When gentile discipline and respectful connection don't work - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 01-19-2012, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband and I have practiced attachment parenting with our high needs toddlers since she was born. We wore her all the time, co-slept with her, I breastfeed until 18 months. I felt like we had a good attachment until she reached 2 1/2. Now things are going hay wire. I've read every gentile discipline book I can get my hands on. She will through tantrums that are just out of this world.  She will cry for hours over something as simple as changing or not changing her pants. I've tried respectful communication, getting down to her level repeating what she is telling me and then validating her. But this seems to only make her madder. She will whine and cry no matter what my answer is. We do have one or two good days where our communication is on track but the bad days are really bad. Our personalities just clash so much. I desperately want to find a way to get through to her. It seems like the only time she will listen to me is when I've been pushed to the limit and end up yelling at her with the anger of trapped dog. Then I feel so much guilt.

 

Any act of discipline no matter how small or large results in either ignoring me, laughing, or full blown tantrums. I need help in finding away to remain compassionate and gentile. Any suggestions are welcome.

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#2 of 16 Old 01-19-2012, 03:03 PM
 
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Oh that must be hard Mama, hugs for you.

This age is just so hard for you AND her. I dont have first hand experience since my son is 21 mo but I know that since few months now, I have become a lot more relaxed about pretty much everything. I read in one of the books somewhere how this is not the age to teach manners and that just struck me deep. If I forget the " rules " and give a LOT of freedom to him in evetything from meals to toys to outings to where to sit etc, days go more smoothly.
Are you pregnant or tired out due to some other reason as well? It requires infinite levels of patience and energy to handle them. I am sure other experienced mamas here will soon have advice for you.

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#3 of 16 Old 01-19-2012, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not pregnant but I am always tired. I have a 5 month old as well. I know we are dealing with new baby issues still. I constantly have to be on my guard about the babies safety. I rarely get more then 45 minutes to myself as one of them is always up. My my DD in discussion gets up at 5:30 in the morning and goes to bed at 8. She takes only an hour nap. She hates sleeping... She could go go go until her brain turns off for her.

 

I'm so confused about how to deal with her own confusion. She will has me for a snack and I will say yes. The she will start crying and tell me no. I will reply you don't have to have a snack if you don't want to and this will send her into a tale spin of crying and whining. It confuses me so much as to how to deal with that.

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#4 of 16 Old 01-20-2012, 05:15 AM
 
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What I find is that GD is not meant to "work". It's not a "technique" with instant results. It is more supposed to maintain a connection between parent and child while both go through good or bad times. For me, it also means responding to the child's needs, not their wants.

 

My ds was like your toddler in certain aspects. While I knew that the right AP thing to do was to validate his feelings when he was upset or hurt, it only escalated the situation into whining that could last for hours. What my ds needed was (and still is) to hear me say: get up, you're fine... and he was playing happily a minute after.

 

I also find it important, especially with my ds, to show that you're in control of yourself. That no amount of crying and whining will make you change your mind (if the matter is important... ds knows that many things are negociable and I'm allowed to change my mind, so he respects my decisions on non-negociable issues).

 

Your dd wants a snack? Fine. She doesn't want a snack? Fine as well. She wants to throw a tantrum about it? Fine, as long as she takes it to her room. You have the right not to listen to her screaming.

As for the sleep issue: your dd might be ready to drop her nap. Some kids drop it earlier than others.

 

That being said, your discipline issues might be influenced by the fact that you have a baby and a toddler. When my dd was 5 mo it was a difficult time for us as well, and my oldest was 5 y/o and in school full time; I can't imagine how intense is with a toddler.

 

Be gentle with her, she's still a baby, and most importantly be gentle with yourself.


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#5 of 16 Old 01-20-2012, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! Your comment really helped me understand a little more. I think the problem is I'm just not firm enough when it comes to the crying and whining because I want it to be over so quickly. And I think you you hit the nail on the head with GD not being an "instant results". I'll need to dig and find more patience somewhere.

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#6 of 16 Old 01-20-2012, 11:33 AM
 
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My DS is 9 and I didn't handle things very well when he was younger. So I find myself seeking advice everywhere for how to handle his extreme emotions. I found this site to be very helpful:  http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools

 

Also this one:

http://www.handinhandparenting.org/articles

(click "Browse All Articles" if only a few are showing)

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#7 of 16 Old 01-20-2012, 06:43 PM
 
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In addition to what others have said, I think it's important to realize that your job has changed between infancy and toddlerhood. When she was an infant, your job was to make sure she didn't cry and that you tended to her needs right away. As a toddler, she's finding she has wants, in addition to needs, but she can't tell the difference. She's also discovering big emotions (hence the tantrums). Your job is no longer to make all the crying stop, but to help her to learn to weather her big emotions. I find that a much harder task at times.

 

The other thing I'd say is to remember to keep your words short and simple. One thing I see a lot of parents doing is overtalking things. Sometimes, "shoes, please" works much better than "I really need you to put your shoes on because we need to get going so we have time to play at the park". My kids are now way past the toddler stage, and I still manage to overtalk things. Sometimes "jacket?" when dd has just discarded it upon walking in the door is much more effective than "please pick up your jacket, it's in the way and I'm afraid someone is going to stumble on it and fall". I think what they hear is: "jacket blah blah blah blah".

 

Finally, I'm posting here a long post I did up a few years back about disciplining toddlers. I wrote this when my kids were just past toddlerhood. Not everyone on the Gentle Discipline board would agree with how I do things (some people aren't a fan of logical consequences, for example), but it might get you thinking about some things..

 

 

-------

General tips for disciplining a toddler by LynnS6

Below I've given a list of my general tips for disciplining a toddler that I've collected over the years.  None of these are original with me – all are things that I’ve gotten from books. My favorite books are:
Parenting with Purpose by Lynda Madison (I like this one because it has info on 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s)
Becoming the Parent You Want to Be by Laura Davis & Janis Keyser
Kids, Parents & Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kucinka
Playful Parenting by Larry Cohen (works best for kids 3+, in my experience)


First, remember that discipline = teaching. For me, good discipline means teaching the child what to do and what to expect. Also remember that learning new things takes time. Your 20 month old can’t tie their own shoes, so don’t expect them to learn to not throw their spaghetti on the floor in one day.

Before you discipline remember that children need to be well fed and well rested before they can learn anything. Feed your toddler every 2 hours. Make sure they get enough sleep. If you're both tired and cranky (dinner time), you're going to have more battles. Try to plan a quiet activity or a way to cool off then. If your child has been sick, expect their behavior to be "off" for the 10 days to 2 weeks it takes them to fully recover (even if they "look" OK).

Remember too that mom/dad also has a tendency to over-react if they are hungry, tired or stressed. If you know this, you may need to tend to your own needs before you can help your child.

Finally, the middle of a meltdown is not a time for teaching. It's a time for getting through. All in all, it's my reaction that makes the difference to discipline. If I know what I'm doing and can remain calm, I can handle a lot of situations. When I lose it (which I do all to frequently), things don't go as well. On the whole, however, we muddle through pretty well. Note too that these are my ideals. I often fall far short of my ideals. My goal is not to be perfect, but to keep moving in the right direction.

Here's the short version of the list:
1. Create a positive environment
2. Fill your child's need for attention in positive ways
3. Tell them what to do, not what not to do.
4. Remember where they are in development.
5. Decide if the behavior needs correction/stopping
6. Find a safe way for them to do what they're trying to do ('honor the impulse')
7. Gently help them comply/physically show them what you mean
8. Explain/warn of the consequences (keep them logically related)
9. Calmly enforce the consequences

1. Create a positive environment.
For me, this means child-proofing so my child is free to explore. The easiest way for a child to have a good experience is to simply be able to explore without limits because there’s nothing dangerous around. So, toys should be age-appropriate (that means no toys that they can take apart), books should be board books only, knick knacks should be put away, stereo equipment etc. should be behind doors/guards.

For others, this means helping their child explore the dangerous things until the urge is out. (That's easy to do with one, harder to do with more than one because your attention is divided.) Sometimes if you hold a fragile object or help them hold fragile object, that's all it takes. I also taught my kids a 'one finger' touch. It's easier to keep it controlled and gentle. We spent a lot of time exploring the neighbors' Christmas decorations with one finger.

IMO, every child should have at least one room where they are free to explore. Our kitchen was one of these rooms. All drawers except 2 had strong latches on them. The 2 free drawers had pans in them. One cupboard was all theirs, full of tupperware and plastic baby bowls and cups (and a few pans). The other room was the living room.

2. Make sure you fill up your child's cup of attention daily.
If they get positive attention from you, they're less likely to act out just to get attention. I'm a firm believer in 30 minutes or so of focused attention where the child takes the lead in the play. When things are getting rough, this helps restore our connection. (This is why I love Playful Parenting -- it's got a great explanation of why this is so important, plus good tips for restoring the connection at difficult times.)

3. Tell your child what they can do.
Don't phrase things in the negative ;) . Phrasing things positively teaches your child what is acceptable and gets their mind off what they shouldn't be doing. So, instead of saying "don’t jump on the couch" say "come jump on the pillows". Instead of 'don't stand up on the chair' say 'sit down'

4. Remember where you child is in development.
A young toddler has a short attention span. A toddler has little impulse control. Toddlers have a hard time stopping a behavior once they've started it. A toddler isn't great a using words when they're upset.

Thus, actions speak louder than words for many reasons with a toddler. Toddlers are physical and tactile learners. They need to explore things physically and with their hands. Toddlers learn by repetition. They aren't doing this 85 times in a row just to frustrate you.

Even for older kids, this is a good thing to remember. My 6 year old didn't not see the world in black and white merely because she wants to rule the universe (though she'd really like to be Queen of Everything). My 9 year old isn't refusing to have a snack on the bus because he's being contrary. He's in a stage where you do not break the rules. Period.

5. Decide whether a behavior is really worth stopping.
Do I really care if my child takes ALL the puzzles off the shelf? Is it OK for my kids to slide down the stairs on an old air mattress? (They're pretending to race the luge.) Why shouldn't my kids ride their scooters in the house? (OK, they can't do it while I'm cooking dinner, but other times, why not?)

6. Find a way to honor the impulse if what they're doing isn't safe/acceptable to you.
Find something that the child CAN do that’s not the forbidden activity. So, if she wants to jump on the couch, put pillows on the floor and have her jump on those. If he wants to play in the toilet, set him up at the sink with a step stool, some bubbles and a few utensils.

If there just isn't a way to do this, then redirect to something they can do. For toddlers, sometimes just going to another room helps. For older kids, it's more effort to find something that they can be happy doing.

7. Gently help them comply.
Under 3s are physical learners and sometimes need to be physically shown what you expect. Handing them the toy you want them to pick up. Gently helping them put their feet on the floor might be more effective than telling them 5 times "feet on the floor".

Also, remember that kids listen better if you go over, get down on their level and gently touch them. That act of connection makes your words stand out.

In other words, it's impossible to discipline a toddler sitting on the couch. You really do have to get up and do it.

8. Warn of consequences
Tell your child what to expect. "Please drive that truck on the floor. Throwing is not safe. If you don't drive it, I’ll have to put it up to keep us safe."

When you're thinking of a consequences, keep them related to what the child is doing. Timeout for throwing spaghetti on the floor doesn't make much sense to me. Better would be to have the child help pick up the spaghetti. (And yes, sometimes that meant me putting a single strand of spaghetti in my child's hand, and walking with them over to the trash. When they were young toddlers, that single strand is 'helping'. At 5, my dd could clean up after her own spills.)

9. Enforce consequences
This must be done consistently and calmly. Enforcing it after telling them three times "if you throw that (again), I’ll take it." only teaches them that you don’t mean what you say, or that they've got 5-10 chances before they have to listen.

You also need to remain calm. This is the absolute hardest part for me. If I'm reacting from a place of anger, I'm not disciplining (i.e. teaching). I'm more likely to punish than teach.
What are appropriate consequences for a child this age? First, try to 'help them' gently comply. If that doesn't work, then I apply:

1. Removing the toy if they’re not using it correctly.
2. Removing the child from the situation.

For kids under 3, time-outs don’t do any good. (for older kids, it's also highly debatable.) Young children don't understand why they're in 'timeout', and they don't link the punishment (which happens after they've done something) to whatever it was they did.

Just removing them to another location is generally enough. So, sit them on the couch or a chair and say calmly, "keep your hands out of the toilet. it’s dirty." Then walk away (and close the bathroom door!). They’ll get up right away, but that’s OK. If you're really on your game you can add "Let's go play in the sink."

3. Remove yourself from the child. For example, if they're hurting you. So, if they hit, gently take their hand and say calmly "don’t hit. that hurts. You must be gentle (and demonstrate gentle)." If they do it again, then get up and say "Don’t hit, that hurts. I won’t play with you if you hit." and walk away.

Dd liked to bite when nursing. The first time she did it, I said "no" and stopped nursing for a bit. The second time in the same session, we were done. It took her about 3 days to learn not to. (And then she went through a period where she'd be tempted to bite, but would shake her head 'no' while nursing. While funny, that was actually much more painful.)

4. If you’re losing it, then it’s probably best to separate yourself from your child until you’re calm enough to deal with them reasonably. I had to do this on some long days with our both our kids. I'd plop them in their cribs/rooms, and after 3-5 minutes, I could deal with him again.

After our kids turned 3, we did timeouts in our house on occasion. Almost always it's when things have gotten out of hand we need to separate to keep ourselves sane/safe. If my kids hit, they were levitated to their rooms until they calmed down. When I'm tempted to spank my kids, I immediately leave the room. (I took a walk down to the corner and back during chore time last week because dd had really set me off. My kids now stomp to their rooms and slam their doors when they're mad. Huge progress.)

Sometimes we send a child to their room for interminable whining. If you've been offered a hug, a cuddle and an alternative to whatever is making you whine, and you're STILL whining or screaming, it's time for you to go be by yourself.

My kids often feed off of my negative energy, so a separation (either me putting myself in my room or putting them in their room) was effective in breaking the cycle.
 


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#8 of 16 Old 01-21-2012, 09:08 AM
 
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When my first child turned 2 1/2, he went from being calm, easily distracted, and easygoing to throwing tantrums for small things, nothing would distract him, and he was always getting in to things that weren't a problem before.  I had thought he could sense that a new sibling was coming soon and that caused the change, but DS2 is going through the same change and I'm not pregnant right now.  There's something about the development at 2 1/2 that kids start to try to show their independence.  Sometimes I can see a situation escalating and I try to head it off with a hug, a kiss, and a zerbert (or a raspberry, as some people call it) on the stomach, neck, or wherever is easy to access.  I'll walk up to DS and I'll say, "You know what you need?  A big hug (usually I hug from behind because it's harder to hit me from there), a big kiss (and I give kisses all over), and a zerbert.  Not always, but often, this stalls the escalation enough to distract.  Sometimes I need a breather and I have to walk away before getting creative.  It's a really tough age! 


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#9 of 16 Old 01-21-2012, 05:38 PM
 
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I do think what GD means to one parent can vary with what it means to another parent based on the needs of their individual child. We found around age 2 that when my daughter was in tantrum mode she needed to be put in her room to calm down. With an audience the tantrum would escalate and last up to an hour. No amount of talking would ever calm her, only fire her up more. Ignoring also did not work. I would laugh at times because I did not know what else to do. With quiet time in her room, she would calm down and come out happy when she was ready. Now at age 4 she almost always takes herself to her room when she is upset and very rarely do we have to guide her. She will calm down and play by herself for awhile and them come back out perfectly happy. We never locked her in or anything and when she was younger we might have to guide her back a few times and explain that she could come out when she was calm. I think we were helping her regulate herself. Of course I wondered if we were teaching her not to show strong feelings, but ultimately it came down to how much and how long should we let those feelings affect the rest of us negatively before it become unfair to our emotional well being.

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#10 of 16 Old 01-21-2012, 07:46 PM
 
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If you don't have one already a snack, meal, and nap routine may help a lot. I didn't realize how important routine was to my DD until she started daycare system almost two and became much happier during the week. I implemented the same routine at home and she was much happier. It was a big adjustment for me to stick to at first but I also came to love the predictability. It may really help for her to have predictable snack times if her hunger is causing meltdowns because she is too hungry to communicate what she really wants to eat. Making sure she has free access to water by leaving a water bottle or sippy cup where she can reach it may also help. Sometimes thirst can feel like hunger.

It sounds like you may also be trying many different things without giving one a long try. Nothing is effective immediately. I have found that consistency is even more important during testing phases and times when we are going through a big change. I suggest picking one strategy and sticking with it. I also suggest being quietly there for your DD when she starts spiraling into a tantrum, if you can spot the beginning and head it off then that is great, but once it starts I suggest avoiding trying to reason with her. NPR had a great talk about the science of tantrums, if you Google NPR tantrums you should find the article easily.
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#11 of 16 Old 01-27-2012, 08:40 PM
 
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So she only gets 9 hours sleep total? That could cause a lot of tantrums -- sleep deprivation. Have you read Sleepless in America? Do you have a bedtime routine for her that works? Hugs.

Also, the book, "Your Two Year Old" talks about how 2 1/2 (and 3 1/2) is the destabilizing age. Something about that 6 month mark is a big change and causes big feelings.


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#12 of 16 Old 02-07-2012, 08:43 AM
 
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I haven't read all the replies yet, but I saw Lynn answered and she helped me through a lot of stuff when my oldest was that young. I also wanted to recommend Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's "Raising your Spirited Child" and "Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles".

Also, being a parent of a spirited child (actually 2) who feels his emotions very passionately, I have just realized that I am always trying to "fix" it to make them feel better. As hard as it can be, I think that sometimes they just need to ride that emotional rollercoaster. So maybe she needs to finish the ride and she is getting upset that you are trying to stop it. Either sit there with her or give her space, whichever she requires.

good luck!

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

In addition to what others have said, I think it's important to realize that your job has changed between infancy and toddlerhood. When she was an infant, your job was to make sure she didn't cry and that you tended to her needs right away. As a toddler, she's finding she has wants, in addition to needs, but she can't tell the difference. She's also discovering big emotions (hence the tantrums). Your job is no longer to make all the crying stop, but to help her to learn to weather her big emotions. I find that a much harder task at times.

 

The other thing I'd say is to remember to keep your words short and simple. One thing I see a lot of parents doing is overtalking things. Sometimes, "shoes, please" works much better than "I really need you to put your shoes on because we need to get going so we have time to play at the park". My kids are now way past the toddler stage, and I still manage to overtalk things. Sometimes "jacket?" when dd has just discarded it upon walking in the door is much more effective than "please pick up your jacket, it's in the way and I'm afraid someone is going to stumble on it and fall". I think what they hear is: "jacket blah blah blah blah".

 

Finally, I'm posting here a long post I did up a few years back about disciplining toddlers. I wrote this when my kids were just past toddlerhood. Not everyone on the Gentle Discipline board would agree with how I do things (some people aren't a fan of logical consequences, for example), but it might get you thinking about some things..

 

 

-------

General tips for disciplining a toddler by LynnS6

Below I've given a list of my general tips for disciplining a toddler that I've collected over the years.  None of these are original with me – all are things that I’ve gotten from books. My favorite books are:
Parenting with Purpose by Lynda Madison (I like this one because it has info on 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s)
Becoming the Parent You Want to Be by Laura Davis & Janis Keyser
Kids, Parents & Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kucinka
Playful Parenting by Larry Cohen (works best for kids 3+, in my experience)


First, remember that discipline = teaching. For me, good discipline means teaching the child what to do and what to expect. Also remember that learning new things takes time. Your 20 month old can’t tie their own shoes, so don’t expect them to learn to not throw their spaghetti on the floor in one day.

Before you discipline remember that children need to be well fed and well rested before they can learn anything. Feed your toddler every 2 hours. Make sure they get enough sleep. If you're both tired and cranky (dinner time), you're going to have more battles. Try to plan a quiet activity or a way to cool off then. If your child has been sick, expect their behavior to be "off" for the 10 days to 2 weeks it takes them to fully recover (even if they "look" OK).

Remember too that mom/dad also has a tendency to over-react if they are hungry, tired or stressed. If you know this, you may need to tend to your own needs before you can help your child.

Finally, the middle of a meltdown is not a time for teaching. It's a time for getting through. All in all, it's my reaction that makes the difference to discipline. If I know what I'm doing and can remain calm, I can handle a lot of situations. When I lose it (which I do all to frequently), things don't go as well. On the whole, however, we muddle through pretty well. Note too that these are my ideals. I often fall far short of my ideals. My goal is not to be perfect, but to keep moving in the right direction.

Here's the short version of the list:
1. Create a positive environment
2. Fill your child's need for attention in positive ways
3. Tell them what to do, not what not to do.
4. Remember where they are in development.
5. Decide if the behavior needs correction/stopping
6. Find a safe way for them to do what they're trying to do ('honor the impulse')
7. Gently help them comply/physically show them what you mean
8. Explain/warn of the consequences (keep them logically related)
9. Calmly enforce the consequences

1. Create a positive environment.
For me, this means child-proofing so my child is free to explore. The easiest way for a child to have a good experience is to simply be able to explore without limits because there’s nothing dangerous around. So, toys should be age-appropriate (that means no toys that they can take apart), books should be board books only, knick knacks should be put away, stereo equipment etc. should be behind doors/guards.

For others, this means helping their child explore the dangerous things until the urge is out. (That's easy to do with one, harder to do with more than one because your attention is divided.) Sometimes if you hold a fragile object or help them hold fragile object, that's all it takes. I also taught my kids a 'one finger' touch. It's easier to keep it controlled and gentle. We spent a lot of time exploring the neighbors' Christmas decorations with one finger.

IMO, every child should have at least one room where they are free to explore. Our kitchen was one of these rooms. All drawers except 2 had strong latches on them. The 2 free drawers had pans in them. One cupboard was all theirs, full of tupperware and plastic baby bowls and cups (and a few pans). The other room was the living room.

2. Make sure you fill up your child's cup of attention daily.
If they get positive attention from you, they're less likely to act out just to get attention. I'm a firm believer in 30 minutes or so of focused attention where the child takes the lead in the play. When things are getting rough, this helps restore our connection. (This is why I love Playful Parenting -- it's got a great explanation of why this is so important, plus good tips for restoring the connection at difficult times.)

3. Tell your child what they can do.
Don't phrase things in the negative ;) . Phrasing things positively teaches your child what is acceptable and gets their mind off what they shouldn't be doing. So, instead of saying "don’t jump on the couch" say "come jump on the pillows". Instead of 'don't stand up on the chair' say 'sit down'

4. Remember where you child is in development.
A young toddler has a short attention span. A toddler has little impulse control. Toddlers have a hard time stopping a behavior once they've started it. A toddler isn't great a using words when they're upset.

Thus, actions speak louder than words for many reasons with a toddler. Toddlers are physical and tactile learners. They need to explore things physically and with their hands. Toddlers learn by repetition. They aren't doing this 85 times in a row just to frustrate you.

Even for older kids, this is a good thing to remember. My 6 year old didn't not see the world in black and white merely because she wants to rule the universe (though she'd really like to be Queen of Everything). My 9 year old isn't refusing to have a snack on the bus because he's being contrary. He's in a stage where you do not break the rules. Period.

5. Decide whether a behavior is really worth stopping.
Do I really care if my child takes ALL the puzzles off the shelf? Is it OK for my kids to slide down the stairs on an old air mattress? (They're pretending to race the luge.) Why shouldn't my kids ride their scooters in the house? (OK, they can't do it while I'm cooking dinner, but other times, why not?)

6. Find a way to honor the impulse if what they're doing isn't safe/acceptable to you.
Find something that the child CAN do that’s not the forbidden activity. So, if she wants to jump on the couch, put pillows on the floor and have her jump on those. If he wants to play in the toilet, set him up at the sink with a step stool, some bubbles and a few utensils.

If there just isn't a way to do this, then redirect to something they can do. For toddlers, sometimes just going to another room helps. For older kids, it's more effort to find something that they can be happy doing.

7. Gently help them comply.
Under 3s are physical learners and sometimes need to be physically shown what you expect. Handing them the toy you want them to pick up. Gently helping them put their feet on the floor might be more effective than telling them 5 times "feet on the floor".

Also, remember that kids listen better if you go over, get down on their level and gently touch them. That act of connection makes your words stand out.

In other words, it's impossible to discipline a toddler sitting on the couch. You really do have to get up and do it.

8. Warn of consequences
Tell your child what to expect. "Please drive that truck on the floor. Throwing is not safe. If you don't drive it, I’ll have to put it up to keep us safe."

When you're thinking of a consequences, keep them related to what the child is doing. Timeout for throwing spaghetti on the floor doesn't make much sense to me. Better would be to have the child help pick up the spaghetti. (And yes, sometimes that meant me putting a single strand of spaghetti in my child's hand, and walking with them over to the trash. When they were young toddlers, that single strand is 'helping'. At 5, my dd could clean up after her own spills.)

9. Enforce consequences
This must be done consistently and calmly. Enforcing it after telling them three times "if you throw that (again), I’ll take it." only teaches them that you don’t mean what you say, or that they've got 5-10 chances before they have to listen.

You also need to remain calm. This is the absolute hardest part for me. If I'm reacting from a place of anger, I'm not disciplining (i.e. teaching). I'm more likely to punish than teach.
What are appropriate consequences for a child this age? First, try to 'help them' gently comply. If that doesn't work, then I apply:

1. Removing the toy if they’re not using it correctly.
2. Removing the child from the situation.

For kids under 3, time-outs don’t do any good. (for older kids, it's also highly debatable.) Young children don't understand why they're in 'timeout', and they don't link the punishment (which happens after they've done something) to whatever it was they did.

Just removing them to another location is generally enough. So, sit them on the couch or a chair and say calmly, "keep your hands out of the toilet. it’s dirty." Then walk away (and close the bathroom door!). They’ll get up right away, but that’s OK. If you're really on your game you can add "Let's go play in the sink."

3. Remove yourself from the child. For example, if they're hurting you. So, if they hit, gently take their hand and say calmly "don’t hit. that hurts. You must be gentle (and demonstrate gentle)." If they do it again, then get up and say "Don’t hit, that hurts. I won’t play with you if you hit." and walk away.

Dd liked to bite when nursing. The first time she did it, I said "no" and stopped nursing for a bit. The second time in the same session, we were done. It took her about 3 days to learn not to. (And then she went through a period where she'd be tempted to bite, but would shake her head 'no' while nursing. While funny, that was actually much more painful.)

4. If you’re losing it, then it’s probably best to separate yourself from your child until you’re calm enough to deal with them reasonably. I had to do this on some long days with our both our kids. I'd plop them in their cribs/rooms, and after 3-5 minutes, I could deal with him again.

After our kids turned 3, we did timeouts in our house on occasion. Almost always it's when things have gotten out of hand we need to separate to keep ourselves sane/safe. If my kids hit, they were levitated to their rooms until they calmed down. When I'm tempted to spank my kids, I immediately leave the room. (I took a walk down to the corner and back during chore time last week because dd had really set me off. My kids now stomp to their rooms and slam their doors when they're mad. Huge progress.)

Sometimes we send a child to their room for interminable whining. If you've been offered a hug, a cuddle and an alternative to whatever is making you whine, and you're STILL whining or screaming, it's time for you to go be by yourself.

My kids often feed off of my negative energy, so a separation (either me putting myself in my room or putting them in their room) was effective in breaking the cycle.
 



I absolutely understand what I have been doing wrong. My daughter is turning 4 next month and I have been having some trouble. Not so much now that I am home more, but a bit better. I just need to work on my negative energy because my daughter has learned which buttons to push, and it is worse when I am tired.

 

 

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#14 of 16 Old 02-12-2012, 09:34 PM
 
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Hugs mama. A 2.5 yo and a baby sounds really difficult with any parenting style.
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#15 of 16 Old 02-13-2012, 12:18 AM
 
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Hugs.


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#16 of 16 Old 02-13-2012, 06:28 AM
 
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Hi,

with young kids parnts need to take cues from kids and be responsive , creative and create an environment that avoids triggers. You may want to work with her solving problems that predictably come up. depending how verbal she is, you may ask her what's up, what are her concerns, what's bothering her , you may make tentative suggestions and let her choose , could be more than one , then try to work with her to find a mutually satisfying solution

 

This is called collaborative problem solving - CPS  - there are 3 sites  livesinthebalance.org  thinkkids.org and a blog Allankatz-parentingislearning

 

Mary

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