父母守則

:::

1995 / 4月

文‧李光真


「變動本身不是那麼可怕,變動前後父母沒有好好因應,才是發生問題的最重要原因」,親子專家游乾桂表示。

為了將托育變動的傷害減至最低,父母該怎樣做呢?


「孩子是活生生的,帶孩子的人,不能隨意說換就換」,有多年親職輔導經驗的友緣基金會主任黃倫芬指出,為了做到這點,「慎始」這個原則絕對要切記:「千萬不要為了遷就媽媽自己的人際關係,或是為了方便、省事、省錢,結果把孩子本身的最佳利益忽略了!」

姊姊的保母不要她!

幫左鄰右舍帶過不少孩子的林姓保母,就有一對姊妹的托育經驗可供應證。姊姊從小帶起,一切適應良好,然而小兩歲的妹妹出生後,因為奶奶思孫心切,加上媽媽也覺得下班後照顧兩個孩子太累,保母費更花得心疼,於是就把妹妹送回鄉下老家。直到四歲多,奶奶帶不動了,才接回台北上幼稚園,下課後再和姊姊一起去保母家。

不知道是不是沒有從小帶大,「疼不入心」的關係,林姓保母總覺得「鄉下阿媽」帶大的妹妹驕縱霸道,「沒有規矩」;而且姊妹倆長久不在一起生活,見了面就是吵架、打架。林姓保母不勝其煩,最後乾脆請媽媽「把姊妹倆一起帶走!」這時媽媽才後悔,若當初對老二考慮得更週到些,或許就可以免去如今的苦惱。

當然,外界的事情,不是力量微薄的父母們能設計、能勉強的,當變動已迫在眼前,無法挽回時,為了避免「一步走錯,全盤皆輸」,父母如何「承先啟後」,幫助孩子適應,就成為當務之急。

告訴孩子:不是你的錯!

首先要注意的是,「不管是家長或是托育孩子的人,都要絕對避免在這個時候,挑撥孩子對另一方的親子之情,免得情勢更惡化複雜」,信誼基金會副執行長謝友文警告。

例如有些家長不滿意保母的辭職,會憤而跟孩子說:「李媽媽壞壞,寶寶不要再愛李媽媽,不要再去李媽媽家了。」對家長有所不滿的保母,則容易奚落孩子:「寶寶不乖,李媽媽不愛你,不讓你來李媽媽家了。」

這些充滿情緒的字眼,落在不解世事的幼兒耳中,就成了可怕的末日宣判。有些孩子會因為自己還偷偷愛著「壞壞」的保母而無所適從,有些則因為自己「不乖」,被保母趕出來而有罪惡感。同樣在小小心靈上揮之不去的,還包括焦慮、忿怒、傷心、挫折、被遺棄感,和對照顧者信賴感崩潰等等殺傷力強大的負面感覺。

為了將傷害和衝擊減到最低,謝友文建議,父母應該儘量和以前的托育者維持友好關係,有時候雙方互相探視一下,藉此告訴孩子,分離並不代表斷交或背棄,孩子也可以學著用平常心對待。

讓孩子有機會說再見

此外,「緩衝和銜接」,則是此時不可免的步驟。

「很多父母以為孩子還小,不必跟他多做解釋,因此孩子就在沒有什麼心理準備的情況下,驟然被拋擲到一個新環境裡。」在看過許多因變動而失調的案例後,黃倫芬建議,只要孩子稍大,能夠懂得父母的話了,就應該提早一點告訴孩子:「要換新環境了,不會再來這裡了。」

當然,乍聞壞消息,孩子會疑惑焦慮,但讓他有機會把焦慮表現出來、並且幫他化解,總比焦慮隱藏在心中要好些。更重要的,「給孩子一點時間,讓他以自己的方式向他所愛的托育者道別,可以減低他的遺憾和失落感。」

向舊環境道別外,同樣重要的是逐漸熟悉新環境。譬如在將換未換前,帶他去新環境(新保母家或是托嬰中心、幼稚園等)待上一兩個鐘頭,指出那裡好玩的、有趣的東西讓他心存期待。如果孩子有什麼特殊習性,譬如較內向、較好動、胃口較差等等,也可以早點告訴新的托育者。

莫讓孩子孤獨闖關

在新舊交接的當口,「父母一定要用加倍的愛和關懷,去替代、去補償孩子那份失落卻還沒來得及重新建立的,對托育者的愛」,游乾桂強調,此時一定要讓孩子知道,父母對他的愛是永恆不變的,藉此來化解孩子面臨外在變動時的挫折。

不用說,能擔負這種功能的父母,必定要和孩子從小就維繫著緊密關係,因此那些生下來就廿四小時托給別人、或送回鄉下親戚家,只有假日才有緣見到父母的孩子,一旦面臨變動時刻,就會特別缺乏倚靠,適應問題也會比較棘手。

「爸爸在這個關鍵時刻,尤其不應該缺席」,黃倫芬特別指出常被忽略的一點:在更換托育者期間,首當其衝的媽媽難免心力交瘁、情緒焦躁,這時若是父親能加入支援陣營,分攤一下找保母、做決定,以及照顧孩子等責任,會使情況緩和許多。

此外,「平常父母就該訓練孩子,飲食正常,作息規律;小一點的孩子要避免養成霸道或黏人的習慣,大一點的孩子就可以鼓勵他獨立一點,並且教他怎樣和別的孩子做朋友」,黃倫芬建議。

其實,現代社會的本質就是變動,與其害怕,何不早做準備?

〔圖片說明〕

P.83

外在的托育變動誠難避免,惟有不變的親子之情,是孩子的最終倚靠。(薛繼光攝)

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Tips for Parents

Laura Li /tr. by Robert Taylor

"There's nothing so terrible about change in itself, but if parents' fail to respond properly to the child's needs before and after the change, this is an important reason for problems arising," says child-rearing specialist You Chien-kwei.

So what should parents do to keep to a minimum any harm caused by changing a child's care arrangements?


"A child is a living being, you can't go switching carers just as you please," says You Yuan Foundation president Huang Lun-fen, who has many years' experience giving guidance to parents. She notes that to this end, "thinking carefully from the start" is a principle which one should always keep in mind: "It's no good just thinking about pressure from other family members, or convenience, or how to save effort or money, and overlooking the child's best interests!"

Big sister's nanny doesn't want her!

Mrs. Lin, a nanny who has looked after many children for families in her neighborhood, recounts her experience in looking after two sisters. She looked after the older girl from when she was a baby, and she settled in very well. But after the birth of her sister, two years her junior, the children's grandmother longed for contact with them, and their mother felt that looking after two children after she came home from work would be too tiring. For these reasons, and to save money too, the family sent the younger sister to her grandparents' in the country. There she stayed until she was four years old, but by then she had become too much for her grandmother, so she was brought back to Taipei to go to kindergarten, and after kindergarten she would go with her older sister to Mrs. Lin's home.

But Mrs. Lin, perhaps because she had not looked after the child since she was small and so could not build the same affection for her, always felt that the younger sister brought up by her "granny in the country" was arrogant and bossy and "wouldn't behave." And because the sisters had been living apart for so long, they would argue and fight whenever they met. In the end this all became too much for Mrs. Lin and she asked the girls' mother to "take both of them away together." Only then did the mother begin to regret not having thought things through more carefully when her second child was born, for if she had done so today's problems might have been avoided.

Of course, few parents have the resources or ability to plan for and overcome every potential turn of events. But when change becomes inevitable, to avoid "one false move bringing disaster," the most urgent need is for parents to provide continuity and to help their children readjust.

Tell the children it's not their fault

The first thing to note is that "during this time neither the parents nor the carer must try to turn the child against the other party, to avoid making things even more painful and complicated," as Yu-wen Hsieh, deputy executive director of the Hsin Yi Foundation warns.

For instance, some parents, disgruntled when a nanny quits, may say angrily to their child: "Mrs. Li is nasty, you mustn't love her any more, and you mustn't go to her house again." Or a nanny dissatisfied with a child's parents may say to the child: "If you're not good, I won't love you any more and I won't let you come to my house."

In the ears of a small child with no understanding of the world, such emotionally-charged words have the force of a terrifying Last Judgement. Some children may be confused because they still secretly love the "nasty" nanny, while others feel guilty because they think she must have sent them away for not being "good." Other negative and immensely wounding emotions which may burden their little souls include anxiety, anger, grief, frustration and a sense of abandonment, or a shattered sense of trust in their carers.

To reduce the damage and pain to a minimum, Yu-wen Hsieh suggests that whenever possible, parents should maintain a friendly relationship with the former carer, and arrange visits from time to time. This tells children that the separation does not mean abandonment or the end of the relationship, and can help them to take it in their stride.

Give them a chance to say goodbye

Steps to "soften the blow and maintain continuity" are also essential at this time.

"Many parents think that if the child is still small, they needn't explain very much, so the child is suddenly thrust into a new environment for which it is mentally completely unprepared." After seeing many cases of children unable to readjust after a change, Huang Lun-fen suggests that if the child is old enough to understand what its parents say to it, they should tell it as early as possible that "we'll be going to a new place, we won't be coming here any more."

Of course, when the child first hears this bad news it may be confused or anxious, but it is better to give it the opportunity to express its anxiety and try to sooth its fears, than to allow the anxiety to stay bottled up inside the child. Even more importantly, "one should give the child time to say goodbye to the carer it loves in its own way. This will reduce the sense of loss or abandonment.

As well as saying goodbye to the old environment, it is just as important to gradually accustom the child to the new one. For instance, before the changeover one can take the child to the new place (the nanny's home, daycare center, kindergarten etc.) for an hour or two and show it the things that will be fun or interesting, to give it something to look forward to. If the child has any special characteristics such as being rather quiet or rather lively, or having a poor appetite, it is a good idea to tell the new carer as early as possible.

Don't let the child feel lonely or shut out

When the actual change comes, "parents must show extra love and concern to make up for the child's sense of loss and to compensate for the fact that it has not yet had time to build up a love for the new carer," says You Chien-kwei, stressing that at this stage one must let the child know that its parents' love is permanent and unchanging, and in this way soften the blow which the change in its environment causes.

It goes without saying that to fulfill this function, parents must have maintained a close relationship with the child since it was small. Thus children who are given into others' care24 hours a day as soon as they are born, or who are sent to live with relatives in the countryside and only get to see their parents at weekends and holidays, will be particularly distressed and disoriented by any change, and the problem of helping them to adjust will be more difficult.

"It's especially important for the father to be around at this critical time," says Huang Lun-fen, stressing a point which is often overlooked: during the period of changeover between different carers, if the mother bears the brunt of the problems she is very likely to be mentally and physically exhausted and irritable. If at this time the father can support her by sharing the burden of finding and choosing a new nanny, looking after the child and so on, it will make things much easier.

In addition, Huang Lun-fen suggests that "in general, parents should teach their children to eat normally and be regular in their habits. One should try to keep younger children from getting into the habit of being too bossy or too clinging, and one can encourage slightly older children to be more independent, and teach them how to be friends with other children."

In fact, change is a basic feature of modern society, so rather than fearing change, isn't it better to be prepared for it?

[Picture Caption]

p.83

A change in care arrangements can be difficult to avoid, but the unchanging love of his or her own family is what a child relies on most. (photo by Hsueh Chi-kuang)

X 使用【台灣光華雜誌】APP!
更快速更方便!