Parenting Tips

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Mothers are . . .

Hi Singapore parents, this weekend, would like to share something light-hearted with you.

Below are answers given by primary 2 school children when asked the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mum just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you Your mother & not some other mum?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's mums like me.

What kind of little girl was your mum?
1. My mum has always been my mum and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mum need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mum marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mum eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mum didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mum doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mum. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mum is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between mums & dads?
1. Mums work at work and work at home & dads just go to work at work.
2. Mums know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but mums have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Mums have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mum do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mum perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd dye it, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mum, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my Mum smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Hope you have enjoyed reading and have a good laugh. For parents with children around this age, do ask them the same questions and see what response you get.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Emotional Organs

Parents, do you know that how you feel can affect your organs and your well-being? Well, Traditional Chinese Medicine studies have shown that:

Joy is related to the HEART (circulatory disorders, palpitations, insomnia, poor memory, tongue ulcers)

Anger is related to the LIVER and GALL BLADDER (headaches, muscle tension and spasms, dizziness, high blood pressure)

Grief is related to the LUNGS (respiratory discorders, asthma, bronchitis, constipation, sinus, skin rashes)

Contemplation is related to the SPLEEN (disgestive disorders, nausea, belching, vomiting, knotted feeling in stamach, ulcers, diarrhoea, loss of appetite)

Fear is related to the KIDNEYS (urinary disorders, sexual disorders, impotence, low back pain)

Each emotion has a specific effect on the vital energy "Qi" in Chinese term.

Joy makes Qi harmonious
Anger makes Qi rise
Grief makes Qi disperse
Contemplation makes Qi concentrate or "knot up"
Fear makes Qi sink

JOY is . . .
  • warm, friendly, open and expansive
  • a hearty laugh that bubbles up spontaneiously from deep inside
  • enthusiasm
  • free and unconditional
  • free to anyone who claims it
To demonstrate how one can achieve true joy, try this exercise:
  1. Write down everything that has ever made you feel happy, from the great moments in your life to the most trivial joys.
  2. Cross out any item that require others to make it happen.
  3. From the remaining items, select one and do it right now.
  4. There you go, you are already looking happy.
  5. Next, choose another item and do it each for the rest of your life.
  6. When one list is completed, start another new list.
Joy should be practised until you are very good at it. It is something you do and not something that happens to you.

ANGER is destruction when left unresolved. When this happens, people are trapped into a vicious cycle of anger, rigidity and frustration. To resolve anger, the following suggestion may be useful:
  1. Try some form of exercise that emphasizes flexibility such as yoga, Tai Chi or dance.
  2. Regular massage is a good way to start softerning up
  3. Counselling and various group self-development activities are good for dealing with stored anger.
  4. Relaxation exercises, meditation and self-hypnosis can help in unwinding.
  5. Talk to someone who is willing to lend a listening ear.
GRIEF means coming to terms with loss. It relates to functions of the lungs and the large intestine. Both these organs are about expelling what we do not need. We can breathe in fresh air only after we have empty the stale air out of our lungs. So, take deep breathes to calm yourself and expel out all the bad airs.

CONTEMPLATION is emotional and mental digestion. Digestion refers to retaining what is good for the body and getting rid of what is useless. What the body keeps becomes a part of us so we are shaped by the process of digestion/reflection. Contemplation brings us face to face as to what to keep and reflection is about what to part. When there is too much contemplation, reflection can be stuck. This can then cause a feeling like a knot in the stomach. When the inward-focusing energy prolongs, this can lead to ulcers. So reduce contemplation and spare the SPLEEN.

FEAR is winter, midnight, darness and death. It makes Qi sink which is why the frequency of urination is increased by fear. Extreme fear can also cause diarrhoea. When dealing with fear, it also enhances our ability to deal productively with anger. Fear which is not faced frequently emerges as irrational anger. If fear is the root of anger, such feeling can only be dealt with by coming to terms with the fear that generated it.

In Singapore, life can be quite stressful. Just make sure you maintain a balanced diet and be try to be have more JOY in your life to avoid all the heart problems. Avoid being angry and your liver and gall bladder will be fine. When in grief, be sure to breathe well so that the lungs are still in good shape. Contemplate not and fear not so that the spleen and kidneys can also perform properly.

The above list of symtoms is just a guide and does not imply that all health problems are caused by emotions. So parents, just take the tips lightly and for knowledge.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Be Your Kids’ Friend

The saying goes: “When a child errs, it is the parents’ fault.” As parents, we are actually responsible for our kids’ actions. To gain trust from your kids, the best way is to be their friend. And how do we do that???

Establish rapport
  • Spend time communicating with them
  • Spend time listening to their woes
  • Share their joys
  • Observe and discuss interesting topics together
  • Do things together
  • Bring yourself down to their level

It is not quantity time that children need. Quality time is important, sharing and doing things of interest together. When they are at ease with you, they will then open up and share with you happenings in school or what their friends are doing. When they need advice, offer it. More often than not, they will be thankful and heed the advice given.

Build trust

  • Let them be responsible for their actions
  • Avoid reprimanding them in public
  • Allow privacy

When children misbehave in the public, parents can give them warning. Scolding them in public will only make them lose face and ‘hate’ their parents. Exert punishment only when you get home. That way, they will know that you care for their feelings.

Like adults, children would want some private moments at times. Respect that and leave them alone. When they feel that they want to open up, they will still come to you.

Reflect upon ourselves

  • Be role models to them
  • Admit mistake if we did wrong
  • Ask acceptance of apology

Children always look to their parents as role models. Parents are also human and do make mistakes at times. By admitting and getting their acceptance will only earn their respect even more. So the saying goes: Learn from mistake and gain from it.

Use technology

  • Make use of modern gadgets such as handphone and the internet
  • Set usage limit and stick to it

In Singapore, the technology pace is growing very fast. Parents just have to also catch up with the times and learn to use these modern gadgets. I remembered I dread buying the handphone for a long time but to communicate with my kids, I just had to follow suit.

I would not say it is easy to apply the above tips all the time. However, if parents can do that, it would be good for their children in developing values such as respect, honesty, diligence and self-confidence.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Family Culture

In The Straits Times Insight yesterday, the focus was on whether there is a Singapore Culture. Teenagers who were interviewed opined that there is.

To me, before we even talked about Singapore Culture, there should first be FAMILY culture. Below are my views:

Foster respect
Children should be taught respect at a very young age. Respect refers not only to others, it is also to oneself. Parents should also show respect to their children by allowing them to have privacy.

Act together
It means doing things together. As a family, members should do things together. This will foster closer relationship between parents and children. If possible, should also include grandparents. This will then breach the generation gap.

Motivate each other
Be it good or bad times, motivation is a powerful tool to nurture potentials further. During setbacks, it is even more important to be motivated by family members. Children need constant encouragement. So do couples, when they meet crisis at work. Share with your spouse or family and get some comfort to get things moving.

Involve everyone
This refers to household chores or something the whole family may be involved. When everyone plays a fair share, there is unity. When there is unity, it means work gets done and there is satisfaction. With satisfaction, there is joy in achievement.

Live simple
Life need not be surrounded by branded stuff. Live simple and the children will appreciate the value of money. Thriftiness is a good value to inculcate in children from young. It will go a long way for them.

Yours truly
Whatever you do, do it with sincerity. It will let you have peace of mind. You will then be a happier person and be able to sleep well. With clear conscience, you will be able to focus better, be it school work for children or work for adults.

I have used the above tips for my family and they have worked fine. I am sure my children will contribute to society with positive attitude. Whether we have a Singapore culture or not, it should be a gracious society where our children can live happily.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mid Autumn Festival

It is also known as the Moon Cake Festival. In Singapore, the varieties of moon cakes available are just numerous. They can be broken into 3 generations:

1st generation – traditional ones with sweet fillings of nuts, mashed red beans, lotus-seed paste or Chinese dates. To add flavour, salted egg yolk(s) are also found in some of them.

2nd generation – snow-skin varieties

3rd generation – different flavours such as durian, green tea, corn, rum and many more.

While we enjoy these delicacies, we should also let the children know the myths and legends about the festival. Basically, there are 2 versions:

The Story of Chang-Er
Long ago, the earth was in a state of havoc because there were 10 suns in the sky. These were the sons of the Jade Emperor.

The suns caused rivers to dry up, lands became barren and many people died. The Jade Emperor then asked Hou Yi to persuade his sons to rise up away from the earth to end the catastrophe. Hou Yi was a great archer. When Hou Yi he failed to persuade the suns to leave the sky, he launched arrows at the suns, shooting them down one by one. Before the last sun was shot, his wife, Chang-Er pleaded with him to save it to keep the earth warm and bright.

The Jade Emperor was furious with Hou Yi for slaying his sons. Hou Yi and Chang-Er were then forced to stay on earth. To please his unhappy wife, Hou Yi took great pains to gather herbs from Royal Mother for the elixir of life. This would help them to ascend to Heaven again. However, the angry Chang-Er stole the elixir and consumed all of it. She flew up to the moon where she remained all alone in the Moon Palace.

This sad story was written 3,000 years later by the Tang poet, Li Shang-yin. There are several versions of this story but this is the more popular one.

On the 15th of the 8th lunar month every year, the moon is at its brightest and loveliest. all Chinese around the world would look at the moon and remember Chang-Er and her legend.

Moon Cakes
Moon cakes became part of the Mid-Autumn Festival during the Yuan dynasty (1280 1368 A.D.) China was ruled by the Mongolians then. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (960-1280 A.D.) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule. They set out to co-ordinate a rebellion. The leaders of the rebellion took opportunity of the Moon Festival and ordered the making of special cakes. Packed into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. The Ming dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) was then formed.

Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this event.

To complement the occasion, lanterns are a must. The most common one are the paper folding type that requires the lighting of candles. The modern ones are battery-operated with many varieties of shapes and sizes. Some also come with music and are popular with children.

It has been a hazy day and the moon is not visible tonight. Parents, perhaps it is safer to stay indoors and just enjoy moon cakes with your family.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A CHILDREN's Day Dedication

Though my youngest girl is in her teens, I still treat all my kids as children. Today, I would like to dedicate a poem to all CHILDREN in the world.

C herish and love them always
H ug and hold them as often as you want
I nculcate in them the right traditional and cultural values
L earn and grow with them the fun way
D elight and laugh with them
R ecognise their flaws and work on improving them
E njoy each growing stage with them
N urture their strengths and develop them further

Singapore parents, take a moment and spend a nice weekend with your children.