The Guest Room is filled with amazing women who are sharing knowledge and empowering others through their own personal experiences. An educator and mother of a busy 2 year old shares some advice on disciplining a toddler.
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. –Harold Hubert
As a mother of a rambunctious, energetic, inquisitive two year old I am forced to admit that there is no one way to raise a child. I can also reluctantly admit that I do not have all the answers. I can use my Masters Degree in Education to teach my child everything he needs to know to prove proficient in Common Core Learning Standards. I can use articles and different theories to potty train him. I can use my mother’s advice to teach him how to be a kind a loving man. I can call on my pastor for words of wisdom on how to raise a strong man of God. However, all of the education, advice, and encouragement seem to quickly vanish when my son asks for a “pop” (lollipop) at 8am, I explain that he can’t have one, and he reaches up and slaps me in the face. Only God can hold my hand and tongue when after spending 2 hours getting us ready to go out the door my son asks for juice, pretends to drink it for 3 seconds and then launches the majority of the contents drenching me from head to toe.
Anger, aggravation, frustration propel me to give him a “pow-pow”, pluck, or pinch. However, as an aware and educated mother I have to remind myself that my reactions to his negative toddler behavior will shape his actions. I don’t want him to slap a kid in preschool that takes his toy. Or pinch a child in school who spills juice on him. I am not saying that I don’t slip up a time or two and lash out, however, for the most part I try to adhere to the following when it comes to disciplining my toddler.
1. BE YE ALWAYS READY.
More often than not you can beat a tantrum to the punch. Knowing what sets your child off and what makes them go bananas is half the battle. The other half is trying to avoid those situations. If you know your child runs around the supermarket, put them in the shopping cart. If you know your child goes straight for the sweets as soon as they enter the kitchen, put them on top of the refrigerator or in the cabinet. Its not being a punk to try and appease or change according to your child’s needs, its called being a great parent.
2. DISCONNECT FROM THE TANTRUM/BAD BEHAVIOR
Most of the time we react to negative behavior physically out of embarrassment, frustration, and anger. However, when you take yourself and your emotions out of the equation you are able to see the tantrum or behavior as a cry for help. Children, especially toddlers, don’t have the same communication skills adults have so often times they resort to tantrums or simply doing what they want despite your objections because they can’t express their desires. Take a step back and look at the situation through kid lenses and I bet you’ll be slow to react with physical punishment.
3. ENGAGE YOUR CHILD IN COMMUNICATION.
Give words that your child doesn’t yet have to their feelings. It shows them you care and understand what they are going through.
4. EXPLAIN WHY THEY CAN’T HAVE/DO WHAT THEY WANT IN AS LITTLE WORDS AS POSSIBLE.
One thing I’ve learned with my toddler is he tunes me out when I talk too much. So a simple, “It is too early for a lollipop. How about a muffin?” will suffice. No need to explain the sugar levels, and how rotten their teeth will be with excessive candy intake. They are not listening!
5. MOVE ON!
The attention span of a toddler is nowhere near that of an adult. Usually when they want something, it’s a feeling of the moment. After they get over the disappointment (sometimes coupled with a falling out on the floor) they move on. You should to. There will be many battles over the course of 18 years, don’t drag them out any longer than necessary.
REMEMBER: Children need love, ESPECIALLY when they do not deserve it.
Courtney Edwards is a mother, teacher, real estate extraordinaire making her way through life one breath at a time.