Child Discipline Methods

As we were heading to daycare, Dao greeted his friend Sam. Sam introduced his mother to Dao, “This is my mom.” Dao replied, “But she looks like your grandma.” Luckily she was busy dealing with her access card, which was not working, and didn’t hear what he said. I said to Dao, “Please don’t say that.” But I didn’t explain to him why he shouldn’t. Even though it was not the nice thing to say, he was speaking his mind.

When I was kid, I probably said a lot of things similar, but when my mom was being harsh on me, I lost the confidence of speaking my mind. Years ago, my cousin loved to put together some sort of a talent show whenever we had a family gathering. Each member of the family was encouraged to do something such as singing, dancing or telling jokes. Now that I think about it he had a very good intention. He taped all the video, but I am not sure what he had done with them.

One time, I stood up and told a joke I heard when I was a kid. The joke was that Vietnamese people loved to eat corns without chewing because they could save money by shitting them out, washing them and eating them again. It was a very stupid joke, but most people laughed. The next day I asked my mom what did she think of the joke and she responded in a very snarky way, “You insulted the entire people of Vietnam and I couldn’t find a rock to hide under.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt the goosebumps all over me. From that day on, I refused to participate in anything at family gathering. Her words continued to haunt me even when I went to college and every time I had to do public speaking.

Now I realize that I was stupid and that I made a dumb joke, but it was not the end of the world. I don’t want that to happen to my kids. They should be able to speak their mind and learn from their mistakes, but they shouldn’t be afraid to speak out. Most of the things that they do say are quite adorable. Last week, I was holding lil Han in my arms. Dan ran up to me and demanded, “Daddy, hold me. I want you to take care of me.” It was just so sweet. When grandma sat lil Dan on her lap, Dan wanted to sit on her lap as well and he said, “Grandma, I am a baby too.”

Being a parent, I find it challenging to balance between discipline and freedom and I am horrible at it. I really admire parents who discipline their kids well. I am more on the opposite end; therefore, whenever the child discipline topic comes up, I just listen. I have no advice to give. Some parents believe that you have to be tough with them. Some parents believe you don’t.

I used to spank my kids, particularly Dao, but it was not working so I don’t do it anymore. I improvise in most situation and I am still struggling to set aside my emotion when dealing with them. When I get emotional, I tend to get really mad and I can’t think straight. I just end up shutting myself down. Public humiliation is no longer a big deal to me. If my wife and kids want to humiliate me in public; there is nothing I can do. I know that my wife doesn’t mean it to when she raised her voice at me in public, but after many times of reminding her don’t seem to work, I just let her have it. I just do my part not to embarrass her in front of our family and friends. The kids don’t know any better so I just let them act out whatever they want. Everyone is responsible for his own behavior and I can’t control anyone else’s but my own.

I sympathize with parents whose kids has no kind of respect whatsoever to them. I don’t know their situation so I don’t judge. I highly admire parents whose kids follow their orders. Wow, this is a long rant.