How to survive a THREE year old.
GAAAAAH! This has got to be one of the toughest topics ever because, to be honest, my husband and I are still finding our way. Figuring out how to do this every single day.
Chelsea is a VERY VERY SUPER intelligent child (as all parents would say of their kids but hear me out). At such a young age, she has really amazed me with the way she communicates – her vocabulary and body language when she speaks – I find myself stunned and speechless sometimes. One time she told me that I needed to knock before entering her room. And if she has the door sign on the doorknob, it means she doesn’t want to be disturbed. (OH DIBA?!). A more recent one is when told her I was going to go downstairs and have breakfast after putting Patrice to sleep… Her reply was a quick, “Don’t worry, Mom, I got you covered.” (Ano daw?!) She is only THREE!
Sure enough, hand in hand with her advanced communication skills came (like a package) manipulation with a smile. When she was 2, we would find her tactics extremely CUTE. But now that she is a little older, yes it’s still cute, but Pat and I have decided to start disciplining her. We didn’t want these “tactics” to become habits, and from what we were seeing, it was fast approaching.
I have read countless books on the proper way to discipline your child. And I kid you not, we must have tried them all. We tried the “silent treatment”. Super fail. I remember she was not affected at all and went about doing her thing without realizing anything. We tried the “stand in the corner”. Another fail. She started dancing and entertaining herself, which made us laugh. We tried the “reward system”. This worked at the start but Chelsea started doing things only to get rewarded. This actually resulted in her always asking for a prize before doing anything. We tried “spanking” (syempre that’s done by me because apparently my husband is nicer…DAW). It broke my heart the first few times I spanked her, never by my hands, but with a stick. We stopped this because she started “disciplining” her Yaya and schoolmates because they didn’t listen to her (anong say nyo?!!?! hahaha). We also did “scare tactics (I didn’t read this anywhere but sometimes when nothing works you get so desperate). First we used giants then it became witches then zombies. She eventually became so used to them that we moved on to “tyanak” and Chuckie doll (Eeeeek! We know, we know… so wrong). We stopped this because her teacher called for a PTC (parent-teacher conference) and asked us about this “tyanak” thing. Apparently, she told her classmates to form a line and when they didn’t listen to her, she said “Sige, the tyanak will get you!” Ofcourse her teacher heard and when they asked her who taught her this, she said “my daddy”! My goodness…. nakakahiya na nakakatawa! hahaha! I guess we overdid it. It now does NOT work. We’ve done good cop – bad cop too. The list goes on.. and on..
My husband and I have realized that there is no “one right way” in disciplining a child. You have to know YOUR child because when you do, you will know how to reach them. We researched and we asked around, nothing wrong with that, but we didn’t study our Chelsea. What will make her understand. What method will be more effective according to her personality. Now we know that we need not do all those (questionable and borderline crazy) things when we need to correct our Chelsea. She is a very intelligent child. Therefore we simply take her aside, look her in the eye and talk to her. We let her explain her side and we patiently listen. After, we correct her mistakes by talking and making her understand. We also tell her that it is not about pleasing us, her parents, but our Dad above. We then ask her to lead a short prayer (this is where she usually says “ I am sorry Papa Jesus for….”). We don’t force her to apologize because we want her to mean it whenever she says she is sorry. We end by hugging and assuring her that we are not mad and that we love her dearly.
So far, this method has worked for us. It might sound easy but it takes a lot of patience and time. (The tyanak thing was so much easier). :p
Every single day, I work on my relationship with my daughters. I am devoted to them. I try to make good memories and fill up their love tanks until it overflows. I know that one day I will have to discipline in a more firm way but I am prepared. For as long as I know that my daughters are assured that I am always coming from a place of love, then we will be ok.
Give your children not only the tender but also the tough side of love –
“For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves…” Hebrews 12:6
DISCIPLINE IS LOVE!