Posted by Mama Sez | Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Follow parentsjourney on TwitterI was researching about discipline, positive parenting and corporal punishment, and was so engrossed with an article I was reading when I heard my 2 year-old son screaming this morning. Apparently, he got mad because the television was turned off after his morning dose of Dora the Explorer. He wanted to have the DVD played over and over, which is not allowed in our household (an hour in front of the television is the maximum in a day, usually just 30 minutes for him). For certain, another tantrum episode is to ensue because he got frustrated.

I see that his tantrums occur when he gets too frustrated not getting what he wants, when he is too sleepy or tired (and he doesn't want to sleep) and when he is sick…times when he needs more attention. I usually handle his tantrums by trying to keep cool for a moment (not to react), talk to him about the issue, find him something else to do, make him sleep or rest, or attend to his medical needs, but not to give in to what he wants. But it is not as simple as it may seem because I also feel frustrated if he doesn’t comply at once. Sometimes I feel my voice quivering as I talk to him because I’m on the verge of crying. His personality is overpowering that I get so scared at times, but I know I need to hide the fear. There were occasions when I spanked him on his butt with my bear hands to make him stop crying and screaming. The spanking brings the tantrum to a halt but I feel so regretful deep inside having hurt him, especially when he hugs me tight and say “Sorry, Mommy!”

This time, I stopped what I was doing, went downstairs to the living room, and carried him away from the TV with much resistance from him, of course. He continued screaming but I stayed calm. I asked him to just resume eating the banana he was holding and as expected the idea was rejected. Guessing that he wouldn’t insist on watching TV if I give him the attention he needs, I told him that I will make myself available for him if he will stop crying…that we can start by sharing a snack because I was hungry, then we will do what he wants except watch TV because he is done with it. He didn’t say yes but he immediately stopped crying, finished the banana he was holding and eagerly waited for me to finish preparing our sandwich. He even suggested that we take our snacks in the west patio of the house. However, it was drizzling so we opted to proceed to the bedroom.

After our snacks, we played "dropping dead", taking turns falling down on a pile of pillows on the bed, a game that he "invented". Then we lazily lied down and enjoyed the cool feel of the sheets on our skin while we sang “I Have Two Hands” around five times, I think. In such a short period he shifted his mood from grouchy to happy. He left me in the room with a smile (and without saying anything), went downstairs and played with his baby sister. What a relief and what a beautiful feeling to make a tantrum episode pass by without me having a tantrum myself. I was even cheerful throughout.

My research on discipline, corporal punishment and positive parenting had to wait as I responded to the upheaval made by my son. It was an opportunity to apply what was written by experienced parents, psychologists and researchers. What my son did and how we resolved it positively was the real deal...theory applied in real life. So I want to share this experience as a testament that there are better ways to handle a tantrum than to meet it head on, especially when dealing with a headstrong tot like my son.

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  1. estel January 19, 2010 at 3:56 PM  

    hehehe...mga facundo lil boys tlaga...cute! tnx for sharing ate phen...

  2. Mama Sez January 19, 2010 at 7:44 PM  

    Hi Estel, thanks for the comment and for reposting this in your home page. Zeki's tantrums are quite a challenge but like any other moms, I'll take on anything.

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About Us (circa 2009)

Our journey led us to this place. A little more than 10 years ago we began our journey as husband and wife. Three years later, we found ourselves with two bundles of joy- a daughter and then a son. They're the children we've dreamed of having.

About five years since the birth of our son, an unexpected gift came- a younger brother to our school-age kids. And soon enough, a baby girl arrived to round the family membership.

Brave was a term used by a friend to describe us. Challenging... and loving it -- yeah, this journey is not for the faint of heart.