It has been 5 years now, give or take, since I’ve last written a post on my blog and I do miss the idea of having an avenue for some of the thoughts running through my head. I suddenly thought about how many years I and my husband have been parenting our children. Our eldest daughter, Stacee, is about to turn 8, and we have been winging this parenting thing ever since. Because I’m far away from my parents, and the fact that Stan and I decided to live more independently and not rely on our family or relatives when we were just starting, we’ve both decided to teach ourselves and read a lot about how to raise our daughter back then.
And now that we have Aeris in the mix, I can definitely say that it is still a huge challenge for us. Parenting is definitely NOT a walk in the park. And to those people who may be thinking about raising their own daughters, here are some things that you might expect.
Gender doesn’t make a difference when it comes to behavior.
Some parents say that boys are naughtier, sweeter, more hyper than girls. As for myself, I really can’t do any specific comparisons, considering that two daughters are what I have. But kids, no matter what gender they may be, have a natural tendency to behave like, well, kids. This is something that parents should know about. My daughters both have their own “kakulitan”. My eldest, at her age, is mostly just quiet, and behaves well whenever we have company. But once she’s more at ease with those new people, she tends to want more attention and to be a part of the conversation whatever goings-on there are, even if she’s already told that it’s for the adults only.
She also tends to be defiant at times, especially if she wants something so badly, that even if her daddy and I told her no, she sometimes sneaks out and gets away with it. Maybe we just have to be stricter towards her, but the truth is, she kind of reminds me of myself, when I was her age. When I was as young as she was, I already know what I want and if I know that it’s something that I can get or do on my own, I do my best to make it happen. But in the end, I get lots of scolding afterwards (hahaha!). Same thing goes for Stacee. I actually think that maybe my daughter’s already immune to my scoldings? I don’t know. But I’m happy with how she is and that most of the time, she still is the well-behaved little girl that she is.
As for Aeris, things are a bit, hmm… different. She is the complete opposite of her big sis. Maybe because she’s currently at her terrible twos and given that she’s our second daughter, this is something that we’ve already expected (and dreaded). Aeris tends to be bratty sometimes (and by that, I mean, most of the time). She wants something, she wails aloud to get it. Even if you tell her to ask or say it clearly instead of crying about it, she still prefers the latter. She is also a hitter. She doesn’t like her Ate Stacee to sit beside her, she hits her. She doesn’t want anyone touching her toys, she hits them. And when this happens, you can expect that a mild level of chaos is about to ensue.
Don’t get me wrong. We don’t just let her have her way. Whenever she demands for something that she shouldn’t have, we do our best to stand our ground. And most of the time, we get our way. But if time is of the essence and we need her to quiet down and behave for a little while and ASAP, we sort of have to resort to losing the battle, for now.
And it definitely is a constant battle. Day in and day out, we have to keep reminding the girls about some rules that they’ve already been told about dozens of times. And that they have to follow what we told them about. That if we just let them have their way, it won’t be good for them eventually. And at this point of our parenting, raising these two little girls is definitely tough. But at the end of the day we know that they are good kids and we are proud of them and this is something that we constantly let them know.
It’s never too early to start teaching them about discipline.
When kids misbehave, some people tend to always say, “Bata pa kasi. Hayaan mo na muna.” (They’re still young. Just leave them alone for now.) Welp, no. This is definitely something that I don’t agree on. I’m not saying that I have the most angelic kids and that they are perfect in all manner, but my kids know what they should or shouldn’t do. Even the simple act of throwing garbage in the trash bin, saying thank you and sorry, or asking for permission before taking something from someone, these are things that you can teach to your children as soon as they start understanding you.
The best way to do this is, of course, by setting a good example to them. A kid’s brain is like a sponge. As they continue to grow, their brain absorbs a lot of information. And this is why it is very important that you only expose them to a lot of things that they should learn about. And if you want them to understand the value of gratitude and courtesy, this same value should start from you. If you want them to learn how to keep their environment clean and know why proper disposal of garbage is essential, show them how you do it and where to dispose of it. The smallest of values can create a huge impact in the life of your kids, no matter what gender they may be. And if you want them to grow up to well-adjusted, responsible adults, you should start early in educating them and disciplining them.
There are different forms and strategies of disciplining your child, but you as a parent has the prerogative to choose how you will raise your kids.
Your daughters won’t always have the same habits and temperaments.
My daughters are complete opposites of each other. Stacee tends to be mild and timid, while Aeris is a bit loud and brave. Stacee does not like vegetables, Aeris eats them. They are both sweet and loving in their own ways, but in the same way their quirks are different, too. Kids grow up differently and you can never guarantee that all your kids will mature and behave in the same way. With the way things are changing in our world nowadays, there many things and practices that may also differ from the way you raise your first kid and with the way you raise your next little ones.
Many circumstances can affect the way you raise your kids, but as a parent, it makes perfect sense that you should know what things they should not be exposed to and what they should learn about.
Your girls may want things that are usually associated with boys.
One thing that we made sure of when we started raising our kids is that they can play any toy that they want, as long as we can afford it. In the same way, we let them wear any kind of clothes that they want as long as they have it in the closet or if it’s something that we can fit in our shopping budget.
They can wear shorts, play toy cars, play video games, watch superhero movies (as long as it’s GP or PG), and many more. As long as it’s something that we can provide them with, they can enjoy them. We don’t want them to limit their options to some stuff are just for boys and some are meant for only girls. Nowadays, it’s important that we make our kids understand the importance of inclusiveness, especially when talking about gender.
Of course, there will still be people around who will say or do things differently and you can’t always shelter your kids from people who tend to always differentiate boys from girls, saying things like, “Why would your kid play with cars, eh pang boys yan?” or “Why does your daughter not like wearing dresses? Eh pang girls yun.” So it’s best that you just make your kid understand why it’s better to not stick to what most people tend to consider as his or hers.
So if your daughter wants toy cars or building blocks, it’s better that you not make a big deal out of it and just give it to them if it’s something that you can provide them with.
No matter what age your kids are in, whether they are boys or girls, it’s best to let them enjoy their childhood and provide them with all the love and support that you can give. You will serve as the first teacher of your little ones so make sure that you give them enough time and attention to make sure that they grow up knowing how to act properly towards other people, and most importantly, so that you can give them wonderful memories of you being a loving and supportive parent during their younger years. This will definitely make a huge difference in the way they see the world and treat the people around them. Your kids will always be one of the most amazing blessings in the world, so treasure them and every moment of their childhood will soon be just a memory.
From one parent to another, I wish you the best of luck.