Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Mother's Lap

Recently, I was told by one of my good friend and teacher, Lency, that the only place that all children (whether they are grown up like us or not) really need is The Mother's Lap.

Whenever our children are upset or angry, The Mother's Lap is the one place that they need. Because only in The Mother's Lap, we and our children will feel safe, loved and understood.

When our children are upset, all they want and need is a haven so that they can express how they feel and be healed of the hurt by the love of a mother... and when we say The Mother's Lap, it is really just a metaphor and so it doesn't really need to be a lap.. and most importantly, it doesn't have to be a female lap.. a father whose lap offers this haven would be The Mother's Lap for the child.

Unfortunately though, when I think back of my parenthood journey so far, I realised that sometimes as parents, we do not realize that when our children are throwing tantrums or not behaving well, it is because they are feeling bad and they need The Mother's Lap..

Instead, we tend to judge them for being bad, for being unreasonable, for being naughty. And sometimes, when they are not behaving according to what we think GOOD children should behave like, it triggers this "I am not a good mother", "I am not a good father" thought in us and we often react by scolding them and punishing them....

But only people and children who feel badly behave badly. When we scold our children or beat them when they are behaving badly.. or just telling them tat "Mummy does not like it that you behave this way"merely teaches them not to behave in this way again by SUPRESSING their emotions when they are triggered by the same cause again. Say if they are upset, instead of crying and throwing a tantrum to let you know, they will hide it.. supress it until one day, it appears in their life as a challenge or a problem.

For example, a child who cries when frightened may supress the crying and the fear and when they grow up, this fear will be 'released' as fear towards having relationships, fear towards moving forward in their lives, fear towards having success in their careers, etc...

When they do not get to handle and burn away the bad feelings they have, the chance to heal this bad emotion and show them the right way becomes more hurt and harm in the end... When we give our children The Mother's Lap.. we show them the way to give their children, The Mothers Lap.

It reminded me of that day when I went to my father in law's place and he was telling me how while I was entertaining my parents inside the house during the CNY dinner the other day, Ace was outside playing with friend's son and he said that because Ace was playing with the car and the little kid wanted to touch and take Ace's car, Ace hit him.. According to my Yeye, his friends laughingly told him, "John ah.. your grandson is good ah..." and laughed out loud. While they could see how Ace was just innocently trying his best to protect his toy.. even though he is not emotionally mature enough to do it in a better way, he was just innocently acting out what he felt.. a fear of loss.. I was busy judging my son about how come he was so violent and why he behaved so badly and made me look bad in front of other people.

But luckily I have attended so much POV workshops, I knew enough to ask him why he did that and he told me, "Because I was afraid he wanted to take my car home..." So I asked him why he did not share, "I don't like him..." And then I told him that if he shares, he will get more...

But concerned about how 'bad' my son is, I asked him, "So where did you hit the little boy?" and Ace told me that he hit him on the face. That got me worried and I asked him if he hit him lightly or hit him hard and Ace said he hit him very hard. Then I started to scold Ace for hitting and slapping the other boy. Thank goodness though I remembered my lesson in transformational communication and so I told him that I did not like it that he slapped the boy cos I myself was slapped when I was a child and I felt really humiliated and bad....

But I still cannot help it but scolded Ace. He was grumpy and behaved strangely after my scolding... but I was busy judging myself as a parent and blaming myself and worrying about how others will see me as a mother that i did not offer him The Mother's Lap... if I did, I think the lesson I wanted to teach about sharing and treating your friends gently might be better recieved after he has resolved the related emotions..

I'm sorry, Ace.. please forgive me.. I will remember Lency's point about offering you The Mother's Lap..:)

PS: I told Max about The Mother's Lap today... he laughingly says since it is MOTHER'S LAP, it is none of his business. But I know he took it to heart cos he spoke to Ace must more gently for the rest of the day. Cool!

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