Wednesday, 5 June 2013

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I Have Value Because I Exist

JN seeing our home and how we live for the first time :-)
Thank God for a superb Danish summer weather today,
that had provided the best welcoming... an answered prayer.


Remember I mentioned about my nephew (I will call him JN) with ADHD in some of my posts? I treat him like my own son, to love him unconditionally. He is here to visit us in Copenhagen for three weeks. He has flanked most of his secondary one exams. My priority is to build self-esteem.

Yet I may be more comfortable at nurturing a child towards academic. Afterall, I am a product of Singapore, a highly accomplishment-oriented culture, and yet I must help my children to realize that they have value simply because they exist. So please pray for me, as I seek and pray for God's wisdom and help in this area.

I have been reading this book called "Discipline for Life" and I think the author could not have explained it more aptly:

"Self-worth must not come from achievements. Each child must have fundamental worth separate from accomplishments and mistakes. They have value simply because they exist."

I have so many good plans for these 3 weeks in addition to balancing work days at the office...

1. Introducing Khan Academy to him,
2. Visit all the places in Copenhagen (this should be secondary as a means for time together, but not as a goal in itself)
3. Recording family history with my father
4. Have tea time with JN
5. Go for long walks with JN...
6. Continue Drop school time with J
7. Continue Skip piano practice with J

but I think the most important thing is to do the one right thing and the right thing is to focus on building self-esteem.

How to affirm a child's value purely on existence?

Here are a summary of some good advice from the book "Discipline for Life" which I am learning to put into practice.

1. Greet warmly

- Greet warmly with smile, hugs and pats.

- Say, "I am so glad to see you. I missed you!" or " Welcome home. It's nice to have the family all together."

- Smile and affirm during mealtime, bedtime and quiet time.

Don’t underestimate the power of greetings. The best “person” to learn how to greet warmly are dogs, which with all their body language (tail wagging) tell us that they are glad to see us.

When we see our child after school, we move right from affirming existence to accomplishments, when we ask, “What did you do today?” or “Were you good today?” or “Did you eat your lunch?” or “Did you play nicely?” We should simply give them a hug, smile and say, “I’m so happy to see you! I missed you!” or “Welcome home. It’s nice to have the family all together.” Which is more important? They exist still or they behaved well?

2. Take time to be together

- Take time for play and fun. It is part of our job to help create moments of delight, enchantment, fun, joy, merriment and happiness. What else are we going to remember when we are old?

- Make it a point to sit with a cup of tea or coffee when your child arrive home from school to reconnect and talk about his day.

- Take a walk with a child, daytime or nighttime, and make special memories for both of you.

- Leave extra, padded time each night to tuck them in, be together and talk.

- Schedule time with each of your child each week.

3. Listen to their thoughts, concerns and interests

If you are like me, not the most sociable person around and need a list of conversation starters, click here.

4. Celebrate

Celebrate rather than reward. Celebrate for the fact that we are family, that time has passed, that we are living and breathing... rather than rewarding only when good exam grades were obtained.

5. Find something praise-worthy

Each day, find something praiseworthy and show your appreciation at bedtime. For example, JN has been very good at cleaning up and vaccuuming cleaning.

6. Acknowledge each child's Uniqueness

7. Teach

Educate your child on his own value by asking questions.

Ask: “JN, if I could choose from all the children of the world, whom would I choose to have for my nephew?”

Ans: I would choose you without ever needing to look at any of the others. Because we belong together. Because we are family. Because I am your aunt and you are my nephew. Because you are you. No one can ever take your place.

Ask: “Will I like you more if you get good grades or poor grades?”

Ans: Neither, it doesn’t matter. I care about you just the same. You’re always important to me. You are valuable either way.”

8. Unwavering belief

Encourage by having unwavering belief in the person. Calmly and gently reaffirm your belief in your child.

References:
- Discpline For Life! One Step At A Time by Madelyn Swift
- http://www.babycenter.com/0_ten-ways-to-build-your-childs-self-esteem_66717.bc


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