Thursday, July 04, 2013


This hit me quite hard today. My heart sank and I felt like a failure. Maybe I had not taught him enough. Maybe. I don't know. Tears just started welling up my eyes.
It all started with the Chinese spelling test in school.
Long story cut short. 
Isa admitted he copied from his classmate's book earlier this week. I froze when I heard that.
What would be your response?
I only had a couple of seconds to think as I was behind the wheel.
First thing first, I took a deep breathe and asked, "Why did you copy?"
Isa, in his very innocent tone, replied, "Because my friend, RT, showed me as she knew I could not write the word." I was speechless.
After 108730589 minutes of talking sense out of him. He apologised with these exact words.
"I am sorry for telling a lie and I copy my friend's book."

"But baby, haven't I told you before that copying is a wrong thing to do?" 
He nodded his head in silence. It was the longest drive ever.

After I cleared up thoughts, I prompted Isa to talk. I wanted to let him tell me that instead of me meting out the punishment, I wanted him to tell me how can we do to help him remember this incident (and not repeating it of course!). He sadly told me that I could take away his privileges (of playing with the iPad  over the weekends and no TV time for a week) and he will do what I want him to do (extra work). I had to explain really clearly that taking away privileges was an easy way out and doing more work is NOT a punishment, rather they should be activities that will occupy his time with the no TV time period. He nodded in head with agreement.

This was the only punishment I gave him. 

Writing lines.

This incident is definitely not something that I am proud of cos I feel as lousy as he did.
But I was more that glad that I handled the situation with a cool head.
The old me would have easily gave him a slap on the palm .. or at worst time.. the face. :(
But thank God I did not.
The other thing that I also asked him to do is to paste this at the fridge with a magnet so as to remind himself NOT to commit this mistake again. 
My stomach still felt queasy.

Writing his lines in the stationary car while waiting for Papa Ray to get off work.

Lines all written before he slept.
Ray papa then took over the role of the middle man. He had a 5 minute heart to heart talk with his lil man.
We always have this habit to do this. I am the bad guy, he is the good.
So before Isa slept, I still kissed him and told him,
"Mama still love you, even though you did something wrong today."
"Mama, I love you too. I will be your good boy. I promise."
We hooked our pinkies.

What I had learnt from this incident:
  • Level headed - We need to be cool before we tackle a knotty situation. Taking in a deep breath works for me. Being emotional and being angry DO NOT help. 
  • Ask for the truth - allow children to explain before we jump into conclusions.
  • Practical - Have a punishment that will make him remember. It should not be physically detrimental (which is why I still do not buy the cane till now). Avoid talking about ambiguous future story on how he will be "punished" for other mistakes.
  • Be consistent - just like how Isa had expected, taking away privileges was predictive for him. 
  • Follow up - punishment is just a solution for the moment. Do something that can remind your child NOT to repeat the same mistake again. 
#disclaimer: my anecdotes are merely my own observations and opinions. I do not represent any centres or any early childhood theories though I am a trained early childhood educator. 
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1 comment:

Lil Bookworm said...

Thank you for the honest sharing. I had similiar encounters. Heart broke, eyes wetted. Glad that you didnt slap cos physical punishment in such instance will only discourage him fr telling the truth & create barriers for honest sharing as the child gets older.

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