Dear Mommy, are you frustrated with toddler tantrums? Sceptical about toddler discipling tactics? Here’s what you need to know about discipline.
Discipline doesn’t always equate painful punishments. We are not talking about physically abusing children here. We are talking about teaching and training your little child ways of the world. And why it is important to do so, much earlier.
Discipline has two parts to the equation
- The practice of training your toddler to obey rules or a code of behaviour,
- And using punishment to correct disobedience.
This post focuses on the first part here.
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Parenting is not just about changing diapers, feeding and buying expensive toys or clothes. That’s the easy part and anyone can do that. You can hire people to clean up, cook food and even feed your kid. But disciplining a toddler is YOUR job, as a parent.
Children are intuitive. Toddlers understand simple instructions. Since your child wants to please you and see you happy with them, they will listen to your instructions. It then boils down to the way you discipline or teach.
So don’t expect your maid to teach them not to push, or to share, or potty-train your toddler. Don’t expect strange men to intimidate or bully your toddler into submission. Don’t be an a**hole parent.
Oh yes, I was so hopeless once that I asked my security guard to intimidate my tiny toddler so she stops running outside the gate. That’s parenting fail right there. And I’ve failed many times. This is me sharing my success story of how disciplining my toddler gave me so much relief.
When I asked people why they choose not to discipline toddlers, they say “kids are so little, so innocent, they don’t understand anything, so why bother?”
Here are some other reasons:
- “Don’t want my kids to hate me.”
- “I don’t want to hurt my child.”
- “My kid should experience everything”
- “I had strict parents and I don’t want my kid to go through all that now”
You know what’s common in all these statements? These are all
These are all selfish. You are not thinking of your child at all. It’s all “I this or I that …”
Do you know what happens to toddlers who live an unruly life?
Living an unruly life has consequences, embarrassment and sometimes, shame. An undisciplined toddler is uncontrollable and that can be dangerous.
The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. Proverbs 29:15
Here are 10 ways you are raising a spoiled child.
Welcome to the Dark Side of Parenthood.
Imagine you are at the mall and your toddler just runs away, even after you’ve called them. A disciplined child will obey their parents. And that’s a good thing, for most parts.
I have the toughest times at the mall. There was this one time the kid ran to those miniature car rides, jumped in and refused to get out. Refused and SCREAMed and got everybody staring at us. That is an entitled toddler.
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So why tarnish the position by being just a maid or a slave to your child? You have the power to raise a compassionate toddler. Your teaching must send a short and clear message in terms of what is good behaviour and unacceptable behaviour. You can do this.
It’s possible. I’m doing it and it is Possible.
The Motivation to Start Disciplining Your Toddler
Because you can.
Teach your toddler to eat at the right times, poop in the right places and play in safe areas. Start with developing a routine. Don’t wait for your children to start school to relay the responsibility to the teachers.
Discipline early, for your child to be socially accepted early. If you want yourself to be socially accepted. No kid wants to play with a bully. And no grownup wants to be around a whiny, bratty, ungrateful kid. It’s a big turn-off, no?
An undisciplined toddler will do exactly what it wants to do. Eat anything, poop anywhere, play anytime. It’s all exhausting and frustrating for everybody. You see them in the malls; at the park. You see them in the restaurants or at the movies.
A cranky and an upset toddler has tantrums, and not open to reason. It can be embarrassing to handle a toddler tantrum in public. But that’s different. Not all tantrums are intentional. The undisciplined kids throw tantrums to have their way. Entitled kids are the most difficult to handle. They grow up to be worse as adults, later.
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A disciplined child who learns basic things early can learn about greater things in school and play. An undisciplined child has to focus all their energy on unlearning wrong behavioral habits. That can impede the regular learning process.
Besides, who doesn’t want a compassionate, cooperative, well-behaved children? These are the same people who grow up to be kind, generous adults. The kind of person that everybody wants to be friends. Don’t you want that for your kid?
Your toddler has the capacity to learn. All you need to do is teach.
A toddler is a young child between the ages of 1 to 3. This is a crucial phase. Its growth spurts, lightning fast development of gross motor skills and fine motor skills … ahhh.. there is so much happening! It’s amazing.
Imagine the rate of learning. If your toddler knows a basic nursery rhyme or two. Have a favorite cartoon character, know the colors etc. These are basic things a toddler should know anyway.
Now, if they are capable of knowing different colors. If a toddler can remember their favourite song, then how easy it is for them to understand manners. No? It may be overwhelming to teach a high-spirited toddler good manners and good behaviour. But it’s possible.
They grow up so fast that it is important to strike while the iron is hot.
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
The Way I do it
At the park, the fake-grass was damp with the recent showers. My 2-year-old daughter was already sniffling under the weather. She’s used to playing without her shoes on. But in this weather, she must keep them on or risk falling sicker.
5 minutes into playtime and she was trying to take off her shoes. It was easy to transfer my second child into the pram and ran to the crime scene where I then plopped down at her level and started negotiating.
“I want you to play with your shoes on”. Using shorter and rhyming sentences helped “ No shoes, no play”.
“But I don’t want to!” she replies and “I want to play with shoes”
So the negotiations went on for some minutes. It stopped when my daughter realized I was serious about the “shoes on or no play policy”. She calmed down from her tantrum and skipped away to play. Shoes stayed on the whole playtime.
You see? There was no shouting, no spanking, no punishment. And yet, this is a form of discipline.
Maintaining a calm composure and negotiating with a voice of authority takes a lot of energy. Besides, you need to repeat it a thousand times. It is exhausting and that why disciplining a toddler is tough. But the results are sweet! We’ll talk more soon.
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