Moms, what makes kids tick?

I have a compulsion to write on this topic today because my usually sensitive, loving son of 7 (or 6 years old as he claims since he’s a year-end baby and we only kind of just started 2019), did not turn back to give me multiple byes and butterfly kisses at the school gate this morning. πŸ˜” He was a little grouchy because his school bag was heavier than usual and he insisted that I “just take out one of the books inside”, which I obviously wouldn’t do so because we had already packed according to his school timetable and it doesn’t make sense to deliberately not bring stuff when you know you are supposed to bring, right?

Anyway, I went home feeling a little dejected (see where that sensitive soul of his came from. Lol!), but I tried to be rational about things and sort out my emotions by practising what I usually preach – shift my perspective, shift my perspective. I didn’t exactly did a mental flip laterally but figured how I could have done better to bring up good moments rather than grouchy vibes. Here are 3 things that never fail to trigger some of the best moments for us:

1. Humour

I love, love, love to use humour these days, loads of it that I suspect I might have gone overboard occasionally. Opps! But truth be told, kids love such things! I can’t say for sure for all adults because you know, adults sometimes do adult things like being serious and boring. But kids, they do kid things all the time like laughing!

And I love, love, love it when us as Mommies throw a little curveball just to jibe them. Take an example, my sister, who has a 3 year old boy. According to her, little nephew likes to deliberately wear his shoes the wrong way round just so that she would correct him and say, “NO, WRONG!”. And on cue, he would start laughing away because he had managed to irk her. She thinks it’s pretty annoying (in a good way of course) but I think it’s funny! And so I threw her a challenge just to up the game – if it happens again, instead of a “NO, WRONG!”, Sis should really say, “OK, LET’S GO!”.

I’d love to see the look of surprise and confusion all rolled into that one cute face of little nephew. And I suspect that should throw up some giggles from him and then never again pulling a quick one on his mom. Win-win! 😁

2. Kindness

The thing about being human is that we sometimes have our “human nature” that bugs us. We get impatient, snappy, nasty and then say the worst things that obviously don’t help in any situation at all. And kids, they clearly have great powers in summoning our “human nature” more often than not. They whine, sulk, retort, bargain for reasons unbeknownst to Mommies and Daddies, which basically just make things worse.

But I found out a trick or two about taming little tantrums sometime back. I’m not trying to preach but the trick is in using keywords that work like magic in various trying situations like:

  • When kid cries because he/she feels overwhelmed/powerless – say “Okay, Mommy knows …”
  • When kid acts up in front of homework – say, “I am here to help you …”
  • When kid whines – say “I know you are tired …”

Clearly, it’s about giving them the idea that you know exactly what they are going through and here to help even if sometimes you really don’t why and don’t feel up to it. In getting a headway with kids, isn’t it intuitive to show them some kindness and let them see you as a pillar of support, a cheerleader, a guide rather than a micro-manager?

See kids as people, not projects.

3. Role reversal

I was told years ago that when kids act up, we put them in a corner and give them a “timeout”. When I was a kid myself, teachers used to call this the “naughty corner” and only the most atrocious-behaving kid got banished to this space. When I became a parent, things got a bit more civilised and I started hearing people term it as the “thinking corner”, hoping to diminish the stigma of being thrown to some metaphorical far-flung land for misbehaviour, although honestly, they are all but the same thing.

Being a first-time mom some years back, I was also told to administer “timeout” if I wanted to discipline my daughter, then in her terrible-twos. To be fair, I tried but once. I know I am no parenting guru but I knew what I felt and it sucked quite badly to chuck my bawling kid aside and demand that she stayed put.

What for, right?

If you were to ask me, I think what works better is a role reversal sort of thing. And so I gave myself a timeout this evening when my son refused to cooperate to go through words for a Spelling test tomorrow at school. It’s really infuriating when things like this happen especially when I sacrificed my TV time for a tussle?! Makes no sense.

It must be something that shocks the kid’s brain when Mommy decides to disappear, but anyhow, I timed myself out for a minute or 2 only for obvious reasons before popping back to check on sonny to see if he was ready to get cracking. Good thing he was.

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