Two weeks ago, saw a sad news about Bill Dean’s passing.

Bill is a master trainer who has a big heart and love everyone before he even meet them. He walked the talk by loving us and teaching us what is unconditional love including loving ourselves and our children. I have attended two of his classes which made a huge impact in my life. One of which is Parenting Workshop.

My husband attended the workshop about 5 years ago when I was still serving post delivery confinement period. I still remember the first night he came back and ran through the key practices with me and aligned how would we want to raise our child. Thereafter, I attended the workshop in the following year which I get to ask questions for the parenting challenges I faced. I learned a lot from his coaching. These learnings brought me to make a stand for parents and children who deserved a loving family life by supported the workshop with more than 100 parents learning in Parenting Workshop during pandemic.

All in all, we have attended thrice of Parenting Workshop by Bill Dean as a family which allow us to review and revisit while finding the best way that work for us as a family. I’m grateful that my husband and I aligned and adopted his teaching and it had changed our life as a parent and my boy’s life essentially.

His passing reminds me of his teaching and perhaps it is time to review and revisit how we are incorporating his teaching into our family life.

In parenting workshop, he taught us about 6 Dos and 1 Don’t in raising quality children. These practices seems simple yet profound. It set a strong foundation for us to cope with the challenges in our parenting journey.

6 Dos

1. Spend quality time with your children each day

It is not enough to just be physically with your children- you need to be with them completely. Turn off all electronics devices including mobile phones (both theirs and yours). Research shows that the children of parents who constantly checking their phones demonstrate a much higher incidence of behavioral problems.

My love language is spending quality time. Hence, this practice is important for our family.

We had set up ritual of having breakfast and dinner as a family and reading bedtime story each day.

Play is my boy’s passion, who doesn’t like to play, right? He choose the game (e.g. monopoly, airplane chess, risk game, etc.) that he wants to play that day and invite us to play the game as a family on weekday evening.

Weekend is our family time which we get to go various places to create memories as a family such as playground, strolling in the park, zoo, river wonders, waterplay, indoor play, swimming, all sorts of play. We learn and connect through play all the time.

One of my favorite is our bedtime routine on sharing our day, feelings or anything came to our mind. After a few practices, he is able to share about his feelings/day and getting better each day. This special time allows us to connect with each other and be empathy to each other. The common question that I asked are:

“What are the feelings do you have for today?”

“What are the funny things happened at school today?”

“What was something you learned today – either in or outside of school?”

Life isn’t always bright. There are times that I struggled for staying present with my boy and spare time to play with him especially on a long day after work. I caught myself checking on phone or thinking about something else while I was with him. It brings me to my way of coping mechanism, either I spare some time to handle the matter first before attending to him or I do it after he fell asleep. For me, the shifting from work to family takes a lot of effort and practice. I’m still practicing every day.

2. Let your children see a strong and moral model

What your children see is what they will become so pay attention to your own behavior. Being willing to admit your mistakes, apologise and show them what you learned from it and how you plan to avoid that mistake in the future. Be sure to show them self-care. Take time for yourself mentally, emotionally and physically.

This practice kept us aware on our behaviors or actions. Frankly, it is quite challenging as we are required to be the best version of ourselves every moment.

Of course, we are human, we made mistakes sometimes. When mistake occur, we admit our mistake, apologise and explain to him what we learned from it. The debrief session usually occur as part of our bedtime routine, when we shared about our day which including debrief for some teachable moments occured during the day.

Self-care became a challenge for me ever since I became a mother. Raising a child without family support and as working parent who has obligation to fulfil as parent and employee. It’s taxing for us as a family.

When pandemic hit, we all had to change our routine by following the safe management measures. While I was coping with the new norm, balancing work and family was tough. So, I asked myself: Do I want him to be the person I’m today?  The answer was obvious and I had to make a tough decision. I’m glad that I made the decision with support of my husband. I’m so much more better now, grounded and connected to myself and be present when they need me.

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first” – unknown

It took me a while to learn the concept of this quote and I learned in a hard way. If you are experience overwhelmness, slow down and give yourself space to breath. Do what makes you happy!

3. Teach your children to care for others and set high ethical expectation

It is important that children hear from their parents and caretakers that caring about others is a top priority and it is just as important as their own happiness. This comes from holding your children to high ethical expectations. Responsibilities are something parents need to remind their children of starting from an early age. Expect them to do their chores, have good manners, being kind to their friends and keep their promises and agreements. Give them (and show them ) the message daily that it is important to be kind as well as happy

My boy loves helping out in house chores, as he is always proactive in helping us in our daily tasks e.g. cleaning, cooking, assembling etc. In terms of taking care of himself, I involved him in packing his school bag, at the meantime, he gets to select his choice of clothes for the day. I reminded him that he needs to learn to handle his own things, that is his responsibilities.

Having good manners, keeping promises and being kind to his friend is work-in-progress. I grouped these as part of social thinking teaching. It takes efforts and practices to cultivate social thinking and the importance of being kind and happy. This practice definitely is a work-in-progress for us as a family.

4. Encourage children to practice appreciation and gratitude

A child who is not spoiled is one who acknowledges the roles of others in their life in a healthy way in a way that comes with appreciation for the people who contribute to their lives. People who practice gratitude on a regular basis are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate and forgiving.

As part of our bedtime routine, we acknowledged each other and thank each other for things that we have done for each other. I can see that he has incorporated appreciation and gratitude in his daily interaction with us. He will said thank you to us when we gets him his favorite food, places, or things.

Last weekend, he expressed his gratitude by sharing with me he enjoyed the getaway trip and he thanked me for bringing him to various places. We chat about the experiences and our like and dislikes.

In last lunar new year, I offered him to give angpao to uncles who worked hard to clear the trash daily in giving us a clean place to live in. I told him the angapo served as our appreciation for them.

I supposed practicing appreciation and gratitude is a on-going practice for ourselves and children.

5. Teach them empathy

It is common for children empathise with a small circle of family and friends. Challenge them to think and empathise with people outside of that circle. Teach them that every person has their own story and it is important to consider each person’s perspective and feelings (without necessarily agreeing with the other’s perspective).

Before I teaching him empathy, I have to learn it first. Through the practice of coaching, I learned that one of the key element for empathy is listening to others. As a child, they have to feel heard or being listened to before they are willing to listen to others. As a result, listening became a ritual in our family.

Each of us are allowed to express our opinion and we will listen to each other openly and empathically. When the person who requires ideas, we can share our suggestions for their consideration. They may or may not adopt our suggestion. That’s okay!

This is one of my key learning through the coaching practices, it’s their agenda, it’s our children’s life, they get to choose their way that work for them. Not neccessarily our way is the best way.

When he encountered any unhappy incident, I will discuss what might be going on with others, especially those who were being hurt or who seems vulnerable. I take it that being empathy is an on-going learning and practice for us as a human being.

6. Build your child’s character with positive words and encouragement

Self-esteem and confidence are critical to everyone success. Build your child’ self-image with these words for they are what every child needs to hear: “I love you”, ” I’m proud of you”, “I’m sorry”, “I forgive you”, “I’m listening”, “You’ve got what it takes”.

My husband and I do not lived in or growm up in a culture of affirming with positive words and encouragement. It took us a while to shift from negative words or judgemental to affirming with positive words and encouragement.

As part of our family ritual, we took photo every morning before we leave for work or school and said  “I love you” to each other every day. I am glad that “I love you” has been incorporated as part of our family ritual. We have came a long way to get to this point and I’m still learning to be better every day in this practice.

1 Don’t

DO NOT HARM YOUR CHILDREN

Parents rarely feel it is acceptable to harm their children. Yet at the same time many parents often think that they must discipline their children through punishment, ridicule, shame, yelling, control or other such negative means. All of these share the same mechanism of applying pain. Pain is NOT necessary or useful in shaping a positive result.

Personally, I find that this is the most impactful and hardest among all practices. My husband and I grown up in a culture that using punishment as a tool in shaping a person to be an obedient person. However, we see that is not effective and it causes so much pain in the world we lived in. With the pain that we carried if it is not healed, it is either turns into anger, aggression or regenerate the pain again and again. So, how do we break the vicious cycle? We learned from painful experiences, how can we parent in an alternate way that won’t cause pain? We asked ourselves.

The answer is…Substitute Consequences for Punishment.

Punishment is using pain means to force a desired outcome- it is about control wherereas consequences is using discipline without a painful intention – it is about teaching and learning.
The later requies a huge amount of patience to teach and respect of your child’s ability to choose. Even at an early age, teach them proper and expected behaviors as well as what the consequences will be for behavior that does not meet those expectations. As child grows up, have them participate in choosing what the consequences will be but remember that you, as parents, have the final say.
And then stick to those consequences – not more or less
In the process, do not use negative anger or abusive or demeaning language when communicating with your child. Do not shame them for doing something wrong but assist them to understand both the choices they made, why those choices were negative to them and others and what chouces they could have made.

I have to admit that sometimes I caught myself to behave like my parents which I learned from them since young or that is how I was brought up. No canning, no beating but I may expressed my anger verbally that may scare him sometimes which created fear in him.

I’m aware that is not what I want to create, hence, I constantly reminds myself being the person I want my child to be. I want to stop creating pain or fear in the world and teaching him consequences allows me to teach him responsibility as well as taking ownership of his life. With that in mind, I trust that we’ll reduce pain or fear starting from our family, our society and creating a better world eventually.

All in all, we still require some practices to excel in the 6 Dos and 1 Don’t. These practices served as a compass in our parenting journey, when things goes wrong, we’ll always come back to these practices, realigned and relaunch.

There is no such thing as a perfect parent, we are all just doing our best. – unknown

We are not perfect and never be perfect. Learning together along the journey as a family is the greatest asset that we have. If you want to create a different result, do things differently.

 “I do not have magic wand, you’ll have to do the work”- Bill Dean

So, who had the magic wand? It’ll be me, you and each and everyone of us.

I as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and human still practicing and doing the work every day. I believe many of you are striving the best for your children too!

I hope this post served as a reminder of his teachings to parents who had attended the workshop previously. For those who had not attended the workshop previously, I hope you can learn something from my sharing.

Together, we can create a better world by giving our child(ren) a joyful and lovely childhood and adulthood.

I’d like to take the opportunity to leave a message for Bill Dean as below:

Thank you Bill for leading with love and teaching us what is nconditional love. You saved my family from painful trauma which may passed down from many generations. Because of you, we break the cycle and parent with unconditional love. Thank you for your unconditional love to people be it you know them or not. You will be missed. Enjoy the time reunited with your wife in another space. Love you, may your soul rest in peave. You will be forever in our hearts.

Reference: The 6 Dos and 1 don’t was reference from the notes taken from the parenting workshop which was organised by Milestone Trainings. The company was dissolved in 2020.

 Thank you for reading, share your thought by leaving your comments below.  

Author

June Siew

I am a mother, a coach, EQ practitioner and an entrepreneur.

I am a lifelong learner who believes that we as human beings empower each other and grow together along the journey of becoming a better person through learning, sharing and collaborating.

I was born and bred in a multi-racial country and I am a non-native English speaker or writer. 

Author

June Siew

I am a mother, a coach, EQ practitioner and an entrepreneur.

I am a lifelong learner who believes that we as human beings empower each other and grow together along the journey of becoming a better person through learning, sharing and collaborating.

I was born and bred in a multi-racial country and I am a non-native English speaker or writer.