Or at least seriously maim him.
I had mentioned previously, that my Silly Stunt Baby likes to romp on her bed.
So on Wednesday night, she asked me to “seep” (sleep, or lie down) at the end of her mattress (which is on a large sleeping platform). So I did, and I dozed off. Until my head got cracked open. There was a loud crack. Intense pain. I woke to find my Silly Stunt Baby beside me, stunned. Or at least quietly shocked.
I searched, found and put on my glasses (which had been dislodged by the impact – she cracked my head just over my right eye), and checked for blood and/or broken bones, and also found Z lying quietly apprehensive.
I asked her if she was ok, and if she was hurt, and she started to hit me, saying “bok! bok! bok!”
I stopped her, saying to the effect that it was she who hurt me and now she was “bokking” me? She had no right to do so.
Let me explain.
(My sister will empathise because this happened with her kid (or kids) too.)
Z has started to “bok” things whenever she is hurt. So if she fell, she would “bok” the floor. If she tripped on the play mat, she would “bok” the mat. If she bumped into a door or something, she would “bok” the door. Or something.
So when she fell onto me and butted the back of her head (I eventually found out) on my right supra-orbital ridge (might as well used terms I learned in University), and presumably suffer some pain, her learned response kicked in and she “bok” and blamed me for the hurt.
Where did she learn this?
From her Grandmother.
My sis also discovered her son started hitting inanimate objects when he hurt himself (when he was a toddler) and realised that he had “learned” or been taught by his grandmother or grandfather (my parents). My sister was not amused. She and her husband do not do this. When children fall (and they often do), she will pick them up, dust them off, comfort them if necessary, and set them right.
However, the older generation (my parents and I guess PL’s parents), takes the “easy” way out and blames the ground for being “naughty” and beat the ground (or whatever blameless inanimate object that is a viable scapegoat). This seems to be emotionally satisfying to the child – there is pain (evil) and there is a cause (the evil ground, or whatever) and there is retribution (beat the inanimate object). It satisfy their sense of natural justice.
And for the grandparents, they are satisfied because the child is consoled, and stops crying.
BUT THEY ARE TEACHING THE CHILD THE WRONG THING!
I am sure my sister (and siblings) and I were raised the same way, and we turned out (relatively) fine, and we will teach Z that no, not every hurt is a result of “evil” and such “evil” may not have “evil intent” or may not even be deliberate, and so there is no fault (other than their own clumsiness), and thus there is no antagonist that merits punishment.
But that is a lesson for a more matured child.
But yes, I am a little concerned that Z is learning about or acquiring a simplistic morality, or a habit of blaming external factors (External Locus of Control? Google that!) And learning to blame anything and everything for bad outcomes.
But it explains why many Singaporeans are so judgmental, and punitive, and… immature? (Maybe that’s for another post as well).
So I asked SSB (Silly Stunt Baby) in Singlish (that’s another post for another day) “where pain?”
And she pointed at my head.
“I know my head hurts. Where does YOUR head hurt?” I laughed.
She laughed too.
I asked PL which way she fell, and figured it was probably backwards. So I felt the back of her head. I didn’t realised a human head had so many bumps on the back. Anyway, I couldn’t be sure and she didn’t winced when I touched the various bumps, so I figured she was fine. She could laugh even.