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20 Parenting Lessons We Need to Learn from Return of Superman (1-10)
For more than a year now, Return of Superman has almost been unbeatable in ratings. It sank Running Man, the once upon a time king of Sunday evenings in Korea. I caught on late due to my love for Running Man. I am still a Running Man fan but I have started watching Return of Superman several months ago. At first, it was to simply determine what it has that caused it to become snag the number 1 spot.
However, I must admit I am a convert. I now understand why Return of Superman is the king of ratings and it is not just about laughter.
#1- Look at your children in the eye
Many adults aren't capable of saying exactly what they feel, imagine a kid with even more limited experience and vocabulary. Crying is the most common "language" that tells parents their children need something. However, there is another way a parents could know what their children feel, through their eyes. The eyes is the where children reveal their deepest emotions
because they still don't have the faculties to communicate complicated emotions.
When Uhm Taewoong consulted a child development expert, one of the things the expert realized is how Uhm Taewoong doesn't look Ji-on in the eyes when he was coloring Ji-On's nails. He was occupied in completing his task that he didn't check out how Ji-On feels towards what he was doing. Children's communication skills are formed from birth and the home is the biggest influence. When they feel their reactions or thoughts are not valued, it may result to
some incapacity process their thoughts or communicate their emotions.
Look at your children in the especially when you are playing or going through some new experience. More importantly, try to understand what's behind those eyes. Are they pleased? COnfused? Indifferent? Uncomfortable? Curious?
#2- Give them a chance to actually say what they want to say
Social skills are developed by actually being social. Communication skills are developed by actually communicating and you need to let your children communicate for them to learn how to express what they want to express.
When your kid wants to tell you something or ask for something, give them a chance to actually ask even if you already know what they want. When they don't know how to say something, teach them. It is when they practice communication will they actually learn how to
It also reinforces the importance of speaking their mind and verbalizing their thoughts. It teaches them the importance of asking for what they want and communicating their emotions.
Uhm Taewoong realizes that one of the reasons Ji-On is developing late in the verbal communcations department is her parents' overattentiveness. When Ji-On calls
out to them, they immediately figure out what she needs and gives it.
Let your children verbalize their needs and feelings even if you already know what they want to say. It will train them to be more articulate in their feelings and realize the value of voicing out their emotion.
#3- No matter how mature kids are, they are still kids
One of the most memorable moments in the show is when the Jung brothers, who has since exited the show, went to a child development expert.
Juno, the older and more independent and responsible of the two, was always the one who were given responsibilities and left to do things on his own. The parents were confident he was going to get things done on his own. The child development test revealed
something. Juno was longing for some attention and be treated with a bit more care that they give Junsu but "does not know how to ask" for it. The child development expert said that if the parents continue treating Juno the way they do, he will eventually emotionally pull away from his parents.
This was later on confirmed by Juno when he said in the interview that although he understands that he is the eldest and needs to be the responsible one, he is still a kid.
It is important to nurture your kids' strength. In Juno's case, he is responsible and independent but you should still assure the child that you are there to care for him and that you know his needs and are there to listen and care for him.
#4- Too much toys may bear materialism
The Song Triplets is probably the most popular among the Superman kids and one of the reasons is the children's incredible ability to have fun with each other without toys or technology. Song Il Kook said that they intentionally do not give the children a lot of toys to play with because they want the kids to learn how to play using their bodies and improvise using the barest of things they can see around them.
Daehan, Minguk and Manse are doing exactly that. They run around, talk, roleplay, wrestle and do all sorts of improvisation have fun. They are active, curious and clever for their age.
More importantly, they are happy even when they don't have material posessions.
Tablets, Phones and other technological devices have been parents' savior as it "shuts up" their kids that allows them to do their work. It is an easy fix but it should never be about the parents. It should always be about their kids and the truth is that tablets and phones steers kids away from things they should learn such as social skills inclination towards physical
Raising children without much toys and technology means more work for the parents but it also means better upbringing for the kids.
#5- Explain rather than scold
Shin Ae-ra, a long-time friend of Hwijae, made an appearance in the show. Hwijae's twins, Seojun and Seoun are known for being aloof towards other people and Shin Ae-ra was no exception but unlike others, Shin Ae-ra found didn't give up in her efforts to be close to the twins and actually suceeded. Her style is simple, instead of pulling the kids towards things she wants to do, she went along with what the kids wanted to do and tried to make it better. She didn't say "no" to what the kids wanted to do. Instead, she would find ways on how to make things safer for the kids and explain to the kids if she thinks there is another way the kids could still achieve the things they want without getting harmed.
When kids wanted to ran around, she didn't stop them. Instead, she just showed them that concrete is hard and it would hurt them if they hit their head or knees on it so it's better to just run on the green grass. When kids want to take others' toys, she demonstrates
how it would make them feel if their toys were taken away from them.
It doesn't help to just tell a kid 'no' or prohibit them from doing something. It is tiring but you have to explain and demonstrate the consequences of their bad actions. You should also offer an alternative. Look for away on how they can still achieve what they want without the harmful consequences.
#6- Consult an expert
Uhm Taewoong was worried why Uhm Ji-on has not started talking depite being more than two years old. He consulted a child development expert and learned something important. Communication skills are mostly learned and influenced by people around the kid.
During their formative years, the "people" around them are their parents. Unfortunately, not all parents are equiped with the expertise to "diagnose" things that are "wrong" on how they raise their children. Even if the parents are experts, some amount of objectivity goes out the window that may be caused by stress or too much love.
It would help to get some perspective from an outsider who has no other interest but to provide objective diagnosis. When Uhm Taewoong consulted an expert to determine why Ji-on's communication skills is not developing as fast, he learned that there is nothing wrong with Ji-on. Her mental development is normal but there is something wrong with how the parents are treating Ji-on that's not helping Ji-on's communication skills. He learned that they are
spoonfeeding Ji-on too much that it's not leaving Ji- on space to develop on her own.
The same thing is true with Hwijae's twins. He learned that Seojun, the younger twin that seems more independent longs for their attention just as much as
Seoeon but simply does not know how to ask for it.
Even when you thing everything is fine and that you got everything covered, you could be missing some important problems that may be "nothing" now but will cause irreparable damages in the future. Consulting an expert could only be beneficial. You don't need to
take their advise anyway but it is important to get an objective perspective. Just because you consulted an expert doesn't mean you are less of a parent, it only means you want to be better.
#7- Repetition and Reinforcement
Kids need time, actually everyone does but kids especially. They need time in everything. Remember that their brains is fresh and most of the things they will see and do outside of their homes are new to them and not every kid is comfortable getting out of their comfort zone.
The Song triplets live in the city and their parents are city people too. They are used to seeing clean floors and concrete. Song Il Kook knows that he needs to expose the kids to rural life too but having grown up in the pristine floors of their high-rise apartment, it isn't so easy. It was disaster when he first took the kids to the mudflat. When the kids first saw a dog, they ran like they were being chased by a comet. They don't even like touching their own food. The triplets were just the paragon of dandiness.
Song Il Kook, however, does not give up. He keeps on expsosing them to the rural life and eventually, the kids warmed up. Daehan started discovering his love for animals, even exotic ones. Manse started loving the farm and farming itself. Even Minguk, who turned out to be the most scared of animals and digusted with dirty things, is now able to approach animals. He even asked for a snake to be wrapped around him at one
Repetition is also importan when you are making them develop a certain habit. Song Il Kook wanted to teach the triplets that when they are joined by an older person during a meal, they need to wait for the older person to start eating before they do (it's part of Korean culture). He keeps on telling the kids to wait everytime he joins them in a meal. Eventually, it has become automatic to the kids.
Whatever it is you want your kids to learn, repeat it, reinforce it and don't stop until it has become second nature to the kids.
#8- Humility starts at childhood
One of the starking difference between Western and Asian upbringing is the children's perception of their rights. Western kids, from the get go, are taught about their rights. They have the right to things simply because they are born. There is nothing wrong with it because it is, in fact, correct. Kids have rights and it must be respected.
However, Asians have a different approach to things. Children are taught that they have the right to food, health, shelter and education but not everyone enjoys this right and tha's why they have to be grateful for enjoying them. They are taught to say thank you to everyone who helped get their meals to them. When they are to "receive" things from others, they are taught to receive it with both hands and say thank you and bow. It is their right to be fed but they should be grateful for enjoying this right because not everyone does.
It is possible for your kids to know their rights and know their value without turning them into brats. Make them realize that they should still be thankful for their blessings especially because not everyone gets what they get.
#9- They learn social skills from you
Children do as they see and they see you more often. They learn your words and copy your actions especially because you are the first person they love and admire. If you want them to be sociable and be sociable. If you want them to be respectful, then be respectful to others and to them. If you want them to be vocal about their thoughts then be open about your thoughts to them and listen to them when they open up.
You can't keep your kid locked up in your home and expect them to be friendly towards other people they meet outside their home. All they see is you growing up that's why they will only know how to communicate with you and trust only you.
If you want them to be friendly, articulate and adjustable, get them around people early on.
#10- They are tougher than you think, don't get in the way of their strength
When Haru visited the dentist, Tablo and Hye Jung was so scared that Haru might throw a fit. After all, dentists are children's enemy. To Tablo's surprise, Haru didn't cry while she was going through root canal. She cried after. Tablo said he was surprised at how Haru kept herself together. She was scared, obviously but she went throught it.
It was the same eperience for Song Il Kook. Whenever he takes his kids to the doctor or dentist or any new experience for that matter, they might whine and cry but they get through it and the next time, it is always a little better.
Often, parents turn away from things that scare their children or make them feel uncomfortable. However, often, if children are allowed to confront their fears, you will be amazed at how they cope. That will be helpful when they grow up. Given that parents can't always be there for their children and that they will encounter things that will scare them, it helps to make them figure out how to confront fears.