Parenting Corner: Raising Little Heroes

Baby Maverick by Fen

I tell everyone that my 3 year old is my super hero in the making. I believe he’s going to rule the world one day in the near future. A few weeks ago, he slipped off the monkey bars and cut his lip. He cried, I cried. The cut looked like it made a pool of blood on his tiny face and it was hard for me to handle. I naturally nursed him back to health with his choice of comfort (read: junk) food and obeying to his every whim instantly. I pounded myself for his carelessness and made up for it by pampering him. He was back to his usual self after a few hours, but the pampering continued for weeks. After that incident, I was constantly watchful over him, almost as if I expected something to go wrong. The next bumps or slips were never just ordinary. I would immediately run to examine him when he had a simple fall, even those that didn’t even produce distress or even worse, when there wasn’t even a whimper out of him.
 
One day at dinner, my husband casually asked me how our son was ever going to be a hero when I keep babying him like this. I pondered on this for a long time.
 
I’d like to believe that I’m not the only parent who thinks like this and that it is the natural reaction for a mother to run to her son’s aid every time he is in trouble. But I guess what I failed to see was that every whimper and cry from a distressed child is not a signal for me as a parent to spring into action. Harvey Craft, a retired educator and ex-principal, once pointed out on his blog a while ago, that overprotective parents may raise underprepared children. He said that “the world of children is full of frustrations and minor accidents that they must come to understand as part of life and develop better ways to cope. Parents should encourage these coping skills by reacting with reason.”
 
There is a huge truth in that statement. It made me think, how is my son ever going to go out there and save the world when I never even gave him a chance to learn to save himself? He is a child, not a little adult, and he needs time to simply be a boy. He needs the opportunity to learn about balance and the consequences of his actions. He needs to gradually come to the understanding of what is dangerous and to develop ethical behavior. On the other hand, I learned that my job as a parent is to set reasonable expectations about age-appropriate behavior (for both my son and myself) and to guide him through his developments by calmly sitting down and communicating with him on his level. But most importantly, I need to RELAX. I need to understand that while loving my children means keeping a watchful eye on them, I also need to have a clear understanding of how my actions will shape their development.
Developing a more relaxed parenting style is somewhat of a challenge for me after my son’s fall. But I guess, parenting is already a lot on its own without having to overwhelm myself more by getting stressed over every need our children has. I’ve always believed that when God gives an assignment, it also comes with his enablement. And our children were made for great things, are they not? And so are we enabled to raise little heroes.  
 
Happy parenting!
 
With love,
Maya
 
Photos courtesy of Baby Maverick, photographed by Fen for BabyAxioo

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16 Jul 2013

Parenting Corner: When I Grow Up

Baby Jensen by Vania

My 5-year old daughter just had her kindergarten graduation ceremony last month. It was the first for both of us, and I’m not going to lie to you, there were tears everywhere. (Seriously, this whole growing up too fast business has got to stop!) The graduates sang a song about what they wanted to be when they grow up at the finale of the ceremony. The topic came up again during her celebratory dinner, whereby she stated once again what she wanted to be when she grows up: a ballerina teacher. There was a mix of faces around the table. The immediate response came from my dad, who asked her how she was going to live off that job.

As children, we were taught to dream. We were told to tell the world what we wanted to be when we grow up. But as we grew older, standards were set and boundaries were made around our dreams. Most often it was about how much money we could make from it or what image it would create for us. But rarely was it about what we liked, or what we felt passionate about. Passion is rarely the topic that comes up during discussions of “what I want to be” between parents and their children. “What I want to be when I grow up” becomes somewhat of a childish fantasy that we would laugh at later on in our adulthood. But as parents, we want our children to know that there are bigger things to our lives than money and reputation. Things like passion and purpose. Things like finding out who or what we can be.

I’ve come to realize that parenting is indeed “a story of discovery”, as a wise man once told me. It is more about discovering who we are and who our children were created to be. Every child is special and each is made to serve a great purpose.  As parents, our job is simply to find their passion, to ignite their courage and to fuel their dreams. Because discovering their passion is the greatest protection we can give them, and because discovering their destiny and what’s in their hearts will draw them away from negativity.

I’ve made a mental note to enroll my daughter in a ballet class come the next school year. Who knows one day I might be sitting on the front row seats of the New York City Ballet, clapping with all my heart as my daughter does her curtsy at the finale.  Or, wait. I will be clapping with all my heart as her students take the stage.

Happy parenting!

Love,

Maya

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06 Jul 2013

Parenting Corner: Siblings Peace

Alex & Sandra Twin Babies by Winson, Written by Maya

“Hey! That’s mine!” “No! this is mine!”

“Mama! He took my stuff!” “Mama! She took it first!”

“Give it back! This is mine!” “I don’t like you!”

“Mama! He said he doesn’t like me!”

“Mamaaaaaa!”

 

This is not an unusual conversation in our household. Try reading it again in a higher octave and repeat seven times during the course of the day and you’ll probably understand why I would be standing in the corner pulling the hairs out of my head during these conversations.

 

I believe that I am not the only one with such experiences. With her first poke on her brother and he fought back, sibling quarrels were never a stranger in our home . While growing my family and welcoming new adorable little members into it is a wonderful thing, along with that happiness, many questions follow. Because maintaining sanity just happens to be at the top of my priority list, I began to look for answers, especially those that can help to minimize the inevitable bickering and bring some peace into our home.

 

Here are some points I tips that are worth trying:

 

  1. Encourage kindness. Teach your children to respect each other, to appreciate each other and also respect and appreciate each other’s stuff.
  2. Listen to their feelings. Help them to identify their feelings and to express them in an appropriate way. Some of it may seem rather frivolous to you, but remember that to your children, it has always been big.
  3. Teach them conflict management. Bounce issues back to them. Give each a turn to express their feeling and let them come to a mutual decision on how to solve it. Try not to be an eternal referee.  
  4. End the conversation. Children are naturally creative and bickering can go on and on for hours. End it. But in a nice way.
  5. Don’t expect everyone to be happy with your decision. There will be times when we have to come to a child’s defense, but always remind both parties that “we are a family and that we don’t do or say anything that doesn’t build each other up.”

 

Although it may not seem to make any sense in telling toddlers this at their age, but try to cast a vision for your children about their future. They will be grown and they will still be brothers and sisters. Their friends may come and go, but they will always have each other. They might not see it yet, but I believe that if you keep on repeating yourself often enough, it just might stick. Last but not least, take a deep breath! Arguing is a part of learning to be a good person, and remember that you are doing this world a huge favor by parenting your children.

 

Happy parenting!

 

With love,

Maya

 

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23 Jun 2013

Partners Before Parents

Bonar & Irene's family by Ivan

Most parents will tell you that having children is the best thing that ever happened to them. And while they can tell you the ups and downs of child-rearing, you won’t truly understand it until you’ve lived it. There are more ups than there are downs, I can attest to that. But I found the biggest challenge to be the strain child rearing has on a marriage. Having children is like a relationship boot camp – it changes a person so much that you won’t even recognize the person before that baby came along, but when a relationship is strong, sharing a baby will bring you closer together.

While I am not the greatest dad or best husband, after two babies, I have learned a thing or two about how I can contribute to strengthening the relationship with my wife.

1. Generosity is always the way to go. If you’re tired after work but still tend to the baby anyway, that’s generous. If you tell her how beautiful she looks even if she hasn’t got the time to get all dolled up (and mean it!), that’s generous. Be generous with praises, with compliments, with aid.

2. Words of praises go a long way. Enough said.

3. Find reasons to celebrate her. Nothing can bring a woman down faster than being taken for granted. I’ve learned that moms don’t have the easiest job in the world. And so even if she’s happy and chirpy about it, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have bad days or rough weeks. Celebrate her once in a while, outside of her birthday or mother’s day. “Just because” is always a great reason.

4. Date night is essential. Pencil in one night a week to take your wife out. Let her know in advance so she can look forward to it. Arrange for childcare so she doesn’t have to worry. Talk about dreams and plans for the two of you. But be careful not to turn your date into a “family business meeting”. Date night is for making her fall in love with you all over again.

5. Be the bigger person. Marriage is not for the faint of heart. It requires aptitude, grace and a newfound level of maturity every day. Marriage requires you to be a larger person (and I don’t mean this physically, although it is almost always the case), even if it means putting your wife’s happiness above your own.

Change the above she/her into he/him and ladies, you’ll have a real hold of your husbands. Learn to be lovers, even after you take on new roles as mom or dad. Because as easy for it to be forgotten in the midst of the wild ride childcare takes you, you were partners first before you became parents.

XOXO,

Ivan

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30 May 2013

BABY TALKS TO GOD

Mother & Daughter Celine by Fen

A baby asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?" God said, "Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you." The child further inquired, "But tell me, here in heaven I don't have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy." God said, "Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy." Again the child asked, "And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don't know the language?" God said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak." "And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?" God said, "Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray." "Who will protect me?" God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life." "But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore." God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you." At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, "God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel's name." God said, "You will simply call her, "Mom." author: unknown

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31 Jul 2012

Baby Verscha

Hey leute by Fen
"Hey leute, ich bin erst 2 wochen alt" means "Hello friends, I am two weeks old". Funny how fate has brought Ai and Ferry to Berlin where they first met each other. They fell in love and tied the knot in Germany. Ferry has been living his whole life in German. When they were expecting, they moved to Jakarta and two weeks ago Ai gave birth to Verscha Alexandrew Dary Muller. It was a blast to meet again with Ai and Ferry after their pregnancy session. Pregnancy is a miracle. There is this one song that kind of stuck in me since the day I listened to it during my teenage years. It goes like this: "It is amazing how God can touch the love of the man and wife and blossom it into the breath of life". I am so blessed to be able to witness and be part of Ai's and Ferry's miracles. So cheers to Ai and Ferry , congratulations for your handsome baby Verscha :)
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02 May 2011

Sweet 10 months

Gwyneth

It's time for that weekend blog posting...adorable babies :) I'm always excited to shoot Gwyneth, she's grown up so fast! Now she's already sitting and crawling around the house. I love making funny faces just to see that twinkle in her eyes when she smiles. Ha ha at times, i even have to don the sheep costume, let's call it work hazard ;p Thanks to Tasya and the new rising star photographer Jan for helping me in preparation and shooting. We make a good team :)

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20 Nov 2010
All the way to the bottom already?
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