Someone I know, who attained the pinnacle of his organisation before retiring to travel the world, told me that he once dared not go home because he knew he would be caned for less than stellar exam results. He lived in Chinatown, and his family scoured the streets for him when night fell. You could say that treatment worked because this man grew up into someone quite successful. Yet, these methods no longer work because the school system has become so demanding that terrorising your child is a guarantee of making that child fail in school.
You can scare a child into excelling at rote-learning exams. Thinking exams cannot be aced by fear.
I was caned too. Sometimes, the caning drew blood. In some ways, this explains why I seem to understand children. I have never forgotten what it was like to be:
This explains how I learnt to be kind and gentle with people weaker than I am: children, cleaners, road sweepers, garbage collectors, wait staff, delivery men, hawker stall assistants/workers. I learnt long ago that people mistreat the weak because they can. I did not want to be like them.
Like most people, I did not think nagging was a very bad thing.
It was only recently that I realised that nagging was a form of aggression. It is a micro-aggression. It does not qualify as abuse, like what I detailed above. Yet, it does do damage to the child over weeks and months and years because it is incessant, like a small grain of sand in your shoe as you walk for 100km.
Case Study 1
This child's parents came to me ostensibly to get help to motivate the child to do HW. Once this child had warmed up to me, he miserably confided in me, "I hate HW. I hate school." In his eyes, there was a look of desperation, like a soul trapped in agony.
When I mapped the family dynamics, more things surfaced. The child was violent at home. It was not just HW. It was anger management. In my class, apart from the 2 first lessons, I saw no anger management issues. Once the child got used to the class environment, he left his preconceived notions behind and became beyond calm. He was unusually reflective and unusually considerate of others. When I described their child in the weekly class report, the parents did not recognise their child. They concluded that their child never shows his ugly side to strangers.
Actually, it was simply that there was a key stressor at home which did not appear in my class. Dr. Pet does not nag. She acts.
This child's mama nagged nonstop. She used a whining tone to remind her child of this and that. Out of her mouth came a constant stream of feedback for improvement and precious little praise. The situation was particularly acute during HW sessions. The more she nagged, the more he hated HW, the more he resisted, the more tantrums he threw.
Nagging hardens the child's stubbornness in the same way a kitchen blowtorch hardens the sugar crystals on top of the crème brûlée into a hard caramel. If you cannot stop nagging, please get in touch for parent coaching.
Case Study 2
This child was sneaky. He would do what he was not supposed to do whenever his parents were not looking. Barred from phone games, he secretly played for hours by setting up a brilliant subterfuge. So, he was an extremely intelligent child.
If you want someone who will do the right thing when no one is looking, this was NOT the child. We feared. Liew Mun Leong's son, Karl Liew, also thought no one was looking. Pastor Kong Hee also thought no one was looking. So, we feared.
I found out that his gentle mama nagged a lot. This was not a violent family. They did not believe in caning children. They tried their best to be kind and loving to their children. Nagging did not appear to be abusive. Nagging is NOT abusive. Yet, it does damage to the child.
This child responded in another way. He simply went undercover to do what his Mama nagged him NOT to do. He simply stalled and dawdled and dragged his feet, conveniently forgetting to do his work, or simply stating it was no point to do HW.
If you cannot stop nagging, please get in touch for parent coaching.
Nagging and PTSD
In some young adults, a certain tone can make them raise their psychological defences up high. Speak with them in that tone and it does not matter how reasonable your demand is, they will not acquiesce. They will stubbornly refuse to comply.
They had naggy parents.
Nagging hardens the child's stubbornness in the same way a kitchen blowtorch hardens the sugar crystals on top of the crème brûlée into a hard caramel. That naggy tone triggers their PTSD. All their psychological defences go up.