I started this topic a while back when I became concerned about the negative effects of preschool on Gavin’s social development. Since it is the best option for me and Gavin right now, I have kept Gavin in school and decided I would try to find ways to negate the negative effects. I found a particularly useful article from Parenting Science and have been studying it over the past few weeks. So continuing on from my previous post on this topic, here are more ways we can help to negate the negative effects of preschool.
9. Be a role model
I think it goes without saying that parents need to be good role models to their children. The benefits of this clearly goes beyond simply as a means of negating the negative effects of preschool. However, in recent times, I have discovered that being a role model is a lot trickier in practice than it is in theory. Just about everything we say and do comes under the intense scrutiny of our children whether we realise it or not. It is also difficult to determine exactly what is absorbed and what isn’t.
For instance, I have noticed a habit of Gavin’s that I don’t really like. When we call him, he would respond with, “What?” He sounds quite rude when he responds and I was quite taken aback by it. I wondered where he could have picked up this habit from. As much as I’ve blamed a lot the nasty habits he recently picked up from school, such as screaming and whining, this didn’t seem like something he might have picked up from school.
I finally discovered the source when I caught myself responding to hubby one day while feeling a tad annoyed. After being summoned by hubby while in the midst of an activity I wanted to complete, I responded with a rather abrupt, “What?” After being aware of my response, I noticed that there were other members of the family who also responded similarly when irritated.
It was a reaction that was so unconscious that I would not have realised it came from me if I had not been on the lookout for it. It also made me acutely aware that being a role model extends a lot further than simply keeping a lid on cursing and swearing. The things we say and the way we behave all the way to the little idiosyncrasies we have – anything and everything can get picked up.
With Gareth getting larger and larger each day, I’ve also been finding it difficult to carry Gavin. I also mentioned the period of time when I was suffering particularly from lower back pain and would get out of bed holding my back and grimacing in pain. When Gavin asks me to carry him, I would reply, “Mummy’s back is owie. Baby Gareth is getting very big and it hurts Mummy’s back. I promise to carry you when it is better.”
Yesterday, Gavin bent forwards with a hand on his back and gasped, “My back is owie. I can’t carry you because baby Gareth is getting so big.” I was so surprised, I wanted to laugh. I asked him where baby Gareth was and he pointed to his own stomach.
Yet another example occured recently. Whenever I do carry Gavin, hubby would tease Gavin about being a “big buffalo” because he still wanted to be carried. Today, when we were talking about Gareth, Gavin said, “Baby Gareth is a big buffalo!” When I asked him why, he said it was because Gareth always wanted to be carried.
Nevertheless, being a role model doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. It just means we have to be more aware of the things we say and do. If we happen to do something wrong, it is equally important to acknowledge the mistake and right it. For instance, “Oops, I forgot to say ‘thank you’ to Daddy for helping me clean up the mess.”
10. Avoid bad social influences
While we can control the sort of children our toddlers hang around usually, it gets a little more difficult when it comes to the school environment. Not being there physically to monitor the behaviour of other children makes it harder to control. That said, it isn’t impossible. It just requires having better communication with the teachers and being extra vigilant whenever we get the opportunity to observe our children’s friends in action.
So far, I have to say that most of the kids at school seem to be pretty good kids. It has also been my priority to check with the teachers for two things in particular – whether Gavin bullies other children and whether other children bully him. So far, so good – at least it is nothing that cannot be controlled.
11. Practice inductive discipline
Another recommendation is to practice inductive discipline. Just what exactly is inductive discipline? The gist of it is that inductive discipline involves explaining reasons for having rules and the consequences of bad behaviour. Rather than using methods of discipline that simply focus on punishment and rewards, inductive discipline aims to educate child on the “why”.
This is the first time I’ve come across the mention of inductive discipline, so I thought I would research the topic a little more closely. More about this in the next post.