TEASING

Got a message on facebook from a mom asking for advice:

I need a parental advise. I have two kids. An almost 4y/o- girl and a 3.6 y/o boy. With my eldest, I’ve never much encountered this prob much as I can recall, but with my boy, I just did yesterday, twice – being called names, like “bakla” and “iyakin”. It brought back my being pikon when I was a child. And I realized, I wasn’t prepared for this. My father in-law made a joking remark as he was talking with my kid, “bakla ka raw?”. I instantly reacted, asking who said that, and I told him in a nice, but defensive way, “No, Papa, he’s just cautious”. That’s really his character. And he mistakes it as kabaklaan. grrrr…. And so I told my husband that he should tell papa to avoid saying those things to him… then, on the same day, my husband’s cousin teased my boy “iyakin!”, several times. Admittedly, my boy cries easily when pushed or hurt, what should I do? I believe, I should be prepared in such encounters, and I want to respond right, as well as prepare my kids of the real, tough world… I just don’t want to keep mum when anybody says negative words to my kids. hayyy…. help! 🙂

Sad to say, teasing has been accepted as part of our culture. I see many parents who just look the other way, or even join in, when their kids are being teased, not realizing the negative effects teasing can cause in their kids’ lives.

Here’s my reply:

Image and video hosting by TinyPicIt is hard to protect our kids from careless remarks, because we cannot control the people around our kids. But what you did was right. You stood up for your son. But there will be times when we won’t be there to protect him. The best thing you can do is to affirm him whenever you’re together. Our kids primarily get their security from their parents. Even if they are criticized, as long as they receive the affirmation they need from us, they will hold on to our words. Be generous with your positive words. Constantly tell him things like “you’re the man!” “you’re strong” “you’re a hero!” “you’re a blessing!”. You and your husband should make it a goal to build him up with words everyday. As early as now, teach him how to deal with criticism. Explain to him that there will always be people who will not like him. And what they say is not necessarily true. Remind him that he was wonderfully made by God and that God, dad and mom love him unconditionally. If he gets teased, first ask him if  there is any truth in it. “Are you really iyakin?” Cause if it’s true, then maybe he needs to make adjustments also. We can always learn from criticism, whether they’re true or not. If we respond in a healthy way to criticism, God can use that too to make us a better person. On the other hand, if the criticsim is totally untrue, tell him to reject it and to ignore it. And go the opposite spirit by blessing him. So if someone says “bakla” to him, tell him “you are gonna be a mighty man of God, like David who killed the giant Goliath”. Bless your kids everyday.

Proverbs 18:21
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

RAISING BOYS

Last week, Ryan came home from his classmate’s house limping. He showed me the sole of his left foot, and I found that a big part of his skin was scraped off. He said he ran over gravel barefoot. I immediately cleaned it, put antibiotic and bandaged it.

A few days after that, when we were in Tagaytay, Joaquin was happily playing on the bed, lunged forward and hit his head on the wall. After a 10-minute cold compress, his forehead looked like this.
These are just 2 of the many incidents when I’ve had to deal with a bump or a wound. There were a few times in the past when we’ve had to bring a son to the emergency room for stitching. Everytime I hear a loud thud in the house, I’m immediately on my feet waiting for a loud cry. I have 3 boys in the house and they are very adventurous. They would climb and jump on anything they can. They have a high energy level for physical activity. They are boys.

I’ve had to understand over the years that adventure is part of their nature as boys. I remember one afternoon when I found Ryan hanging on a tree branch. I shouted “Ryan, please come down” while my husband shouted “Way to go son!” And I saw the pride on Ryan’s face as he conquered that tree branch by himself.

The biggest mistake I can make is to pamper our sons and baby them and keep them from climbing and running and jumping. I usually find myself saying “don’t go up there, don’t touch that, don’t run, be careful, you might get hurt.” Though boundaries are good for our boys, too much of it can hinder them from becoming men. It doesn’t mean we let them do everything they want to when we know it will surely hurt them. But we need wisdom too to know when we just have to leave them be and let them be boys.

Our Playgroup

Whenever I get a text from a mom-friend like “Let’s hang out!” or “I miss you!”, I know it’s time for a playgroup. As fun as it is for our kids to play with each other, or more like play alongside each other, since they are too young to interact with each other, it is more fun for us moms. A playgroup is an excuse for us to get out of the daily grind of feeding, changing diapers, watching Hi-5 or reading Goodnight Moon. A playgroup is an excuse to speak in real sentences again and converse with adults beyond abc’s and 123’s.

We love our babies so much and enjoy every minute with them but being cooped up in the house for a long time sometimes makes us feel isolated. We have a need to know that we are not alone in whatever we are going through as moms. A playgroup is a nice break to connect with other moms and talk about trivial issues like brushing our babies’ teeth or real “mommy issues” and get support, advice and affirmation.

Anna and Andi, Me and Joaquin, Thammie and Alyanna and Mika, Belle and Hannah, Kitty and Alba

Joaquin in the ballswim

Mika, Andi, Joaquin and Alba

Advice for First-time Parents

We threw a baby shower for Iris and Dan who are expecting their first child, Helena. After dinner, a game, and the gift-opening, everyone gave them pieces of advice to help them through this exciting season of their lives. These are some of the best advice I’ve heard:

From the fathers to Dan:

“Don’t be just a servant, be a slave.” ;p

“Be a hands-on dad.”

“Appreciate your wife. Give Iris allowance to pamper herself (spa, parlor, the works!)

Hats off to you dads who are sensitive to your wife’s needs!

From the mothers to Iris:

“Trust yourself to know what to do. You don’t need to follow everything other people say.”

“Don’t expect your baby to be like the other babies.”

“Enjoy every stage of your baby’s life because she’ll grow up so fast.”

“Sleep whenever your baby is asleep.”

“Stay connected with other moms.”


From the singles to Dan and Iris:

“Pray for your child.”

“Set boundaries for them”

“Be with them through the tough moments”

Being a first-time parent is a roller coaster ride. One day you are very excited, another day you are very anxious. Will I do a good job? Will I raise up this child in the right way? Will I be able to provide for him? So many questions…

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

“I didn’t get to say goodbye to Dad.”

This was Ryan’s first statement to me yesterday as I woke up. Paolo and Nathan left for Boracay very early so goodbyes to the other kids were said the night before. Unfortunately, Ryan was so tired he crashed in bed a little too early and missed it. So when he came to my bedroom the next morning, that’s the first thing he told me, in between tears “I didn’t get to say goodbye to Dad.” I became teary as well because I felt his sadness.

Saying goodbye is an important ritual in our family, much like saying goodnight every night before bedtime. I treasure the times whenever Paolo and I go out on a date, and our kids would run to the garage barefooted in their pajamas, and would give us a hug through the car window, shower us with kisses, and follow the car out the garage until our tail light disappears from their view. Saying goodbye I think gives our children a sense of control over the day’s events. It gives them the security that nothing unexpected is going to happen. It gives them the confidence that dad and mom didn’t abandon them and they are returning home for sure. Of course, we’ve never heard our kids articulate these things. But they have the need to be assured that at the end of the day, dad and mom are always coming back home.

Paolo called from Boracay and talked to Ryan. Every unsaid fear of Ryan was eased.

Standing up for what is right

After school, Nathan told me that his art teacher wanted to borrow their group’s artwork for her niece. She explained that the typhoon Ondoy had flooded her friend’s house and destroyed her niece’s project that needed to be submitted soon. Nathan’s groupmates all agreed to give their artwork to this poor girl, because it did seem to be a reasonable thing to do.  But something inside Nathan didn’t feel right. I asked him what he wanted to do. He said he wanted to confront his teacher and tell her he doesn’t feel it’s right. I gave him my approval to do so, while making sure he knew how to do it in a respectful manner.

I was anxious to know the following afternoon how their talk went. Nathan said that his teacher listened but only responded with a smile. So he didn’t really know whether she understood his sentiments. But a few days after, this teacher came up to Nathan to say that she was volunteering him to be part of the freshcom, which was a “by invitation” thing only. Though she never brought up the “art” thing again, this act of hers showed that she had confidence in Nathan’s character.

Our goal as parents is really to raise godly children who are God-pleasers not man-pleasers. Children who will have the boldness to stand up for their convictions and even challenge those who put these convictions to the test.

Oh, and Nathan got an A in her class.

TELLING THE TRUTH

Classes were suspended again today due to typhoon signal no. 1 and heavy rains. The kids and I decided to watch the video of High School Musical 3 for the first time. Or so I thought. Halfway through the movie, Ryan came to me, teary-eyed and remorseful and said “Mom, this is not the first time I’m watching this.” I asked him to explain. He said that he watched it before in Samuel’s house without asking for our permission. He is clear on the rule that they can’t watch a movie without dad’s or mom’s permission. At this point, he was all broken up and talking in between sobs. I asked him what made him tell me now. He said “I know I shouldn’t keep secrets from you, that’s why I told you.” I told him his dad would have to know about this and then I gave him a hug and said “Thanks for telling me. You did the right thing.”

Our kids will never be perfect. They will make mistakes. They will disobey. But my hope as a parent is that sooner or later they would come to their senses, remember what we have taught them and do the right thing in the end.