Proverbs 13:24 – He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
We have a paddle that we bought at PCBS and on it are instructions when to use it. I have also read an article on parenting and discipline by Maricel Laxa with the Philippine Star and I thought I was okay with using it.
At first Dindin had been responsive. She knows that there are certain behaviors that warrant a spanking and we limit three spanks on her diaper-clad bottom. When it is something that she did with her hands, we would hit one or two hands with a stick. It is not the pain that makes her cry, it is the thought of getting punished. Eventually, she has learned that if she continues to do something, she will get a spanking and thus avoid misbehaving.
This month, however, had been different. I believe Dindin has entered the toddler phase of negativism quite early. While others maybe experience the “Terrible Two” stage when their kids reach two years old (obviously), Dindin has reached this part quite early at 1 year and 7 months. She is really moody, crying over what seems to be nothing, and she is having stranger anxiety.
We have researched over stranger anxiety but nothing seems to describe what she is undergoing now. She is not anxious of complete strangers. In fact, when she sees people on the street, the cashiers at supermarkets, security guards of banks, and pretty much every one else that she doesn’t know (you get the idea), she says “Hi” or “Hello” to them with an accompanying wave.
But when it is a relative or a friend that she has seen before, she would cling on to me and be hostile to that person. It really saddens people and she is often called, “Manol” (I don’t know the exact English equivalent of this) and it also hurts me. But the fact is, what Dindin doesn’t like is to be taken away from me and carried by other people. She thinks that if she is friendly with other people, they will just say “Hi” back but not carry her or hug her or kiss her. It is like she is saying, “we can be friends, just no touching.”
The number of people that she allows to carry her are very limited. She is good friends with Toto, a young boy living with us, and Salvie, who always blows bubbles for her. She would also sometimes go with her grandparents and auntie, but it is not always.
So going back to disciplining her, I realized that I used the paddle on her too many times this week. She cried herself to sleep last night and refused her milk. She went on a hunger strike. After she slept, I was the one who cried. I did not know what to do anymore. It was then we brought our concerns to God in tears. Aside from using the rod too often, I have also too often raised my voice.
I am not really sure what is vexing Dindin’s spirit that she is not calm. But after praying last night, she fussed again while still asleep. I massage her body and she calmed down and slept peacefully. I guess she had been too stressed about the events these past days.
So today, I tried to do things differently. I tried to spend more time with her and give her more attention. While we are just together in the room, she has her own agenda while I have mine. So today, I made it a point to carry her more often, hug her more frequently and interact with her. It did not help that I had be redoing a job for a client several times.
But thankfully, the day is almost over and I only had to hit her hand once when she swiped the glass off my hands thereby spilling the water on the floor. She is rather relaxed today and more friendly. And she slept about 3 hours this afternoon. It is a good sign.
Dindin has never acted this way before. It seems like her toddlerhood is pretty much the same as the growing pains of puberty. She is probably experiencing a lot of changes in her body and her emotion is having a hard time coping. And Mama is also having a hard time.
Anyway, I know with God’s grace we will all enjoy her toddler months (or a year). Things are getting pretty fast with Dindin, you know. I keep declaring her as a “Terrific Toddler” and I know that with God’s favor, she will indeed be one.