Thursday 22 October 2020

The third born changed the way I parent

Raising kids may come with experience but that doesn't equate to us having the wits to handle each child that comes along. After all, kids are uniquely different in personalities. The third born has helped me recognised some things that could have been done differently when I was raising his two older siblings.

1. Read More Chinese Books
I've learnt to be more consistent in reading Chinese story books to Juboy. Every night's bedtime is always permanent with at least one English and one Chinese story book. He knows the drill, and he will pick out the books on his own when it comes to bedtime stories. Loving a language begins at a tender age, as early as birth! I saw how the older kids struggled with Chinese in school, and I attribute that to our insufficient speaking and reading of Chinese at home. I do read them Chinese stories when they were younger, but it wasn't consistent enough till the language became an examinable subject. 

2. Less Indulging
Kids of our century often ask for material possession as gifts. It's an easy accedence for busy parents who are usually buried with work guilt. Raising the third born got relatively easier on toys and clothes because he had most stuff hands down. He inherited a heap of toys from his siblings and piles of clothes from big brother. I kept them! Somehow dissatisfied with stopping at two. Of course, being individually different he gets to buy his favourite theme toys that his siblings didn't own. But I'm glad I've not spent much on buying him toys since babyhood. I got smarter in hiding and rotating toys, just so the toys looks fresh to him. At four years old now, he does request to buy toys, but I am careful to not over indulge. I've observed how owning less means more. He treasure his toys more preciously than his siblings. 
Cheeky little one

3. Hold Back On Over Caring
Not that it's less attention, but being a third born Mum gives you greater threshold of risk and mess. I realised I helicopter over him much lesser than his older siblings. I give him space to explore and take risks in a safe environment on his own. I'm much chill with knocks and falls, than being panicky over the slightest scratch or bump the eldest had. Over caring also means I'll do more things for him when he has the ability to do it independently on his own. So yes, the independence came earlier for Juboy. Helping him less means he can help himself more.

4. Old and Wrong Habits Die Hard
It's true that old and wrong habits die hard. It's better that we cultivate the good habits from the beginning than trying to kill a bad habit after that. It takes consistency in this part of training. I've learnt to not allow one or two casual incidents fall through the discipline crack when cultivating a good habit. If laundry clothes need to be in the basket immediately, it needs to be done without hesitation. If school bag needs to be packed before bedtime, it needs to be done so that way.
5. Milestones Chill
I worry less about milestones. I know they will come to past eventually because every child develops at a different pace. With that, it's less comparisons and manageable expectations. It's not about what his siblings and peers can do at that age, but when will he be ready for it. Preschoolers are entitled to be in the phase of lullaby. I only hope Juboy can start reading and writing independently before he enters primary school. Minimal expectation. 

Being the third child commonly equates to less attention and early independence, but I like to bring in my favourite phrase, "Love doesn't divide, it multiplies!" A child's birth order can actually dominate his personality. It looks like Juboy is one with the earliest independent skills, and probably the most resilient among all. And of course, there are worse that the third born has brought out of me. Patience has run thinly in me as I manage having three. Surely something I need to deal with diligently. 


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