Solo-Parenting a 7 year old Boy

I have to admit that when I found out I was having a little boy, it was with a mixed bag of emotions. I would very much like to say that I was moved by the miracle of life and cried happy tears when my child was placed in my arms.

But the very first thing I said to my hb when I saw K was, ”Why does he look like that?”

Well, this shallow mom have repented since.

Lately with the recent adjustments at home, I have been reflecting about my part of being one-half of a parent to K. I used to think that the relationship between same-sexed parents and children; i.e.. mother-daughter or father-son, are extra special. However, I found out that the relationship that forms the child, are the mother-son, father-daughter relationships.

I am not just saying this since I have a son, nor do I want to downplay the importance that Dads have on their son being role models. But this combination it seems, is the ideal parent-child combination for single parents.

I may not fit into a profile of a single parent, since hb and I are still happily married. Nonetheless, the solo-parent status applies to my parenting life right now.

I asked K this question recently, “Do you think you have a brave-heart?”

His response to me was, “No, I have a chicken-heart, as I cry easily when I feel hurt and I am sometimes afraid of insects.” Hb used to say that K was being ‘chicken-hearted’ when he got too sensitive, or don’t show enough courage for challenges that he encounters.

My reply to him was, “Not chicken-hearted. You have a tender heart, that can be brave and courageous as God is with you.”

I believe I still can be the parent who will let him understand what I see and admire most in men. Build his confidence, demonstrate that actions have consequences, help him gain a tender heart, and teach him how to love God with all his heart.

7 year old 1

I am K’s mom, I am not his dad. And I will never expect to be both, as I think I will fail quite miserably.

My focus as K’s mom is to build a heart connection with him, and will never try to be the dad that I can never be.

I guess I am still in a good place when it comes to being a parent. Even if I means that I am the one who has to pick up dead lizards and get rid of any insect that find their way into our room.

Felt Bunny Softie 1

P.S. When K was a baby, I used to be so envious of people who were able to make beautiful quilted blankets for their babies. I still haven’t got around making a blanket for K, since he doesn’t have a need for one anymore.

I have found the next best alternative; softies. This isn’t the first softie that I have made for him, as he still has the wonky-looking cat softies I made for him 3 years ago. But it is the first personalized softie complete with glasses and his first name initial.

Just one of the many reasons why I love to do hand-mades, as this will be the only softie bunny uniquely like this one.

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The Problem with Technology

I am worried about how children deal with technology.

As a blogger mum and someone who spends half her life in a day online multi-tasking checking Facebook, updating statuses, emailing, texting, googling, while working online all at the same time. Technology has been a very useful and helpful invention, but a dangerous one as well, if we do not make an effort to regulate our usage of it.

The past week, two challenges have been thrown in my path to highlight the problem of technology and to test how I should manage it with my child.

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Minecraft or Nightmares?

The first one was a call from the teacher who called me one evening, to ask if K was going through any difficulties at home. Her feedback was K seemed listless and could not focus in class for the past 2 weeks. He didn’t used to be like that and she wondered if his changes in behavior had anything to do with some issues at home.

My first assumption was, his mind could be distracted by plans for the upcoming weekend, thinking of things to build in the ‘Minecraft’ game on PS3.

After the call, I told K that I just spoke to his teacher on the phone, and he burst into tears. I calmly asked him why he was facing this problem in school and probed if it was his obsession with Minecraft that he was distracted with, or was it something else?

He told me that he wasn’t able to keep up in class as he has been feeling really tired, since he has been waking up numerous times at night due to disturbed sleep. I recalled that the past 2 weeks, he has been going to bed close to 9.30-9.45pm daily. And deep into the night, I have been woken up by his sleep talking and watched him tossed and turned in his sleep.

So was it his distraction with Minecraft or disturbed sleep affecting him in school? We prayed to give him restful sleep that night, and I will be evaluating his time spent on PS3 and iPad on the weekends.

He spends an average of 1.5 – 2 hours each Saturday and Sunday playing on games PS3, or watches Mindcraft videos on iPad. On weekdays, he is not allowed to play games and watches about 1.5 hours of TV a day.

Should I be reducing his time spent on the weekends on the gaming console and iPad further? It is tempting, but I think I will be exploring other measures before deciding.

 

The One with the Naked Women on Youtube

The second one was with a neighbour whom K has been playing with for the past week, a Korean American boy, J.

It is a routine for K to visit the estate’s playground 3 times a week from 5 – 7pm, however since mid last week, J (who rarely joins in with the rest of the children in the playground) came to our door on evening, asked if K could go to his house to play. Seeing that he was a year younger than K, I allowed K to go to his home twice last week, without supervision

Yesterday early evening, J came to our door with his domestic helper. His domestic helper said that J’s mum was very angry as she found a video on her iPad of ‘Naked women’ and implied that K was the one that influence J to see this, since J cannot spell.

A convenient assumption as the older child will always be blamed for influencing the younger one, and what a way to acquaint yourself with your child’s friend’s mum…

Nakid

I questioned the boys, both denied it. The exchange between the two boys consisted of K’s teary and worked up response of, “He was the one with the iPad, why would I want to see naked women. He went to the closet, ask me to go inside with me and watched the iPad. I want to vomit when I see that!” While J, said with a straight face said, “It is not me, I am not lying. He is the one.”

I told J’s domestic helper that the iPad cannot be used by a child unsupervised and moving forth, K will not be visiting their home and vice versa for J. If J wants to meet K, he can see him downstairs at the playground.

After they left, I asked K when this happened and why he didn’t tell me about it. He said the incident happened when he was in J’s room. J got the iPad, climbed into the closet and told K to go with him. Then told him, “This naked woman video is so cool.” According to K, he closed his eyes while J finished watching the video on the iPad. K didn’t tell me about the incident as he was afraid that I would scold him for that.

Now, as a parent, will you choose to trust your child? Or someone else’s report of your child? Hearing K’s side of the story, he is either telling the truth or a really good liar.

 

Could this be my child’s problem?

K isn’t an ‘angel’ but I understand him well enough to know that ‘Naked woman’ pictures will have no appeal for him. I don’t think he is even curious about this, since he has seen pictures of this nature through paintings and art. We have a barely dressed woman picture on the wall in the bathroom, another statue of the same kind in our weekend home, both of which we have discussed about before.

And supervising his use of iPad and online, the ‘viewing history’ for the device has never shown that he has ventured into videos or website of this nature.

His time online is so limited, that I think he would spend his time seeing the blocky, half naked Minecraft characters in their ‘printed-hearts’ underpants, than real-life photos of barely dressed women.

Nakid1

I chose to trust my son and this incident confirmed that K should stop going to J’s house.

If J’s mum thinks that my child is the one with the problem, so be it. I just hope she manages this with her son and not conveniently sweep it under the carpet. I don’t think she would accept any form of advise from me to supervise J’s usage of her iPad, since her conclusion is that K is the one influencing her child.

 

The Problem with Technology

Now I wonder, why would 6-7 year olds be interested in pictures of naked women?

Unsupervised use of technology is likely the culprit for this issue, since video pictures of naked people can be randomly featured in Youtube without a child knowing how to search for it in Google.

In a poll done in October 2013 about the use of internet, 94% of parents interviewed said that they allowed their kids unsupervised access to at least one device or online service like email or social networks. Most parents allow their kids access to gaming consoles and computers at eight eight. When it comes to kids under the age of seven;

- 41% of parents allow them to use a gaming console unsupervised

- 40% allow unsupervised access to a computer

- 29% of parents unsupervised use of a mobile apps

Spending half of my life online daily, I am fully aware of the dangers that lurk online for a child, as well as the risk with children being addicted to gaming or handheld devices.

Apart from limiting his time spent on the gaming console or iPad. It will be hard for K to get rid of me while he uses any technology device, at least for the next decade, since I will be watching him with eagle eyes to ensure that he never dabbles with questionable sites or videos.

 

Do share! Do you supervise your child’s use of technology? How many hours does your child get to be on the iPad or on the gaming console daily? How old do you think the child should be before parents can cease to supervise their online / gaming usage? 

 

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Tame your Tongue…even when it isn’t fair.

The boy came back one Monday afternoon, clearly upset, as he was wrongly accused for something he didn’t do.

The story was; his form teacher confiscated his book (that I just bought for him over that weekend) as he was about to transfer it from under his desk into his bag. He tried to reason with his teacher that he was just trying to keep the book in his bag, and never attempted to read it during class time. But her response was, “I am sorry, but I have to confiscate this book.”

He then waited, 1 week after, the book didn’t come back.

2 weeks after the incident, the book didn’t return.

3 weeks after the incident, she likely forgot about it.

Despite K asking if he could get the book back from her, she answered “I will return it to you soon”, but we still didn’t see it 2 days after that. I decided to type out this message about how I felt about the incident;

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I didn’t send this message, although this was exactly how I felt. Instead, I sent this one to her. Short and simple.

Photo 1

And K got the book back the next day in school.

I told K that he just have to make sure that he keeps his story book in the bag during class time, in order to avoid this from happening again. It was not a fair judgement but he will have to comply to classroom rules.

Call it EQ, or realizing that it is NOT the right person I have to be assertive to, or simply just watching what comes out from my mouth, I just didn’t think that it was worth letting her know how I feel about the matter. Even though the boy wasn’t at fault from the start and this was the first time she thought she ‘caught’ him committing the offense.

Besides, I don’t want her to ‘mark’ K, or decide that this child has a very troublesome mother whom she doesn’t really like very much, and then decides to ignore him in class. I don’t know his form teacher well enough at this point to expect that she will not respond this way, if I were to send the first message.

So yes, my tongue is tamed.

——

Is it just age or wisdom?

Being a mom tames my tongue. Especially when you are corresponding with someone whom your child will be facing almost daily for the next 9 months in the coming year, so it is important to choose your words wisely when it comes to your child’s teachers.

Here are some words that I abide by from the book of Proverbs about watching what we say;

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble – Proverbs 21: 23

 

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

 

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him – Proverbs 29:20

and my all-time-favorite?

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits – Proverbs 18:21

This constantly reminds me to be conscious of what I say to my child. To use my tongue to ENCOURAGE and Build him up, NOT tear down.

So if you are saying things to your child like “You are stupid”, when you know your child is not very intelligent, or “You are a monster or a terror,” when he/she is a handful. Stop doing it.

Words can either cause DEATH; hopes, understanding, families, friendship, reputations or even death of marriages. Or LIFE; reconciliation, peace, encouragement, hope, love.

What would come out from your mouth today? Words that give LIFE or DEATH?

 

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