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Paano Ba Maging Kalmadong Magulang? Rica Peralejo Had To Work At Becoming A Gentle Parent
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM /RICAPERALEJO
  • If it were only that easy to rein in our temper, mommy guilt would not exist in this world. But, as they say, we are only human and there are times when we can’t help but lose it, especially when our little one is at that age when he is trying to test how far we can go. 

    It took Smart Parenting’s Editor-at-Large, Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio, quite some time to master the art of being calmer around her two young boys, Philip, 8, and Manu, 3. In Episode 8 of her Smart Parenting vlog entitled, Poprica, Rica shares what her temper triggers are and what she has practiced over the years so she can be more ‘chill’ around her boys. 

    A shameful experience

    Rica shares that one of her triggers would be when her sons would interrupt her while vlogging. It is situations like these that gets her annoyed, make her eventually snap, and later on regret that she lost her temper. “More often than not, we know that we're being unfair when we've snapped and it's just not right, di ba? Lalo na if tayo ang nasa receiving end,” she says. “It's a shameful experience and it’s not how we’re supposed deal with problems.”

    RELATED: It Took Rica Peralejo 7 Years To Become A Calmer Parent

    Paano ba maging kalmadong magulang? Paano ba hindi mainis? Paano ba mapipigilang sumigaw? At pag sumigaw, valid ba ito? These are just some of the questions Rica attempts to answer by tracing how she herself managed to be less reactive in situations that used to trigger her. 

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    She starts by admitting that she used to hit her sons with a rod and that she thinks it was so unfair for her children.  She confesses that many times she felt “helpless and hopeless” each time she lost her temper. “I used to make him (Philip) palo because that's how I thought kids should be disciplined,” she recalls.  “I believed that with all my heart but later on I corrected a lot of the ways which I thought were good for my children.”

    RELATED: ‘I Used To Believe In Spanking’: Disiplina Ba Ang Pamamalo? Studies Say It's Ineffective

    Keep calm and learn

    Knowing that these are things that she cannot take back anymore, Rica decided to move forward and take control of both her actions and reactions. And this is what helped her become calmer over the years. 

    1. Admit that there is a need to change.

    Rica says that acknowledging that something is not right is a first great step to seeking change. “It wasn’t actually [admitting] that I had issues that came first but more like, ‘was something wrong with me?’” she recalls. 

    “I knew it wasn’t normal to get angry this often and that it wasn’t good for my children to be growing up with that kind of attitude from me.” Once we are able to see that something is wrong, the desire to change our ways will follow, she assures. 

    2. Research the ‘right way’ to handle your anger.

    Once she realized that what she was doing was wrong, Rica was set on finding out the right way to handle her rage and anger. “I researched a lot,” she narrates.  “I looked for childhood development studies and theories that are available in books and in online resources.

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    “Inintindi ko muna yung ‘bakit’. Bakit ba kelangan magkaroon ako ng right way and what is the basis of that right way?”  In her research, she found out that culture has a big impact on the way we parent our children. “Culture—yan yung kinalakihan natin na nung bata pa tayo, so more often than not yun yung madadala mo sa pag papalaki ng mga anak mo.”

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    Citing her own experience, she says she always held on to the belief that children should behave at all times and felt anxious every time her boys would be rowdy, noisy, and touch objects they are not supposed to like those that easily break. That was until she realized that they were just being kids.

    “They really are at that stage when they need to exercise all of that energy for their own development.  It’s not a wrong thing. It is actually a great thing if they're moving because that is what kids need.” 

    3. Once you know, practice the ‘right way’.

    It takes time to change an old habit, Rica says. “You really cannot quit your old ways unless you actually have a new and right way of doing things,” she argues.

    Citing an example, Rica says that parents have a tendency to shout at their child if they feel that his actions are deliberate and intentional. “More often than not kids just don’t know any better because they are kids.  When you shift your mindset, you also begin to shift the way that you talk to them,” she says.

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    RELATED: 'Hindi Kailangan Sumigaw O Mamalo': Mom Shares How To Remain Calm During Child's Meltdowns

    Instead of shouting, ‘Bakit mo ginagawa yan?’ you can approach the same questions using a different and gentler tone, she suggests. This way, the child will also learn how to talk calmly. 

    She also says that when we know and understand why a child is doing what he does, we tend to be calmer. Writing or drawing on the wall, for example, is a classic behavior among children. When we understand that such behavior is part and parcel of their development, then we know better than to scold them for doing it. 

    RELATED: 5 Toddler Behaviors Parents Worry About But Are Actually Normal

    4. Be authentic to your children.

    “No transition is going to be painless. Some things are going to be very painful for you because you’re used to an old way,” advises Rica.

    In fact, she says, it can be a constant fight against the old you because that’s what you are used to. However, what’s worked for Rica is being real and authentic—by telling her children that she is trying her best to change. “Ganun ang ginawa ko kay Philip. I really sat down with him and I said ‘Philip I am so sorry that there were times when I spanked you or shouted at you. I know I wasn’t being fair. Please forgive me for that’.”

    She also asked her son for patience as she worked to change her ways. “Puwede ka naman talagang magtapat sa kanila at asahan ninyo na matatalino ang mga anak natin na maiintindihan nila ito,” she assured. 

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    5. Find your tribe.

    Rica rounds up her advice by saying that finding a community that will encourage your transformation without judgement will go a long way. “You really need to find your tribe,” she reiterates.

    To be a calmer parent, we should find the courage to look inside ourselves, Rica says. “Sometimes what we pass on to our children comes from a very deep and dark and sad place of our lives,” she reflects.

    “Get healed, get well, and find your source of peace, calm, gentleness, and self-control in your life and you will be well on your way to being a calmer parent.” 

    MORE STORIES ON GENTLE PARENTING:

    WATCH THE FULL POPRICA EPISODE 8 HERE:

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