discipline

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Step back. Take a deep breath. Count to ten.

more often than not, this has been my new mantra lately. Ollie has been a little trying, making me a little frustrated especially when I have to make a split second decision between a toddler acting out and a fussing newborn. Argh. But it is still manageable. Raising Ollie has taught me patience and tolerance. It takes a lot before I get really annoyed and frustrated.

But not so for Donald. It has gotten to the point where Donald says he is ready to use the cane on Ollie. Me? I am dead against it. When it comes to my kids, the cane is NOT an option.

We talked about how we were raised by the cane (seriously, it is such a prominent object in our childhood). I said that the cane was used till I was probably in lower secondary. Donald reckons his parents stopped using the cane when he was in primary school. His argument was that his parents used the cane, and look at how he turned out, which basically was fine lah. That would go against so many other stand that we have made re: what was okay in our parents’ generation which didn’t kill us (food issues..etc). My argument was it could go so wrong like in my case where I rebelled big time.

My stand was that the cane was an easy way out for us. Pain and fear would solve many so-called discipline issues. But it would not make me understand my child any better. He would respond to the cane, and not to me. Ollie is throwing tantrums because that is the way he is trying to communicate to us, and it is not a deliberate attempt. He is a really decent kid, and we don’t have a lot of trouble with him. I figured out that the recent spats of acting out was due to a break in routine / situational changes around him. He threw a major tantrum one night shortly after QT was discharged from the hospital. But ever since then, with us going back to a more manageable routine and settling back into normalcy, Ollie has been awesome. There are mini hiccups along the day, but we got over them really quickly, compared to the major ones. Then again, we realized that in Ollie’s world, major tantrums can be resolved with a shower, so it wasn’t that bad after all. haha.

We are slowly understanding Ollie a little more. I was telling Donald about an incident where my mom and I went out to the nearby hypermart with the boys. Ollie was handed a toy to play with whilst sitting in the cart but had been tossing it out of the cart. I then told Ollie that if he were to continue throwing the toy out, I was going to put it back on the shelf. He tossed it out one more time and I took it away. He was on the verge of tears as he asked for the toy. The conversation went like this:

Ollie: Ollie want to hold the duck.
Me: No, you keep throwing the toy out. Mummy said that if you throw it out again, I will take it away. Because throwing it means you don’t want it anymore.
Ollie: Ollie want to hold the duck.
Me: Are you going to throw the toy again?
Ollie: Yes
Me: then you cannot have it.

This went to & fro a couple more times before I realised that he wasn’t really answering my question of if he was going to throw the toy.

Me: Are you going to hold the duck?
Ollie: Ollie hold the duck, don’t throw.
Me: Okay, you can have it. Hold only.
Ollie: Hold only.

Being so upset at having the toy taken away from him, he wasn’t really hearing my question and thought I was asking if he wanted to hold the toy. I told Donald that we probably needed to ask him a couple of questions phrased different before we’ll get what his response actually means.

Disciplining a child is a tough job, trying to draw the line between what is acceptable of the behaviour and what is going through the toddler’s mind and how we as parents can manage that behaviour lovingly. And this, is only the beginning.

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