can't find logical consequences/gentle discipline techniques for dd - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 11-02-2011, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter will be two in December. She is extremely verbal and so I do think that sometimes my husbands and I can treat her older than she is (and perhaps expect more developmentally/cognitively than she can handle). She has always been pretty rough and tumble, and I chalk most of it up to surviving her first two years with a close in age, energetic older brother. Lately though, I feel at a loss as to how to discpline her. She does things that I can only describe as "naughty" and I know thats not a fair label, or really truely accurate but it sure feels like that sometimes.

 

For example, she has always been a messy eater  - from day one. We had recently grown out of the throwing food off the table phase, and in the last week she has regressed to doing it again. I try hard to focus on how I want her to act i.e. "please keep your food on your plate or in your mouth. If you're all done, tell momma" and its almost as if the instant I try to correct her, she speeds up what she is doing, throwing as much food as she can before I can take the bowl away. Today as I went to grab it she threw the bowl off the table and it shattered. I have no idea what a logical consequence would be for this, telling her "You're all done"  and removing her from the table seems a bit silly to me, since clearly thats what she was trying to convey. But I feel like it is a deliberate action on her part to get a response from me, and I find it hard not to punish her for it, for lack of a better term.

 

Another thing is we just recenly got a kitten. Kitten is only 2 months old, so very small and fragile. I am well aware that this was probably not a very fair responsibility to put on a 2 year old, but kitty is now part of the family. She is obsessed with it, and wants to carry it everywhere. For the most part, she is pretty gentle with it, but at times I feel like she is over the top with carrying it around so I will ask her to gently put the kitten on the floor and watch with her eyes, or play w/toy with kitty. Sometimes she will be acting too rough with it - bouncing on the couch next to it, grabbing its legs etc - and when I tell her that she needs to be more gentle or is acting to rough she will grab the kitty and throw it, while looking at me. Its almost as if shes giving me a big middle finger. I've never used time outs until today - but I was so frustrated, and worried she is going to seriously injure the kitten I didn't know what else to do. What is another option? I am aware that getting the kitten was probably not the best idea - but she is rough like this even with bigger pets. I don't want her to think it is ever okay to touch an animal like that, little or big - but how do I get this point across? I know giving her a time out isn't probably the greatest response - but what else can I do when she is being deliberately rough to the cat?

 

any responses/advice/tip or ideas would be so greatly appreciated.

 

 


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#2 of 15 Old 11-05-2011, 05:33 PM
 
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I think it can be helpful to put away thinking about 'discipline' with a two year old and think more about learning. What do I want to teach her? Even though she might have been done with the meal, it still  might have been o.k. to say, 'o.k. we're done here,' and also ask her to sit for a minute, not as a punishment but because you need her safely out of the way while you clean up the glass. Toddlers seem to test all the time but often just to see what our reaction is. Regarding the kitten, it seems like she is just enthralled with it but perhaps should not be allowed to hold it right now unless she can be gentle. The second she is too rough, you kindly say 'oh, kitty has to go away now, next time let's have gentle hands.' Perhaps it would work to get her a stuffed animal that resembles the kitten for her to roughhouse with. It sounds like you should be with her all the time during this phase. It's hard! Your post brought back lots of memories of life with toddlers!! You'll all get through it!


 
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#3 of 15 Old 11-05-2011, 06:11 PM
 
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I joined just to respond to your post. :) I was actually searching something totally different. You have got to get 1,2,3 Magic (I'm almost positive that is the name of the book).  They use the techniques in my dd daycare which has a 5 star rating.  My dd is now 5, but this book SAVED MY LIFE!! The biggest piece I learned from it, is that parents need to be quiet (the hardest part EVER); stay calm at all times and when the first occurrence/incident happens, you calmly say, "That's 1" if it continues, (STAY CALM) and quietly yet assertively say, "That's 2" Nothing more, nothing less. Go about your business. At the third occurrence, you state, "That's 3, take 2." Since your dd is 2 years old. When she turns 3, its 3 minutes, etc.  She's doing it and continues to do things just to get the attention she is seeking. Good or bad, she wants attention and she is getting it. Even if your response is calm and sweet, it's still a reaction.  She'll realize very, very, very quickly (as it sounds like she is very smart) that the only thing its going to get her is time by herself and mommy is not fazed by it in the least.  You can get the book from the library or on amazon. I'm even willing to mail you mine to read if you'd like.  It will make you feel SO much better.  It also addresses having multiple children and how to handle them both accordingly. 

 

One additional thing. I think parents beat themselves up over timeouts. Like its so bad or you should be able to handle your kids without timeouts.  Let me be the first to say that I use to roll my eyes at the thought of them until I saw them done the right way. You will be amazed to see how good your kids will be in public just by saying "That's 1" after they get use to the routine and the consistent consequence.  I'm still embarrassed to have people hear me say it (Lol), so I usually say it very quietly and she gets the point. However, if you and your dh are not going to follow the same procedure, you'll be fighting a losing battle.  My daughter now (at 5) gets 5 minutes by herself, but she is allowed to do whatever she wants in her room as long as she is quiet. No tv, no pouting, no talking back.  If she mouths off when walking away, I double the time on her. It gets much easier as they see that your follow through is there. One thing the book brings up is that if you find it works for a while and then she starts throwing food again or not being kind to the kitty, 99.9% of the time it is because YOU have begun talking again. Like, "now remember don't throw the cat". No, no, no, simply get yourself back to the basics.

 

I hope I've helped. I wish I had the book when my dd was 2, didn't get it until she was almost 3 1/2. 

Let me know if you have more questions.

 

~Stephanie

 

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#4 of 15 Old 11-05-2011, 06:31 PM
 
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The problem with logical consequences and 2 year olds is that 2 year olds are not logical.

 

When she starts throwing food, she's done at the table and she must be surpervised very closely with the kitten at all times, always.  Ideally, you would be holding the kitten while she interacts with it.

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#5 of 15 Old 11-05-2011, 06:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by funkymamajoy View Post

The problem with logical consequences and 2 year olds is that 2 year olds are not logical.

 

When she starts throwing food, she's done at the table and she must be surpervised very closely with the kitten at all times, always.  Ideally, you would be holding the kitten while she interacts with it.



I agree. 

 

 

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#6 of 15 Old 11-05-2011, 06:58 PM
 
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Just wanted to follow this!  Hope you get answers!

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#7 of 15 Old 11-05-2011, 07:39 PM
 
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What I've found to be helpful is stating the rules BEFORE something happens.

Such as:

"We're going to play with the kitten now. We pet her gently. We do not pick her up. We do not throw her. If you do kitty gets put away."

Then supervise and if she breaks one of the rules, kitty gets put away for a while where she can't get her, like in a bathroom.

When she's older ask her to state the rules to you before she plays with it.

This usually works with my 3yo.

HTH

 


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#8 of 15 Old 11-05-2011, 09:06 PM
 
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With all children and with two year olds in particular, the first thing you should reach for is not what to do AFTER the behavior has occurred, but BEFORE.

 

For some reason, the first thing parents think of when using discipline with their children is consequences. I don't really know why. Maybe in our western culture, we're so entrenched in behaviorism that we can only think of applying punishments or consequences to change behavior. Its far, far better to set them up for success by managing things on the front end or during rather than on the end.

 

Anyway, two year old plus kitten is beyond her abilities right now. Kitten must be supervised at all times during interaction with your little one. Really, there's no way around that. Its expecting too much for her to be able to always remember gentle touch. Its hard for my 6 year old, sometimes.

 

Throwing food - it sounds like this might have become a combination of attention-seeking plus bid for autonomy plus typical two year exploration of gravity. My style would be to remove the attention and give her the autonomy by putting a shower curtain under her chair and giving her lots of things to toss that aren't necessarily food (small stuffed animals, etc). With no attention and all the opportunity she wants to explore gravity the behavior will probably go away eventually. Well, it will definitely go away eventually. But I've been informed by the neighbors that I'm too permissive and accommodating and will end up with a child who thinks the world is her oyster. Oh well. Anyway, if you don't want to try to meet whatever needs are going on behind the throwing of food behavior (and she won't be damaged if you don't, she'll be fine) generally what works is to have the child sit close to you, keep her food on your plate, make sure that she really does want to eat and couldn't possibly be not hungry, and give her one or two bites at a time. This stage will pass whatever you choose to do.

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#9 of 15 Old 11-06-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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In our routine, there's always something enjoyable that come after meal time such as a walk, or play time, or reading.  Perhaps you could explain that if she makes a mess then there will be little or no time for a certain fun activity and that you'd really like to be able to do this thing with her?

 

 

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#10 of 15 Old 11-06-2011, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you everyone for responses...definitely think I need to do more "setting up for success", and we are using a baby gate with kitten so when it gets too rough, kitty gets a "time out" :)

 


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#11 of 15 Old 11-07-2011, 10:17 AM
 
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I think with toddlers in general controlling behavior is all about prevention!

 

If you don't want her throwing dishes that break...don't give them to her...tupperware and spoons is all she gets at least until this phase passes.  I also would not give her whole plates of food.  One bite at a time until she can control her food flinging impulses.

 

Since you asked for opinions...I personally think I would find a new home for the kitten until your DD is older, but if that's not an option for your family, in the name of being a responsible pet owner, I do not think you should let your toddler play with the kitten ever.  She really could hurt the kitten very badly, and without any warning.  You might not be able to intervene or she may grip the kitten tightly.  Toddlers can be freakishly strong when they are determined.  I got a bunny for my 5 year old thinking he was old enough to treat it nicely.  We gave him rules and boundaries but still the rabbit got seriously hurt when our back were turned looking after the new baby and he decided bunny would like a ride down the slide and he chucked him down the slide sending bunny crashing into the pavement below.

 

Poor bunny rabbit.  He was OKAY, but bleeding a bit and scared to death (which can be a risk for heart attack for small animals like bunnies and kittens)...we found him a new home and we are thinking of revisiting the kind of furry pets that can be carried and hugged until our DD is old enough to handle it.

 

Kittens are cute, but your DD seems to be showing signs of not being ready.  This is not to say she won't be ready in a couple years, but she's not ready yet.  Do you have a friend the kitty can stay with until the family is ready for the pet?  If not, I would keep the kitten sequestered to DD-free zones of the house until she is old enough to get how to treat animals.

 

When I take away privileges like this with DS I typically revisit the issue in three months time, supervise closely and and decide on the freedom allowed given each test.  With a really young toddler, they change so fast you might revisit in a month instead.

 

I think the key to logical consequences at any age is considering what measures of prevention can be taken to avoid this happening again.

 

Sometimes these measurements wind up in screaming fits of protest (for example if I give my DD just two raisins instead of the whole  bag she flips out) but you stick to your guns and they usually comply with the rules that allow them to have what they want.

 

 

That being said, time outs are not horrible scary things for kids at that age.  Using it now and and again does not make you a harsh monster.  They may not be effective in the long term, but they diffuse heated situations in the moment and can be a good emergency tool when needed if they work for you.


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#12 of 15 Old 11-07-2011, 12:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post

I think with toddlers in general controlling behavior is all about prevention!


You know, at ages other than toddlers too! Dd has been having trouble getting dressed in the morning before school. She's 7. She threw a huge fit this morning because she couldn't find any underwear, then pants, then socks. Tonight, we're going to start the routine of laying out all the clothes before she goes to bed!

 

Your 2 year old is testing her boundaries. She's not doing this to 'give you the middle finger', she's really curious about your reaction. It's not personal. She doesn't have the social baggage that comes with active defiance. She's testing her physical and social world as hard as she can. "I threw the bowl. It broke. Cool. Wow, mom got really upset."  That's why prevention is key. If you really can't have her doing something, you have to set it up so she'll not be able to do it. As others have said: no breakable bowls, no time with kitty in her arms, no access to things she can break.

 

2 year olds (no matter how verbal they are) can't reason through the consequences. They have little impulse control -- "oh, what happens if I..." is immediately followed by doing it. The thought that Mom is going to get really angry doesn't occur to them until after they've done it. I think "baby-proofing" is misnamed. It really should be "toddler proofing".

 

You can set the stage for success later by going over the rules verbally, but you'll be a lot less frustrated if you don't expect her to remember for a while. A 3 year old is better able to look back and look ahead, but even they aren't great at it. (And as witnessed by a the pp's story with the rabbit, even 5 year olds aren't great at it sometimes.)

 

Two year olds are very much testing their world physically. Three year olds test their control over all things, including you. Four year olds test their power socially. The testing doesn't go away, it just changes. So, making sure that you see this as testing the boundaries (which you should, of course, enforce) rather than a personal attack on you, is really important. It's really not about you. It's about them. Even when they're teens and they tell you it's all about you, it's still about them.

 

 


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#13 of 15 Old 11-07-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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You know, at ages other than toddlers too!

 



True, true.

 

(sometimes even grown ups need preventative measure to behave well...e.g. if I don't have breakfast I am a BIATCH at work most of the morning until the coffee break snack cart comes to the office.  I would like to behave better, but I function poorly on air in my tummy.)

 

 


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#14 of 15 Old 11-07-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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True, true.

 

(sometimes even grown ups need preventative measure to behave well...e.g. if I don't have breakfast I am a BIATCH at work most of the morning until the coffee break snack cart comes to the office.  I would like to behave better, but I function poorly on air in my tummy.)

 

 


This is SO TRUE!  And it helps me to remind myself of this often so that I can temper my own reactions to my kids with sympathy.  When I am hungry or tired I feel awful, and it is really hard to behave well.  Those are the times that I most often over-react to my kids and my partner.  When my kids behave badly and hunger or tiredness is a huge part of the problem I remind myself of that and it helps diffuse any anger reaction on my part.  (And it's made me learn to ALWAYS carry a snack in my purse!!!)

 

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#15 of 15 Old 11-07-2011, 07:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post

True, true.

 

(sometimes even grown ups need preventative measure to behave well...e.g. if I don't have breakfast I am a BIATCH at work most of the morning until the coffee break snack cart comes to the office.  I would like to behave better, but I function poorly on air in my tummy.)


lol.gif When I'm hungry, watch out! (I do a pretty good job of having breakfast -- I can't function without it, but before dinner can be a stressful time at our house.)

 


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