A few nights ago my two year old son put on a tantrum for the first time. He was deliberately trying to puke so that I won’t make him come to bed. Although I found it cute, I also didn’t want to tolerate it. It led me to the question: How can I discipline my two year old?
If it were your child, what kind of discipline would you choose to stop or correct the behavior?
Some parents believe in corporal punishment. “Pinalo kita kasi mahal kita” (I punished you because I love you)”. But don’t you think it sounds confusing for these kids? Somewhere in their young minds they think “If you love me why did you hurt me?”.
Does physical punishment really make them understand the meaning of their behavior?
When choosing to discipline your children, here are three questions to ask:
1. WHAT IS MY CHILD’s LOVE LANGUAGE?
If you have read the book “Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman you will learn that certain couples respond to different expressions of love.
Last week, PETA (the theatre group that brought us the famous musicale Rak of Aegis), through its ARTS ZONE PROJECT invited me to a whole day of parenting workshop “for all aegis”.
I have learned that from their interviews with kids they have met through their new campaign “Love Does Not Hurt”, children feel most unloved each time their parents shout at them or spank them. On the other hand, they feel most loved when their parents talk to them in a sweet tone, hug them, kiss them and give them gifts.
2. WHAT KIND OF ADULT DO I WANT MY CHILD TO BECOME?
Do we want our children to be trusting, confident, happy and independent? Or depressed, pala-asa, at walang bilib sa sarili?
I always pray that my son grows up to be a happy, wise, independent and blessed person – who in turn can be a blessing to others. That’s my top goal. Upon laying this down, I can now direct my series of actions towards this goal, and yes this includes how I discipline him.
If I choose to shout at him when he throws a fit, and be successful in generating fear from him… do you think he would grow up to be the happy, wise, independent and blessed person that I want him to become?
When setting a long term goal, make sure to be specific. Also realize the long term effects of corporal punishment. Studies show that it causes anxiety, depression, poor social and learning abilities and trust issues among others.
3. WILL MY CHILD UNDERSTAND WHY I’M DOING THIS?
The important thing here is for us parents to practice warmth and structure as described by child psychologist Dr. Joan Durrant. These two are partners. Warmth means love. Structure means rules. It is not enough that we show our kids that we love them if we are not able to impose rules in the house. Constant communication with them is key.
I love my son and I want him to enjoy his time reading books or watching car videos. But it is in my rule that bedtime means stopping all kinds of activities so he could have his proper rest and be more energetic the next day.
THE ALTERNATIVE TO CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: POSITIVE DISCIPLINE?
Dr Joan Durrant banks on the idea that positively disciplining children would mean staying away from any form of physical punishment. Instead, offering options, creating a YES culture and ignoring bad behavior can all contribute to discipline.
Dr. Durrant says that the four building blocks of positive discipline lies in the following:
a. Set long term goals
b. Practice aforementioned warmth and structure
c. Understanding children
d. Solving problems
Parenting is not easy! But with the right support and guidance from God, our families and our community, we will succeed!
“LOVE DOES NOT HURT” is an advocacy by the PETA ARTS ZONE PROJECT
Thanks for inviting me!