Saturday, September 21, 2013

No, you shouldn't give in to your kids

Many parents remark on how remarkably well behaved my children are. "How do you do it?" It's really simple. We spoil them with love but the second they misbehave, Vince and I are quick to discipline. We have that look on our face that freezes Vito, that tone that means we're not messing with you. Vito and Iñigo know when we mean business and they behave because they know better than to cross that line.
Sorry, sweetheart. You can't get what you want. 

They obey or there is hell to pay. No, you can't have ice cream before breakfast. No, you can't hit your brother. No, you do not talk to me that way. You get your toy yourself. You clean up that mess. You throw that in the trash can. You go to sleep now. And we don't sweeten any of that with pretty please. There is no negotiation, no pleading, no bribing, no discussion.

Despite our being mean, our boys are happy and well adjusted. They have empathy and deep emotion. They're independent. They are fun and crazy and cool. They are respectful and sweet. Yes, even the little one-year-old. They don't shout and scream at other people. They don't hit other kids. They don't break our things, their things and other people's things. I think that's because, yes, they know they're loved unconditionally but they know their limits.

Boundless love doesn't mean not setting boundaries. Of course, the kids will test those limits constantly. That's part of growing up. They cry, throw tantrums, be disobedient. But we noticed that the tantrums and disobedience last just a few minutes. Of course when you're in the middle of that tantrum and in a mall or restaurant, that tantrum can feel like forever and you want to give in if only to stop people from thinking you're an awful parent with awful kids. But I know my kids better. I know their tantrum won't last forever so we stick to discipline no matter what. So my kids may misbehave sometimes but it doesn't last long. They are quick to obey and are remorseful. I think that's because our relationship matters more to them than having their way. They won't risk our disappointment for ice cream, for example, because that's just stupid and they know it.

On that note, meet Louis C.K. You actually already met him in my previous blog post. He is my new favorite comedian. He doesn't pull any punches. He's not afraid to question and poke fun at our silly issues. Best of all, he's a parent who calls out other parents' stupidity.

On not giving kids what they want:
"I'm not here to make you happy. I'm not raising children; I'm raising the grown-ups they're going to be. I have to raise them with the tools to get through a terrible life."

On how technology takes away empathy and compassion:
"Kids are mean. That's because they're trying it out. They look at a kid and go, 'You're fat,' and then they see the kid's face scrunch up and they go, "Oh, that doesn't feel good to do that.' But they gotta start by doing the mean thing. But when they write, 'You're fat,' they're, "Mmm, that was fun. I like that!'"

Good points!


  1. Your Vito is lalong gumuguwapo!

    Yep, that's how our parents raised us too. It IS possible to be "mean" to your kids without having them hate you. Napapalo ako regularly dati (pero bawal na ata yun ngayon, haha), pero I still think my dad walks on water. Nasa execution ata yan, so the bagets don't think of you as the executioner. Of course, I'm no parent, so what do I know? ;)

    Louis C.K. is whipsmart! I also love his Everything's Great and Nobody's Happy bit.

    1. Ya, bawal na ang palo ngayon. Kainis!

    2. How do you discipline in place of palo, Frances?

  2. Good points! I like the reason behind of not to give-in to your kids! ;)

  3. This post is so timely! I reached the end of my patience earlier with Jacob because I've been at the receiving end of his pinching, hitting, and biting. A lot of which he learned (ever so quickly) from kids he played with before.

    I tried to reason with him and kept asking him to say sorry. Iyak ng iyak and "No!" ng "No!" in his cute voice. I tried to keep him with me for as long as I could, though he was begging his Dad to take him away.

    After a few minutes, I let him go na. I got frustrated and thought maybe he's too young to understand. But after reading this, I wish I had kept at it until he understood. Feeling ko he thinks I'm so forgiving (which embarrassingly, I am).

    I told my husband na we should discipline him na even at a young age because I don't want to have difficulty starting to do so when he's older. Teach me how you do it please!

    1. When Vito is giving me cariño brutal, I walk away. I tell him, "Stop. You're hurting Mama. We do not hit or hurt other people. I'm going away so you won't hurt me. Think about what you did and I would really like you to say sorry when you're done thinking."

      I don't reason with him anymore. Kasi napansin ko if I keep talking and pleading, it doesn't work. He's having too much fun and he seems to have more fun when he sees me trying to placate him. So end his "fun" by walking away. In the olden days, we can slap some sense into them haha but not anymore. So I remove myself from the situation. That way, he knows I do not tolerate it, I was offended enough to leave, that he crossed a line.

      I do that with him all the time. I change the situation. Either I remove him, the toy, the TV, his brother, or myself. I tell him first what he did wrong and then I leave. Usually, wala pang 30 seconds, super sorry na yan si Vito.

    2. And, most importantly, he really doesn't do it again!

  4. bawal na pala ang palo? argh. i didnt know that a. I still believe pa din kasi sa palo (pero not naman ung sobra sobra).

    I love that part na you just have that look and Vito would know na when not to cross the line. I need that. I try to have that look with Neo, ending, he gets puffy eyed, try to do beautiful eyes pa minsan, and i lose my control over the situation na. :(

    1. Yes. Ang palo dapat ginagawa when you're not angry. Kasi kapag galit ka, you'll get carried away. That's bad!

      Sa mga anak ko, it's Iñigo who is naughtier and does that beautiful eyes trick. Nakakainis! Haha

  5. This I'm guilty of! Kids really have their own way. I should be the one to discipline them or they will manipulate us their parents. thanks for the thoughts Mommy Frances

  6. Setting limits and being consistent are very important - and a whole lot of patience. If you feel yourself losing it, remove yourself from the situation. You're the adult, BE the adult. I'm a teacher and I've seen way too many kids that would have benefitted from having firmer parents.

    It's also good to keep in mind that kids are individuals too. Not everyone will respond in the same way / or at the same time as other kids. I'm a parent too and we have a willfull little boy. We're careful not to squash his innate personality (some kids have had their will completely undermined while growing up which leads to a whole different set of issues) but that doesn't mean we excuse bad manners either. Discipline shouldn't mean forcing kids to do what you want but teaching them self-control.

    Thank you for the thought-provoking post. I don't completely agree with the title (and the line "there is hell to pay") but if it gets people to think about their parenting then that would be amazing. A child is a product of their parents' parenting (or lack of it). Parenting is not an easy job - especially if you want to do it well. Parents really need to pay more attention to how their actions affect their children.

    1. Aww, my kids' hell is no TV/iPad and no hugs from Mama and Papa till they say sorry. In my baby's case, since he can't talk yet, he hugs =) Vito says sorry immediately. He can't stand it if we're not "better." That's his word, "better." So cute!


This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!