Shame on you

In the past, I have tried to use my anger to instill fear in my son to make him obey me. I confess that I have also used shaming as a tactic to manipulate and control my son’s behavior. I have done this not consciously, but unconsciously because it’s the parenting style that I have witnessed throughout my life. Yes, I’m guilty, and I do accept that using anger and shame as discipline drivers are not positive, nor do they communicate love.

I want to share this with you because as I live out this whole parenting journey, I find that the more I work on myself and my flaws, the more effective I become as a parent.

Manipulation:

When I have felt the need to manipulate my son to behave the way I want him to behave, I have noticed that my own desire to manipulate does not come from a healthy place.

When we feel the need to manipulate our children, we may lean on forceful ways to have them comply and many times that includes resorting to harsh corporal punishment.

We manipulate because a situation may feel our of control and our natural reaction will be to fight our way back up to holding on to the reigns. Not only is this dangerous, but it’s a sign of fear. Our own fear can take us to pull out the “shame on you card,” and the “anger tactic.”

Our job is not to control our children. They are not robots.

Our anger gets in the way of empathizing with our children because for some parents being empathetic will require to become vulnerable. Parents with anger issues, or undetected anger issues, have a hard time allowing themselves to become vulnerable because to be vulnerable is to enter one’s own feelings.

To have self-control over one’s emotions is true courage.

When we instill fear in our children to get them to respond to what we are commanding them to do, we are acting from an unhealthy place. Rather then letting anger lead our words and actions, we should discipline from a place of self-control.

When I was a little girl, I remember that I did something that wasn’t pleasing to my dad. It was so petty that I don’t even remember what I did wrong, BUT what I do remember was his reaction. He whipped me with a belt and left a mark on the side of my left thigh. After he hit me I remember going to a corner of the room and crawling into a ball. I cried. I felt alone and I felt so much hate towards him. I remember going to school the next day and talking about how much I hated my dad. I resented him for it and till this day I still remember how he made me feel.

We should NEVER force a child to behave a certain way. Instead, we should always kindly correct the behavior, and not the child.

Forceful discipline = power struggle & resentment

Children who feel attacked go into defense mode (this is how any human being responds to an attack, it’s normal) <<<<<<<<<<<<< Why can’t people understand this! It’s upsetting.

Shame:

Shame is a very powerful emotion.

There are many ways that parents have made us feel ashamed and often times this shame brews deep, self-conscious emotions in our hearts.

When we tell a child that they should be ashamed of themselves we are communicating to them that there is something wrong with them.

When we use shaming as a way to make children refrain from a certain behavior, what we’re really doing is humiliating them. To humiliate and shame a child is to be emotionally abusive.

To humiliate a child is to insert a chip in their mind that tells them they aren’t good enough. Once installed, this information has a long-term impact into adulthood.

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, especially children. Children are the most vulnerable and should be protected, loved and supported especially throughout their growth process.

Let’s be conscious and be intentional about the things that we say and do.

It’s time for a shift in parenting. It’s time to discipline with empathy, compassion and respect. Above all, with tons of love.

Love always wins.

Thank you for reading! Many blessings.

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Is Your Child Afraid of Sleeping Alone?

It’s been a crazy journey trying to get my son to sleep in his bed and I can tell you that the journey is far from over lol

I’ve tried it all and I feel that nothing has worked, but I also refuse to force him and have him cry it out when I know that his issue about sleeping alone is his fear of the dark.

Multiple times when I have asked him why he doesn’t want to sleep in his room he tells me that its dark and he scared of the monsters. Knowing this, I can do one of two things:

  1. Ignore his fear and force him to sleep alone.
  2. Acknowledge his fear and help him through it.

I have chosen to acknowledge his feelings.

Through this process I have realized that as a parent we are not called to force our children to outgrow certain stages in their lives.

I have learned that as parents we have to be able to be empathetic to the fears that our children face, especially when we are referring to toddlers and preschoolers.

I’ve learned that there is a time to help our children face and overcome their fears without forceful action, and their is a time to help them get through it by accommodating their needs.

Since my son refuses to sleep alone in his room, I grabbed one of his mattresses and placed it right next to our bed so he is now sleeping right next to me, but on his mattress. The funny part of all of this is that almost every night at around 4 a.m. my son climbs up to our bed and grabs my arm or my face to make sure that I’m there. Those little gestures are indicators that my presence is important to him and my job is to fulfill that need.

It’s a bitter-sweet feeling because although I feel loved by my son, I also know that these moments are nothing more than memories.

Which is why I urge parents to think about the fact that our children are only children for so long and it’s important that we consider their feelings, and help them through their processes.

Opening my life and heart to the world: Are You A Parent Bully?

I never knew there was such a concept as that of being a parent bully, but as I researched more and traced my first experiences with my son, I realized that once upon a time I was a bully.

I remember that the minute they placed my son in my arms, I knew that I would put into practice all the parenting advice that I had witnessed and had been given.

 As the months passed and as my little one grew, I found myself shouting and saying the word “NO” most of the time. I used to like saying “no” because it made me feel like I was letting him know who’s the boss. Yes, I was that ignorant. Why couldn’t I understand that he was a curious little bug who wanted to explore.

I also spanked him as little as a year and a half old, which I’m really ashamed of because at that age he’s just a little explorer and I didn’t understand his need to explore everything. Subconsciously it seemed easier to spank him for something that was “wrong” or dangerous in my eyes which forcefully got him to stop, however, it was an unfair response in my part. Hitting worked in my eyes, but I didn’t realize that I was hitting out of convenience.

I’m ashamed to admit that I liked to see the look of fear in his face when I told him “NO” or when I was going to physically discipline him. To me, the look of fear represented respect. I was extremely ignorant.

I remember feeling a sense of relief when I hit him and later I came to realize that I used my son and his “disobedience” to unleash a bit of my anger that I had inside.

Yes, I did all these things and one of the last times that I ever spanked my son God confronted me and I felt in my heart that it was not the way to treat a child who is new at this thing called life. I broke down and asked for forgiveness.

That’s when God opened my eyes and He began to reveal his purpose with my life. 

I used to hit because it was the quickest way to get a response that I wanted to see. Often times I shamed him and screamed in his face simply because his reply to me was “No!”

I noticed that he became an angry little boy at only two years of age and it was entirely my fault. Yes, I had to take responsibility for him being angry because I’m the one who was with him 24/7, I’m the one that yelled at him, and I knew he was imitating me. That’s what our little one’s do. They will reflect the good and the bad in us.

As I write this I have tears running down my face because I was so cruel and unemphatic to his feelings as well as his needs as a child. I was a bully seeking to break his will so that he can fulfill my wishes, and I was basically pushing him around both physically and emotionally. 

How do you know if you’re a bully?

  • Do you hit your kids simply because they didn’t do what you asked them to?
  • Did you hit them and feel a sense of satisfaction after doing so?
  • Have you witnessed or experienced verbal or physical violence when you were younger?
  • Do you have a short fuse and find yourself screaming in your toddler’s face?
  • Do you lack self-control?
  • Do you look down at your child when you speak to them without bending or crouching down to their level?
  • Do you expect them to behave the way that you want them to behave and if they don’t they get smacked for “disobedience?”
  • Do you try to make your child feel excluded or ignored?
  • Do you show little concern for your child’s feelings?
  • Do you expect your children to meet your wishes?

Think about those questions and if you’ve answered yes to most of them then for the sake of your children and their overall development, you owe it to them to begin and modify your parenting style to be one that is helpful, encouraging, compassionate and filled with love.

The key to loving our children is loving them with the love of God, which is empathetic, it does not seek to do evil onto others, it’s patient and it’s kind. 

Parenting is all about looking within, healing from the past and begin a road of self-growth and development. It’s time to reach for transformation and raise children that spend their life thriving rather than recovering. 

Become teachers of all of life’s secrets and wonders. After all, life is a huge adventure especially the first 5 years of life. So, have fun and patience. The more you love your children with God’s love, the more patience you will develop. 

Discipline with love and walk side by side with your children and show them the way they should go while making sure that you are their safe place and place of refuge.

Let’s change the world one child at a time!

Many Blessings 🙂 Thank you for reading as I share my journey with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Things People Do When They Don’t Realize They’re Being Watched – Respectful Discipline

Today I witnessed something that was extremely upsetting.
As I waited for my husband to pick up our food, I was sitting inside our car playing with my son, but a woman’s actions caught my attention. I watched a woman right outside a preschool as she was lining up children up against the wall. As this woman/teacher was having a conversation with another female beside her, she managed to grab a student by his arm and shoved him to the front of the line. This teacher physically grabbed a child by his arm as if that kind of treatment were normal. That’s shocking to me considering this happened in school grounds and teachers should not, in my opinion, lay hands on a child.

Why is it shocking to me you might ask? Not only is it wrong for a teacher to grab a child by the arm, but it’s shocking because if that kind of treatment would have been exercised with my son, she would’ve gotten a verbal and physical reaction from him.

My son would’ve been evidently angry and would’ve fought back or attempted to defend himself because he knows that it’s wrong to be treated in an aggressive manner, not because we’ve told him it’s wrong, but rather because we aren’t aggressive with him.
I realized two things about my son and the way that God has helped me raise him.
1) We treat him with respect. My son wouldn’t tolerate disrespect because we don’t treat him that way at home. Therefore…
2) Since my son knows what respect looks like, then he can automatically recognize the opposite of that. My son is able to recognize disrespect and inappropriate behavior inflicted on him because it’s not his NORM.

I thought about this incident the whole day. I thought about my son and the many children that are treated with such aggressiveness at home.
I think that what sucks the most is to have seen this child not respond at all. He didn’t fight back. He just allowed it.

Then BOOM! It hit me… To this child this form of treatment is normal because he has been wired with the subconscious notion that this form of treatment towards his body is normal and worse, it’s expected when misbehaving. This type of wiring happens at home and unfortunately, unintentionally this is what happens when we choose to spank and hit our children as punishment or as a consequence for misbehavior.

This realization led me to understand that children who become bullies or become victims of bullying are created at home. They are raised.

Bullies are created at home by parents who are bullies.

Children who are bullied, who freeze and do nothing when treated in an aggressive manner, is solely because they’re familiar with being bullied at home. So, children accept such behavior. Preschoolers do not reason the way we do. To these little kiddies, if their own parents treat them in an aggressive manner then their subconscious is built-in with a notion that it’s okay for adults to treat them like this. Most children do not have the capacity to reason and conclude that it’s okay for parents to act his way towards them, but not other adults that are in a position of authority. This idea is too complex for little minds to grasp which is why I believe wholeheartedly in respectful discipline.

Parents who are bullies are either creating a bully or are causing children to become susceptible to bullying because they have engraved fear of fighting back.

Now the question is… As a parent… Are you a bully?

Do you try to break the will of your child like bullies do?

Do you try to defeat your child and make him/her feel small?

Do you try to manipulate your children to do what you want them to do by inflicting physical pain?

Read my next article on the characteristics of a parent bully.

I realized two things about my son and the way that God has helped me raise him.
1) We treat him with respect. My son wouldn’t tolerate disrespect because we don’t treat him that way at home. Therefore…
2) Since my son knows what respect looks like, then he can automatically recognize the opposite of that. My son is able to recognize disrespect and inappropriate behavior inflicted on him because it’s not his NORM.

I thought about this incident the whole day. I thought about my son and the many children that are treated with such aggressiveness at home.
I think that what sucks the most is to have seen this child not respond at all. He didn’t fight back. He just allowed it.

Then BOOM! It hit me… To this child this form of treatment is normal because he has been wired with the subconscious notion that this form of treatment towards his body is normal and worse, it’s expected when misbehaving. This type of wiring happens at home and unfortunately, unintentionally this is what happens when we choose to spank and hit our children as punishment or as a consequence for misbehavior.

This realization led me to understand that children who become bullies or become victims of bullying are created at home. They are raised.

Bullies are created at home by parents who are bullies.

Children who are bullied, who freeze and do nothing when treated in an aggressive manner, is solely because they’re familiar with being bullied at home. So, children accept such behavior. Preschoolers do not reason the way we do. To these little kiddies, if their own parents treat them in an aggressive manner then their subconscious is built-in with a notion that it’s okay for adults to treat them like this. Most children do not have the capacity to reason and conclude that it’s okay for parents to act his way towards them, but not other adults that are in a position of authority. This idea is too complex for little minds to grasp which is why I believe wholeheartedly in respectful discipline.

Parents who are bullies are either creating a bully or are causing children to become susceptible to bullying because they have engraved fear of fighting back.

Now the question is… As a parent… Are you a bully?

Do you try to break the will of your child like bullies do?

Do you try to defeat your child and make him/her feel small?

Do you try to manipulate your children to do what you want them to do by inflicting physical pain?

Read my next article on the characteristics of a parent bully.

Do my kids need a variety of toys?

Yes and no. This isn’t even half of the toys that he has and it’s still an overload.

My husband and my mother spoil Nathan to the core and sometimes that’s okay, but there are limits.

I can understand that many say that the more toys, the more variety they can choose from to keep busy…

Hmmmm… Well… In my experience God has taught me 4 key lessons about children and toys.

Lesson #1
When we buy our children toys, we expect them to know how to play with them. We hand a toddler a car toy for the first time and we assume that he knows what to do with it. We hand our little girl a baby doll and we assume she knows how to play with it.

WE ARE WRONG. As parents we are teachers and we must teach our children how to play with their toys.

We assume that our children know the meaning of toys simply because it’s obvious to us. We are wrong again for assuming. We forget that a child’s first encounter with a toy is that, a first encounter. It is up to us to take the time, known as “floor time” or whatever you want to call it, to teach, interact and enjoy quality time with our little ones.

Let’s remember that a child’s world is a world of play and discovery. Let’s embrace this period of our children’s childhood by having fun, tapping into to our inner child, and teaching them how to use the toys that they have.

Lesson #2

God has shown me that my husband and I would find ourselves buying toys simply because we felt that by buying a variety our son would be so busy that I would be able to do house chores with little interruptions.

Wow was I wrong. My hubby and I came across lesson #2. Our son looked for us to play. Well, duh you may say, but as first time parents we were oblivious to the fact that the more toys he had the more he wanted us to play with him. Then we realized something even worse, we would buy him toys to replace our presence.

As soon as God showed me this, I engaged in his world even more. My husband did the same after he understood that one of our son’s love languages was quality, floor time surrounded by a sea of toys. We used play time to teach him about many different topics and fun ways to play with his figures.

Our son was the happiest when we were involved and fully engaged in his world of play whether it was pretend play, painting, finger painting, building blocks etc. You name it.

Lesson #3

Once I noticed that I could no longer keep all his toys in his room and had to find storage units to allocate them in the living room, enough was enough. So many toys and he only played with a quarter of the toys that he had. What’s even funnier is that his favorite toys were and continue to be these little tiny figures yet we were buying him huge active toys.

We learned that children are simple and we are the ones that exaggerate or assume that the bigger the toy, the better.

God showed me that the reason why we saw it this way was because as children, deep inside, we wished we would’ve had more. God made me accept that, that’s not always the case for our children. As parents we want to give our children what we did not have and although it’s okay to spoil our children there are limits. We should buy our children educational toys, books and the toys that we see are the most attractive to them with limitations of course.

Children do not need quantity. What they do need is tons of quality time with their parents while playing with their toys.

Children will be happy playing with boxes, empty water bottles, toilet rolls, and disposable cups, AS LONG as their playing with mommy and daddy.

Lesson #4

Eye contact. The reason why toddlers repeat things a hundred times is because they feel invisible and as if their voice isn’t being heard. They’re right we often ignore our children or we speak to them while giving them our backs. To children communication is translated as face to face interaction, which is how it should be, otherwise they will say mom a hundred times until they get you to look at them. Really look at them.

Making eye contact with our little ones assures them that we are fully engaged in their needs.

Making eye contact reassure them that they are important.

Making eye contact makes them feel loved.

What’s funny about this is that it should be obvious, but it’s not. It took me a lot of practice and living intentionally in order to look at my son in the eyes every time he speaks to me.

What’s even more humorous is that we get angry when our spouse doesn’t make eye contact during a conversation. But, why do we do it to our little ones?

Is it because we believe or assume that they don’t notice?

As parents lets encourage each other and live conscious lives. If we can grow as individuals and see our own flaws we can help positively influence everyone around us especially our little ones, our legacy.

Many Blessings!

Potty Training

My journey potty training my three year old has been a God given learning experience.

I had moments where I felt guilty and moments where I felt that I was doing something wrong.

I had moments where I would compare the progress of other toddlers to my son’s progress. At times it felt as if I was competing with other moms, but I was so wrong for that because every child is different and every process will be different.

I remember when I first starting potty training that I would get frustrated and angry at my son because I felt that something was wrong with him. I would get angry when he didn’t pee in the toilet and had to clean up the mess.

I remember specifically this one time when my anger got the best of me and I screamed right at his face and repeatedly told him pee in the toilet. His reaction was heartbreaking. I cried because he seemed clueless. I mostly cried because I was trying to push and rush the process instead of allowing him to go through this new process as he felt comfortable.

My selfishness and my need to compete with other moms did’t let me be compassionate over the fact that new experiences can be scary for children. He seemed scared and I wasn’t empathetic to that fear. I feel guilty looking back, but after I noticed what I had done and I prayed about it, God showed me that every child goes through new experiences differently. God showed me that, just like adults, children face fear when facing chartered waters. Each child has their own learning curve.

God showed me that each child is entitled to their process and us parents must be supportive, empathetic and compassionate to their needs.

A child’s growth process and different phases cannot be forced nor rushed.

God doesn’t rush us. He allows us to grow at our own pace because He loves us and is merciful.

In the same way we must be compassionate and merciful with our little children who are walking into new experiences each day.

Let’s identify and recognize our child’s needs by learning how they see the world, while also learning who they are through good quality, undisturbed daily interactions.

Are you rushing your child’s processes? Can you identify when your child is fearful and do you feed that fear or do you serve as support while your child faces a scary experience?

It’s time that we recognize and accept that our child’s fears are valid. Simply because we do not fear what they fear doesn’t mean that their fear is insignificant.

In a child’s world their fear and circumstances are magnified, which makes our job as parents that much more important to help our children cope with their emotions and face such circumstances with confidence that mom and dad are their support system.

My Strong-Willed Boy

When my son was born I spent hours staring at him and would often wonder if I should’ve taken parenting courses.

As time passed I realized that becoming a mother meant that I had to become a teacher, but not just any teacher, THE teacher. With that role I recognized that I had to be patient and embody patience because raising a life is an entire process in itself.

I also realized that I was going to play a key role and be a main witness to my seeing and guiding my son through the motions of many new learning experiences. All which require patience and embrace.

I also recognized that the only pre-parenting courses that I had received were my own experiences with my parents.

As I traced back all the memories of my interactions with my parents I remember the good and the bad. The good was that my mother was a sweet, patient woman and that my father was also loving and was an excellent provider. However, I lacked a lot of attention and reassurance.

I learned early on in my childhood that…

If I spoke back I was automatically labeled as disrespectful.

If I didn’t say hello to adults, I was automatically viewed as rude.

I had to agree with what my parents said or believed, if not I was considered rebellious.

I felt like a robot.

I HAD to respond the way my authority wanted me to respond VERSUS having the freedom to react and express myself as I felt at the moment.

As a child I wasn’t entitled to possess a mind of my own.

Now as a mother I didn’t want to make the same mistake with my son. Granted, my parents did with my sisters and me what they had learned. They did not know any better.

Now as a mother, God has helped me see things differently.

Via my relationship with God I’ve learned many things about how a child views the world.

As parents we must always evaluate our action and the way we respond to our children because our reactions are not always the right ones and the way we punish our children is always accompanied by motives.

Our disciplining style must be questioned.

My son is only 3-years-old and I realized that I was demanding things of him simply because I felt he was mine and he had to do what I wanted him to do at the moment that I decided was right. My demand was tied to my need for power and authority over his life.

I also noticed something powerful… I wanted to break and bend his will.

Boy was I WRONG for this.

I would get angry if he got angry at me, which makes absolutely no sense because anger is a normal emotion and a normal reaction.

At times I have demanded that my son sit still because I wanted him to remain still.

But notice this, I wanted him to sit down therefore I alone created a power struggle simply because I was being led by my capricious behavior.

I was not taking into consideration his desire to play and experience the world. On top of that it is unrealistic to expect a 1, 2 or 3 year old to remain still for more than a 1 minute.

I wasn’t empathetic to his needs as a child and instead got myself into power struggle that led me to become physical with him, spank him because I wanted him to comply with my unrealistic demand and in the process I would tried to break his will and prove who the boss is.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!

Through these many power struggles I realized that my son is very strong temper and is strong-willed, therefore, if I continued to spank and demand unrealistic expectations then I knew I would be brewing hate and resentment in my son’s heart.

Through my son’s strong-willed personality God showed me the following:

  • We must be empathetic to a child’s needs.
  • We must understand that a child’s experiences are new and they possess a high need for exploration.
  • We must understand that their anger and frustration is a demonstration of a need not being met and we must guide them through their anger and teach them how to positively respond to anger.
  • A child’s temper tantrums are nothing more than there immature responses to unpleasant experiences. Such experiences may not be unpleasant to us, but in their own little-big world it’s a big deal and of grave importance.
  • We must teach our children how to respond appropriately to struggles and undesirable circumstances via our own reactions. We need to model what we want to see in our children.
  • A child’s very nature is that of immaturity. Therefore, WE CANNOT EXPECT mature responses from children who are supposed to be at their prime of immaturity.
  • A child who has strong-will, will tend to be set on what he or she wants to do and what he believes is right. THIS IS NOT REBELLION, this is NORMAL.

As a matter of fact strong-will in combination with positive and respectful discipline can encourage a child to be determined and set on his dreams and goals. If guided appropriately a Christian strong-willed boy or girl will be able to stand firm his or her faith and won’t be easily influenced nor shaken.

It’s time that as parents we understand how a child views the world. Most importantly we must empathize in order to understand our child’s needs especially throughout the toddler years when they need to feel the most safe to express their reactions without punishment, but rather be guided lovingly.

Parenting requires that we work on facing and healing from our past. It requires that we grow and evolve as people. It requires change on our behalf. Our children are not the problem, WE ARE.

There is no such thing as troubled children, there are only troubled because they are being raised by troubled and broken people.