As G1 grows up, we have observed cyclical patterns of difficult behaviours. Although he is generally my “good” kid, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge these very trying periods that often make me question the kind of parent I have been. Perhaps that’s what makes it even harder for me to accept – the fact that he is my “good” kid. Because I know what he’s capable of, I have a tendency to over-react when he misbehaves.
During these periods, it is difficult not to feel the deep-seated fear that I have messed up – I didn’t do things right, I didn’t do enough, or I just wasn’t enough. And then I remind myself that he is still a child and still a “work in progress” – as Makoto Shichida likes to remind us parents – and as a parent, it is my job to continually redirect him when he goes off tangent – preferably in a calm and rational manner (as difficult as that may be at times).
I don’t always know the right things to say or the best way to motivate him. As he grows older, I am beginning to feel like I say the wrong things more often than the right. The perfect visions I used to have that my son would always come running to me when he needed help and advice are withering away with the stark reality that he keeps more and more from me with age. I am left with the sickening realisation that though he loves me, I may still be the last person in the know when trouble arises.
What is a mother to do?
If my words no longer hold the magic they once did, then perhaps there are other ways to build positive character. Based on everything that I have read, the following activities are good places to start:
1. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness Meditation improves self-regulation and encourages positive emotional outlook.
2. Gratitude Diary
Being grateful increases joy, optimism, happiness, compassion and generosity.
3. Achievements Diary
4. Music Lessons
Playing a musical instrument develops emotional regulation and empathy which is good for making friends, and children with friends are happier.
5. Sports and Physical Activity
Sports and Physical Activity improves emotional wellbeing, develops social skills, encourages positive school environment, and reduces anti-social behaviour.
6. The Great Outdoors
Being immersed in nature on a regular basis improves self-esteem, and increases resistance to stress and depression.
So that is my homework for the boys…
- Mastering Sportsmanship and Losing with Grace
- The True Measure of Character – Where Do You Stand When Life is Tough?
- Shichida’s Discipline – 5 Daily Words of Praise