The Tween Years – How to talk to tweens

The Tween Years

As my kids grow up, I am gaining interesting experience by and by with each day. Someone told me the new teen years are between 10 to 21 years old. I prefer to refer the years of 8-12 as tween years when the kid is not so much a child anymore, yet not exactly qualify as a teen.

As a FTWM, I only have weekends and holidays to spend good bonding times with my children. It doesn’t have to be outdoors and excessive treats to MacDonald’s or spending on entrance fees to qualify as good bonding time. Many of our good bonding times are quiet times spent at home, so I realized. With the kids’ homework increasing by the level, sometimes they may even ask if our weekend programmes can be shortened so that they can have enough time to finish their homework. The first time my girl requests for homework time, I was pretty shocked and reminded myself that I need to plan around their schedule and cut down blog events or be more selective in our weekend places to go. Kids are growing up fast. At this stage, they need more down time and private time to do their own stuff. That indoor playground or art museum may not be their thing anymore. I need to be sensitive to their growing up preferences. Continue reading

Train the kids to handle failure? Let them be raised by the Dad

A few weeks back, I attended a parenting talk by David Seah, Family Life Educator and Counsellor, engaged by my kids’ school for parents. The topic was on IQ, EQ and AQ. I really took away some very interesting points that made me think hard about our parenting style at home. He said,”If you want your kids to have adversity quotient (the ability to deal with failures), let them be raised by the father.”

Before you go all out to protest against this seemingly racist statement like how we mothers felt at the talk initially, you must give a chance for the humorous speaker to make his stand.

1) Mothers are protective by nature

Have you seen mothers throw up babies in the air for fun? Usually the image of fathers doing it will surface when you think of it. In fact, we mothers are good in churning out academics due to the fact that we are competitive by nature. Think of how we react to exam results vs the fathers. Once the child comes back with less than 100 marks, mothers’ first reaction is probably to furiously flip through the pages and scrutinize those questions with marks deductions and then do a fast calculation and conclude that without such CARELESS MISTAKES, the child could have gotten so and so marks. So well-observed and that’s ahem saying about me too…

When our child runs or cycles or moves at fast speed, or any actions that risk falling on the pavement, we are the ones who shouted instructions from behind like “Watch out for the pillar!”, “Beware of that little dog’s tail in front!” Fathers are rarely the ones who shouted warnings or maybe they do, under their breath. But you get it, the Fathers are usually the cool ones. They are less inclined to fret over small injuries. Similarly, kids’ cry harder when they see Mothers rushing to their aid than when they see Fathers strolling towards them.

2) Fathers are natural risk-takers

Get Dad to be involved more if you wish to instill some toughness and the ability to handle adversity in your child.

I guess this is hard for mothers like me to teach adversity toughness. When I saw how my son at the age of 1.5yo, my hubby allowed him to walk up and down the overhead bridge by himself with him being an arm’s length away, I almost freaked out but decided to cross my finger and watched in fear. I trust my hubby to be taking controlled and supervised risk but I definitely would not risk it myself. I am often been chastised for doing too much for the kids. Hence, I certainly agree that with the Dad around, Continue reading

Raising Girls – Determination does pay off

My Missy 11 is not afraid or shy to meet her kindy teachers anymore. For 5 long years, she had refused to return to visit her childcare teachers while her brother visited them yearly. When I coaxed her to visit her teachers the first year she left the childcare centre, she shook her head and kept saying no, never providing a reason. I gathered she might be feeling shy.

While this may seem nothing much, it actually brings me to pause for a moment to think about how this little girl has gradually changed so much over the turbulent years. You might ask me what turbulent years when we are talking about pre-teen stage. Oh, if you do ask this question, then chances are that you might belong to the category of having kids below 7yo.

Recently, I met a 13yo sister of my son’s classmate who followed her mum around the guests when her mum hosted a playdate in her house. I was pretty impressed that at a tender age of 13, she was learning the ropes of mingling with adult guests. She stood confidently beside her mum and showed interest in our conversation. When we spoke to her, she looked into our eyes. Such confidence and good social etiquette, I thought to myself. Most kids this age would have shut themselves up in their room and immersed in technology. Most kids would have avoided your eyes when they speak. Yet, this girl bothered to spend her weekend afternoon to talk to adults. I marvelled to her mum on my observation. If only my children would grow up to be like her with a good set of social skills. Her mum whispered back,”She wasn’t like this just a year ago,” and winked at me. Now it is beginning to make some sense.

For those who have daughters especially, may face similar growing up pains that I encounter with my Missy. As a girl, she is fast in all her development from baby to toddler to 7yo to 9yo to now. The fast development includes talking back at early years, lying, being rude, confused and struggling to find an identity like a teen, except she is not yet officially a teen now.

I must say after all these years of handling these disciplinary challenges Continue reading

To give or not to give – smartphone

Steve Jobs’ invention of the iPhone is probably the number one devilish invention in this modern day in my own opinion. I love it and I hate it. But the hate factor is much higher than the love factor. I love it because it helps to move the world so much faster in terms of news outreach. It rekindles long lost friendships. It helps people to stay in touch with family and friends. It provides entertainment to young and old. It saves time for people on the go answering mails, tabulating spreadsheets and reading up news. It boosts sales, boosts blogs, and it even plays a big part in rallies for international support for humanity cases, swayed voters in presidential elections. It also replaces the need for another gadget- the camera, to pack in the bag, serves as a calculator, etc etc etc.

But with it, comes many problems that I hate to deal with and many social ills too. While it gives a chance of socializing on the go via apps, it inhibits human face to face interaction. It causes compulsive disorder Continue reading

Don’t judge the way I raise my children

I am not in a competition on raising children.

I believe everyone has his or her own way in raising theirs, but there are so many times when I am judged at how I raised up my children that I think this ‘judgement’ deserves a blog post here.

I often received raised eyebrows when people know that I let my baby sleep in a sarong cradle. Some were surprised that I give pacifiers to my babies almost betting that I would have trouble weaning them off it. People judged when they saw that I feed my toddler on the go. Others gave disapproving look when they sighted my kids playing on tablets or smartphones. Many criticized when they see my kids’ overactive behaviour. And this will almost certainly set you off laughing: I let my children use the milk bottle for as long as they like.

You may disapprove some of the ways I deal with my children. But I believe that I am bringing them up well.

Why “no sarong rule”?

What is wrong with children sleeping in a sarong cradle? Some said that it will cause over-dependence on sleeping in one and “spoil” the baby. All my 3 children grew up sleeping in one and up till 3 years of age during nap time. They slept on the bed from 6 months old for night sleep. The sarong cradle is an amazing piece of cloth that once hung onto the sarong cradle metal frame, creates a hugging sensation to the baby who tends to sleep well in it. The rocking motion of sarong cradle is very soothing to the child, mimicking the feeling in mummy’s womb. And from my 3 times experience, my child can sleep anywhere with or without sarong cradle. I do not have problem getting them to sleep on the bed either. So why the insistence of no sarong rule?

Pacifier is better than thumb

When my children were babies and started to suck on their thumbs, my mum gave me a very good advice to use the pacifier. Continue reading