Positive parenting and sports

A month ago, Jia took part in a swimming competition. That was a first for her (joining a competition) and for me as a mom. Jia goes to a Montessori school and they don’t have grades, quiz bees, tests, and homeworks. They do not even have books and notebooks. So the concept of a competition was known to Jia only through her books. :) When Jia told me that her Coach was inviting her to join a competition, I very subtly encouraged her because I wanted her to experience the discipline of being in sports. I did not expect to learn so much as a positive parenting mom from that experience. Ang dami kong natutunan, feeling ko I grew so much as a parent. So am blogging the things I learned here.

But first things first, I have to just say that I do not believe in pressuring children unduly. They will get much more pressure than they would ever need as adults so I do not see any sense in pressuring them now. Oh, but just in case you are wondering, I am also definitely not a coddling parent. :)

Go with child-led activities

positive parenting - child led

I think every parent faces the very difficult task of finding the balance between pushing (like a tiger mom) and being chill (like an elephant mom). What I have learned though is it’s always better when activities are child-led and child-decided, or at least, perceived as child-decided. :)

Learning how to swim was a non-negotiable for us. Aside from swimming being an important life skill, all our kids have asthma so we really want them to learn how to swim. Two summers ago, I kept on asking Jia if she wanted to take swimming classes. She said no and so it was just Joya who took lessons. She eventually decided to take lessons (nakulitan na yata sa akin) but the whole cycle flew by and she did not even learn how to do freestyle.

Since then, whenever I brought up swimming classes, she would say no until, because of positive parenting, I just stopped bringing it up. Then last February, while we were in Potipot Island in Zambales, Jia said that she loved the water so much, she might as well learn how to swim. Hallelujah! Because it was her decision to take lessons, she took it seriously.

Set expectations

positive parenting - set expectations

Before we enrolled in a cycle (a cycle is composed of 12 days / 2 weeks), I talked to her (and Joya, who was also taking the class) about how it would be. Since the class was everyday and it would take a toll on their bodies, they needed to be extra conscious about their diet. I also stressed to them the importance of sleeping early because their swimming class was in the morning.

Ang galing nung effect nung conversation namin. Because I explained everything that was expected of them, we did not have a single problem. Because THEY decided to take the class, they meticulously followed our agreement (be more conscious about sleep and diet) and even though I knew there were times that they did not want to go to class, they still did.

Before that first cycle ended, I asked them if they wanted to enroll in the next cycle. I explained their options and what was expected of them should they continue with the classes. They both said no. I did not push them. I knew the classes were tiring. They decided instead to rest for two weeks and then enroll in the cycle after that. I was so proud of them; they were deciding for themselves and in positive parenting, this is super important.

Strike a deal! (And prepare to live up to your end of the bargain.)

positive parenting - deal

Three days into their second cycle, Jia came home one day saying that she did not have a good day because she was being transferred to a male coach the next day. Honestly, I was also not comfortable with the idea so I told her that we would talk to the Head Coach so she would not have to transfer. At mali ako dun, maling mali. I should have investigated and asked first (This is a cardinal rule in positive parenting.) and not be the typical enabler parent. :(

The next day, when we arrived, the Head Coach informed me that Jia was indeed being transferred to a male coach. Coach Roel (the Head Coach) explained that Jia was actually being promoted to the advanced group. Jia, however, vehemently refused to transfer. She probably even felt I betrayed her because I told her that she did not have to transfer. So while the clock was ticking (read as: yung oras namin sa swimming class ay nauubos), Jia and I talked. She was crying and I have to admit nase-stress ako na yung oras umaandar (sayang pera!). We probably talked for more than 15 minutes but I knew that she needed to do it on her own accord, so I consciously ignored the time. I knew that ordering her to get into the water will NOT work at all!

She was saying that she did not want to attend swimming classes anymore. I reminded her, in a kind and firm voice, that we already paid for the whole cycle and to not attend would be wasting money. By that time, I could see the Head Coach signalling to me that she could just stay with her current coach. It was the easy way out but I knew that I needed to convince Jia to go to the advanced class.

In the end, I struck a deal with her — she would try one class and if she did not like it, she was free to go back to her old coach . I did not have to cajole nor order her. It was a deal we both decided to go into. Thankfully, after the class, she told me she wanted to stay in the advanced lane. Had she decided to stay in her current class, I would have had no choice but to fulfill my end  of the bargain.

Be your child’s advocate… ALWAYS!

positive parenting - advocate

When Jia decided to try the advanced class, I explained to the Head Coach how uncomfortable Jia felt. I think it made all the difference because the Head Coach (with whom Jia was very comfortable with although he’s a male) watched out for her. I think the fact that I did not discount Jia’s feelings worked out really well. She felt validated.

Interestingly, Joya was also being asked to transfer to another coach during that time and he also did not want to. In his case, I knew his reason was because the new prospective coach had a tendency to raise his voice. Now, at our home, we do not condone shouting. In fact, one of Joya’s “favorite” issues to raise during our family meetings is shouting. He abhors shouting and absolutely hates being yelled at. (Well… who does?) The coach he was being transferred to would shout at his students. Some people might think that what I did was meddling but I would not want anyone to shout at my son (but I am sure you know how, in sports training, shouting at kids is just so common, it’s not a big deal anymore). So I talked to the Head Coach and said that I was aware that the new coach had the tendency to raise his voice but Joya would not like that. It worked! Joya was given to a soft-spoken coach instead. The transition was so easy!

Validate feelings (A very important positive parenting tool!)

positive parenting - validate feelings

I was very busy the week before the competition and was frequently out of the house. Exactly one week before, a Saturday, I got home at 10:00 p.m. and Jia was still awake. She said that she waited up for me because she needed to talk. When I lay down beside her, she confided how tired she was and how pressured she felt. She was crying and my heart was breaking. I could imagine how physically and mentally exhausting their training was. I could not even do two laps in their pool and she, my seven year old daughter who did not even like attending her PE class, was doing laps after laps. She was a little above one meter in height and was swimming possibly half a kilometer every training session.

I listened to her. At one point, she was trying to blame me for joining. She said that she knew I wanted her to join. I pointed out to her, very kindly, that although I wanted her to experience the discipline of being in sports, it was her decision and something she committed to. I did not tell her that others have it worse (something I might have done if  I were not a positive parent). I did not point out to her that other kids are more tired because they have to work. I did not cite other kid athletes. I did not tell her that she is blessed. I just listened and validated that what she was doing was indeed tiring.

Because I felt how exhausted she was, I started to doubt the wisdom of letting her join. I did not realize the toll it would take on her. I talked to my husband and told him I would have Jia take the next training days off. He agreed. The following day, our whole rested and just bonded at home.

The next day, Monday, I told Jia she could skip training but to my surprise, she refused. I realized that she was merely letting out steam and exhaustion. There I was, panicking, and I did not realize that what my daughter needed was just validation. She felt that she was listened to and that was enough.

Expect more from your kids

positive parenting - expect more

You know the expression “With high hopes but low expectations”? Well, I went to the competition with low hopes and low expectations. Jia’s classmates have been training much longer than she had. A few have trained for more than a year. Jia trained for a few weeks. I thought I was doing her a favor by not expecting her to win. After all, I felt like I already won since Jia was already benefitting from being in the sport. On hindsight, it was the worst thing that I did.

Because I did not expect her to win and I was just after the experience, I did not even clarify the mechanics. It was our first time in a swim meet and had NO idea what was happening. Jia was included in eight events. This is embarassing but I did not even know that she was just competing with other 7 year old girls; I thought she was competing with all girls 11 years old and below. The way I encouraged her seemed insincere. :(

In her heat, she would come out second or third and she was starting to lose hope. It was only after the sixth event that I talked to the Coach. He assured me that Jia was doing really well and was way exceeding his expectations. I was surprised! He explained to me how the whole thing goes. When I explained to Jia, she felt super motivated! When she felt better, she did better!

positive parenting - swimming
Jia got a Bronze in the 25 meter Freestyle event. This was the event after we talked.  When I expected more from her, she felt it and also expected more from herself. Ang galing! Positive parenting for the win!

I encouraged Jia to join the competition to learn from the experience. I ended up getting more from this experience than Jia did.

Post Signature

Positive parenting and spreading love

I realized that although I love, love, love positive parenting, I have not really blogged about it so much. So from now on, will do just that to spread more awareness about positive parenting. :)

I always say that hurt people hurt people but this is the first time I’m blogging about the opposite — those who feel loved spread love. :)

Positive Parenting Ph: Kids who feel loved spread love.

Two weeks ago, Jia felt jealous of an opportunity given to Joya. After I processed with her, I realized that I have not spent so much time with her in spite the fact that I have been bringing her to her writing class and have been supporting her in her swimming training. I resolved to fix that so we had a date last Wednesday (just the three of us – Jia, J, and me). That night, while we were out, J and I felt how much Jia basked in our attention. We felt guilty as we realized that we have not been as attuned to her the past few weeks.

Positive parenting special time: Jia, Mommy, and Daddy date

A few days after, Jia was feeling the pressure of a competition she was training for. Unfortunately, I was out the whole day. When I got home at 10:00pm, she was still awake, waiting up for me. We were able to talk and process her feelings. The day after, I made it a point to spend almost the whole day with the kids and during the family meeting, J and I apologized to them because we have not been as present to them as we should have been.

Through these, I think Jia’s love tank was filled (that’s my positive parenting talk for “she felt loved” which I got from How to Really Love Your Child by Ross Campbell).

One morning, a couple of days after, Joya woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Jia was reading a book and Joya tried to get it from her a couple of times. I did not interfere at first because that’s the rule at home (as much as possible, we do not interfere with the kids’ quarrels and issues).

The third time it happened, I asked for the book and asked calmly what was happening. I did not tell Joya he should not get the book. I also did not tell Jia that she should share. I asked them what was happening. Jia replied, “I think Kuya is cranky and that is why he keeps on getting my book.”

Have you ever experienced being in a bad mood but not fully realizing how bratty you were being until someone points it out? I have been in that situation a couple of times. And when Jia replied to me, I saw Joya’s face fill with understanding. It was as if he realized how unreasonable he was being because he was cranky.

What happened next was something I never would have expected. Instead of Jia whining about Joya’s mood or ignoring him, she turned to Joya and asked, “Would you like me to make you banana cookies?”

Joya was caught offguard. He came up to Jia and gave her a hug. Jia hugged him back. And then when they saw Iana watching them, they beckoned to her to come for a group sibling hug.

Positive parenting: Sibling group hug

Positive Parenting: Sibling love
I was beyond proud. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And yes, I wholly attribute this to positive parenting. :)

Post Signature

The real deal with Positive Parenting

A few months ago, I invited a friend to attend my Positive Discipline workshop. She told me straight out that she did not believe in positive parenting. I told her I respected her opinion and we just talked about parenting in general.

What she said, however, really puzzled me. As I was very passionate about positive parenting, I could not understand why people would not like it (Yeah, I know this is sooo one-track mind thinking! Hahaha!). One day, it just struck me, she probably did not believe in positive parenting because she, like many people, just associate positive parenting with no spanking and no yelling and babying your child for all eternity. And with the abundance of teeners and young adults these days who feel entitled and who are very dependent on their parents, the idea of raising a spoiled child is just unacceptable to anyone who wants to be a good parent. I finally understood where she was coming from.

So let me first put this out here.

Positive parenting quote

Positive parenting is NOT about not spanking and not hitting your child and giving your child everything. Positive parenting is about knowing your child deeply and being connected to your child. It is about making your child feel she belongs and that she is significant. It is about giving limits to your child, building an environment which promotes responsibility, encourages self-awareness, and basically grooms a child to be a productive member of society.

While the core of positive parenting is about connection, this post will tackle the “discipline” aspect of positive parenting to address common mistaken beliefs about it.

In a positive parenting home, a toddler who bumps a furniture will not be immediately scooped up by the parents. Parents who practice positive parenting will definitely not scold and hit the furniture and tell it that it was bad furniture for being where it was.
[Read more…]

Post Signature

How to have a great 2016 – Jia’s way

Jia is not familiar with the concept of New Year’s Resolutions but she showed me a list of her reminders for herself for 2016. It is such a great list! I think if we all just follow this list, we will have a great year and a great life!

2016reminders1

Reminders:

  • Write in diary daily
  • Do not whine
  • No TV
  • Hugs and kisses
  • Love people
  • Sleep early
  • Festivals daily
  • Daily dates
  • More education
  • Make nice remarks
  • Often go outside
  • Be-you-tiful!

♥ Write in diary daily ♥

Journaling is something I really need to practice daily. Writing down my thoughts calms me and gives me perspective. In fact, it has been found out that journaling increases the immune system and reduces asthma and RA symptoms. Amazing, right?

♥ Do not whine ♥

Yeah. Just do not.

♥ No TV ♥

One day last week, I explained to Jia how a dyslexic brain works. I explained to her that Joya, because of the possibilty that he has dyslexia, needs to learn how to focus. TV, however, messes up with his brain and makes it harder for him to focus. After that explanation, Jia never asked for the TV to be turned on again. My heart is bursting with pride.

And for the normal people… so many articles and survey say that rich people watch so much less TV than, you know, non-rich people. Haha! Well, I know that money is not everything but since I want to be rich, I should really stop watching TV (and Facebook!)! Hahaha!!

♥ Hugs and kisses ♥

Jia’s primary love languages are Words and Time. Touch probably falls on the bottom of her list. But ever since she learned that my love language is Touch, she has actually made an effort to hug me more and also to hug Joya more (whose love language also is Touch). Nakakatuwa siya talaga!

Beyond Jia…

Children have primary love languages and parents must do their part in filling the love tank of their kid using the latter’s love language (and not the parents’). A kid whose emotional tank/bucket/love tank (whatever way you call it) will thrive. I was a guidance counselor once and so many of my students did not feel their parents’ love. I am sure their parents loved them so much. But the disconnect arose from the differences in love languages.

As for couples, I have heard so many complain of their spouse when the latter does not do the things they deem to be proofs of love. “Hindi man lang ako mabigyan ng bulaklak o tsokolate!”. The problem with this thinking is that it does not take into consideration the partner’s love language. Yes, he may not shower you with gifts but maybe he is willing to drive you all to the way to Batangas and wait for you while you have fun with your friends. Then his love language is Service and not Gifts. It does not mean that he does love you; it just means you he shows love in a different way (and he probably also does not understand how you show your love to him).

Awareness and Communication (yes, with a capital C) are keys.

♥ Love people ♥

‘Nuff said. :)

♥ Sleep early ♥

More than getting the enough number of sleep every day, I urge my kids to sleep early. In fact, their bedtime is 7:00 p.m. Sleeping early has so many advantages  and sleeping late is even correlated with depressive symptoms (HERE and HERE). Just Google “sleeping early vs. sleeping late” and you will understand why sleeping early is the best way to go.

♥  Festivals daily ♥

At our home, a Festival is the time when we, the whole family, pretend play to be in a Festival. The two older kids prepare everything and then we sit down to “eat”. Last time, they even prepared a separate area with toys for Iana so she won’t disturb the whole Festival.

2016reminders2

I am so happy that the kids love spending time with us. I know that in a few years, they would prefer being with their friends more but for now, I am using this opportunity to build a good relationship with them.

♥  Daily dates ♥

I used to have daily dates with Jia but now we only have twice weekly dates because of her school schedule. We realized that if we fail to keep her weekly dates, she starts to act out. “Act out” for her means she starts being whiny, impatient, etc. I therefore conclude, one-on-one dates are non-negotiable!

♥  More education ♥

I know that learning is a lifelong thing but it’s just funny that this comes from a 7 year old. :)

♥  Make nice remarks ♥

Jia is a cerebral and yet highly emotional person. She is, she admits, very sensitive and because of this, she totally understands how it feels to be on the receiving end of not-nice remarks from her less sensitive classmates. And even when she is hurting from not-nice comments and I am teaching her how to stand up for herself, there are times she hesitates to assert herself because she is afraid she might hurt her friends.

Two weeks ago, in our family meeting, she told Joya that she was hurt when he (Joya) and their cousin, Uno, left Jia. Jia said she felt left out. We thought of ways to prevent that from happening again and true enough, the next time Uno was with the two of them, Joya made extra care to not make Jia feel left out. (Yey for family meetings!) Last week, Joya and I picked up Jia from school. Jia asked Joya to play with her and her classmates. While they were running towards the playground, I reminded Jia to not leave out Joya. She looked at me with surprise on her face and replied “Of course not! I already know how it feels to be left out. I won’t do that to others!”

So, yes, make nice remarks and just overall be a nice person.

♥ Often go outside ♥

Jia loves reading and as happy as I am with that, I encourage her to go outside and play. She… we… all need sunlight and to be with nature! :)

♥ Be-you-tiful! ♥

Oh yeah!  Be beautiful!

♥♥♥♥

Have a beautiful 2016!!

Post Signature

It’s worth it.

Blogging this to serve as my reminder that what I am doing is right.

Joya, Iana, and I were waiting for the elevator with another group of people who was waiting before us. When the elevator opened, I asked Joya to let the first group in. When we were all inside the elevator, an elderly Chinese woman said that I was raising him well. She talked to Joya and I was happy with how he answered her. The lady remarked how well-mannered Joya was. We got to talking and she asked me how I did it. Sabi ko lang, “Ganyan po siya talaga.” She asked if I was a stay-at-home mom. When I answered yes, she nodded and said “It’s worth it.”

Yeah, this is worth it. :)

What a good way to start the year!

kuyajoyaelev1

About the picture:

Joya, Iana, and I went in an elevator and Iana bumped her head on the corner of the frame. Joya took it upon himself to protect Iana from further mishaps. He spread his arms to block the frame and said he’s protecting Iana from bumping her head again. He did that during all the times we used the elevator that day (around 4 times). This boy just melts my heart.

Post Signature

Merry Christmas!

I truly believe that it is the most wonderful time of the year :) From our family to yours, Merry Christmas! We wish you wonder, bliss, and peace!

Christmas 2015

 

Post Signature

Growing as a parent

A couple of weeks ago, I was so frustrated and disappointed with something that Jia did that my tone with her was firm but not very kind. I was not angry, I told her, but I was just at my wit’s end at that moment.

She was not able to go to school that day because we had no available car, no taxi would accept us, and Uber had a 2x plus surge (the last time I accepted a 2x plus surge to her school, the fare was Php500+!). Because I was also not in a very good mood, I told her to just stay home instead.

Because I made it clear with her that I was not angry and I think she also felt that, she was not “rebelling” against me. She was also not cowering. She just did the things I asked her to do (wash the dishes, make her onion poultice which meant slicing the onions, and serve kiwis to her siblings which meant peeling and slicing the kiwis) the normal Jia way — with determination and happiness. If I were not so clouded by my frustration, the two of us in the kitchen would have been a wonderful experience.

2015-12-28 00.43.52

And then to make my mood worse, I discovered that the caramel I made for my banoffee pies melted and that made the pies collapse. Those were pies that I stayed up for to make until the wee hours of the morning. I was ready to cry. As I was panicking, Joya came to me and asked me to play with him, like I promised I would. I told him that Mommy was just facing so many problems that moment and that I was so sorry but I would not be able to play with him. He understood, kissed me, and went to his room to play by himself.

I called my husband to tell him about the pies and he assured me it was okay. He asked me how I was and I explained briefly the situation with Jia. He gave me some advice and reminded me to let Jia know that it was what she did that was not acceptable and not her. I knew that but I needed to hear the reminder. Still, after I put down the phone, I did not go to Jia as I was still just too emotional. Instead, I went on Facebook and checked my On This Day memories. My memory from last year was this.

blog1

I laughed and cringed at the thought of my beloved straws.

Scrolling down, I read this.

blog2

This was about the Sandy Hook shooting and it made me realize how incredibly blessed I am to have my kids with me. Those parents who lost their kids would probably give anything they have to have their children back.

Scrolling down some more, I saw this.

blog3

This was after my shockwave therapy. The period before that, when the doctors could not find out what was wrong with me even after so many tests, was the darkest of my life. The thought of dying did not bother me at all. The thought of leaving my kids was another story and that sent me bawling.

I realized then the pettiness of my issue with Jia. My behavior was in direct contrast to my mantra to always be life-giving. I called her and before I could even say anything, she apologized and hugged me. I apologized, too, and we talked about what happened.

I was ashamed at how I behaved but at the same time, was also proud of myself. Prior to discovering positive parenting, I might have screamed my head off. Instead, I was able to calmly process with Jia why her behavior was less than ideal.

I am proud at how my relationship with Jia has improved. We can actually have an argument or a differences of opinion without fighting and without her being afraid of me. She has confidence in my love for her and I am just so proud of that. I am confident that she knows that my love for her is greater than any frustration or disappointment or anger I might be feeling. For my part, I think I have made great strides in curbing my anger.  As I told one of my workshop participants (and something I always tell myself), no naughtiness or  bad behavior is worth a child’s loss of self-esteem

Parenting indeed shapes the parent, too. The lessons I learn along the way help me not just be a better parent but be a better person. :)

Post Signature