If there is one thing I have learnt about bringing up kids since I became a mother, seven years ago, is that there is no right or wrong way to do it; all you can do is play it by ear and do the best you can.
Ascanio was never a child for throwing tantrums, but like any other kid sometimes he was naughty and did things he shouldn’t have done.
Once, when he was about five years old, he was playing in the garden with a friend and started arguing with him, and ended up by pushing him really hard making him fall backwards.
I remember scolding him but, above all, I tried to explain why it was not right to do certain things. And that’s what I did every time he misbehaved. I always tried to reason with him. Just as I try to reason with him when I encourage him to study, play a sport or talk about his interests.
Ascanio, like any other kid, is often curious andunpredictable.
As for me, I don’t like to use “a carrot and stick approach” and never say things like: “If you behave yourself I buy you two packets of stickers or the game you want.“
I have rarely bargained with Ascanio in these terms. And if I did so on very rare occasions, it was because he had caught me off guard,and I always regretted it afterwards.
I have always believed that if I started to use “terms” in our “mother-son” relationship, almost as a form of “blackmail”, I would never see the end of it. So there has never been “if you do this … then I’ll do that” in our relationship.
I like to think that if Ascanio does something, such as doing his homework or working hard at school, he is doing it for himself and finds it rewarding to do things well. Or at least that he is learning to do so.
I like to think that he knows how to “work hard” and understands that working hard is one of life’s experiences.
I have also always believed that using the “reward” approach serves no purpose, and that praise is always far more rewarding. Better still, a big hug, and one of my countless kisses.
That how it works for us.
In all the best relationships, being quite clear is what works, rather than blackmail.
If he wants a game, he asks me for it. Sometimes I say yes, and sometimes I say no. Not always getting what you want is also an important lesson in life.
Of course, when I get home feeling tired in the evening, and he starts acting up, it would be a lot easier to come to terms with him, and give in to a little blackmail. But whether it is a punishment or explanations I am giving, our relationship must have a sound basis.
It’s so important for children to find the drive to do things, and understand when they do something wrong. Words and explanations rather than punishment, make kids understand all this.
Being a mother is the most difficult job in the world. But perhaps, being a child is not that easy in today’s society.
But one needs to try. By laying the foundations for a meaningful and important relationship.