Saturday, August 25, 2012

Train Your Children Or They'll Train You!

I always appreciate our Song nephews and nieces who make it a point to meet up with us whenever they come back to Penang. It is always a delight for us to see them and their families growing.

Sam and Adeline were in Penang for a visit during the Raya break and they invited us for lunch on Tuesday, 21 August 2012.

Sam, Adeline, Jonathan and Emmanuel
We wanted to take them to Hot Tin Roof (a.k.a. Teik Seng Restaurant at Carnavon Street) but the restaurant was closed for the Raya break so we ended up at CRC Restaurant instead. In hindsight, the change of venue was good because it was more comfortable for us to chat in an air-conditioned environment.

Sam's parents came along on this trip and we were delighted to fellowship with them. They are such gracious people and so easy to get along (my kind of people). Adeline is really blessed to have such wonderful in-laws. 

A group photo after lunch. Sam's parents are at the back.
We wanted to pay for the meal as this is "our territory" but Sam beat us to it. And Sam's mom said that it is "yeng koi," meaning "right and proper" in Cantonese, that the younger generation should pay for the meal. Haha, we have reached the age of pay-back time.

Adeline's two children, Jonathan and Emmanuel, are now five and two-and-a-half repectively. They are simply adorable and such angels.

Emmanuel was very tired and so she slept in the car on the way to lunch. When they arrived they woke her. She may not be in a mood to be friendly but neither was she grumpy or grouchy. She still greeted us when her mother told her to.

Initially she was just a tad clingy with her mother but she eventually perked up. As the photo below shows, she very quickly warmed up to us.

Look at Emmanuel's kissable lips and the cheekiness on Jonathan's face.
Kenny, as usual, was a child magnet. Somehow children instinctively gravitate to him. Before long Emmanuel was asking him to draw animals on the napkin.
Draw an elephant Chek Kong!
Every time I go out with either Adeline's or Terence's families I am always impressed by their parenting skills. Their children are obedient and well behaved at all times. There is no banging of plates or screaming or shouting or running around during dinner. Without such disruptive behaviour from the children, the adults were able to carry on a decent conversation while keeping a watchful eye on them. 

Even when they are tired or bored they don't get cranky and neither do they whine or throw a tantrum. Towards the end of dinner Emmanuel, who had had her nap disturbed earlier, just climbed onto her mother's lap to suckle and then fell asleep. No drama at all.

These are normal, healthy, intelligent children so there are bound to be occasions when they misbehave. All that was needed was a sharp reprimand from either parent to make them toe the line. No screaming or issuing of threats or offering bribes. Just a simple "Stop it." The parents are to be commended for exercising such good discipline and as a result their children are so easy to love.

“Discipline is a symbol of caring to a child. He needs guidance. If there is love, there is no such thing as being too tough with a child. A parent must also not be afraid to hang himself. If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent.”
- Bette Davis

What many parents fail to realize is that they are doing their children a great disservice when they do not discipline their children. Nobody likes little monsters or spoilt brats. Unfortunately there are too many super-indulgent parents nowadays who do not set limits to bad behaviour which are very annoying for other people have to put up with them. These parents may not know it but they are on their way to raising social misfits and irresponsible adults.

They excuse their children's naughtiness by saying, "My child is too young to understand." Yet in the same breath they also say, "My child is so clever. He knows how to do this or that in order to get out of trouble." I can assure you that children who can lie, cheat or utilize deception or manipulative behaviour to their advantage are fully able to understand limits as well as consequences, whether good or bad, that result from their actions.

If condoning bad behaviour is not bad enough, some parents are actually rewarding and reinforcing bad behaviour by giving in to the child's demands when they exhibit unacceptable behaviour. Of course the children are going to learn that this is the way to get what they want.

I ran a kindergarten and day-care for five years and I have learned that children are natural psychologists. They are able to read adults like a book and somehow they intuitively know the right buttons to push for the different adults they meet in order to get their way. Trust me, if you don't train them, they are going to train you instead!

When it comes to raising children parents should do well to remember that...

"It's easier to build boys and girls that to repair men and women"
- Bill Wilson

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