I'm trying to use everything I've read in Connection Parenting, Playful Parenting, The Emotional Life of a Toddler. . .to gently guide my 19 month old daughter. I know these concepts and connections take time but I'm wondering if gentle discipline just doesn't work for the more strong willed child.
For example: yesterday we went to the zoo, and rode the train. Getting her off the train at the end of the ride was a struggle. Hey, the train is fun! I get that, but I always explain to her that we can ride the train again if we wait in line again. I speak to her at her level. I let her know what to expect when the train is pulling into the station. She understands me. She just chooses to not want to get off the train.
We finally make it out of the station, and there are a zillion strollers lined up. She wants to check out everyone of them, try to move them, look in them, take sippy cups, snacks, whatever out of them. I get down on her level, make eye contact, explain these aren't our stroller nor our belongs, but she can help me push our stroller on the way to the elephants. Nope. She would rather turn hide and run back to the strollers that aren't ours and start the process of looking in them all over again, feeling things, picking things up. I explain, again, these aren't ours, but let's push our stroller, or would she like to get in our stroller and have a snack or some water? Nope. She'd rather run away from me, wander around without me, and then run faster if I actually walk towards her.
I don't want to be the 99% of parents that would just pick up their child and thus cause a tantrum because her needs aren't being met, but what about my needs? Connection Parenting makes it sound like if you are meeting your child's needs then they won't misbehave or act out. Their needs are being met so they are perfectly pleasant and life is peachy. I don't want to get pushed around by my toddler. I'm afraid that I'm doing us a disservice by allowing her needs to be met over mine even if it causes a meltdown.
I wasn't in a hurry to get us somewhere yesterday so I wasn't rushing her but there are guidelines to respecting people's property, right? Boundaries have to be taught, right? I'm at a loss. I don't want her toddlerhood to be my big experiment failure.
She's always had a HUGE personality. I'm used to her personality, but I'm not used to trying to discipline her and NOT knowing if this is going to work for her personality type.