Being Told

The past one month I have been busy in behaviour modification. Being a parent, I am sure you are expecting from me a rant about me trying to discipline my baby. Hold on, there’s more, before what you are thinking could actually be the case.

One fine morning, I was busy replying to important emails, when Pari walked up to me. She asked me to play the Mickey Mouse show on youtube. Brushing her request aside, without even turning towards her, I asked her to continue playing with her Lego set.

She stood there for a good ten seconds before tugging on my elbow repeating her request, beginning with a loud “Mummma”. I almost repeated myself, just this time I answered her with a plain “hmm”.

Agitated of being ignored, more than by my rude turn down of her humble request, she yelled “Mumma, mumma, mumma” before turning my face towards her forcibly and blurting out an angry flow of incomprehensible words. This lasted for a few seconds, with my eyes popping out and jaw dropping to the floor as her angry outburst held something shocking, much more than the rage.

Though what Pari said in those moments didn’t hold much meaning, yet the uncanny resemblance of those piqued notes to the way I had yelled at her one not-so-fine day came rushing to me. My mind went numb in horror as guilt slowly fogged my brain.

It was a very painful position to be in for many reasons.

Firstly, I had offended my little darling without it being her mistake in any way.

Secondly, I have been a bad example for a child’s impressionable mind.

Thirdly, the gravest of all, I had failed to note how rough I have been playing (so what if those occasions are few and far between) with a baby without being sorry of my shameful behaviour.

Though a hundred things were running in my mind, I had to act promptly to save the situation from getting worse. I had a very angry child at hand who could throw a tantrum that would drown her in tears and sink me in shame in no time.

” there is very little you can beat into a child, but no limit to what you can hug out of it” – Astrid Lindgren

I plunged to my emergency plan of holding her in a bear hug. She squirmed, fought back trying to break free from the unexpected turn of events, but eventually calmed down. I had found a quick fix to the situation but the bigger problem was still hanging on my head like a sword.

This happened around 40 days back. Ever since, I adopted the following ground rules for behaviour modification. Not for my daughter, but myself.

1) I have stopped pointing out mistakes, instead have begun concentrating on the problem at hand. It makes the pill of being told much easier to swallow.

For eg: When Pari endlessly plays in the rain, refusing to listen or to come indoors with me, earlier I used to give her a lecture on the lines “You never want to listen to me, just want to play with water all the time…..” I would literally go on and on for a good minute or two without much gain, except ending with a grumpy or a teary child.

Though now, I try to be assertive by simply saying, “Let’s go indoors, playing in the cold rain water isn’t a good idea” keeping my voice firm yet not being rude. The difference in the outcome is remarkable. Pari happily co-operates on most occasions and there is no back fire of remorse for having been rough with a child.

2) I have stopped talking to her in ‘fancy’ phrases when trying to discipline her. Instead of going about a problem of her messing up the room with her toys littered all over, grumbling that she never listens to me or we have had the same talk earlier too; Β I simply tell her what to do. “Please put all your toys in the basket and help me clean up the room”.

Surprisingly, it actually works even on a twoΒ year old.

Accusing, fills the recipient with hurt and only breeds bitterness. Having been on the receiving end I can safely admit, it’s worse to be yelled at by your child than by your boss. In that case, I think it is unimaginable hurt for a child to be told and be shouted at without being explained what did they do to earn it in the first place.

Things have started taking a 180 degree turn and the results in the past one month have been very encouraging. I am spared the brunt of being stressed of chasing a child firing angry words, we both end up getting (most of) what we expect of each other and even if things don’t go the way we’d love them to, at least there isn’t room for hurt, yelling or guilt anymore.

” Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.” – Unknown

The song on my mind: Tujhse naaraz nahin zindagi ~ Masoom

21 thoughts on “Being Told

    1. I too am learning by doing it RM, many thing I succeed at nipping in the bud stage while for others, I am waiting to learn and change myself as soon I can before any severe damage is done.

      Hugs to you too πŸ™‚

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  1. Wise words. Yelling indeed is the worst one can do to a child. I say so from experience. I keep yelling at Little Love when I am totally exhausted and what I have seen is, she gets scared, and rebellious. The softness does help a lot, both me and the kid. But I am not sure how long I’ll go before the next explosion. Wish the volcano remains dormant ever. Nice read and a very beautiful song. πŸ™‚

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    1. Totally agree with you Rekha, we as parents have full realisation of what to avoid doing as a parent, but there are times when our understanding falls short of our irritability and disasters happen.

      The damage done can sure be checked by working on ‘damage control’ right away. I guess all parents do just that.

      Thank you, am glad you liked my post πŸ™‚

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  2. Hi ME… very well written and explained how can we learn from children… Though I’ve still to experience motherhood… but handling kid reminded me of my younger brother. How I used to take long sessions preaching him about studies, health, behaviour n so on… I was bit authoritative being an elder sis… I always want to be a friend with my bro n sis but somehow I don’t know this authoritative essence comes unwantedly… but as you did, I’ll also try to bring this behavioral change… πŸ™‚ Thank you for reminding me… πŸ™‚

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    1. Welcome to my space Pratiksha πŸ™‚
      I am glad my post could help you find a solution to your situation. Please do try adopting a changed approach and share your personal experience. We can all learn something from each other πŸ™‚

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      1. sure I will ME… recently I encounter one major issue with my bro… I’m looking forward to speak to him… once I do so with this changed approach I will surely share my experience πŸ™‚ wish me luck πŸ™‚

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  3. I can relate to what you are saying. Like when I tell Arnav to put his toys in place he doesn’t but when I tell him to put them to sleep in a box he does it. I guess there is a way for handling kids and we all learn it as grow up with them. But yes the first step in this would be practice before you preach! Like when I did something yesterday (which I shudn’t have) the brat asked me to say sorry and though I was hesitant in doing it I said it because in long run he will emulate me!!!

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  4. “Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.” So totally agree with this! Kudos to you for the effort you are putting in to raise your child the right way.

    We have a nephew at home. He a little older than 3. When I see the disrespectful way he speaks to his parents, grandparents and everybody else, I am dumbfounded. The parents on the other hand are not being bothered about correcting him. His dad has a terrible temper and sharp tongue and the kid speaks exactly the same words his dad uses! I really hope they realize that the consequences are going to be bad and they correct him.

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    1. So true Arch, it takes a lot of determination and strong will to change ourselves just see our kids learn the right things from the start. Most parents soon become preachy because of this very reason, with the kids not bothering to pay heed to the spoken word.

      It is a tough call but one that you simply can’t ignore for the good of your precious child.

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  5. Agree with everything you said. Children have very impressionable minds and the smallest of moments may be forever etched in memory before we know it.
    Glad things are back to being smooth! πŸ˜€

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