Thursday, September 03, 2009

Disciplining My Boy

I was mulling over this word for the past few weeks.


This morning, I even received an email article on  discipline keys that work on toddlers. Then a good friend and colleague also blogged about this same topic!


My growing up years are starkly different from Nic’s. My dad was the strict, no-nonsense disciplinarian, but due to his work, he was hardly around. My mom, the ever-present one, was not a believer of the rod. Nic, on the other hand, experienced the rod many a times during his growing up years.

Jay is entering toddlerhood, and it is getting rather challenging!

Just a few night’s ago, as we were preparing to tuck him in, Jay suddenly started whining and ‘fake-crying’. I know he wanted to feed, but I asked him, “What do you want? Tell me.” His response? Crying and whining EVEN louder! And this continued for one hour. Yes. One hour. No voice was raised, no buttocks slapped. We were just asking him… “What do you want?”

The lesson we wanted to teach him? Crying is no use. And once we ‘started’ this lesson, it was hard to rescind on it, else we will teach him that crying will get him his way.  It was quite heart-wrenching to hear his cries and see the tears liberally streaming down his face.

Nic says that after a while, Jay did realise he was wrong, and was embarrassed at his initial response (or crying) but saw no way of escape and so continued in his path of crying and whining.

The next day? He started his whining fake-cry when he wanted to turn in for the night… but this time, it stopped after a mere 10 minutes. Perchance it worked? We can only hope!

With overly-doting and ultra-accommodating grandparents, aunties, uncles and a domestic helper at his literal beck and call, it is little wonder my boy is one impatient, I-want-it-and-I-want-it-NOW little tyrant toddler.

We believe the time and effort spent NOW teaching him how to verbalise what he wants rather than just crying and whining incessantly will bide us well in FUTURE. We want Jay to grow up to be a well-liked and well-loved boy, whose presence at every event and function is warmly welcomed by all, rather than merely tolerated. Discipline is really the key aspect. And bringing up boys? To me, growing up with 3 other sisters, this is a whole new ballgame. There are new OB markers that I’ve never known! Haha!

Of course there are certain boundaries in our disciplining.

We don’t scream or shout at Jay (little use that will be… and will only add to the overall tension and emotions my little boy is feeling). We don’t lose our temper at him, no matter how irritating or infuriating or uninterested he may seem (We try. Okay, I am usually the one who needs trying. Nic, with his social work background, is often less ruffled than I sometimes. Okay, most of the time.) We don’t leave him alone while he is the midst of a tantrum (though it sure is tempting… to give our ears a break!) so that he wouldn’t feel like we’ve abandoned him or are angry at him. And we also don’t give up the ‘fight’ once we’ve started – we won’t give in to his plaintive cries and we (Okay, mainly me) resist the temptation to take the easy way out by saying things like, “Later I give you a cookie okay?” lest he associates being naughty to being able to get a treat. This is harder for me than it is for Nic! It seems so much easier to just do anything to keep him quiet at times, but sometimes, anything just ain’t good!

Lots of patience needed…

Coupled with the wisdom of God…

Loads of grace…

Sprinkling of smiles…

Oodles of love…

But above all, the ability to resist doe-eyed toddlers, with quivering lips and heart-wrenching cries!


Just when I thought I’d seen it all in parenting… then the baby grows up! Every new season… there are new challenges and new things to learn. Lord help us! ;)


Klessis said...

I have to say that I am doing all the wrong things in disciplining.. yep, the screaming and all.. but I just keep trying lor.. =P Well, I need God's grace!!!!!

San said...

San-Kless: Dun feel bad! Hahaha... Now that Jay is getting to that 'terrible two' phase, it is a chore for me to NOT scream at him. Sigh... We DO need loads of God's grace as parents! :P

Nic has an "easier" time keeping his cool cos of his background in social work!