The Relationship Blog
The Relation Ship!
Hello World! You can tell this is my first ever blog! Bear with me!
The other day, I sat (or was I standing? Hmmmm, I digress!) thinking to myself, this entire world is based on relationships! Within the animal and human world, the flora and fauna, even among the animate and inanimate objects! The wind is in a relationship with the sand! It determines how fast and how far the sand will blow! My mind is boggled at the vast array of relationships that exist!
(Note: I ponder on stuff…a lot! Even when I don’t really want to…)
This got me wondering about how the world revolves around relationships. These relationships fall into two distinct categories (in my opinion). They are either symbiotic (mutually beneficial) or parasitic. Then I thought further, what category do I fall under in all the relationships I am involved in? As a son/daughter, brother/sister, friend, student, husband/wife, father/mother, business partner, mentor?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we are not as equipped as we should be to make a success of our relationships. (Divorce rates, estranged siblings, business fraud, global warming! etc)
I don’t claim to be an expert and I freely state that the opinions expressed here are just that, opinions!
And so we begin.
Here’s to a symbiotic relationship, where I get to express my opinions and you (hopefully) benefit from it in someway even I could not have imagined when I put pen to paper (more like fingers to keyboard!)
The Relation Ship
As a parent coming from a background where one learnt how to be nimble in order to avoid the inevitable trouncing that accompanied a misdemeanor, I was determined to find (and practice) all the alternatives to smacks and smackdowns! It was hard! Extremely hard! Especially when your child is gazing back at you, as if waiting for you to blink first. I must confess, I lost the battle a few times (okay, so it was more than a few times) but I am here to tell you that the war can still be won! I knew I had won the war when one day, I told my child in the most menacing voice “You are going to smell it today”. To which he replied “Smell what?” I was shocked into silence. He was truly puzzled “Mummy, what am I going to smell?” he persisted in asking. I just shook my head, laughed, and told him, “Nothing!” I am sure he thought I’d gone round the bend because I smiled so widely, my mouth hurt. That was the phrase that would send my little heart beating because it presaged a beating. Yet it failed to raise a flutter in my sons’ chest. And, boy was I glad.
I am not an advocate of no smacks whatsoever. That, in my opinion, is making a rod to beat your back with in old age but you should consider the size of your child and the severity of their crime before smacking them. Above all, smacking should be the very last resort as this represents a loss of control on your part as the parent.
Let us rewind a little. What do you, as a parent, do to discipline your child?
First of all, you train your child. It sounds so simple but it is one of the hardest things to do in today’s world full of deadlines and distractions. A lot of people only train their children when they are smacking them. “Is that what you were meant to do? Can’t you see how dangerous that is? Why did you hit your sister?” Folks, this “training” is after the fact. They should have been told repeatedly till it sunk into their souls, the right thing to do BEFORE they did the wrong thing. This is the hard part of parenting that reaps untold benefits. The repetition. Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! That is the way children learn. Even at school, you repeat your times tables till it is written on your heart! If you don’t teach your child the right way to behave, why do you think you can smack them for not doing the right thing? This only breeds resentment and rebellion and guess what? There comes a stage when they grow bigger than you as well as stronger. So what kind of smacking are you going to give them? Then, the government will “smack” them for you!
I leave you for now with a few tips.
Establish ground rules: These can be discussed and agreed with your children if they are five years old and above otherwise just tell them what the rules are.
Establish consequences of breaking said rules: Consequences should be:
1)What the child does not like
2)Something that can be given as soon as possible (do not delay and always follow through)
3)Something you are comfortable with
4)Something you can use anywhere (I have seen countless children throw an unholy temper tantrum in an environment they are confident their parents will be so embarrassed by their display that they will acquiesce to anything to get them to stop. You should therefore have a consequence that you are not embarrassed to use anywhere!)
Now comes the hard part. Repeating those rules and consequences till it sinks in. Giving them a period of grace within which they learn these rules of acceptable behavior. Finally, sticking to the rules and following through with the consequences. A lot of parents just don’t follow through.
I have to stop here for now but watch this space for more tips!
I will also be touching on a subject close to my heart – name calling. Names are so powerful. This is why when we choose the names of our children we ponder their meanings carefully. Why then, after taking so much care in naming them, do we then proceed to call them horrible, soul killing names like stupid, idiot, and fool?