Discipline: Learning from my 3 Year Old Toddler 

Who says that raising a child is easy? As for myself and my husband we would say that it isn’t. It demands a lot of “walk the talk” kind of moment, adjustments and leading by example. 

Since we finally have been reunited with our fireball baby girl, we were able to see and observe things that Jake and I needs to address about her, including us and the strategies we need to be equipped of so we can raise her according to the ways of the Lord. Discipline is on top of our priority and as clueless as we are, what best way to understand parenting than to hear it from the Best Parent we know, God. 

It’s not as easy as 123 because we realized that children as little as they are, have characters that needs some understanding, love and corrections. And what makes our situation a bit of a challenge is the fact that we are also re-introducing ourselves to her, as her parents (we have been apart for almost a year). So the question for us is, how can we discipline her in the most loving way that she would embrace obedience even at her young age. 

A good and old friend of mine advised me about “choosing our battles” when it comes to disciplining our child. That means we must be able to discern the actions of our daughter, we must check if it’s a heart or innocence issue then from there we can address it. Sounds easy right, but for my husband and I who are clueless we really don’t have a full understanding on how to start, until one time we witnessed with our own eyes how our baby deliberately ignored us when we called her attention and say “stop”. 

I was hesitant about “spanking” but I know it’s a biblical way of discipling your child. So one time, when we were outside in the playground, Jael showed her us her best tantrum catching the attention of some old moms there. Jael doesn’t want to stop even if we have told her that it’s time to go, so we carried her out and in her defense & with the sole intent of making us see how she can make things her way, she shouted “help, help”. Not only did we make a scene but it was kinda embarassing because I thought I could not control my child. Oh, I couldn’t wait to finish this scene, I walked as fast as I can, carrying my daugther who shouts help in the corridor of our flat until we reached the lift. Surprisingly, I didn’t break down neither did I feel angry towards her. Honestly, what I felt was an urgent matter to address and correct this uncontrollable attitude of my 3 year old. 

Soon as we reached home, I collected myself and spoke to her in a serious manner and I said, “go your room”. I brought her to the corner of our room and talked to her, I warned her that because she was disobedient and she ignores our warning, I have to spank her. She looked at me carefully and shouted and cried. So I took my “pamalo” (wooden stick) and decided to give her a swat across her bum, enough to sting but not to wound her skin. That’s the very first official spank she received from me. She cried loudly and I hugged her tightly, until she calmed down. Then I look at her in the eyes and I told her ” I love you”. She repeated the same phrase and she said “sowee” (sorry). I told her to OBEY and remember to OBEY. She said “okay, obey”. (I was surprised that she understand***) 

After that scene, she now listens to my voice when I call her name and when I say “stop” she obeys. There are still some moments when she tries her way out to do things that she still wants to do. But slowly she is reminded about that “pamalo” which I intentionally placed somewhere she can notice and she would say “obey”. 

Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren. (DEUTERONOMY 4:9)

The role of a parent is one that requires constant vigilance. Not only must parents teach God’s Word and ways to their children and grandchildren, but they must also follow them. (** from the book; Everything the bible says about parenting) 

Being a parent is one great opportunity to learn, get equipped and touch the next generation through our children. And that gift is something that we could always be grateful of by being good stewards of this gift. It is my prayer that my child would grow in the ways of the Lord so that when they grow old, they know how to live life having the fear of the Lord. 

Our discoveries with our little-hyperactive fireball is still far from the finish line. Our disciplining is hardly over. We still have to train our little-active fireball to practice self-control, to be attentive, to honor authority, to listen and accept our instructions without too much drama or throwing tantrums. Our present hurdle is her self-control. Her understanding of “no” is a bit of a challenge, she still throws a huge tantrum if she doesn’t get in her way. For example, if we wanted her to stop running around the grocery lines and we hold her hand to stop, she would cry loudly and make a scene. If we carry her, she would even shout for “help”. Another example is her usage of gadgets. Since we would like her to limit her screentime, once we say stop and take her Ipad, she would cry aggresively until she turns red. 

We have tried addressing this attitude through several techniques for now, before we resort to spanking. First, we ask permission from her and give her a heads up, to up to what time she can use her Ipad. For example, we say ” Jaja you only have 10 minutes left to use your Ipad, okay?” If she ignores that, I’ll come to her and ask her the same question until she replies “okay” then I let her use the Ipad. (Most of the time it works, but when it doesn’t;) Second, we try to distract her with other activities like listening to music or showing her a book, so we can divert her attention. Third, if she is really upset because she has been denied of what she wants, I would stop whatever Im doing and come to her, put her aside and talk to her and explain. (Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t) But for what it’s worth, we will always instill discipline to her until she grasp and embrace OBEDIENCE. 

Proverbs 19:18 – 

“Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Children must be disciplined while there is opportunity, for there will come a day that its too late for parents to discipline their children. For a parent not to discipline their child is to allow them to continue in ways of folly, which puts them on a path to their eventual death. (Everything the Bible Says about Parenting and Children Book)

I look forward to the day when Jael would embrace obedience not by force but because she knows that it is for her good which leads to blessing. We still have a long way to go, until then, it is still a journey that we have to take to discover more things about our child. To develop and train her according to the ways of the Lord. And the more we think it, the more we realized how much grace and wisdom we needed from the Lord! 

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