Thursday, June 16, 2011

Confessions of an obsessed mother

Sometimes this blog, like so many other blogs in the internet, is like a brag book. Come everyone, look and see what cool things we do with our kids. Come and marvel at how smart my kids are and how quickly they grow. At other times, it is a reference, a way for me to review how much I have changed as a person since becoming a mother, how much the children are growing everyday. A way to review the little things in life that come and go and we never pay attention to when they went until we look back at them and realize that they have gone. Another use for a blog is personal reflection. A way to write down my mistakes, which as a mother I make all too often.

Today I am going to write about such a mistake.

I am starting Anjali with some reading using the progressive phonics program. In my opinion, she is four and it is time she started making some formal progress on reading. Ofcourse this is my opinion, and there are others who read this blog who have different and equally valid opinions. She is pretty good at it for a beginner reader, but here is where I made my mistake. We were doing a book called bob and dod. We were at it for five minutes when I noticed that she wasnt giving her attention to the reading. She was twisting the bedsheet, eating her sleeves and not looking at the paper. This made me irked.

When the book required her to make a choice of three words - bob, dog and dod, I would have thought that it would be very easy for her to read the ten or so pages. The story itself was not half bad after all. Therefore I lost my temper when she dallied, turned off the lights and caused Anjali to burst out crying.

It was not until much later, after Anjali had quietened down and gone to sleep that I realized that I had made two mistakes that I had told myself that I wouldnt.

The first one was that I had pushed her. I had wanted to make significant progress. The last book had been about dod and dog, and this book was incremental. I didnt realize that The incremental step was, in itself a difficult one. Anjali simply had difficulty distinguishing between d and b.

Moral 1. Take things slowly. I have made amendments (I hope) and am sticking to reinforcing one concept before building on it. She still cant distinguish between d and  b, but she now knows that there is a distinction.

The next thing that I did, which I do regret was the scolding. It was brief, but I believe it stung. I think there are different kinds of scoldings. One kind is when the child deserves it, and the other is when the child doesnt. I do understand that children need to be disciplined to make them sit and to be attentive, but are we breaking their own playful spirit by doing so?

And then there is my own experience from my teenage years when i remember asking my parents - I do so many good things, so why do you scold me for the small bad things that I do?

Anjali had been a very good child all evening. She had been to the playground, she had played piano very well and showed that she was making good progress, helped me to make pumpkin pudding after which she and Sophia had washed the dishes in the sink.

And I scolded her just because she couldnt differentiate between a b and a d and because she couldnt put a bunch of sounds together to make a word.

Overarching all this reflection is that I could be making the kind of relationship that I had with my parents, part of which which consisted of me wanting to perform for fear of upsetting them, and them stressing to the highest extend of their capabilities to give me the resources for academic excellence.

Where does all this fit into the enigma of parenting? 

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