Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Case#3: Ownership & Responsibility

Aimar did it again! It's still early in the morning, we were having breakfast and getting ready to go to school when he told me in a monotonous no-guilt tone "i lost the taekwondo uniform.someone took it while we were changing our uniform!"

He lost the water tumbler that he insisted in bringing it to school because his brother did. He lost the casio watch belongs to his dad within twelve hours in his possession. He lost the books, he lost the bags, he lost the wallet.. he lost everything! And as it still early, he threw me the news he lost the uniform, just after we had a loooong chat about taking responsibility and taking good care of his stuff, he failed us, again!

I'm losing my patience.

The stigma we live in
It's typical thoughts, especially for Malay parents, would just ignore this behaviour and 'let it go'. It would only be a RM2 notebook, or just the wallet from the pasar malam, or just an old watch (but for Aimar's case it's quite a sentimental watch to his dad). 

We even try to comfort the kids whenever the lost their stuff "no worries, we'll get a new pair next week."

Is it taboo?

Small matters that counts! It's not the monetary value that we've put into anything, but the sense of taking ownership and being responsible to what we owned. 

Dear Parents, 

With that cute small voice, with that guilty look and water in their eyes, we (especially mothers) tend to stop the children's feeling sad and guilty rather than what penalizing their own mistakes. 

The world our children are living in nowadays are surely not the same like we had or like our parents' had and our foreparents' had. It has never been easy before, and as time passes by, one's living style tend to improve for better and we would always want to cater or provide anything, if we could, to our children just because we couldn't have it during our times and we could afford it now for them. 

Kids do not understand values of things. They would ask things they wish they had. And if they are good and lucky, mama will buy the stuff for them. 

That need to change, at least to my children. 

So, what did I do?

I still couldn't find the right formula to instill the sense of responsibility in Aimar. We are still monitoring this attitude of his and we recognized it's his lacking and something that we need to work on it. 

1. Make it difficult for them

We can't deny the phrase 'easy come, easy go'. make it difficult for them to get things they wanted. We would ask thousand and one questions before we would buy things the children wanted. Sometimes, they would prefer to forget it when mama started to ask for a list of "why i want this and that and how can i get this and that". 

2. Teach them to appreciate

We would share real-life stories on how difficult life could be to some children of their age. We constantly told them to be thankful and appreciate on the blessed 'luxury' living they are enjoying. They must know the fact that people could hardly have a decent food while they are spoiled for choices. 

3. Explain the importance of taking ownership & be responsible

Using the points of we bought stuff because what was in their list (1), we must enforce them to own up things that they wanted. They should take care of the belongings because they asked for it and if they lost it, they should definitely prepare themselves to pay the price. My husband and I would always keep reminding them that those toys they've wanted or any other things  were things they borrowed from us, and they only way they could have it for good were to take good care of it.

4. Business means business

When they fail, they should take responsibility on admitting that they lost the stuff. Children are very good with excuses, and most of the times were ridiculous excuses. They would start the blame games. They would make things up. They would just say they forgot. And the list goes on. We just have to deal with it. Punish them. And if it's require to get the goods they've lost it, made them 'pay'. Make it even harder than the first time to got it. 

5. Trust

Yes, we may be strict and difficult. But, we still need to trust our children that they will learn to take ownership. Unlike Aidan, Aimar has been depending lots of things on his elder brother. Aidan will pay the fees, Aidan will bring the expensive toys and he'll just share. To learn to be responsible, he needs to take up ownership. I started to give him some cash to buy stuff and he has to be responsible on the goods and change. He has improved after a while.

A happy ending?

We are still figuring out of there's any more creative method ( a pet, perhaps?) to deal with this taking ownership issue with Aimar. In his case, it's more of appreciating things rather than taking up responsibility. Still keeping my finger crossed and hope he'll get better now that I'm putting this in list to be improved, Insyaallah.

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