Hana technically went to her first preschool class this last Wednesday. We go for two hours once a week to a program for two year olds at the kindergarten Hana will likely attend. The first time we went for observation and Hana didn't enjoy it much. She was more accepting of the activities this time, but still wouldn't get very far from Mommy. For a child who is so outgoing and active, when she gets around children her own age she becomes really shy and isolates herself. She wouldn't join in any of the really fun activities at all??? It will be interesting to see how long it takes before she will start to join in.
Anyways, towards the end of class an eye opening moment happened for me. Hana is not yet used to the basic flow of the class. At the end, there is a short snack time and all the children who have been attending for a long time obviously know that they are to all sit at the table until the teacher declares snack time to be over with the traditional "gochisosama" at the end of the meal in Japan. Well Hana finished eating what she wanted and jumped up to go and play. I was at the mother's table and out loud, to myself, said in Japanese "I wonder if Hana should remain seated?" (Mommy is still learning the system too). And then I began to take a breath to yell out to Hana to go and sit down. The woman beside me leans over and says, "Don't bother to say anything to Hana. With our children, if Mommy tells them to do something they won't do it, but if the teachers tells her to she well. Let the teacher make her sit down."
My immediate reaction was "What is this woman talking about, of course Hana will go sit down if I tell her to." I was rather confused as to why she would think Hana would obey and stranger and not me. And that is when it hit me, most mothers EXPECT for their children not to obey them. In Japan it is the teachers job to teach the child obedience once they begin school.
I was FLOORED. What a basic fundamental difference in our entire way of interacting with our children. When I tell Hana to do something, I expect her to do it, and she knows she is expected to do it. Hana knows I WILL make her do it, so she usually doesn't even pause before doing what I ask her to. When she is feeling honory, she tests the limits, but Mommy (and Daddy) ALWAYS wins. Rocky and I parent entirely from this basis. What we say goes, no questions asked.
What a completely different way of thinking and interacting with your child. I can not imagine how difficult life would be if I expected Hana to always disobey me. I have seen so many children where this is the case, no matter what the parents say they aren't going to do it. But I never stopped to think that their parents expect them to be that way and won't or don't try to do anything about it. I always thought the parents had just given up long ago. But I am beginning to realize that maybe this is the basic thinking of all parents from the beginning here. A total fundamental difference, but makes a HUGE difference in the entire life of the child.
Rocky and I discussed this, and this is so dangerous. Parents literally set up the world around their child so that the child never has to obey because they aren't expected to. When with Mom and Dad, they can do whatever they want. Once they are older, there is no reason to nor any basic understanding of doing what Mommy and Daddy says. A set up for a totally distructive child! REALLY frightening.
Rocky and I have been thinking and praying about writing a book about child raising. I feel there is still so much to learn, but part of me thinks that time is of great importance here. These parents need to know that they CAN expect their children to obey!