Karla Estrada, Jolina Magdangal, and Melai Cantiveros on the perfect balance of love and discipline in raising kids

Parenting is no easy task. The challenges even grow more difficult when disciplining the child. Some parents get torn between enforcing the rules and acting cool for the sake of good relationship. When it comes to discipline, Karla Estrada, Jolina Magdangal, and Melai Cantiveros learned that a consistent message and dynamics create an impact. In this interview with Robi Domingo, the Magandang Buhay hosts share their proven tactics in imposing discipline, without compromising love and friendship with their children.  

Jolina Magdangal-Escueta

Starting out in the ‘biz as a child star, Jolina Magdangal thought the public will never learn to outgrow her little girl image even if she becomes a mother. But she proved herself wrong as her audience welcomed the changes in her life. Jolina realized that it must start from within. The public started to look at her as a ’momshie’ once she fully embraced that role.

When it comes to training her children, Jolina has one major rule – never use the hands for punishment. She said that the hand is a symbol of nurturing love and care. Instead, talk it out with the kids and set clear consequences (she calls them ‘deal’). However, when discipline inevitably reverts to spanking the child, the slight punishment is reinforced with a clear explanation.

“After na napagalitan siya o nabigay sa kanya ‘yung punishment niya, kahit mababaw lang na punishment, kakausapin pa rin. ‘O, alam mo na? ‘Di ba nag-deal tayo? Kaya ginawa ni Mama ‘yun dahil hindi ko gagawin ‘yun kung wala tayong deal,’” shared the mother of two.

There is no bad cop and good cop in the Escueta household. Jolina and husband Mark Escueta implement balanced discipline dynamics. They discuss things first and find a common ground. They both know when to step in such as when one parent struggles to handle the situation. Thus, 6-year-old Pele never saw one of them as the devil or the angel. 

“Nagkaroon ng isang time na hindi ko na alam kung tama ba ‘yung pagdisiplina ko lalo na sa pagkain kasi si Pele ang bagal niya talaga kumain ngayon. Nag-usap kami ni Mark na, ‘Papa, may mali ba akong ginagawa? Paki-explain lang sa akin mayroon ba tayong mali? Kasi parang hindi siya nag-iimprove.’ Nag-usap kami kung anong treatment ang gagawin namin sa kanya, kung paano namin ulit didisiplinahin. Mas more on nag-uusap kami lagi ni Mark para pantay ang pagdisiplina namin,” Jolina related.

Respect is a critical value in the Escueta abode and Jolina doesn’t encounter problems related to this. After all, her kids are still in the clingy, obedient phase. The real challenge comes when the children grow up into teenagers, the phase when they start to explore their individualities. Jolina believes that teenagers have more tendencies to disregard the rules and even cling to a false sense of entitlement. So, she does everything to establish a strong foundation of values while the kids are still in the malleable stage.  

She added that respect is reciprocated. And saying ‘sorry’ to the children is synonymous with earning more reverence. “Walang masama kung magso-sorry tayo sa mga anak natin kasi ‘pag nagso-sorry nga ako kay Pele, parang ang sarap pa sa feeling ko na nakikita ko sa mata niya na, ‘Ay, nag-sorry si Mama.’ Tapos parang mas lumalambing siya. Nakikita mo na may effect ‘yun sa kanila.” Jolina also aims to maintain her friendship with the kids without compromising parental authority.

Apart from the typical anxieties about sickness especially in this time of a pandemic, one thing she fears about the future is seeing her kids choose barkada over family. Thus, she and Mark invest in quality time and tons of love. They likewise maintain family get-together with relatives. This doesn’t only strengthen the bond but it also creates lasting memories and models a family dynamics the children can apply in the future. “Love is spelled as time,” Jolina added.

When asked about the secret to being a good momshie, Jolina underscored that mothers must never stop learning – be it from fellow moms or from their own children.   

Melai Cantiveros-Franciso

Becoming a mom has made Melai Cantiveros appreciate her own. She realized that her mother’s endless lecture about the hardships and sacrifices was right all along. The challenges get worse when the children start to become their own persons, forcing parents to impose strict rules.

When it comes to disciplining her two girls, Melai is open about using the spanking method. She jestingly tags herself as the ‘hanger girl.’ Melai believes that a little hurt while young is better than seeing them go through the worse as adults. She better discipline them now than let the cruel world, and life itself, punish them in the future.

“Masaktan na sila ngayon na bata sila na ikaw ang nagdidisiplina kesa pagdating ng panahon na tumanda sila at ang mundo ang magdidisiplina sa kanila, mas masakit ‘yun. Kaya kailangan bata pa lang talaga, maturuan mo na ng tamang asal” she explained.

Not that she’s the bad cop but Melai is the one tasked to implement the spanking. She said it would be better that way as husband Jason Francisco has a more intimidating approach. And they don’t want the girls, Mela and Stela, to feel completely insecure and anxious especially later in life.

However, she makes sure that corporal punishment is administered with a valid reason. A one-on-one talk must follow to make it firm but fair. This way, the kid will never see her as the enemy again (there was a time when the eldest, Mela, used to call her as a monster mom). Having a right balance is always the key.   

“Tayo nga na matatanda, minsan matigas ang ulo natin. Kailangan natin masaktan muna bago tayo matuto… Kailangan ko munang paluin siya ng isa para malaman niya na ‘Ay, masakit na ‘yun, ah.’ Parang mare-realize niya kung ano ‘yung ginawa niya kaya siya nasaktan. Hindi naman matatapos lang doon sa pananakit. Sa pagdidisiplina, kailangan talaga ng usap,”said Melai.

Just like her fellow momshies, Melai aims to find the perfect balance of friendship and authority with the kids. She wants Mela and Stela to grow up like her best friends without neglecting respect. With this, she finds inspiration from Magandang Buhay co-host Karle Estrada’s parenting techniques.

“Si Momshie Karls, ‘di ba Momshie Jols, proud tayo sa kanya? Kasi rock and roll silang mga anak sa Mama nila pero pagdating sa disiplina, isang tingin lang ni Momshie Karls talagang nangangatog na ang tuhod ng mga anak niya. So, gusto ko ‘yung ganung tamang timpla.”

As early as now, Melai inculcates a deep sense of spirituality in her kids. She wants them to grow up God-fearing, knowing that only God’s words will help them survive later in life. And putting God at the center of everything, according to Melai, is her secret to being an effective mom.

Karla Estrada

Karla Estrada had eldest child, Daniel Padilla, at 19. Despite all the struggles, she managed to raise a superstar and three more kids as a single mom, thus earning her the moniker “Queen Mother.” It was challenging, of course. But she survived thanks to her mom who patiently helped her navigate the unfamiliar journey called motherhood.

For Karla, a mother’s love is something innate. It comes out naturally like the first time she saw Daniel. She added that mothers are born superwomen.

We never heard Karla play the victim card despite her split-ups with the father of her kids. In fact, she would acknowledge their roles in the children’s lives. “Sa akin, kaya naging magaan dahil present ang mga ama nila sa buhay nila. Hindi man kami magkasama, hindi ko pinagdamot ang mga anak ko. Kung gustong makita at hiramin, I am very generous sa ganyan. Para sa akin, obligasyon ko sa mga anak ko na gawing  buo ang buhay nila kahit sa akin ay hiwalay. Huwag mong idamay ang anak mo. Ibigay mo sa kanya ang buo kahit  sa’yo ay hindi,” Karla said.

She added that a mother’s selfless love comes with the ability to forgive, all for the sake of her child’s happiness. We’ve seen how Karla humbled herself and let go of the pain of the past, so the kids remain attached to their fathers.

More importantly, she chose to dwell on the happiness and blessings than the challenging parts. “Napakasarap maging magulang. Hindi mo na kukwestyunin kung anuman ang hirap na ‘yun. Hindi ko binilang ‘yun. Mas binilang ko ‘yung meron akong apat na anak na na-eenjoy ko at nagpapaligaya sa akin.”

Karla applied the same spanking technique she grew up to but unlike the old-school rules when the youngs weren’t allowed to defend themselves, Karla made sure that conversations are part of the dynamics.

“Namamalo pero na-eesplika, pinapaliwanag. Masakit sa aming magulang mamalo. Pero mas masakit sa akin makita ang mga anak ko mapariwara paglaki. Masaktan na sila ngayon at matuto sila kesa pagdating ng araw maging spoiled ‘yang mga ‘yan at saka ako mamroblema at sila ‘yung kawawa. Yes to palo with explanation kung bakit siya napalo,” Karla explained.

She believes that children are smart, too. With this, parents can also learn from them. Thus, discipline must be anchored on listening. And a parent must be humble enough to back down when wrong.

“Everyday you learn from them. Dapat mapag-aralan o matanggap mo na hindi all the time tama ka bilang magulang. Minsan tama ang anak mo kaya dapat matuto din tayo makinig. Huwag tayo maging makaluma kasi kailangan talaga sasakyan natin,” expressed Karla. She added that children will learn to reason out at one point in their lives. And when that happens, know when to acknowledge their voice.

We see how Karla’s kids treat her like a friend. The slight age gap was a major factor. It was like they’re growing up together. “’Yung kabataan ko supposedly noong 20s na dapat in-enjoy ko, nakasabayan ko sila makalaro o sa pagiging bata. Hindi nawala sa akin ‘yun. Talagang kaya kong makipagsabayan. In fact, si DJ at JC dahil magkasunod na lalaki, tatlo kaming nagwre-wrestling, nagba-basketball kami, nagba-bike kami sa labas,” she reminisced.

According to Karla, parents must befriend their children and make them comfortable. This avoids conflict and keeping secrets within the household. However, there’s a clear line between closeness and respect.

When asked about the possibility of Daniel settling down soon, Karla said that marital success isn’t gauged by mere emotions and age. She emphasized that raising a family entails a broader sense of responsibility and financial preparedness. “Hindi lang ‘yan pag-ibig at damdamin. Kailangan mong bumuhay ng pamilya. Ngayon, kung kaya mong tiisin na ipinanghihingi at ipinangungutang mo ang mga anak mo para makakain, eh ibang usapan ‘yun.”

About the secret to being a good momshie, Karla had this to say, “Mahirap sabihin na manggagaling sa akin na mabuti akong ina. Pero isa lang ‘yung sinisiguro ko, ‘pag ang mga anak ko ang magsalita, ‘yun ay totoo ‘pag patungkol sa akin.”

The Psychology of Love and Discipline

Joining the momshies in this interview is Jhon Carandang, RPSY. The guest expert explained that discipline must be enforced in a positive way. He backed up Jolina’s technique of using the hands only to nurture and not to punish. A warning system or an agreement is also a big help. Jhon used the acronym TEACH to discuss the psychology of discipline.

Teach them what is right and wrong based on family values and not what the society, especially social media, imposes.

Enlighten their mind. When something wrong is done, take time to explain the situation to the kids.

Accept them without reservation. Once the child says ‘sorry,’ accept the apology and move on.

Communicate well and use eye contact. Instead of using the words, “galit ako sa’yo,” parents could instead opt for a gentler approach. “Hindi ako natutuwa sa ginawa mo” and “nalulungkot ako kasi hindi ka naging masunurin” sound more loving. More importantly, avoid comparing your childhood with your own kids’ phasing.

Have fun with them always. They’re only young once, so invest in quality bonding time without compromising the rules and parental authority.

Jhon further said that parents have innate capabilities to love selflessly. He discussed the therapeutic approach to showing affection by using the acronym LOVE.

L is for listening. Indeed, parents must know when to surrender as children have their voices and feelings, too.

O is for open-mindedness. Parents must learn to trust their kids, knowing that they are raising them well.

V is validating. There’s nothing wrong when parents own up to their mistakes. After all, children are smart. The fact that they’re being sent to school means they’re expected to have a good understanding of right and wrong.

E is for empowering. Parents must empower the kids to grow into more responsible individuals. And if children are empowered and raised well, the pattern continues until the next generation, leading to social change. 

What did you learn from our momshies today? Check out this video for the full interview!