Low Tank = Tantrums

In the past two weeks, I have been very busy. I have been busy with events, with clients, with meetings… So many things have been filling up my calendar. I have not spent the quality time I usually would have with my children. I tell my son that the meeting is just outside and I am home. But I have neglected our homeschool time and have decided to put it on hold. 

I would ask him to give me time to write up my proposals and so I tell him, “mommy is busy working, please don’t bother me. I’m just here go ahead and play.”  I admit I have let him go with his toys and the IPAD so I can be free from his asking me to play with him. I had so much on my plate to finish and I just felt like I needed to prioritize work. 

Then, as the days became a week… I noticed my little boy starting to act different. When he sees me in a meeting, I see him with a serious face and unfriendly body language. But I continue with my meetings. Then when I am free, I would spend a little time with Josh. That little time is also divided between him and his sister. I did not realize that my son’s love tank was starting to deplete. 

In the next days, he would throw a fit and I would have to discipline him for his behavior of answering back and being defiant. He would say things like “No!”, “Mom go away!”, ” Don’t touch me..” — I kept asking him… “What is wrong? That isn’t nice to say. Don’t be like that.”

I kept on with my busy schedule. I brought Josh with me to events and I would work and expect him to be okay that we are in the same location. I also brought him with me to meetings that were an hour away drive and meetings would be 2-3 hours and take another hour back. He would go because he wanted us to be together. But it was not quality time… 

Later, in that week, he got so upset he gave us meltdowns every day for three days. There was one where he looked straight at me in his upset mode because he did not obey what I said, and he said “Mom, I will destroy you!”.  I thought, I have left him so long watching the IPAD he got new words I did not teach, and they were negative words! Then I told him to stop saying that and obey. He instead shouted “No!” – I brought him to the room to discipline him. He kept screaming like a little hulk. I administered discipline and yet he would say “Mommy go away! I won’t obey”. I was really getting stressed. I knew I had to really get this corrected. We had a good 30 minute episode for him to know that I am the authority and that he cannot disrespect me. I was praying and even casting out spirit of anger from my son. I have never seen him like this. Inside I was petrified and crying. What have I done? 

  
Joshua also got discipline from his dad because he also disrespected his dad. He told me I tears, “I don’t like dad, I want to smash him.” I cried too because I no longer knew what to do. Josh was just being so disobedient and disrespectful and he responded in a defiant way. Even in his sleep, Josh would sleep talk and he would say “Mom, go away!”

So I prayed to the Lord…I confessed that I was sooo busy to nurture the heart of my son. I no longer know how to undo his behavior. It was a heavy burden in my heart. I asked God to guide me how to win my little boy again. 

God led me to devotional that struck a nerve. God revealed that if I serve Him in events without serving my family, it is a hypocritical act. My family life is the testimony that will speak if I have truly obeyed God. I know very well that my son’s love language is time and touch and I have starved him of both. I needed to improve on my priorities and to include God in all my plans. God is showing me how I have lacked in praying for my children and for every detail of things I am involved with.

Wow! I felt humbled and upset at myself. I asked Jesus for grace and to resolve this issue and I wanted it right away. Joshua on Sunday was still moody, he again started his rude behavior. Instead of reacting, I took him and carried him and walked just the both of us. Every negative word he would say, I just continued to kiss him and tell him “you know Josh I love  you.”  I keep reminding him of the good things and just kept telling him “I love you, my baby boy”. As we were having our moment together.. I started to see his countenance change. I made a decision that day not to spend too much time on my phone or laptop but to give him full attention and to play with him.

  
While we played, I asked Joshua if my not spending time with him made him upset.  He told me yes and he started telling me what he did.. And that was to fight mommy and cry really hard. Ouch!! I apologized and told him I miss him too. As we continued playing, I started to insert corrections like “Josh you must always obey mom and dad.” And he would say with a smile “Yeah I will obey.” Another moment I told him, “we love our family and we will not hurt one another by pushing, fighting or screaming.” And he would also say smiling “Yes we won’t fight, won’t do that (action his pushing moves), noh?” … I would show him I agree and acknowledge him. By God’s grace we were back to where I left our relationship 2 weeks ago. 

The devotion helped me see what I was doing when I was made to answer these 2 questions :

One undesirable trait I see in my child that reminds me of myself is…

One thing I could do to help them and me grow in that area is…

Then I was also moved by these verses:

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I know as a parent I have to watch over the heart of my children with diligence too.  Also confessing my sin and repenting from it has healed the strain in my relationship with my little boy. Sometimes we think they are small people,  these kids are resilient and they will just swallow what is given them, and they will just grow up fine. Well, I think God taught me a pretty valuable lesson here… If I want to train my child’s heart, I too must be humble enough to admit my mistakes and change.

My child exposed my heart 

It is amazing when the bible says that children are a gift from God. They truly are and they are a gift to help us parents become better persons.

Lately, I am losing the battle with my temper. I thought I am pretty patient but my buttons do get pressed when my son over reacts by whining and having meltdowns. When trying to talk it out why he cries, he would prefer to scream with wild tears on his eyes… I start feeling upset. Then when he does not obey or tries to fight his baby sister, I burst from the inside.

  
When I burst, I don’t like the image of myself. My husband also pointed out that my helpers are watching how I treat Joshua and giving them the license to follow my style. Ugh… How I hate how I have not controlled myself. 

So now, I’m writing my prayer because I am so discouraged. I need God to work on me from the inside out.

Lord Jesus. I need you.

I need you to help me raise the children you have bestowed to our care. Give me patience to train my babies. 

When they whine, and uncontrollably cry because they can’t get what they want… Give me a calm spirit. 

Give me wisdom to just ignore the cries and encourage them to talk. 

Give me strength to discipline them when they disobey and disrespect me or others. 

Help me Lord to do it with grace. 

Keep my tongue from sending out hurtful words that might curse them.  

Keep me Lord from blanking out when I see something displeasing. 

Help me hold myself from screaming or reacting in anger. Help me react in grace rather than aggression. Lord, I confess this is so hard for me… 

But by your grace and the Holy Spirit you can make me a good mother to my children.

Lord, you give me hope because you are not done with me yet, and you promised to complete me in Christ Jesus. 

Please protect my children from my weakness in parenting. 

I have faith that you have good plans for them. Lord Jesus, please help me live a life that will bring them closer to you, not farther. Amen.

My children have exposed an area in my life that I need to surrender yet to God. I need God to help me control my anger and my pride.  I confess this sin and surrender it to Jesus. 

  
I know there are mothers like me who need this time out and restoration from God. The only thing holding me now is the truth that God draw nears to us when we draw near to him in a broken spirit and contrite heart. He will refresh us when we humbly ask and He will enable us to do what is right.

I also trust that God loves my children more than I can and could. So in total surrender I rest my soul to the hands of our Creator. I know with courage, God will enable me to start over with the right attitude and a renewed heart when a similar situation passes.

 Mommy drama! 

Being a mom is a super tough job! Joshua my toddler, who is more expressive nowadays, tests my patience on so many levels. We have arguments everyday and I get soooo tired from all the daily dramas. In a week we would probably complete a drama series for eating, for bathing, for sleeping, for waking, and for playing. 
He is a kid and tantrums come along with 2 year olds… However, Joshua is also processing his feelings of jealousy over his sister. I am seeing some regression on some milestones. Like his desire for eating has lessened and he prefers drinking milk in the bottle. He also demands for my full attention and time especially when he sees me nursing Anna. 

   
He has fully articulated his jealousy by saying “I don’t like Anna”, ” I want mommy and Anna go to Ate Kim (Anna’s nanny)”, and one of his worst crying episodes he said, “mommy, I want Joshua patay (dead) so mommy would cry.” I cried with that remark. 
 I tell him “Anna is your sister, she loves you and Mommy loves you so much. We are a family and this is God’s blessing.”  Because Joshua feels jealous, I spend most of my time with him. I only leave him shortly just to feed Anna. Every move I make he calls to check if I am still around. He calls my name almost crying and then he would smile and laugh in relief that I have not left him!

I figured this boy’s love language is time. And I do spend a lot of time with him. We are inseparable. But when he gets his tantrums and he starts screaming and crying because he wants mommy, (even if I am around)… I ask him kindly to stop crying. But his crying escalates further into screams and irritation that soon, I start losing my own patience. 

I try not to discipline him about his crying. But I realized that he was using it as a tool to communicate with almost anything. When he dislikes something he would cry. When he wants something he would cry. When he sees me walk out the door he would cry and give an all out tantrum. I try to not get angry, but I must confess seeing a crying face with screams and occasional arm slaps just gets me frustrated and angry.  This just went on for a week… 
  
I started to cry out of frustration because nothing worked. Explaining nicely and reassuring Josh by hugs and talks just does not cut it!  So I tried yelling and screaming for him to stop. I tried threatening him that if he does not stop, I would leave. None of it worked. 😦  For one week it was this non stop cycle of crying and we end up fighting because Josh would fall into a tantrum even when I am giving him full attention (except during feedings). 
I asked friends to pray for me. I cried to the Lord and asked “how can I be a better mom to my son?”  I was so discouraged that even when Steve says, “you are doing a good job”, I still feel I am failing.
Then I remembered excerpts from a parenting seminar I attended. It was discussed when a child who deliberately disobeys or disrespects his or her parent they should be disciplined. I must admit, I get lazy to do this because it requires so much to get into a room with a defiant 2 yr old who will not submit to be disciplined. 

The bible says: 
Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom,but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.


I knew I had to correct Joshua’s behavior and work on his attitude. I had to teach him that he can’t always cry his way. I also had to reassure him that he must respect his parents because we love him.  I disciplined him and took time to explain. Joshua immediately stopped crying. In fact when we got out of the room, his mood changed and started playing.
  
I learned that I really should exercise discipline when the need arises and teach my son.  Otherwise, I will develop a bad habit in his character. It’s almost a week since his last tantrum after the discipline.  Joshua has been speaking instead of crying. 

How do I know that he understood what we did in the discipline room? He plays with his avenger toys and then he would pretend one would be crying. Later he will have the other toy say – “stop crying… If you don’t stop, you get a spank”. 
To learn more about biblical discipline I am suggesting you this link. Read more:

http://www.gotquestions.org/disciplining-children.html

Age of Discipline

This topic could be very trivial to some moms. I know some parents do not believe in physical discipline. But after attending parenting seminars, I am convinced that discipline help train up a child.

When my son started showing tantrums, I had to assess if I should start giving him the spank or not. Many times when he was 11 to 12 months I would tell him “no” to certain things (such as not placing his hand on the electric fan). I had to make him understand that there could be situations that he could get hurt. But his explorative stage made it a little confusing. So, I had to stand firm when I say “no” and remained consistent with it. It was repeated to him over and over, so he began to understand.

Joshua had limited words as a one year old. I feel that he would get frustrated because I don’t understand what he is expressing to me and he would have some angry fits. Initially, I did not know what to do when my little boy would get angry. I would try to calmly talk to him, but that did not work. Soon, his anger would now include him throwing things on the floor or at me. I would talk to him in my angry voice and say “no! Stop throwing”. Oh that worked for maybe 6 times only. Soon, it did not bother him that I raised my voice. He would throw things on the floor, and look at me. I would say “no!” again. He would get another book or toy and throw it and look at me with his little angry eyes. You may think I am exaggerating. I am not. I could not believe that my little angel would have that kind of angry fit at that age. After letting it go for about 1 week, I decided not to delay discipline any longer. If I do not bring this to Joshua’s attention, he will try to overpower me with his tantrums.
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So, I learned from parenting class that discipline should be for 2 reasons only. It is for DISOBEDIENCE and DISRESPECT. With Joshua, it was his disobedience on my instructions of not throwing things when he was told. That first time I spanked him it was a epic failure. He got his tantrum because he did not get the toy he wanted to play with. He was angry and started throwing things even when I told him not to. Then I decided to call him and told him, “Come here, I am going to spank you.” I then panicked because I had no object to spank him with. I have no heart to use my hands. I learned that our hands are used for loving and embraces so I needed another object to spank/discipline him with. Guess what I found?… a Lei with a button pin that says “Philippine Councilors League”. (Yes you can laugh at me now!) I made my little Josh bend over and I took a swing with that lei on his butt. However, I forgot he had diapers on. So it hit only his diapers! Talk about a capital “F” for failure! Hahahaha!!

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My spanking object

So, the very next day, another incident made my son start throwing things in his anger. After I warned him and said “no”, he again continued to throw things at me. This time, I told him, ” Come here, I am going to spank you”. I had the lei with the button pin ready and put down his diaper and gave that swing on his buttocks. Joshua cried and looked at me, and ran towards me in tears. I hugged him and I kissed him, and I told him “Joshua mommy loves you, so please no more throwing. If you continue to throw, I will spank.”

Joshua learned after 2 more spanks that I was serious about the no throwing of things when he was upset. Don’t get me wrong, I allow my son to feel angry or frustrated. I am just not allowing him to throw things at me when he is upset. After teaching him that, I only have to say, “Mommy will spank”. He automatically changes his mind about throwing that toy or book. I also can just pull out that Lei and ask him, “you want spank?”. Then, he would walk away from that item he intended to throw at me.

I had to also ask my other mommy blogger friends how old they started disciplining their kids. The result of the survey is as early as one year old! Even one year olds, can challenge their parents on how far they can get their way. If discipline is not applied, we would be raising spoiled and whiny kids. We had a great discussion on the reasons and styles of discipline. I honestly felt like I had a support group that agreed with this method.

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SoX Women & Mommy Bloggers

Just last night, Joshua was whining and he was again tempted to throw his book at me. I whispered in his ear, “Please do not throw. If you throw, mommy will spank”. He became quiet, looked at me, and with laughter he turns to embrace me. My 1 year and 4 months old understands discipline! Here are some encouraging verses from the bible about discipline.

Proverbs 13:24 (CEB)
Those who withhold the rod hate their children, but the one who loves them applies discipline.

Hebrews 12:11 (CEB)
No discipline is fun while it lasts, but it seems painful at the time. Later, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.

Unspoiling the Babe…

It’s quite interesting that a newborn baby can be a little brat in the making. Well I did not know that until our pediatrician met Joshua for his 1st month check up. As she held him to weigh and measure him, he cried and cried. He turned red with a mighty angry fit. My reaction was a bit of a panic to soothe him so he would stop. Then our doctor says, ” looks like you have spoiled your baby”.

A month old baby considered “spoiled”. Are you kidding me? I could not believe my ears, and ouchie for my ego… Could I have spoiled my baby?

The doctor asked if I gave my baby milk the moment he cried. And ooppsss… I am guilty of that. I just want my baby to be relieved when he is in discomfort and cries. She further explained that babies are smarter than we think. They understand the principle of “action for every reaction”. So when Josh cries I feed him immediately. So now he associates milk with crying.

The doctor advised me to restrain the feeding to every 2 hrs instead of every 30 mins or every hour. She also said, it is ok to let the baby cry… “It’s good for their lungs!” So I took the doctor’s advise.

Joshua had to be trained on a semi-scheduled feeding. We had cry out sessions running 20 minutes… And boy, it felt like forever! The outcome however is so worth it. Joshua became calmer, more amiable, and obedient.

Now, he hardly has his tantrums. We can travel and if he starts showing signs of crying, I just talk to him and he calms down. He has become such a good baby because this early, he is learning he can’t get everything he demands.

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There are many things to learn as a parent on loving your child enough to teach them. I never realized that spoiling can start very early…

My mother-in-law would get Joshua in the morning and give him tummy time. She would shut her door so I don’t hear my baby cry. But Joshua would cry when he is placed on his tummy. She would put him on his back and he would cry. Then turn him on his tummy and he would cry with high pitched pissed off voice. She was patient until he stopped. I have to say, Joshua now enjoys tummy time and is doing his version of crawling before he turned 2 months! My mother-in-law is instrumental for this milestone!

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The bible says so, “train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it” -Proverbs 22:6