Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ina-Tay and discipline

"For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" - Hebrews 12:11 (ESV)

Image from the web

My parents were strict disciplinarians especially Dad. While we were growing up, they never spared the rod. Just the mere sight of the leather belt conspicuously displayed in the living room was enough to frighten me and my brother. 

I shared the touchy topic of discipline with some of my mommy friends and tried to find out how the new breed of mothers like me discipline their kids. In this technology-driven age, the conventional way of  making a child kneel on monggo beans seems a little outdated and quite frankly does not do the job of making our little ones understand. Majority of those I surveyed said yes, they still spank their children for bad behavior. It made me feel better because now that Leia is three, I am beginning to impose rules.

Yes, I don't spare the rod with my daughter. But there are two rules that I follow every time I need to check her bad behavior and darting her my disapproving look merits no reaction from her. I'm no child expert, I also just learned this from a TV show where Maricel and Anthony Pangilinan were interviewed on parenting. There were other rules that they mentioned but these two stuck with me.

1. Never use your hands to spank - this is my first rule. A parent's hand is for nurturing the child and not as an instrument to inflict pain, even in the name of discipline. This means no-no on pinching (kurot) and slapping. I can picture a child who at the mere touch flinch and I find that very disturbing and sad. A child should relish being touched by mom and dad because it communicates love and affection more than words do. My hands SHOULD only be for taking care and protecting the heir to my stilettos. So when I need to spank Leia, I use a flat wooden spoon which I bought for this sole purpose. And I don't do more than three on her butt. 

2. Explain why - okay, I don't mean that you explain WHILE spanking your little one. Of course this will not work! It is expected that they will cry, wail and God knows what but Maricel and Anthony said discipline should not stop there. After spanking the child, talk to him/her and explain why you had to do it. And please don't just say "because I love you." Under no circumstance should you do this when your blood pressure is still skyrocketing and you are still upset. It will never make sense to a child. Instead, explain to him/her what they did wrong when you have both calmed down unless you want a screaming parent-child match. Then affirm that despite the spanking, you still love him/her. With my daughter, I cuddle her and I look straight into her eyes while I give her a rundown. In between sobs she would defend herself. I listen but I always have the last say - you doing this is not good, it will not be tolerated at all. Then we do love-love (her term for bonding).

As every child is unique, I think there is no fool-proof way of disciplining kids. Some would get the message with just your disapproving look but there are also those with whom you need to be more stern and authoritative. But whichever way a parent chooses to discipline, it should be done within bounds and most importantly, out of love. 

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