Before changing your child, change yourself – A mother’s thought-provoking approach to parenting

"Change yourself before you change your child, for a child is a mirror of their parents." That's the profound lesson Ms. Phuong learned in her motherhood journey.


Changing Children: Start with Yourself

“Every time I take my children to school, I notice a sign hanging in the hallway. I consider it a progressive concept in public schools and I agree with this perspective.”

Ms. Tieu Phuong, a mother of two young children (7 and 5 years old) from Hanoi who works in communications, shared her story starting from a sign like that.

By teaching her children through her own experiences, this mother from Hanoi has made positive changes to become a role model for her children and to bridge the gap between parents and children, little by little.

“Before changing your child, change yourself first,” because children are a reflection of their parents. That is an important lesson that Phuong realized during her journey as a mother.

Children will follow our actions, not our words.

In the past, every time she came home from work, the mother would always grumble, “Why don’t you greet me?”

But now, as soon as she opens the door, she takes the initiative to smile and greet her children, “Hello, my loves.”

About a week later, the children changed. When they saw their mother’s figure through the glass window, they shouted, “Hello, Mom!”

Instead of preaching, “You must be tidy and organized,” when her husband reminded her, she always paid more attention to putting her shoes away neatly every time she entered the house, with the intention of showing her children this action.

If they were too busy playing to notice, she would always say loudly, “Look, children, I have put my shoes away.”

And as expected, she noticed that the little ones were very quick to start putting their slippers on the shelves.

“Before changing your child, change yourself first” – Illustrative Image

In front of children, we often hear grandparents and parents complain about children, such as “She is not good at sports,” “He is very stubborn,” “My child is shy and timid,” or “My child is very selfish.”…

However, according to Ms. Phuong, these are all very limiting statements. The more they hear this script repeated, the more your child will tend to “write their life” in that direction.

“In the past, I used to take the role of a mother, higher than my children, to perceive and evaluate everything or impose on them. But when I understood that I needed to change myself first, I always lowered my ego, stood at the same level as my children, understood their feelings, and used love to transform them.”

“For a long time, I haven’t resorted to corporal punishment or punishment, and I always find a gentle way to handle things. I always respect my children and treat them as friends. When children love you, they will naturally listen to you.”

“I once heard someone say: Always be present for your children, be on their side. What they eat, what they do, what they learn, what they play, as a parent, always be present.”

“That’s why when my child learns to play the piano, I also started learning the piano. When my child learns to skate, I also started learning to skate. When my child learns to draw, I learn to draw. Always have mom to learn and play with you, everything is much easier,” Phuong shared.

While reading the book A Good Mother is Better Than a Good Teacher,” Ms. Phuong was quite impressed by the image of a father studying Math with his high school son. His son was not very good at Math. He looked at his son’s Math book and saw that the content was beyond his knowledge.

Instead of hiring a tutor or sending him to extra classes like many others, he started studying Math textbooks. The father not only pretended to be a student, but studied very seriously. Father and son studied together, shared knowledge, and sometimes his son even taught him. Thanks to that, his son’s skills improved significantly.

Frequently asked questions

Ms. Phuong used to see herself as a figure of authority over her children, but she has since realized the importance of changing herself first. She now tries to understand her children’s feelings and treats them as friends rather than subordinates. She has also moved away from corporal punishment and always finds gentle ways to handle situations. By respecting her children and showing them love, she has earned their respect and willingness to listen.

Ms. Phuong makes an effort to be involved in her children’s daily activities and hobbies. For example, when her child started learning the piano, she also took up piano lessons. She believes that by learning and playing alongside her children, she can better support and connect with them, making everything easier for both parties.

Ms. Phuong was inspired by a sign she saw at her children’s school, which promoted a progressive concept in public education. She also read the book “A Good Mother is Better Than a Good Teacher,” which left an impression on her. One particular image that stood out to her was that of a father studying math with his son, despite the father’s limited knowledge of the subject. This inspired her to take a more active and involved role in her children’s education and overall development.

According to Ms. Phuong, statements such as “She is not good at sports” or “He is very stubborn” can be restrictive and influence how children perceive themselves. By repeatedly hearing these labels, children may start to believe and act according to these limitations. Instead, she encourages parents to focus on their children’s strengths and provide a supportive environment for them to grow and develop their full potential.
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