And activate your spouse on it too.

In 99% of the marriages, there'll be spouses in the opposing realms, if you are the strong one, you need to whip the spouse to be visionary enough on the repercussions of poor family education on the kids.

On what it would translate in future....Poor grades? Making bad friends? Get pregnant or cause another to be pregnant? Lazy and irresponsible? Irritable and hot tempered? Verbal diarrhea + sprout nonsense? Insensitive to others?

The list is endless.

Action, is more important than the easy way out = "Aiyah, they're just kids lah. Let up."

But by that, I'm not meaning torturing your kids' childhood. You need to know what are the essesntials, and what are not.

My Melbourne friend's kids absolutely adores her, if she's such a terrible tiger mom, they'd hide from her instead. No?