Thursday, May 19, 2011

What I Am Not Proud Of

I am second to the eldest among children of 6.  Between my eldest sibling and I, I am the one "more disciplinarian" when it comes to my younger siblings especially to our youngest.  There are 15 years difference between my youngest brother and I.  Or is it 16 years? Doesn't matter.  But what I am trying to get into writing to this entry is how I have disciplined my youngest brother back then.  Why am I disciplining my younger brother back then, you may ask? In the Philippines, part of our culture for younger siblings to have big respect to their older siblings and older siblings tend to be authoritative over the younger siblings.  And that's good especially the part of being respectful to older siblings.  But then the latter part has a dangerous part in it... see the supposed "authority" may be abused.  And I may have to admit that I have abused mine perhaps, misused or overly imposed.

I've seen how my mom takes care of all 6 of us and with my younger siblings, I'd see her sometimes having a hard time between keeping the house clean and taking care of us.  She gets really tired and when my younger siblings on top of that, misbehaves or does not obey her, it drives me batty and I'd interupt pretending to help my mom or at least take her "off load" from the task of disciplining my siblings.  And I can get hard on them :(.  Now that I am already a mom myself, those memories of disciplining my siblings makes me feel ashame of myself.  My husband and I chose attachment parenting for our Little Spanish Pinay and the more I get to understand how attachement parenting is and my babies or kids act this way or that, the more these memories of disciplining my younger siblings flashes back before my eyes and gives me a tremendous feeling of guilt.

Not that I have hit my younger siblings until they bleed or leave them bruises or anything like that to be categorized as legal child abuse.  But I have yelled at them.  I have refused to listen to what they have to say.  I have insisted on having them finish their food down to the last grain.  I've forced my youngest brother to go upstairs (almost dragging him through the stairs while he cries) and make him stay in the room until he is able to "reflect" on his "wrong action".  I smacked his palm as what is termed nowadays as occasional spanking as a form of discipline.  And although my intention is for him to learn something for his own good, no, I can't and will not use that to justify what way of disciplining him.  All I can do is recognize that I have done wrong, chose the wrong direction and be ashamed about it and most of all never do these things to my own child.  I thank God that my wrong decisions didn't cause serious damage to my siblings especially to my youngest brother.  And I still have a very good relationship with them.  I even receive a great amount of respect from them which I may not deserve.  Because children, are forgiving naturally.  That is the wonderful truth.

Am I saying that I will never hit my child even occassionally to discipline her when she's misbehaving? Yes.  I know it will be hard as anyone can lose his/her patience when faced with all the pressure of the day's tasks and a child's misbehavior.  But I will do everything I can to avoid hitting her even in the slightest manner... including not to raise my voice.  It will be a hard task and I am sure, being human, there will be times that things may go out of my control.

Will I spoil my child by choosing this direction of disciplining her?  No I don't think so.  I am not saying either that we'll just let it go everytime our little one do something wrong or something dangerous for her or for the people around her.  We are choosing positive discipline along with providing all the respect, affection, attention and encouragement that she needs.

I am not trying to make a conflict about this at all and I am not trying to say that parents who choose occasional spanking to discipline their children are bad parents.  Not at all.  This is just my personal reflection, realization and choice after being able to open my eyes with an alternative to occassional spanking.

Let us say motherhood has changed me and my views about child rearing and about life in general.  And I know it is for the better.  Especially for Little Spanish Pinay whom I live for together with my husband. I feel really positive about it and it makes me feel a better person than I was.

2 comments:

  1. I haven't had to deal with discipline yet (since my babe is only 3 months) and I know how to manage my classroom (I teach grade 3s).... but I am going to try something that one of my LLL group members does.

    When her babes get cranky or grumpy or disobey sometimes, instead of giving them time outs or spanking (which only pushes the babies away), she brings them close to her. She will wrap them up in a wrap or sling and just carry them around the house. They might scream at first, but she just snuggles with them and TALKS to them.

    Yes, people might see this as spoiling the kids - but it is something that has worked for her to build trust with her children.

    {* note: She carries her babies on a regular basis regardless if they are being "bad" so it doesn't seem like a punishment.)

    Chances are by choosing to discipline positively early, you'll gain the trust and respect of your kids that you'll need later on - and isn't that what we really want?

    {*note: From the perspective of a teacher, it can sometimes be detrimental to a child socially if they are "babied" and never given consequences - this is DIFFERENT from positive discipline though)

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  2. Thank you for your meaningful comment, funkylindsay! The wrapping idea is fantastic. When my 1 yr old tends to get really fussy and I can't seem to calm her.. I do something similar...I just try to carry her, hug her and tell her sweet words... at first she gets even more fussy but then later on she's liking the idea of mommy giving her more affection. This is no way "spoiling" kids... you know my idea of spoiling? food gets spoiled when left unattended, doesn't it? then it's the same with kids.. when they don't get attention and care and love, then that's whent they get spoiled :)

    I am all for positive discipline and I am really thankful that I have learned and matured in this aspect before even having my baby... otherwise, I might be the same me as I was with my siblings before and that is not acceptable :(

    You're an awesome mom, funkylindsay! :)

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