Struggling to discipline your child? Why don’t you try a positive parenting approach? Read how one mom was able to do it with her kids.
What can you read in this article?
The struggles new parents face when it comes to discipline
Why spanking her child made it worse
Mommy April’s positive parenting approach
We all know the struggles of disciplining our kids especially when we grew up to the way our parents discipline us with pamalo, luhod sa asin, monggo, among others. But as a new generation parent, how do we deal with our kids when we need to discipline them?
In 2015, we were blessed with a daughter. My husband and I were based in Singapore and started our small family there. As new parents, we were clueless about how we will raise her and our little family.
But as time went by, with the help of vlogs, parenting talks, books, and as well as our own experiences, we managed to practice positive parenting on her.
Struggles as new parents
We are blessed to have a very patient and understanding firstborn, but of course, we still encountered difficult times and needed to discipline her.
Iyah is a very vocal person but at the same time, she is very emotional. She doesn’t want to be shouted at. She’s a very smart girl and even wants things to be always smooth and not complicated.
She’s not the type of kid who will cry her lungs out if she is frustrated and hurt but she will just keep it to herself and just cry in silence. So, as we watch her grow up, we started thinking about the best way to deal with her when she is having a hard time.
As the years passed, we’ve tried different parenting ways and approaches. We don’t usually use the palo approach but we ended up using that because as new parents, we didn’t have a lot of knowledge on how to raise little humans. There was a lot of confusion on our part on how to discipline our daughter.
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Spanking and how it affected our child
Until one day, when Iyah was 3 years old, we noticed that every time that Iyah is angry or frustrated, she hits and shouts at the other person (whether it’s a kid like her or adults).
It got to a point that some kids didn’t want to play with her anymore because of her hitting them whenever she gets frustrated. Some grownups even started thinking negatively of our daughter and started questioning our parenting.
As a mother, I was hurt and frustrated. My husband and I started to evaluate and even question ourselves. “What is wrong with us and our parenting?” “Is there something wrong with our daughter?” were some of the questions that we had.
But our turning point was the day she started hitting me and her dad because of her frustration.
Iyah was just 4 years old at that time and cannot express herself. Out of frustration, we also ended up hitting her to try to enforce discipline. Our bodies and minds were tired so we gave in to our emotions and hurt her physically and emotionally.
That was of the most painful days of my life as a parent, seeing my daughter crying because of pain and emotional stress caused by me, her own mother.
After an hour of stressful crying and yelling, she came to me and told me, “I am sorry Mama, I hit you because I don’t know what to say to you and Abba, and you don’t listen to me. I just want to play and spend time with you.”
Oh, Lord! That was such an eye-opener for me.
After that, my husband and I decided to take a breather, and the next day, we took her out, brought her to the toy store, bought her favorite frozen yogurt, and play with her.
In that short time, we learned so much from our daughter and started our journey with positive parenting. We read and watched vlogs about intentional and positive parenting and of course nurtured everything in prayer.
Positive Parenting tips
While it’s not as easy, it can be done. How did we start with positive parenting? Just remember these four points:
We need to communicate and be open to each other with our feelings and opinions in our house.
We use positive words in communicating with each other. If anyone is feeling frustrated, we make sure to express our feelings, use our words and talk about it before we do something else that will hurt someone’s feelings or worse, end up shouting or raising our voice.
We let our kids express their feelings if they’re sad or frustrated. This is one of the most important lessons we have learned in our parenting journey.
Every time we discipline her, we make sure to explain to her that we are doing it for her and that we are not angry at her, but feel frustrated about what happened.
When we have cooled down, we make sure to sit with her and talk to her. We say sorry if we hurt her feelings unintentionally or if we said something that hurt her. Then we wrap things up with a hug, a kiss, and some words of encouragement.
We have a “mama and ate” date every Friday where it’s just us, and we share stories and buy our favorite food.
Listen carefully to what your kids want to tell you. Give them time to speak up and talk. With our experience with our daughters, we learned that they also like to be heard.
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How can we know their feelings if we will just ignore their words and don’t listen to them? As much as we want to be heard and for our children to listen to us, we must first set an example to them. Let them speak and listen to them and they will do the same.
If Iyah made something wrong, we give her a chance to breathe and reflect first. After a few minutes or hours, we will talk to her, let her speak up and listen to her and explain to her what happened and reconcile after.
3. Be humble
It is also part of positive parenting to be humble to our kids. If we know that we hurt them, we intentionally or not make sure we say sorry to them. It is not because we are the parents, we are the ones who are always right.
I remember one time, I had a very bad day and did not notice that Iyah was asking for a little attention. I raised my voice at her unintentionally and said words that hurt her feelings. She went to the corner and cried in silence.
I took a little minute in the toilet and after that, I called her. Hugged her for a minute and didn’t utter a single word. She kept on crying. After a minute, I said sorry and admitted that what I did was not right.
She said “I just want to spend time with you Mama, but you said sorry already and it’s fine.” I know what I did hurt her feelings so I humbly said sorry and admitted my mistake.
Did I lose something? No. I gained her trust and I was able to build a strong relationship with my daughter.
We must be a good example to our kids on being humble and lowering our pride. As parents, it’s hard to control our temper because of the many things we do at home or work, but if we will practice positive thinking and a positive approach in everything, then it will just follow.
4. Be involved
It is also important for us to involve ourselves with our kids’ lives. Our relationship with them doesn’t only stop with us being their parents and them being our kids. We must be also their best friend and playmate.
Being involved with them help us build a strong relationship with our kids. It is also one way of getting to know them deeper and building their trust as well.
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It is also an advantage for us to know their character as it will help us to know the proper approach to correct or discipline them. Our eldest is very soft-spoken, so sitting down and discussing things with her is one of our approaches in correcting her, while our second (who is only 15 months old) who has a strong personality needs a different approach.
What am I trying to say here? If we will involve ourselves with them, in their activities, we will know them more and it will be easier for us to raise them well.
Does it really work?
Are these all beneficial? Yes! The way we treat our kids at home is how they will treat their friends, classmates, teachers, cousins, and even other people around them. They will be more patient and well-behaved. They will be more compassionate towards their surroundings and to other people’s feelings as well.
How is it beneficial? Because how they treat others will surely influence their circles. How they behave and communicate with others will be a good way to lead an example whether to kids or adults. They will be good listeners and sensitive to other’s needs.
Positive parenting starts in us. It starts at home. It starts with how we communicate with ourselves and our partners. We should always make sure to check ourselves first before we check our kids. It is important to nurture our parenting with prayers and asking guidance from our Father up there! Humility is what makes positive parenting effective and fun.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
April Lim is a stay a home mom to two beautiful girls and a wife to an OFW husband. She’s a home baker and a proud breastfeeding mama.