Thursday, November 6, 2008

Disciplining Masheng

Just like any toddlers, Masheng is starting to be a handful. She’s now becoming so independent and at most times, she loves doing and trying things on her own. She sometimes does things that drive us crazy. And mostly, she would do anything to get her way. And just like any babies of her age, she throws temper tantrums whenever she doesn’t get what she wants. It’s not that extreme though. She would just vent out her frustration by crying her heart out (which we always find so heartbreaking that makes us want to give in at most times). No much kicking and thank God, no screaming and yelling … yet.

As parents, of course Joms and I have our own way of teaching her. We try to calm her first by talking to her in a very gentle way and by trying to explain why she couldn’t have some things that she badly wants. She doesn’t understand everything that we say yet though. That’s why despite our explanations, she would just continue throwing her hissy fit testing the limit that we are giving her. Our next strategy is to just ignore her, which surprisingly, we found effective. Whenever she notices that we’re not paying attention to what she’s doing (like crying so hard to get what she wants), she most of the time stops her undesirable behavior and, she mostly finds her way to interact with us again as if nothing happened.

But of course, it’s not always an easy thing to do. There were not a few times wherein we felt that it was easier to just give in. As a mom, it’s not easy to pretend not to see or hear your poor little girl cry. But we have to be firm to make her understand that she’s being disciplined and to make her learn that she couldn’t always have everything that she wants.

Joms and I don’t have any disagreement on this; we both believe that this form of teaching works well with our baby. The problem is, whenever my family or some relatives hear Masheng cry, they would always hurriedly come to “rescue” her. I understand that she is their little darling who’s so precious (being the very first niece and grandchild, not to mention her being the only baby in the family) and that they couldn’t resist her when she’s already crying and asking them to carry her or to give her what she wants (especially when she’s calling their names as if making “sumbong”). But our strategy wouldn’t be effective and all our efforts of trying to be consistent would be useless if they would always respond to Masheng whenever she’s misbehaving. I told them that such acts must not be tolerated and that our goal is to make her understand that doing so wouldn’t help her get her way. They all said yes and agreed and I know that they really understand and get our point. But still, they find it so hard to say “no” and to simply ignore her especially when she’s continually whining and throwing her fit.

As first timers, Joms and I still have a long way to go in learning the most effective way/s of inculcating discipline to our child. Our beliefs and strategies clash at times, but I believe that no matter how different those are, our ways of teaching Marchelle will always include a lot of patience, love and understanding.

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