Phobia of learning Mandarin


Recently I was sharing on my timeline what I wanted to acknowledge myself for during this Circuit Breaker. I wrote about how I helped Juvia with her fears over Chinese and it sparked a mini convo with a FB friend when she asked me how I did it.
I thought I’l share it here too – hope its helpful to you too!
Juvia does have a phobia of Chinese. I use the word phobia because her Chinese kindergarten teacher highlighted to us when her friends laughed and teased her during her Show and Tells, her readings and she was taking it really badly.
Growing up, Juvia refused to speak Chinese (yes I heard the same too from some of my friends on their kids). When she’s shaken at the prospect to read or speak Chinese, she basically meltdown and go into “I don’t want to do! I don’t want to do! I don’t want to do!”
So we have tried enrichment classes, 3x a week tuition, Jon getting her to watch Chinese TV shows, etc etc but her fears were still there.
HBL is where it got intensified because parents become the teachers. Between Jon and I, Jon is better at Chinese so he has been the one sitting with her with her Chinese HBL.
The one challenge Ju always have is reading her Chinese and recording it into the system to submit to the teacher. She was afraid of getting it wrong, she would insist on listening to the teacher’s reading again and again and again. Her reading will become softer and softer and she would start crying. This part of her Chinese HBL is daily, from Mon to Fri.
Ordinarily my girl is a very cheerful, bubbly and happy girl, so it was really hard to see her like this, so fearful, so unsure of herself during this time.
Ju’s HBL is 8 to 12 pm and all students are supposed to submit all online assignments and homework by 12 noon. Unfortunately her Chinese held her back and she could be stuck in that portion for 2 hours. Because of this delay, she could only finish her work by 1 – 2 pm each day.
I’m usually with Sol, helping him with his own HBL (ya 4 years old also have HBL) but that morning I saw Juvia crying again, and I asked Jon to take a break.
Some stuff I do to help Juvia break state (this means to get her out of her funk and switch to a more supportive state):
  1. I sat beside Juvia. She cried and cried. I just hugged her and rubbed her back, soothing her… going “Ya, I understand… its tough on you…. mmm…. mmmm.” Empathy empathy, no judgement, just being there for her. She usually quickly calmed down when no one tries to scold or correct her.
  2. I rubbed Valor on her throat (courage to speak) and Rose over her heart (confidence, healing). You can use Geranium, Believe, Frankincense as alternates. Grounding on her temples and forehead (steadies her).
  3. Reiki her heart, infuse positive energy.
  4. I ask her to hold a Labradorite crystal (grounding, courage). Even if she does not feel the effects, at least she’s holding something to fidget with rather than squirming over her fears.
  5. We talked. I asked her open ended questions… “Juju, can you tell mama why you are so scared?” “What will help you to feel better?”
    Nods nods and empathises. Told her that Mama is also not good in her Chinese. Sometimes Mama is scared too but if we can do it scared, we feel even more confident afterwards.
  6. If she’s still inconsolable and refused to do, we take a snack break. Drink some water, walk around the home for a bit.
  7. Emotional Freedom Technique or else known as tapping helps to short circuit fear too. See here for demo –…
  8. I examine the triggers that SPIKE her fears. In this case, it was the headphones that she wear to record her reading. And the constant correction on her pronunciation.
  9. REMOVE TRIGGERS – I changed things up. I asked her to record into my phone instead of the system. She was so fearful of recording the wrong thing into system that it’s better to give her an alternative. Removed the headphones. Didn’t correct her and told her just say “skip!” if she doesn’t know how to pronounce.
  10. REFRAME – She was fearful of doing it and wanted to do it PERFECTLY. I explained to her “Well, it’s also good to anyhow anyhow do it first and we improve along the way!” -> reframe her from getting stuck at being perfect to do it scared and improve as she goes along. Faster too.
  11. When she fidgets at HBL, I got her to do squats and read at the same time. If she forgot some words, then she runs around the home 10x and keep prattling off the words. -> Using the body to learn (somatics).

Results? She got more confident as she goes and we managed to cut down her 2 hours stuck at that part of Chinese HBL to just 20 mins to submit the assignment. She learn how to read louder even if she’s scared and not feeling confidence and just roll with her mistakes anyway. While her pronunciation may not be the most accurate at this point, I believe we can sharpen it along the way. 😉
If you have tips over helping your kids with HBL, share here too!

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