Teaching kids about happiness

I am a cup-half-full kind of person. Always have been. And one of my goals is to teach my kids that while happiness is a feeling, there are things we can practice to help us be happier. More importantly, I would never want them to believe that another person holds the key to their happiness.

Last year, Iana started the habit of asking me if I were happy. I do not know where she got the idea but I thought it harmless and sweet, even, as I felt how much she cared for me. Whenever I answered yes (well, I always was in a good mood whenever she asked me), I knew she was genuinely happy, too.

positive parenting

A couple of months ago, I had a bad day. That night, while carrying Iana up the stairs, she asked me if I were happy. I stopped walking and asked her to kiss me. After she did, I replied that I was. She looked satisfied when she heard my answer.

For a couple of weeks, that became our usual routine. She would ask me if I were happy, I would ask her to kiss me, then I would answer yes. Of course, after a few times, she associated her kisses with my happiness (as any two year old kid would). I know most people would not see anything wrong with this. In fact, most parents’ joy centers on their children. Something was nagging at me, however; I felt that something was not right.

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#momgoal achieved

Last night’s conversation…

Jia confided something to me.

Me: Does it bother you?
Jia: Not really.
Me: It must bother you enough to tell me.
Jia: Oh! No! I just tell you everything.

And with her words, myheart burst with bliss! ❤

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Building relationships with our kids

My eldest daughter, Jia, is almost 9 years old. My youngest daughter, Iana, is turning 3yo. In terms of interests and play, their stages are vastly different. Jia’s interests are centered on tween stuff – – books, music (she’s a fan of Ed Sheeran), her writing, tinkering in the kitchen, Heelys. Plus she has a tendency to be absorbed with whatever she is doing and when that happens, she will just forget about other things. But because she loves Iana so much, she makes it a point to build a relationship with her. And because she knows from our Positive Discipline chats that to build a relationship, you have to spend time, she makes it a point to spend time with her (and Joya, too). In fact, she included daily dates with her siblings in her everyday routine.

The other day, I was beyond proud when I saw this reminder on her shelf.

positive parenting

It was so heartwarming to me that she makes an effort to be close to her sister and to build a relationship with her.

Because parents have busy, busy schedules, we sometimes forget to build relationships with our kids. We are so busy providing for them and managing them and bringing them from one summer class to another, we forget that of utmost importance is the relationship we form with them. We forget that having a great relationship with our kids saves us from having to send them to therapy later on. Haha!

The importance of time

So how do we do this? How do we form a relationship with our kids? Well, we spend time with them. It was the inspiring Zig Ziglar who said that to a child, love is spelled T-I-M-E. And this is not being beside our child while we’re on our phones… this is honest-to-goodness playing, talking, learning what interests him, getting to know him as a person, knowing his opinions about things that matter to him (even if the things that matter to him gross us out. LOL!). It does not matter if their interests are not interesting to us. We should make an effort. Spend time.

When I think about it, it makes so much sense. I spent so much time with J when we were first going out to really get to know him. I invest time on friendships I want to nurture. I practice and practice and practice skills I want to master. Basically, I spend time on things I deem important.

positive parenting

Connecting with kids shouldn’t be any different. We have to consciously spend time with them. (And no, time nagging them on things does not count.) It does not have to be hours (with work and all other stuff, who has hours?). Just spend ten minutes a day with your kids and watch them bloom!

With my super busy schedule (running a household, breastfeeding, homeschooling, being a wife, holding workshops), maybe I will do what Jia’s doing… I will post reminders on my shelf  so I will not forget to play with my kids. After all, I had them to be with them and be with them I will.


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Tatlong anak… bow!

My gosh! Tatlong anak!

Yun lang. Yun lang ang rason ko kung bakit nagbabayad ako ng domain at hosting pero hindi ako nagba-blog. #facemeettable


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I love taking pictures of sunsets. As I think of the sun setting, I think of how, as I prepare for the night time, the other side of the world is preparing for another day.

Tarlac. I took this while on a moving vehicle.

Sunsets remind me how everyone, no matter how different we are at the outset, is the same – we all yearn for a good life, a life with substance, a life worth living; we all need to feel that we belong. Sunsets reminds me to be kind and to be humble.

Sunsets remind me of the vastness of the universe. It never fails to make me stop and wonder at what is out there.

Sunsets remind me that there is beauty in this world. And goodness, too.

Sunsets remind me of God’s breathtaking design. When I stop to think about it, I get amazed at the way the world works. I realize that all the challenges that are presented my way are there for a reason. God holds the key. He designed all these.

Lian, Batangas. Took this on our way back from snorkeling.

Sunsets remind me to notice, to breathe, and to love.

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Keso kung keso <3

WARNING: This is a super cheesy post! Haha!

J and I have been together 16 years today. <3

My friends know how much I adore my husband. They know how much I appreciate the things he does for me. I grew up in an environment where wives are not supposed to announce to the world their love for their husbands but I feel cherished as a wife so I have no problems letting people know how much I love him. Our life is not perfect (Aba! Kung oo eh di hindi  ako mataba! Haha!). We have our differences and there are things I wish he would do or be more of but as I am sure he also has problems with some of the things I do, I choose to focus on the positives while striving hard to manage the negatives.

Last year, J asked me if I was proud of him as a husband. I was stumped why he would ask that and then I realized that while I share with my friends how much I appreciate him, I did not tell him. Last year, too, was the first time I did not greet J on Facebook for Father’s Day. He never posts in Facebook and does not even acknowledge my posts (maswerte na ako if I get a Like!) so I did not think it would matter to him. A few days after Father’s Day, he told me “Buti pa yung ibang tatay, may greeting sa FB.” I was shocked! Importante pala! After that, I resolved to be more appreciative of his actions and efforts. I think my efforts have paid off as I think he feels more loved now than before.

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Spills, accidents, and positive parenting

My whole family recently trooped to the beach for our first beach hurrah for the year. Right after lunch the kids went to play in the sand again. They were just so happy to be in the water again after several months.

Positive parenting

They played until such time that we needed to leave for another island. Because I was not able to prepare much for the trip, I did not have food for them that they could eat in the boat. I knew they would be hungry so I got money from my wallet (thinking Php40 would be enough to buy food for the kids) and passed by the sari sari store before boarding the boat. My money was able to buy three pieces of Fudgee Bars and one pack of Hansel. (So healthy, right?! Facepalm moment, I know!)

The boat we rented was small and only two people can sit side-by-side. Jia and Joya were sitting beside each other. Jia got the Hansel and Joya and Iana got Fudgee Bars each. J was seated behind the kids and offered to open Jia’s Hansel as the water was not calm. Jia politely refused and said she could open it by herself. The next thing I heard was, “Oh no! It fell! Mom, two completely perfect Hansel sandwiches fell!”

The mom in me was like “Oh no! Hindi siya mabubusog! I am sure gutom na gutom pa man din siya! Kawawa naman!” Pre-positive parenting, my husband and I would probably have reacted with “Naku, Jia!!!” or worse, “Hindi kasi nag-dahan-dahan!” or “Sinabing nang ibigay kay Daddy eh!”

But years of practicing positive parenting have apparently changed me and all I said was, “Oh! They fell.”

I could see that Jia was feeling bad. She was hungry and her food fell. I honestly would not have blamed her if she self-pitied or cried a bit. I probably would have. Because of Positive Discipline, I have learned to be less reactive and since I am more attuned to her emotions now, I knew it would have been brutal to shame or blame her.

“What a waste, Mom!” she said while looking at the biscuits on the bangka floor.

“Oo nga, sayang,” I agreed.

I did not offer her the extra Fudgee bar. That would have been rescuing and at that moment, I knew it would not do good in terms of my goal of raising responsible and grounded kids.

We were quiet after that and Jia made do with her two Hansel sandwiches. I did not hear a single whine from her.

Positive parenting
I went back to sight seeing and my own thoughts. It dawned on me, yet again, how easy it is to blame kids when an accident happens (kasi hindi sila nag-ingat, hindi sila nag-dahan-dahan, hindi sila nakinig, at iba pa). We tend to tell kids why an accident happened, how it happened, how they should feel that it happened, what they can do so it won’t happen again, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera! But when we, the adults, spill or break something, we merely say, “It was an accident.” It might be funny only if it were not so shaming and damaging to the kids’ esteem.

Days after that, when we were looking at pictures, we talked about what happened. (My daughter is actually quite self-aware for her age.) I asked her how she would have felt if I blamed her. She said she would probably have yelled. I then asked how she would have felt if I just did not say anything. She would have felt ignored, she answered. But because I just validated her feelings (Sayang naman talaga!), she coped with what happened on her own.

One thing I have learned, when I let go and let my kids handle problems on their own, they learn and it’s the kind of learning that sticks.

I know I still have to master patience and positive parenting but little wins like this continue to inspire me. 🙂

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