Joaquin is almost 2. He has already discovered the infectious power of a smile. He learned that his smile brightens up mommy’s day. He learned that his smile gives daddy a nice “welcome home” after a long day’s work. He learned that when he smiles, somehow, everyone around him lightens up. He learned that when he smiles, people react with their “awww…. or how cute!” He has mastered the art of smiling.
Lately though, I’ve noticed Joaquin misusing, abusing and overusing the power of his smile. When he wants chips from his sister Janina, all he needs to do is flash his smile, and Janina gives him what he wants. When he wants a toy that his brother is playing with, he does the same. When he touches something he’s not allowed to touch, he smiles at me knowing that my heart will melt and I’l let him get away with it. That is my mistake. When he hits his brother even if he knows that’s not allowed, he knows how his smile can transform my stern face. Again, my mistake.
I’ve realized one thing: I’ve been duped by that smile. I’ve allowed Joaquin to get away with a lot of the wrong things he’s done because of that powerful smile of his. I’ve had to toughen up against those smiles and have told myself that I will not be manipulated by them. And it’s been hard to keep a stern face. But I need to do it if I am serious about discipline. As Janina tells me, “Don’t always give in to his smile.”