Note: This is the second in a series of articles on Discipline Methods introduced in Discipline and Parenting Style.  If you missed the first one, I recommend that you read it first- Discipline Methods: Communication and Role Modeling. This series on discipline will be published every Friday so please check back regularly or subscribe via email or follow us at Twitter or Facebook (buttons are at the bottom right corner as well).

Merit system focuses on positive behavior and preventive measures rather than punitive actions to improve discipline, while demerit system emphasizes consequences and accountability. Merit and demerit system is commonly applied in schools but can also be implemented at home. This article simply sums up discipline methods that provide acknowledgment and reward for good behavior and effective consequences for misbehavior. These are in agreement with the four principles of how behavior develops. It is said that behavior is strengthened or weakened by its consequences. For sure, you would want to strengthen a good behavior and the best way to achieve it is by rendering positive consequences such as the following:

  • a hug 
  • a kiss 
  • a pat on the back 
  • a word of encouragement and praise 
  • a smile 
  • a wink 
  • a thumbs up sign 
  • a token in a jar 
  • a plus point on a merit/demerit chart 
  • other small tokens of appreciation related to the good behavior exhibited.
Better catch them being good and never miss a chance to recognize the said behavior. Just make sure to give genuine and age appropriate positive consequences. This is also referred to as positive reinforcement. When the doer receives the positive consequences of his/her good behavior then the behavior is reinforced. The tendency is for the child to consistently do it to take advantage of the benefits.

Creating a positive home wherein parents consistently laugh with their children, share lots of positive and appropriate physical interactions and talk to them in pleasant, supportive and nonjudgmental ways, not just promote positive behavior in children but lessen the incidence of inappropriate behavior as well.

To weaken bad or inappropriate behavior and eventually prevent it from occurring again, the doer should face the negative consequence. It is like letting experience be the best teacher. Giving effective consequence to misbehavior is where more parents fail. A negative consequence will only be effective if it prevents the bad behavior from getting repeated over and over. When the behavior gets weaker or stops from reoccurring it is only then that the behavior is punished. It should be clear that the intention is for the child to face the negative consequence of misbehavior and in the process punish the misbehavior (not the child) by weakening it or stopping it from happening again.

There are three kinds of negative consequences for misbehavior:
  1. Natural- as the name implies occur naturally. If a child doesn’t like to eat during regular mealtimes, don’t force feed; let nature run its course. The child will get hungry eventually. Make the hunger be felt for a little while as you explain the natural consequence of bad eating habits before you offer him food, to make room for learning.
  2. Logical- rules or amends that you agreed with your child. If a child cannot control himself in the grocery store and behaves inappropriately, keeps on disarranging displays and/or putting stuff in the cart without your permission or keeps running around despite your several attempts to control his misbehavior then it is but logical not to allow the child to go to the grocery store anymore until both parties arrived at a new agreement.
  3. Social- the ill feeling of tarnishing relationships teaches conflict management. If a child hurts a playmate or execute deliberate annoyance like knocking over others’ block tower or throwing away puzzle pieces, then that child should know that nobody else would play with a person that behaves that way and no parent would allow his/her child to get close to a misbehaving fellow.
An important point worth noting is about the child’s desire for parental attention. If a child misbehaves to get your attention then learn to ignore attention-getting behaviors and let the child face the negative consequence. Giving him the attention he wants when he misbehaves, rewards the misbehavior and reinforces it. More attention should be given when good behavior is done rather than waiting for misbehavior to happen before giving the attention that the child needs.

Parents should have realistic expectations on their children and should not allow fatal consequences to occur. Ensure a safe, engaging and positive learning environment for the children, take care of yourself and be an effective role model. Try to maintain the child’s respect and maintain the credibility of being the most reputable person to award the merits and demerits of their behavior.

NEXT: Discipline Methods: Time-Out and Reverse Time-Out
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Hair Cut at Mama Sez's Hair Salon

Posted by Papa Sez | Wednesday, February 24, 2010

All my children were born either sparsely-haired or bald. A trait they got from me and my side of the family. It's only when they turn two years old that their head becomes gloriously crowned :D Instead of bringing them to a barber shop or kiddie salon for a haircut, I try to do it myself recalling how the barber cuts my husband’s hair.

In the case of my daughter, it is easier because I just need to make the ends straight.  My husband even does it a few times such that the agreed six-inch reduction turns out to be 10! the consternation of my daughter because she had always wanted to wear her hair long. When she turned 9, she wanted to try a different hairstyle, layered with long bangs.  Gosh, we needed professional help! So that was her first salon experience.


Going back to the boys, our older son goes to a professional barber when he started attending school. I got scared that others might notice the imperfections in my work and might poke fun of his hair. So it was then that he broke free from my scissors. Now, it has become a bonding time for father and son to go to the barbershop together.

Now, I have a new’s the turn of our toddler. He is nothing like his brother who was so tamed and cooperative even when he was only two years old. It was easy for me to cut his hair and the session finishes quickly. That was history because now I have to deal with my playful child who always tests my patience. 

“Zeki, keep looking at the tree over there and don’t move your head so I can give you a really nice haircut,” I told him with a tone of authority. 

“Mommy, I don’t like the tree, I like the bird.” Oh well, wherever the bird goes his eyes follow. 

“Zeki, please stop moving your head...I am now getting dizzy!” 

“You are dizzy, Mommy? Sorry, here’s a kiss for you...tsup, tsup.” 

Sooo sweet, but still in his usual agile self, he stood up on the chair, sat on the floor and laid down the floor all in a matter of a minute or two. 

Well, with more egging and begging, we finally settled down to a position where we can finish this hair cut session.  While almost lying down the floor and both of us singing ‘A- you’re Adorable...’ we made progress...and eventually, to completion. My little boy gets bored easily. The photos below tell it all. But hey, look at those cute and funny faces he was making.


Then it was time for him to take a bath. He was so excited to apply his father’s styling gel on his newly-cut hair that the usually long bathing sessions ended quickly. Pleased by what he saw in the mirror, he went straight to his father and boasts “Papa, I’m handsome already!”

So why do we insist on cutting their hair when we can just bring them to the nearest barber shop and be spared from all those troubles? Cutting our children’s hair...

• saves us money- the service is free though not risk-free...LOL;
• provides opportunity to get to know every inch of our children’s growing hair,as well as practice and learn to positively deal with their different personalities;
• provides opportunity to bond with them;
• gives a chance for us to develop a new skill;
• and the outcome gives utmost satisfaction.

Look at him with his newly-cut hair, isn’t he gorgeous?

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Countdown Adjustment

Posted by Papa Sez | Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Follow parentsjourney on TwitterWell with the recent announcement at Island Travel "It's Road Trip for Us, Air Trip for Lolo", we now have to adjust the countdown widget on the right to reflect the start of our road trip, which is March 23 instead of 24.'s only 26 days more to go. Time indeed flies when you're happy and occupied =) Cheers!

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Island of the Blue Dolphins: A Review

Posted by Mama Sez | Monday, February 22, 2010

Follow parentsjourney on Twitter by Rica Emmanuele

Note: This is a book report presented to us by our 10-year-old daughter, Rica Emmanuele, as an offshoot of her nightly reading log, a school requirement wherein students are asked to read any book of interest. Her choices had mostly been novels, particularly the classics. She's so excited when we told her that we can publish her work online that she immediately finished the report. It's her third book report but the first one done for us. We're pretty sure it won't be the last.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
(A Newberry winner)


Won-a-pa-lei/Karana- The girl who was left on an island.

Ramo- Karana’s brother

Ulape- Karana’s older sister

Chief Chowig- Karana’s Father

Rontu- A wild dog that became Karana’s friend

Mon-a-nee/Won-a-nee- Karana’s otter friend

Tainor and Lurai- Karana’a bird friends

Rontu-Aru- Rontu’s son who became Karana’s friend


There was once an island called the Island of the Blue Dolphins where Indians lived. But they had to leave the island. A girl named Karana and her brother were left behind. Karana had to live all alone when here brother died. She became friends with a wild dog that she tamed, two birds and a sea otter. She also built her own house. She lived in this island by herself for many years until a ship came to take her away.


Once upon a time, there was an island that was shaped like a fish. It was called the Island of the Blue Dolphins because blue dolphins lived in the waters surrounding it. Before, the Indians lived in the island.

There was a girl named Won-a-pa-lei. Her secret name was Karana, which was rarely used. She had a younger brother whose name was Ramo and an older sister whose name was Ulape. Her father’s name was Chief Chowig.

One day, a ship came to the island. They were the Aleuts. Their ship had red sails. Chief Chowig welcomed them. They were there to hunt for sea otters. But Chief Chowig said that they should give them half of their catch because they own the sea where the sea otters lived. The leader of the Aleuts whose name was Captain Orlov agreed.

When the Aleuts were about to leave, they did not give half of the catch to them, but instead, they killed Chief Chowig. The Indians were cheated. The children of Chief Chowig, Karana, Ramo and Ulape felt very bad.

One day, the Indians left the island to transfer to another one. Karana and Ramo were left behind, but they did not worry because they knew that the ship would come back. But it did not. They waited for the ship to come for many years. It still did not come.

Then a time came when Ramo was killed by a wild dog’s deep bite on his throat. Now, there was nothing Karana can do. She was all alone. She never felt this way before.

Karana wanted to kill the wild dogs or their leader because they might kill her as well. She made weapons to help her. Then one day, she shot the leader with an arrow. It was not dead yet but she carried it to her house that she built for herself. She tamed the dog and gave it a name. The name was Rontu.

Now, she is not so lonely because of Rontu. She was very happy to have him. She also caught two birds that she named Tainor and Lurai. She met a sea otter and named it Mon-a-nee. She had so many friends to cheer her up!

One day, Rontu was with Karana hunting for devilfish. Then they saw a giant devilfish! They tried to get it but it was too hard. Rontu loves staying with Karana.

Karana tried building her own canoe and going to sea with it in case she finds another island. But when she went to sea, her canoe had leaks so she had to go back. While going back to her island, she saw blue dolphins coming near her. This made her happy.

Then a time came when Rontu died. Karana was very much upset about this. She buried Rontu. Then she found Rontu’s son and also tamed him. His name was Rontu-Aru. Sometimes, Karana forgets that he is not Rontu because he really looks like his father.

One day, an Aleut ship came. Karana hid in a cave. She saw a girl on the Aleut ship. Then one time, the girl saw Karana and made friends with her but Karana did not like it because she hates the Aleuts.

The girl’s name was Tutok. She now often visits Karana in her cave. Tutok also gave a necklace to her. They eventually became very good friends. Sometimes, Tutok does not go to the cave and Karana worries.

Then one day, the Aleuts left the island. Karana will miss Tutok. She made earrings that matched the necklace that was given to her by Tutok.

Then after several more years, another ship came to the island. This time, it was not the Aleuts. It was a ship that would take her out of the island to another place. Karana was very happy.

She painted something under her nose that meant she is unmarried. Like her sister Ulape did. Then she packed her things and showed up to the men.

One of the men made a dress for her because they said that she did not look good with her Indian dress. The dress they made was tight but she did not complain. She also did not like it when she wore other dresses because she wanted to wear her skirt that she made herself.

Then she told Rontu-Aru that they are going to leave the island. Her other friends can’t come because it would be too hard. So she said goodbye to all of her friends and also to the island. Then Karana left with Rontu-Aru beside her.


Island of the Blue Dolphins is a very good book because it is a story about a girl who was left on an island. For me, it is nice because I can read about a girl trying to survive alone. I want to recommend the book to everyone. It is so much fun reading it that it took me only three hours and fifty minutes spread in four nights to finish the whole novel.

P.S.  I was about to hit the publish button when I decided to look up the novel in the internet. I discovered that the novel was based on a true story of Juana Maria. She was known as the "Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island" left alone for 18 years on San Nicolas Island, one of the Channel Islands, off the California coast. The photo to the right is an aerial view of San Nicolas (sources: Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons).

When my daughter learned about it, she got even more excited that a girl actually survived alone in an island shaped like a fish.


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Looking on the Bright Side of Life

Posted by Mama Sez | Sunday, February 21, 2010

Follow parentsjourney on TwitterI was trying to get some quiet time to write. How can I have it when my toddler wanted me to massage his back very often just to get my attention and my 7-year old son was bugging her older sister to tell each other scary stories for fun? My daughter with lack of scary ideas kept on complaining about the demand of his brother. Was that my baby crying on the background? Oh my, I’m about to lose my composure! These little guys are driving me crazy!

“Calm down Mama Sez…look on the bright side of life. Your toddler is a smart kid and knows how to get what he wants. He knows that you love him and appreciates the massage you are giving him such that he keeps coming back for more. Be cheerful to your repeat customer, lol.”

“Your other son just wants to have some fun. Unfortunately, the topic is not inviting for his sister who happens to be a pretty mature person who doesn’t want to engage in that futile exercise. Lastly, your baby longs for your embrace and only your smell can pacify her. Have you taken a bath?”

Breathe in…breathe out. Think before you act and look on the bright side.

Instead of freaking out, I suggested that the three older kids play something interactive like ‘Hide and Seek’. Luckily, they liked the idea and off they went away. My older son forgot about his scary stories, my toddler forgot about me (for awhile) and my older daughter again earned her leadership merit. My helper, on the other hand, managed to redirect my baby’s attention to toy blocks. Finally, I now have my few minutes to write…c’mon, I hope it's an hour.

Good things just came out of the situation …this blog being one of those!

Ok I had to stop now... my computer time is up because my toddler is now insisting on having his hair cut. I also do that kind of service for him

Update: Read about their haircut session here.

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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterIt is 6 o’clock in the afternoon and it's a bit unusual. NO, it is largely peculiar because my school kids and my husband are out of the house. They left four hours ago to attend a Father and Child Camp organized by the school. In their case, it is a Father and Children Camp, my daughter is in grade four and my son in grade one :). They will be staying at the campsite of Eden Nature Park and Resort, Davao City.

The night will definitely be cold so sweaters and jackets were packed for them together with thick socks. They are wearing old clothes for they are expected to get dirty while having fun with Father and Child games. Scrumptious dinner and breakfast awaits them as prepared by yours truly, who truly wished she could join them but…sorry, no Moms allowed.

On the brighter side of it is my appreciation to the Abba’s Orchard School’s effort to strengthen bonds of father and child. This camp will give chance to fathers to reflect on their fatherhood journey, learn more through a seminar prepared for them, share their experiences with other fathers, know more about their children and care for them outside of his wife’s shadows. This is an opportunity for children to get their father’s undivided time and attention as they feel safe and secured in the wilderness because their hero is beside them. Oh my, I’m jealous!

Before they left, I just had one request....HAVE FUN but BE SAFE!

My husband just texted that he is chatting with a friend whom we know is a busy person but gave time to attend the camp. Thank God the signal is good up there in the mountain.

See you tomorrow guys...I LOVE YOU :)

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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterNote: This is the first in a series of articles on Discipline Methods introduced last Friday in Discipline and Parenting Style. This series on discipline will be published every Friday so please check back regularly or subscribe via email or follow us at Twitter or Facebook (buttons are at the bottom right corner as well).

Communication is a process of transferring information from one person to another. It is a way to impart or interchange thoughts, opinions or information by verbal/auditory and non-verbal means. Communication could be one-way (unidirectional) but in human relationships, including that of a parent and child, two-way communication has always been proven better.

In child discipline, communication is key to success. Regardless of the discipline method you are employing, the manner in which you communicate with your child will most likely determine your success. Here are some important points:

  1. Child age appropriateness: The manner you communicate should be appropriate to the child’s age. When the reasoning skills of a child are not yet well developed, you cannot expect a child to always meet your expectations by giving direct instructions. In this case, positive reinforcement yields better results. Remember that at this stage of the child’s development, he is only taking cues on how you respond to his every behavior and not because you say so. Focus on what the child is doing right, offer more attention and encouragement whenever the child is doing something you want him to repeat over and over, and that is what you’ll get. Again, you do not communicate to your child at this stage by giving direct instructions; rather you reinforce good behavior by responding positively whenever he has done something right. An applause, a smile, kiss, hug or any expression of appreciation and love is a better way of communicating what you want him to do.

    When a child turns 18 months to 2 years until he reaches 6 years of age, verbal instructions with explanations may start to become effective because at this stage, he can now process more information. As the child’s verbal abilities improve, you can explain more things to him.
  2. The two-way traffic: Whenever you give direct instructions, offer explanations, be clear, precise and firm but don’t forget to listen. Set the boundaries and limitations, and define your standards up front. Firmly state your reasonable expectations from him but explain why by stating the advantages of doing it and the consequences of not doing it. A child deserves explanation as much as parents do. Then practice good listening skills. Take time to listen what the child has to say and wait for his affirmation that he understands your point. Be amaze at how cooperative a child can be if he knows that his thoughts and opinion matter.

    A healthy two-way communication between a parent and a child preserves the respect in each other and lessens the likelihood of putting each other in a demeaning situation.
  3. Being consistent: Teaching appropriate behavior would require several repetitions before it is learned. Being consistent with the behavioral standards and limitations you communicate to your child establishes your credibility that you know what you are talking about and that you are serious in imposing them. Being consistent would avoid confusion as well.

    Children without boundaries feel insecure and unsure where they stand, but when there are boundaries they tend to test the strength of those boundaries and the consequences of going beyond the limits. A constant reminder should be given to the child consistent with the set behavioral standards and limitations such that the same message is conveyed from the 1st to the nth time you say it, unless a revision in the standard is deemed necessary. If a child defiantly breaks the boundary in spite of your best effort to properly and consistently communicate behavioral standards and limitations, make sure you are ready to apply other appropriate discipline method to bring him back to where he should stand.
  4. The truth and nothing but the truth: Whether you are dealing with a young child or an older kid, tell him straight facts. Do not try to invent stories or characters to make a child follow the rules. You will be risking the loss of child’s trust in you in the event that he discovers the truth. If the child is smart enough, he can immediately tell if you are just making it up and you will definitely appear silly. For instance, never tell a child “to sleep early so Dracula won’t get him”. Telling him directly the health benefits of good rest and sleep to a growing child will be better appreciated. Then help him by implementing ways of promoting good sleeping habits in children.
  5. Say what you mean and mean what you say: When giving consequences to misbehavior, make sure these are doable and have it done if the situation calls for it. For example, you want your child to finish his homework before he can watch television. Fine, but what will happen if he doesn’t obey? You can come up with various consequences for misbehavior, like disobedience would result in him not allowed to watching television for one whole week. Tell this to him directly and make sure that the whole week NO TV punishment is implemented in case he disobeys. Never say “I’ll crush the TV on your head if I see you watching before the homework in done!” You can never do that to your child and your child knows that so the communication becomes ineffective if done in this manner.
Role modeling is a discipline method, but may also be regarded as a form of communication. You communicate to a child what he should do by setting yourself as an example. The child, especially in the formative years of his life mimics his parents or other older figures at home, in school and the community. This behavior should be capitalized most especially by parents and teachers by acting appropriately such that the child learns appropriate behavior.

Role modeling is an effective means of child discipline but requires a lot of discipline to the role model himself. Start by asking yourself this question, “Being a role model, am I self disciplined?” Dr. Robyn Silverman posed more questions to guide role models. Be a positive role model and follow the seven ways to make a positive impact on children enumerated by Dr. Robyn Silverman. Read them using this link and judge for yourself if it makes sense to you. Make yourself worthy of a child’s admiration…be his mentor…and start with yourself.

NEXT: Discipline Methods: Merits and Demerits
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UPDATE: The next discipline methods article is already posted-- Discipline Methods: Merits and Demerits

Follow parentsjourney on TwitterDevelopmental milestones are physical or behavioral signs of development or maturation of infants and children. The milestones are different for each age range, and children develop a little differently from one another. However, there are physical, motor, sensory and cognitive markers parents and medical practitioners can use to recognize if a child’s development is within the normal range, advanced or delayed. Well, it sounds exciting to talk about child developmental milestones but for now, let us not go deep into the technical details but rather the emotional roller coaster that my husband and I got into with this facet of parenting.

Among our four children, the youngest has been causing us some worries with every milestone in her development. Don’t get me wrong, we keep a close watch of her growth and development and are happy for she is doing great. She is such a blessing!!! It just that there is this fear of "losing our baby" too soon. Before we know it, she'll be a toddler, then a preschooler and so on. The fact that she is our last makes us want to cling to that state for a little longer and savor it some more. To cut the drama short it is really our selfishness that's making us a little sad with her every milestone.

Our first child, a girl, was confidently walking at 9 months of age, our second and third, both boys did it when they were 10-month-old. Our youngest is now 10 months and just starting to balance with her two feet. Instead of worrying why she’s not walking yet, we feel okay with it... not just because we know that every child develops at a different pace but because we are taking pleasure in seeing her move around on fours.

I remember this Filipino riddle that goes:

“Nung maliit ay apat ang paa, nang lumaki ay dalawa, nang lumaon ay tatlo na”
(When small it's legs are four, as it grew it has two, and eventually three)

The answer is "human" who starts to move around using all his legs and arms, then walks with just his two feet, and in his final phase he would require a cane for support. Given a little more time our baby girl will level up from fours to twos...she’ll be up and about walking with her two feet. It feels like with just a blink of an eye we're "losing our baby" and then open it to see a toddler running around. But there’s no stopping her, we know. *sob*

Anyway, we want to say that we love you Nadine and we’ll be here to cheer you on your every step.

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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterParenting Journey is the No. 1 Mommies Faves Top Blog for January!!! Yippee, yippee!!! Thanks for the support of all Parenting Journey followers and readers from all-over. Awarded to Parenting Journey is this icon/ribbon on the right and the top spot in Mommies Faves Site. What else…what else? Ahh…the moral boost…the inspiration. I’m serious; this looks small and simple but made my heart bigger...not to the point of bursting, though, lol.

When I joined this challenge a month ago, I knew that a two-month old blog site like Parenting Journey will not be able to compete with the old-time family blog sites. Thank God I was wrong. Parenting Journey got the top blog position and was the first top blog awardee of Mommies Faves.

I am now more motivated to share our experiences as parents, the tips we deem helpful for others and the knowledge we are gaining from this journey. The increasing traffic in the site coming from the different parts of the globe also proved that regardless of geographic location, parents would search for information pertaining to parenthood, read parenting stories of other people or even share their own. After all parents are riding on the same boat and need each other to learn from and lean on so as to ensure that the journey be as smooth as possible.

The Parenting Journey banner will occupy the top spot in the Mommies Faves Top Blog Site until a new top blog is chosen at the end of the month. This is a monthly thing such that all votes are reset to zero at the beginning of each voting month.

Please continue to vote for Parenting Journey by clicking the peach icon that says “Congrats! #1 Top Blog” at the right side of the page. This will lead you to Mommies Faves Top Blog Site and see that Parenting Journey banner is perched on top of the heap. Current ranking of the participating family-oriented blog sites can be viewed as well.

To all Parenting Journey followers and readers from all-over, please accept our heartfelt gratitude and again, please continue to help Parenting Journey keep the top spot.

Let’s celebrate with a toast of breast milk...err...I mean fresh milk. Cheers!

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Discipline and Parenting Style

Posted by Mama Sez | Thursday, February 11, 2010

Follow parentsjourney on TwitterWhat would you do if your three-year-old son hits a playmate at the park or smacks his baby brother on the face? Refer to the instruction manual of Child Code 143, Model XYZ? No way, your child did not come with an instruction manual nor would you find one from other "manufacturers."

It is our responsibility as parents to mold them to become good and responsible citizens of society, on top of our duty to provide them their basic needs, give them good education and keep them healthy and happy. Tough, isn’t it?

How do we go about this task? The one word that comes to mind is discipline. By definition, discipline is any training intended to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior. In child development, discipline refers to methods of modeling character and of teaching self-control and acceptable behavior. To effectively discipline a child is one of the most difficult but essential skills parents would have to learn. Effective discipline keeps order in the family and produces responsible citizens of society.

Involved parents are concerned with child discipline but differ on how they go about it largely because of parenting style. Researchers identified four parenting styles namely, uninvolved, indulgent, authoritarian and authoritative, and each one was excellently presented in this video:

Now, which one is your style? Maybe you cannot fit yourself in one particular style or maybe you can. Knowing from the video the correlation of parenting style with child’s well-being in terms of social and emotional development, school performance, and proneness to problem behavior, which parenting style would you strive to employ for your child?

I am leaving you with this thought to ponder upon as I prepare my next posts on discipline of which I have outlined five methods as enumerated below.

1. Communication and Role Modeling
2. Merit and Demerit System
3. Time-Out and Reverse Time-Out
4. Avoidance and Tolerance
5. Spanking

The plan is to fully discuss each discipline method by presenting them one by one on Fridays.

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UPDATE: Discipline methods series now posted:

Follow parentsjourney on TwitterAllow us to begin by defining detox or detoxification in the context of diet modification for optimum health. Detoxification is the removal of toxins or the effect of such in the body through a dietary regimen. It is believed that our bodies are inundated with numerous toxins each and every day through bad diet, food additives, pesticides, air pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol and caffeine. Together with stress and depression, accumulation of these ingested toxins can affect our different body systems and may eventually cause illnesses. Elimination of these toxic elements improves the functioning of many body systems that provide better sleep, energy, mental alertness, healthy skin as well as enhanced immune system function. On the other side of the court are the opposing views stating that there is no evidence that detox diet actually removes toxin from the body and that it has no proven health benefit. Well this statement could be true because more scientific evidence is still needed for it to be generally acceptable.

From the standpoint of someone like us who are seeking health, wellness and long productive life, whatever sounds logical is always worth a try. As mentioned in a previous blog on Natural Body Cleansing Detox Diet Recipes, we wanted to be proactive and try whatever is logical to improve our health and the quality of our life rather than having no option later on but to try everything out there to cure a lifestyle disease that could have been prevented in the first place.

Subgroups in the detoxification diets as categorized in Detoxification Diets include raw food diets, which are based on the premise that uncooked foods prevent the accumulation of toxins in the digestive system; mono diets, in which the dieter consumes only one or two foods (sometimes in liquid form only) for a period of 10-14 days; juice fasting, in which the dieter consumes large quantities of fruit and vegetable juices along with water and herbal teas for one to three days; and vegetarian or semi-vegetarian detox diets, which allow the dieter some variety of cooked whole grains, steamed vegetables, fresh fruit, and small amounts of protein foods as well as several glasses of water and herbal teas each day.

Wanting to be realistic with our goals, we chose to follow the least restrictive…semi-vegetarian detox diet. This will serve as a springboard for us to engage in a healthier lifestyle and hopefully halt the development of any impending lifestyle diseases. After the detoxification regimen, which will last for two weeks, we can continuously adapt some of the healthier ways that are sustainable in the long term and appropriate even to our children. For now let us share with you the guidelines that we will follow in our detoxification or detox adventure. These were formulated by putting together whatever information gathered about the subject that sounded logical to us. This is more like the dos and don’ts in natural body cleansing detox diet.

1. Include only the following foods in the detox diet meal plan:

  • Fruits- fresh, frozen, dried or canned in natural fruit juice.
  • Fruit juice- make homemade fruit juices or smoothies from fresh fruit, or drink pure and unsweetened ready-made juices.
  • Herbal, fruit and green teas (caffeine-free). Take green tea for its antioxidant property and calming effect.
  • Vegetables including beans and lentils- fresh, frozen or canned in water (without salt added).
  • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes (minimum)
  • Brown rice and rice noodles, rice cake and rye crackers (minimum)
  • Fresh fish or canned salmon and tuna in water
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds (avoid nuts, especially peanut, if you are allergic or sensitive to it)
  • Plain popcorn- without sugar or salt
  • Live natural yogurt/probiotics
  • Extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic, ginger and fresh herbs
  • Naturally brewed soy sauce (minimum)
  • Ground black pepper
  • Honey, Organic coco-sugar or Muscovado (minimum)
2. Avoid the following foods:
  • Red meat like pork and beef, chicken, turkey, and meat products such as sausages, burgers, pate, luncheon meat, meat loaf, etc.
  • Milk, cheese, cream and other dairy products
  • Eggs, shellfish, shrimps, crabs, lobsters (other detox programs allow these at minimal amounts)
  • Butter and margarine
  • Any food that contains wheat (bread, croissants, cereals, cakes, pies, pastry, etc.)
  • Battered and breadcrumbed foods
  • Salted nuts and seeds
  • Junk foods (chips and processed snacks loaded with salt and artificial flavors)
  • Chocolate, candy, donut, jam, and other preserved fruits- loaded with sugar
  • Processed foods, and ready-made meals and sauces
  • Alcohol- not to add more pressure to the liver. It has an acidifying effect and contains yeast, both bad for our body.
  • Coffee, carbonated drinks and caffeinated tea
  • Sauces, pickles, store-bought salad dressing, and mayonnaise
  • Salt and processed sugar- to appreciate the natural taste of foods often masked by these condiments, deload the kidneys, minimize water retention and stabilize insulin levels
3. Increase the proportion of fruits and vegetables, get them fresh and eat them raw as much as possible.

4. Source natural and organic foods as much as possible to diminish accumulation of pesticide residues and other synthetic chemicals in the body.

5. Drink at least 8 glasses (equivalent to 64 oz) of water everyday to improve mood, rehydrate skin, boost immune system and increase metabolism. This will also ensure that we don’t get constipated especially with the increase in our fiber intake. Adequate fluid intake will hasten the process of elimination of toxins through urination and defecation.

6. Eat small frequent meals and chew the food thoroughly to increase metabolism and burn unwanted fats efficiently. Avoid feeling hungry, and more so, fasting.

7. Start the day with lemon-water for its antioxidant and good toxin-flushing properties.

8. Take regular gentle to moderate exercise like walking, stretching or even yoga. Go out of the house, breath fresh air and stay away from smoke. Nobody in our family smokes but for those who do, cigarette is prohibited during detox.

9. Everyday, do a few minutes of meditation and read articles on positivity for greater mental clarity. It’s like detoxifying the mind.

10. Take time to wind down and avoid stressful situations that will increase cortisol level leading to low immunity and high blood pressure. Do home-made body scrubs and massage to improve circulation and promote relaxation.

The immediate observable benefits we expect from this endeavor are restored vitality, healthier and younger-looking skin, minimized bloating incidence, better mood and improved immune system function. If we continue to embark on healthy lifestyle with minimized toxic loads even after this detoxification program as well as engage in detoxification twice a year as recommended, then we would expect the following: controlled blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels, reduced risk of cancer development and longer active and productive life.

The trade off? We are expecting higher expense in terms of money, time and effort, not to mention the sacrifices of not being able to eat some of the food stuff we have been accustomed to. This is like paying the premium for health now rather than paying it off with interest later on in life. Hope you know what I mean.

photo courtesy of / CC BY 2.0

Note: I will post the actual two-week semi-vegetarian detox diet program that we are going to follow in the next few days.  So please keep coming back, or better yet subscribe via RSS or email using the subscription widgets at lower right hand side of this page.

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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.