I was teaching J how to write to help her prepare for school this coming school year. Since Ate knows how to write already, I just gave her pen and pad paper and asked her to sit with us and write letters and numbers so J can see what she is doing. As soon as we’re done, I checked on Ate and saw that she wrote some numbers incorrectly. I immediately corrected her and showed her the proper way to write the numbers.
Here’s the thing: Ate doesn’t want me to write on her paper. Instead of saying that, she threw a fit and was crying really loud to get my attention. I asked her what’s wrong (since I want to make sure that I understand what she was crying about) but I ended up getting loud, deafening cry.
I really wanted to give her a good spanking at that time out of irritation, but I didn’t. Nonetheless, I shouted at her. I shouted at her for not telling me what’s wrong. I shouted at her for not speaking up. I shouted at her because I was upset that she is not opening up and being honest about what she feels. I shouted at her for crying instead of talking to me. I shouted at her while forcing her to speak up.
You know what happened next? Ate cried even louder. I was expecting she’d be scared of me and stop crying, but no. Instead, she cried more and I saw how tempted she was to throw something out of frustration (but thankfully, she didn’t). She didn’t stop crying and it lasted for minutes.
I was fuming. I stormed out of the room for about 30 seconds and wanted badly to hit the pause button because shouting at her didn’t do anything good. Seeing that she didn’t stop when I asked her to do so, I calmed down and collected myself to attend to her. I went up to her, carried her, and asked her to go to the their room so we can have a talk.
Oh, the talk.
After comforting her, she settled down and stopped crying. While hugging her:
Me: Mommy’s not mad. Can you at least tell me why you cried so I can understand you?
Ate: Because you wrote on my paper and I don’t like.
Me: Sorry if I did that. I just want to show you how to write the numbers. If you don’t want me to write on your paper, then let me know instead of crying.
Ate: Okay, mommy. I’m sorry.
Then it was over. We went back to our room and she was back to her usual happy self. She even showed me that she corrected the numbers that were initially written incorrectly.
This was a learning experience for us both. I promised myself never to resort to spanking and handle my kids in a calm manner (still working on it mommas). I prefer talking to my kids in case something is wrong because I believe that shouting and inflicting pain will not solve the issue. I’m afraid that it could have a negative effect on them, so I try to resolve our issues as calm as possible.
Is it working? I really hope so. After that incident, Ate is slowly being open about her emotions and how she really feels. She slowly speaks up now and tells me what’s on her mind, but there are times when I have to ask her to elicit a response. My kids, especially my eldest are still in the stage of processing and understanding various emotions. Although there are instances where pulling her our and talking to her separately works, there are times when it doesn’t. I’ll just leave the spanking (when needed) to my husband.
We all have our own ways of instilling discipline and I totally respect that. Punishing a child for every wrongdoing and in whatever form depends on the child and the parent. Still, I truly believe that at the end of the day, no matter what method we choose to discipline our kids, we should always consider our child’s emotions and how s/he will feel afterwards. If we discipline them, it is best to settle it between you two. Never underestimate a child’s feelings. There’s so much going on inside them and we, as parents must respect and understand that.
Ayi is a stay-at-home mom of two. When her kids are in their best state, she keeps up with chores, work, and ensuring that her sanity is intact. Join her as she navigates through this rollercoaster ride called motherhood.