As promised, I will pen down some notes on our blog on the Shichida method. I can't possibly fit everything in one post, so take this as a start. I hope that my notes will be both a record for our family as well as a resource for other families who are interested in the method.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the Shichida method and it is not easy to explain, quickly, what the method is about. I'll tackle the question of the fundamentals slowly, over several posts. In this first post, I will address the most fundamental misunderstanding - that it is an "enrichment programme".

The Shichida method is a parenting philosophy. It is a method of child rearing, and it is directed at the parents. If your child is sick and unable to make it to class, the parent is allowed to attend the class without the child. The key to the Shichida method is not the sensei; it is not the school; it is not even the child. It is the parent. The parent is the one who learns the method and the parent is the one who executes it.

The Shichida method is not an "enrichment programme". There is no syllabus which is taught to the children; there is no knowledge or information that the children must acquire in order to progress. The method, if executed well by the parent, will cultivate virtue in a child, which is to inculcate kindness, care for others, a spirit of cooperation, and sincerity.

Ok, now that we've got that out of the way, let's look at the first and most important lesson for the parents - convey love to your child.

Sounds easy?

Most parents think that they love their children enough. It may surprise you therefore that when Professor Shichida put a group of children in a separate room from their parents, he found out from them that most of them thought that their parents didn't love them enough. The problem? Parents don't convey their love to their children sufficiently.

Examine how you interact with your child. Try to listen to your own voice when you speak to your child. Do you say things like, "I told you that you would spill the water from the cup. See, now how?" or "Hurry up, you are always so slow!" Those are times when your child does something which displeases you, and he/she may not have meant to. Now, think about those times when your child was deliberately being difficult, when you had to deal with tantrums, rebelliousness, lack of motivation, rudeness, etc. Those were the times when your patience was tested, when your child was screaming for attention. Did you complain, scold, criticise? Did you simply ignore the behaviour? Did you burden your child with your negative emotions?

Shichida believes that when a mother communicates her love to her child skilfully, the child immediately changes into a good child.

Also, it is important to convey your love to your child in order to open up a child's mind. Professor Shichida says that, "Normally, children are not able to use their innate abilities due to the negative image they see of themselves. They have an unconscious thought that they make their parents suffer because of their poor grades, illness or disabilities. If you get rid of such negative thoughts and let them be aware of their own innate powerful capabilities, the children will start using their abilities. Soon, they will transform themselves in an amazing manner. When a parent can fully convey his or her love and heal the scar on the child's mind, the child will start changing rapidly."

There are, of course, many ways to convey love. Use as many of them as you can. The Shichida method presents three.

First - Hugging. This is not just a little hug. This is a strong eight-second HUG. For example, give your child a household task and when your child has finished the task, give your child a big hug and whisper to your child, "Thank you for helping Mommy. You were really a big help. I love you a lot, you're so kind, and willing and cheerful." Continue to hold your child close for eight seconds. Shichida believes that, this way, the mother's love will be communicated to the child's heart. The child will be happy to be thanked by the mother and will be motivated to do more things to make the mother happy.

In this way, the parent puts a lot of consideration into satisfying the child's heart.

Of course, good results will not be obtained with this if it is done as a matter of duty, or if the mother continues to complain, scold and project her negative emotional reactions upon the child. More than anything else, the mother must deeply love her children, respect them, and believe in their ability.

I do the eight-second hug with Ryan a lot. A lot. Even when he hasn't actually done anything.

The second way to communicate your love to your children is through listening carefully to the child's conversation. Shichida tells us that it is impossible to capture the heart of the child through a child rearing process in which the parent does all the talking unilaterally.

When the parent talks to the child one-sidedly during his growing years, the child's heart is not satisfied nor does the child feel that he is fully loved. On the other hand, it is when the child is listened to frequently and wholeheartedly and the feelings deep in his heart are understood that he senses that he is understood, accepted and loved.

When one rears a child chiefly through the method of scolding, it is not possible to sufficiently hear the child's point of view. A child will close up his heart when scolded. A child will open his heart and begin to communicate with his mother when she stops scolding, accepts him and learns to praise him.

If your child has difficulty expressing himself, Shichida suggests using the "echo" method to draw your child out. I'm sure some of you know this method (which was not developed by Shichida). When your child tells you, "My friend is bad", echo your child's words, "Oh, your friend is bad", then ask, "What did she do?" Don't just give instructions: "do this" or "do that". Take a passive role and give your child his time in the spotlight. The "echo" method does not slam the door shut by saying, "What's the big deal? Why are you like that?" or by saying, "Just do this". It tries to understand the child's feelings by standing in the child's shoes.

Although Ryan is not talking much yet, we do still ask him lots of questions to show him that we are interested in what he thinks and feels. We "echo" what he shows us, even if he doesn't say it out loud. For example, if he shows us his drawing, we'll say, "Oh you drew a lovely circle, what colour did you use?" If he's fussing or crying, we never ignore him. We always try to understand what's he feeling, what's he going through, what he is fighting to say. If something's wrong, we solve it if we can, and tell him we love him and that he's a good boy. He always stops, and usually he stops almost straightaway.

The third way by which Shichida says you can convey love to your child is the five-minute suggestion method. I think many parents who are not familiar with Shichida may find this a little kooky. Nevertheless, I shall explain it here. Try it if you think you can be genuine about it.

In his book, "The Shichida Method", the five-minute suggestion method is explained as follows.

"During the first five minutes after a child has fallen asleep, the conscious mind goes to sleep but the subconscious is still awake and functioning. Thus, it is very effective to make use of this time and work on the subconscious mind.

For example, let's say a mother wishes her child to be more compliant, to take an afternoon nap, and to go to sleep easily at night. ... She should express her wishes during this five-minute suggestion period and ... should softly whisper in her child's ear,

"Sarah, are you fast asleep? You can sleep soundly with a fluffy, soft, good feeling. See, sleeping feels so good. The deeper you sleep, the better you'll feel. You can sleep soundly. Sarah is such an obedient, good girl. You can understand everything Mommy says. Mommy loves you because you're such a happy, good girl. Everybody says they love Sarah because she's such a good girl. Because you're so obedient and kind, Daddy and Mommy, and everybody love you. Sarah is an obedient, good girl, isn't she?

You're a good girl who can listen to what Mommy says. Sarah is going to get sleepy a little while after lunch. When that happens, get into bed right away and go to sleep. If you go to bed, you can sleep so well.

It's a fluffy, good feeling. You'll get so you like your nap a lot. It's so much fun to sleep. You'll go right to sleep, right away the fluffy, pleasant sleep is waiting for you. At night when Mommy reads you picture books, you'll get sleepy and be able to go to sleep with such a good feeling. You're going to go into a fluffy, nice sleep. When Mommy starts to read a picture book to you, your eyelids will get heavy, and you'll close your eyes right away and go to sleep. And you'll sleep deeply.

Now sleep deeply. You feel really good. Sleep soundly until tomorrow morning, wake up in a good mood; tomorrow's going to be a good day. See, you can sleep deeply and well, you can sleep with such a good feeling. Mommy's good girl, Sarah, now sleep deeply until tomorrow morning.""

Professor Shichida has recommended this to mothers who came to him needing help in getting a child to stop thumb sucking, or wanting a child to get over his dislike of kindergarten, or needing help in getting a child to stop hitting others. It does not happen with one session, it usually takes a while, but there are reports that it works.

Yes, it sounds like hypnotism. But don't be put off by that. Hypnotism works, and has been used to great benefit in medicine. When we are talking about using our right-brain, we cannot avoid talking about consciousness and unconsciousness and when we do that, we cannot avoid the topic of hypnotism and suggestions. Also, the Shichida method is very focused on imaging ability, and hypnotism is a powerful imaging tool.

I myself have not used the five-minute suggestion method, but only because I haven't come across any issues or problems with Ryan. I do, nevertheless, think that it works.

Ok, so that's the first post on Shichida. Hope you find it interesting. More to come.

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