A tough balance to strike


If you are close to us, you would know that we hardly push our kids to do things against their will, mostly due to our laissez-faire parenting style.  However, that doesn’t mean that we do not discipline our kids, care nothing about their education or let them get completely out of control. 


In June, we brought our kids back to Taiwan to visit their grandparents and to learn to appreciate different culture.  My son has been through several summers forgetting what was previously taught at school without any meaningful summer learning program activities.  Each year after the summer break, he returned to school with assessment from the ESL teacher that he has regressed to before the previous grade level. 


Yes, my son was enrolled in the ESL program from Kindergarten to the first grade because of his language disability regardless of Chinese or English though born and raised in the US and has never studied in the Chinese language school.  Luckily, that doesn’t seem to stay long as somehow, he seems to have caught up and exceeded his peers when he was in 2nd grade, exhibiting the trait of a late bloomer.  However, to prevent history from repeating, it might make sense for him to keep the good reading habit of 15 minutes a day during the school year into the summer break.  So, after a month of play in Taiwan and some transitioning back to the US from the jet lag, I decided that it is time to ask my son to start picking up his reading habit.  As always, his reaction was dramatic.  I might not have picked the best time to ask him to spare 15 minutes of his time to read his favorite book – The Lost Hero.  I chose to do on the morning of July 4th.  He started to cough incessantly.  There were several reasons that triggered his cough.  He caught a cold the 2nd time when he returned to the US.  In addition, whenever he gets stressed, he coughs. 


Maybe it is just a bad timing.  Our kids seem to have a very low threshold for stress tolerance.  How could it be stressful to just spend 15 minutes on reading?  How can they face any competition later in their life if they cannot stand the pressure of being asked to read for 15 minutes? 


It is especially a tough balance to strike when dealing with my son since he has asthma.  He had an asthma attack yesterday from the cold and from the stress of fighting against spending any time reading. 


I really don’t know how to be a mom.  I am not a competent mom.  I only ask our kids to do what’s minimally needed from the school to stay within their grade level such as the 5 to 10 minutes of homework once every two to three days and the 15 minutes reading per day.  That is all I push, nothing more. 


Anyway, I took my son to the clinic this morning.  It turns out that he has a strep throat which might have worsen his asthma.  I felt sad as a mom.  This is his 2nd asthma attack (His first asthma attack happened 4 years ago due to a severe cold.  He was hospitalized then) though not as serious as the first one.  It still breaks my heart because I had somehow contributed to his attack.   


Written by Elisa English

On July 5th, 2011 in Minneapolis



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