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At what age do you begin discipline?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 

DS is 26 mos old.  He's a sweet kid, generally well behaved.  I've avoided having to discipline him because for the most part, if he is acting up, I can redirect him or distract him.  Very seldom to I have to just say "no" to what he is doing.  And when I do say no, he, of course, has a tantrum.  So I try to avoid having to say "no" to him - it makes things more pleasant for both of us.

 

DH does not see this the same way.  I feel like DS does something "wrong", DH says "no", DS melts down.  DH will put DS in time out for some infractions (such as throwing toys).  I just feel like he unnescesarrily escalates things.  He, on the other hand, says that I am too soft and am afraid of saying no.

 

Both of us are into gentle discipline as we define it (not sure what common definition is) which to us means that we do not spank or hit, do not yell or use nasty tone, and try not to act out of anger.  

 

Am I too soft?  Does DS just need to get used to hearing no?

So for an example, DH goes to get a banana.  I leave the room, and DS starts screaming.  I come back, ask what happened.  DH says "he wanted to hold the banana".  I said, so let him hold the banana.  DH says well, what if he made a mess?  Well, so what?  He wants to hold the banana.  It's exciting for him to be involved in whatever Daddy is doing.  I figure no harm in letting him hold the banana.  

 

There are other examples - this one sounds pretty petty when I reread it - but this is our typical pattern.  

 

Am I wrong?

post #2 of 53

Well, discipline really means teaching, right? So it begins on day one, when you explain to your baby what you are doing as you change their diaper, and if they cry, you commiserate that yes, that wipe was really cold, but pretty soon they will be snug in a dry diaper, and so on and so forth.

 

I don't avoid telling my kids, "No" because I'm afraid of their reaction. I try to consider their opinion, and let them do it there way if I can. If not, I explain why. They don't always understand (especially when they were younger.) A tantrum is more an expression of frustration and disappointment then a "punishment" for the parent. I try to be sympathetic, but I don't let it discourage me from keeping my kids safe, or doing what I need to do during the day.

 

Does this make sense? In the case that you were writing about, I would have let him hold the banana. But if he started to smash it, I would intervene. If he went back to the smashing, I would take it away, saying, "Please don't smash my snack." If he screamed, I'd let him scream. It doesn't seem like a hill to die on, one way or the other, if you know what I mean.

 

If your DH generally has a good relationship with your son, I would encourage him to take him out on his own more. I always feel that the second year is a good time for dads to develop a deeper relationship with their kids, and now that nursing isn't such a huge part of your son's life, your DH should be able to take him for a couple of hours without either of them needing you. Your DH will develop his own style of discipline and care for your son, and frankly, it's easier for most men to do that without their wives leaping in to "help." Even though my kids are 8 and 5, I still find myself offering "helpful" suggestions, when really, my kids adore DH and he does really well with them. Everyone benefits from some "daddy only" time.

post #3 of 53

Hi,

 

I agree with you that we should avoid saying No unless there is a good reason , we should also give an explanation, show some empathy and try find something else for the kid to do -  No because ...., but you can ......

 

discipline means to teach and the best way to teach is to encourage thinking , not ' thinking ' what's in it for me , what will I get if  i do ..., or what will be done to me , but rather how my actions impact on others and the environment

 

The litmus test is for imho good intervention is whether the relationship is improved or intact and learning is taking place.

 

We can teach kids how to handle frustration by solving problems , finding something different to do or just wearing different lenses - no big deal , it is not the end of the world  and we need to model this type of flexibility and problem solving 

 

Mary

post #4 of 53
I don't avoid 'no' because I think it's important to be clear on the rules. If all I did was distract/redirect then I think it's only a job half done.

I don't see your banana example as a disciplinary issue though.

Anyway, by 26 mos my kids definitely knew what 'no' meant and there were deliberate consequences for their actions. I don't do time outs much but I will send my older (4) y/o to his room to get a grip sometimes. My DD is 2.5 and she knows that if she throws a toy it's purposefully removed from her. If she hits her brother she's not allowed to play with him (and some stern words from me and an apology from her). Bad behavior in public means we go home, etc etc.

I actually have much higher standards for her behavior than I did of my son at this age. Partly b/c I found out the hard way that kids are capable of much more than I thought. Once I raised my expectations and really got firm with consequences with my son, he was like a new (better!) child.
post #5 of 53

It sounds like your dh may be one of those people that believes "he should do it because I said so."  (If I'm reading the banana incident correctly.)  Honestly, I don't think this philospohy works.  I think it's best to let the kids explore their world in any safe and reasonable way.  Kids are always messy with food.  For me, I say ok, you can eat the yogurt yourself, but you have to sit at the table with a bib on. 

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with saving the no's for the really important things.  (No, you can't hit, throw toys, cross the street without holding my hand, etc...)  It does make for a more peaceful household.  My son sounds alot like your son.  He's very easy going and it's been easy to parent him.  I'm pretty permissive and he's doing great.  He's almost 4 and listens great and is very obedient. 

 

IMO - It's ok to not say no just for the sake of saying no.  Try to work with dh on ways he can say yes.  Maybe if you take that view of things everyone will be happier.  (ie, no you can't hit me, but you can hit this pillow.  No, you can't throw your toys, but you can throw the basketball into the basket.  Yes, you have to hold hands while crossing the street, but you can hold mommy's hand or daddy's hand.  We've even done we'll each hold bear-bear's hand.) 

post #6 of 53

Your DH doesn't understand appropriate 2 year old behavior and has unrealistic expectations. A really good book is The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland. Here's a link http://www.amazon.com/Science-Parenting-Margot-Sunderland/dp/075663993X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300998521&sr=1-1 . The focus of the book is how are parenting effects our child's neurological development. It goes into normal child development and the causes of misbehavior.   The link does have a  'look inside'. We found it at our library and after reading it a couple of times I bought a used one off amazon.

post #7 of 53

Just going with the Banana Incident - that's one you should've let your husband handle.  He and your son were on their own.  It sounds like your husband was trying to eat and your son wanted to squish a banana.  Your husband has the right to say no, you can't have my food and/or no, I don't want to clean up a mess right now.  If YOU want to come in and give him a banana and clean it up, that's for you.  Maybe your husband isn't down with wasting food as entertainment?  I just can't see where he did anything wrong.  Sometimes the answer is just no.  Sometimes kids don't like to hear no.  They don't have to like it, they are welcome to express themselves by crying (or whatever is age-appropriate) but it's also ok to say no when the answer is no. 

 

I don't know about time out for a 26 month old.  Short of sitting on her, my child never would've stayed anywhere at all for more than ten seconds, whether I called it a Time Out or Santa's Fun Time Happy Spot.  She would have been WAY too focused on "I don't want to sit here" to have a clue that she was experiencing a consequence or learning a lesson.  For something like wanting something she couldn't have, I would've just found something else, removed the object, or removed her.  There may have been tears.  Sometimes that's just the way it is.

post #8 of 53

The throwing toys is situational.  I did give times to throw -- redirect but we also had strict "NO".  NO throwing in living room.  No throwing toys that were not designed to be thrown.  But we also did redirect, sometimes we needed something firmer. 

 

As for holding the banana -- that is what high chairs are for.  There are many reasons to have the rule to sit down to eat.  If they were in the living room I could see saying, "No I hold the banana we are in the living room."  I would be more than willing to move to an eating place or move a high chair into the living room.  But I do see sometimes were the mess isn't worth it.  

post #9 of 53

I agree that we should avoid saying no just for the sake of saying no, that kids need to be provided with a safe environment to explore their world physically and messily even.  However, I agree with your husband that at times we need to set limits, and there is nothing wrong with saying no and facing the tantrum.  Tantrums are just baby's way of saying "I don't like that!"  And it's okay for them to have those feelings and express them in a way that is safe and doesn't hurt themselves or others.  Avoiding those conflicts is dangerous, as it doesn't allow them the opportunity to explore those feelings and develop the coping skills necessary for those emotions.

 

I think it important to have a balance, and your DH may be overcompensating if he feels you're not allowing your child enough opportunities to deal with "no".  Tantrums are a pain, but they are a phase that toddlers NEED to go through.  If you spend his toddlerhood avoiding tantrums they will be much more likely to rear their ugly head in older childhood and adolescence than if you let them have the tantrums now.

 

 

 

 

post #10 of 53

Discipline (as in teaching) begins on day one here.

 

It's hard to comment more generally, but in the specific example i am seeing you are mad that your DH "made" your DS cry by refusing to give over his own food to be held...?  Your son had no right to expect other people will let him hold their food if they don't want to.  Refusing was well within your husband's rights, and more likely to be the response your son would encounter in the real world (not many people want others to "hold" their food before they eat it) and i think it was handled appropriately.  I too would have refused.

post #11 of 53

Doesn't sound petty to me.  That stuff is really frustrating, especially when you are finding your feet with GD.  It's a tough age and when you're not sure you're on the same page as your partner it just adds to the stress.  hug.gif

 

I agree with almost everything that's been said here - discipline begins from day one, your husband may not realize what's age appropriate, and I also seem to be going down the same road as D_McG with first and second children.

 

I think the problem is that you and your DH are seeing the solution to the problem as A or B - you think you should let him hold the banana and clean up after him and your DH thinks that shouldn't let him hold the banana and he should be taking no for an answer.  The classic permissive-authoritarian dichotomy.  I wouldn't be interested in either solution...I have a low degree of patience for cleaning up banana all day and also a low degree of patience for tantrums lol.gif  Instead I would try to approach it by spelling out the problem with the child and looking for win-win solutions.  Your son is really young so at that age I would probably give him choices rather than getting him to come up with alternatives.  I might try "you want to hold the banana, but I'm worried about a mess.  Do you want to hold the banana sitting in your chair, or eat it here while I hold it?"  Or if it's a situation that comes up all the time then it might be time to set down some house rules so that you're not facing a bunch of judgment calls all the time. 

 

Even so (if your DS is anything like my DD) you will not avoid all tantrums, but hopefully you will be able to reduce them.  My DD is really strong willed and I am working to channel that energy in a positive way, making real decisions for herself and helping decide things for our family.  It hasn't been easy to start thinking this way but it is starting to really pay off!

post #12 of 53

As for Time outs...

 

I saved them for when when DS was hurting people, like biting or screeching at ear drum breaking volumes directly in someone's ear, or scratching, and only after 2 warnings and we keep it age appropriate meaning:  It was after 2 warnings, it was a minute for each year of age, I used an egg timer to time it, and I followed it with a double length "time in" talking about why he reacted that way and what we can do to not let that happen again.  We started at about age 18 months, when he really got the hang of his teeth.

 

Now that he is 5 we still occassionally do time outs, when he is having a hard time being civil in the common family spaces.  Mostly it is so that DH and I have time to calm down so we don't lose our cool and shout or swing, but it is always less than 5 minutes, and is always followed by a ten-twenty minute heart to heart and serious cuddle session.

 

Obviously this doesn't give the same results in the short term for behavior like my parent's method of spaking with the wooden spoon once or twice and then just having it hanging there as a constant threat "Do you want me to get the spoon?"  But it has worked well to interrupt destructive, violent and hurtful behavior in the moment, and has built our communication skills (on all ends actually), so that we have more words to express our needs.

 

I don't give time outs for throwing stuff. They get two warnings and then I just take the stuff away...and not for a little while.  For weeks the first time (hoping they mature enough to play with it properly) then months, or a year, or if I see it will never be used appropriately by my kid, I give it away.  Some kids can handle china dolls.  Some kids need a world of Nerf, know what I mean?

 

 

 

 

post #13 of 53

I started using the naughty chair with my 2 1/2 year old a few months ago when she would throw fits for not getting her way.  I mean, she would go on and on and on for 20 minutes or more sometimes.  At first she wouldn't stay on the naughty chair, but she soon knew what it was and knew that she didn't wanna stay there, so she would run to another chair and curl up with her blanket and pillow and cry for a few minutes.  Then, once I put her there for refusing to help me pick up the puzzle pieces she had just thrown on the floor, and she stayed there for 2 minutes, and that's when I think she really got it.  I haven't actually put her there since, but the chair is still there for her to see, and I remind her about the naughty chair when she starts to throw a fit, and she calms down immediately and I get her interested in doing something else. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #14 of 53



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UmmRiyam View Post

I started using the naughty chair with my 2 1/2 year old a few months ago when she would throw fits for not getting her way.  I mean, she would go on and on and on for 20 minutes or more sometimes.  At first she wouldn't stay on the naughty chair, but she soon knew what it was and knew that she didn't wanna stay there, so she would run to another chair and curl up with her blanket and pillow and cry for a few minutes.  Then, once I put her there for refusing to help me pick up the puzzle pieces she had just thrown on the floor, and she stayed there for 2 minutes, and that's when I think she really got it.  I haven't actually put her there since, but the chair is still there for her to see, and I remind her about the naughty chair when she starts to throw a fit, and she calms down immediately and I get her interested in doing something else.

 

 

 

 

 

 



See, to each their own, but I think there is something about calling it the "naughty chair" that makes it so shaming and humiliating.  I couldn't do that, not for something developmentally normative like tossing pieces of toys everywhere and not wanting to do the hard work of putting it away.  I would have just told her that either she helps pick up the pieces or I will put the puzzle away for a long LONG time.  It doesn't take them long to realize this consequence.  I only had to put away my son's track pieces once for four days and he has never questioned my resolve on that issue ever again for anything he really cares about.  Now if he leaves stuff on the floor he knows he has one chance and it's either pick it up or say goodbye as it get's taken to the Kids Foundation we volunteer with and he can play with it there when we go to play with the kids.  It's pretty simple.  If you can't take care of it, it doesn't get to live with you. Something about that naughty chair sitting there as a threat just reminds me of my mother's wooden spoon collection, especially the creepy ones that had smiling faces burned onto them and bow ties around the handle necks.

 

It also doesn't seem logical.  If she has to go sit on the naughty chair for not helping, how can she help you then?

post #15 of 53
Please read the Dr. Sears disciple book it is so helpful. Like many have said on her it is about teaching your child and it all starts day 1 with getting to really know your child. Each one is different and should be dealt with differently. Also knowing what behavior is age appropriate is important, a 2 your old might want to hold a banana. I really doubt if his father let him, he would do it as an adult in the "real world". The book has really helped me with my 2 1/2 year old, I hope you'll check it out.
post #16 of 53
Sounds like we are in a somewhat similar situation. My DH uses 'No' much more frequently than I do, but by now his 'No' is less respected than my. Because I choose my battles, so I can be consistent in upholding the rules. If I say 'No', DD (36 months) and (DS 11 months) know I mean it. If my children cry as a response to my 'No' I take that as a positive response. It means they understood me. I usually give them a hug and explain 'I love you, but you still can't...'. Usually, that works fine for us.

If I were to try to forbid my children mess making, I'd not only use the N-word no stop, but also keep my children from learning how to eat or deal without being too messy. So with me, DD comes to do a lot of things herself. If the mess is made deliberately, I make DD help with the clean up. So far that worked well for us.

I used time out only for about five times with DD so far. Usually, I just repeat myself until she obeys. Since my span of attention is longer than that of a toddler that approach works well for us.
post #17 of 53
Thread Starter 

I will and do say "no" when I really have to say no.

 

Reasoning with him is not really effective.  He's not that verbal.  I do explain why I am saying no or stopping something but I don't think it's very effective at this point.  

 

I'm with poster above - I don't say no very often, so DS's reaction to mine is different than to DH.  

 

I think my main issue is that DH and I are approaching this differently.  He's in total agreement about not hitting, but he is still a bit of an authoritarian in his approach.  I'm probably more of a distractor in my approach.  We probably have to duke it out or something.  

 

Sigh.

post #18 of 53

Redirecting or distracting is discipline.

 

I think others have said most of what I'd say: Discipline begins at birth.

 

That being said, it does sound like you're a bit afraid of your son's screaming/tantrums. I'm all for distraction, redirection and saying yes when possible. However, at some point in time in the very near future, he's going to quit being quite so easily redirected. Somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3, my kids' memories really improved and I could no longer distract or redirect. Thus, I had to develop some tools for dealing with their meltdowns. It was at that point that I realized that my job had shifted between infancy and toddlerhood, but I was still parenting my toddlers as if they were infants.

 

In infancy, your main job as a parent is to meet your child's needs. Crying is a sign of an unmet need. Somewhere in toddlerhood, crying also begins to mean an unmet want or frustration over the world. You can't always say yes. (It is, for example, perfectly reasonable to not let your 2 year old hold your banana if you're going to eat it.) So, your job shifts from preventing crying to helping your child deal with his frustration. That doesn't mean that you should increase his frustration, which is why distraction and redirection are still a good idea. But at some point in time, he's going to cry. You won't be able to prevent it, and you both will have to deal. (I remember one epic meltdown with ds when his candy can broke and I could not fix it. All I could do was hold him.)

 

I'll also say that I think your dh also has some things to learn. Even if you do timeouts, they're not recommended for kids under 3 because they don't understand the connection between the timeout and the 'infraction'. Even after 3, they're of dubious value. I did use them, but mostly when I was either at my wits' end, or when someone was hitting and we needed separation for everyone's safety.  He can work on redirection and distraction, and saying 'yes'. I've said 'yes' to a lot of things when my initial reaction was "no!" My kids rollerblade in the house. They've ridden air mattresses down the stairs. Dd and her friend mixed water and flour together in the kitchen the other day and created a lovely mess.

 

Instead of saying "no", you can both work on telling your son what to do with the toy. "Keep the toy on the floor." is much more effective than "no" or "don't throw the toy". If someone tells you "don't look over your shoulder" how hard is it to not look over your shoulder? Apply that to a 2 year old. If you tell them not to throw, it's really tempting to throw.

 

Work too, on having the consequence be directly related to the crime. If he throws toys, a better solution, IMO, is to put the toy away and find him things he can throw.

 

You'll need to decide whether you want to use timeout in your discipline or not. It was a necessary, if seldom used, tool for me. At times, I simply needed the separation from my kids to get my act together. Other parents can make do without it. We always reconnected afterward. Both my kids have learned to separate themselves when they're overwhelmed. Now if they can learn to do it without slamming their doors, they'll have more control than their mom!

post #19 of 53

I don't know your son but I think there is a learning curve for kids as well as for parents with GD.  I felt the exact same way about my DD around 2.5 but somewhere around 3 or 3.5 it kicked in, but only after I had really been consistent with GD.  I don't know if it was developmental or related to something I was doing but it might be worth sticking with it or trying different approaches and offering choices more often.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MsFortune View Post

Reasoning with him is not really effective.  He's not that verbal.  I do explain why I am saying no or stopping something but I don't think it's very effective at this point. 

 

post #20 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post

Just going with the Banana Incident - that's one you should've let your husband handle.  He and your son were on their own.  It sounds like your husband was trying to eat and your son wanted to squish a banana.  Your husband has the right to say no, you can't have my food and/or no, I don't want to clean up a mess right now.  If YOU want to come in and give him a banana and clean it up, that's for you.  Maybe your husband isn't down with wasting food as entertainment?  I just can't see where he did anything wrong.  Sometimes the answer is just no.  Sometimes kids don't like to hear no.  They don't have to like it, they are welcome to express themselves by crying (or whatever is age-appropriate) but it's also ok to say no when the answer is no. 

 

I don't know about time out for a 26 month old.  Short of sitting on her, my child never would've stayed anywhere at all for more than ten seconds, whether I called it a Time Out or Santa's Fun Time Happy Spot.  She would have been WAY too focused on "I don't want to sit here" to have a clue that she was experiencing a consequence or learning a lesson.  For something like wanting something she couldn't have, I would've just found something else, removed the object, or removed her.  There may have been tears.  Sometimes that's just the way it is.


 

Good post, I agree.
 

 

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