About a year ago, I found a wasp hovering outside my window. I was a little perturbed by its presence but decided to leave it alone. Later, more wasps were seen hovering outside the same window. Still, I did not take any action. Then, one day, I discovered a small wasp nest at the foot of my study table and one just outside my house. Finally, when my 10-month old son was stung on his foot, ear and hand by wasps, I decided that my house would soon be swarmed by a colony of wasps if I did not do anything soon. I called in the pest controllers and to my great horror, they discovered a pretty huge wasp nest just outside my window. After removing the nest, it took a while more before the wasps realised their homes have been destroyed and stopped bugging us. I should have fixed those bugs early.
I can’t help but draw the parallel between this anecdote and the pervasive lackadaisical attitude that has affected the way we are parenting our children today. Some parents I spoke to recognise the problems in their parenting but are not doing anything to fix them. Why?
My husband and I have spent oodles amount of time with our boys on the thinking chair to reason with them about their behaviour. Often our thinking questions went: What did you do or say? How did you feel at that moment? Why did you do or say that? How do you think your actions or words have affected others?
There was a day when I had a record high number of times getting my eldest son to sit on the thinking chair. 7 times to be precise! Was it exhausting? You bet! But it was needful. Ignoring a problem does not make it vanish. In fact, they may return to heap greater problems some day just like those wasps.
The concept of thinking chair is a double-edge sword. It allows parents to stay cool, mull over the actions of the child and consider the best move. Like peeling an onion layer by layer, the mulling process allows parents to get to the heart of the problem and not merely attacking the behaviour.
Do having those thinking chair moments produce problem-less children? No. My boys still throw tantrums, get into fights and quarrel. But I am not giving up because I want to raise these boys to be reflective about their own behaviour and develop a sound moral compass that steers them to do what is right even when I am not around to guide them. This requires training. Surely, it cannot happen overnight.
What are the bugs in your parenting?
Are you fixing them today?