I've been on a steep learning curve with all of this gentle discipline stuff and I know I'm on the right track. I grew up with spanking and literally every parent I know spanks their children, but it is not what we are doing and I appreciate the support I get through reading this website and participating in forums. Gentle discipline seems to be working for us in many ways.
BUT...my 2 yr old loves cars and can't seem to grasp the concept of safe vs. dangerous. He just bolts out into the parking lot of our apt complex faster than I can think. And I'm 8 months pregnant, so I'm not always able to keep up anymore! I'm getting to the point where I'm dreading going out because he just DOESN'T listen!!! It doesn't matter how firmly I say "Stop" or "wait for Mommy"...he's too excited to pay any attention. I don't think it's defiance...I think it's pure excitement and I don't know what to do about it. My sisters would all tell me to spank him to let him know how serious it is. I know I don't want to do that, but I don't know what to do. How do I get through to him? I literally have nightmares about him getting hit by a car.
I just feel stuck because he's so big (just under 40lbs) and I am so awkwardly huge at this point in the pregnancy...the weather is finally nice and i want to get out, but feel like I can't unless there's another adult to chase him since he won't listen. He listens better at home, but when he's out or we're at the park with friends, it's like he just zones me out and gets too excited to hear me. Either that or he's completely ignoring me. Either way, I need help figuring out how to get him to listen better when we're out and about.
I agree with the harness with the leash. In fact, they make some really cute ones that work as little backpacks too, so he might actually like wearing it (the one we have is a little stuffed owl, we've also seen little monkeys).
Simply explain to your child why he has to wear the harness, for his own safety. Explain that Mommy doesn't ever want to have to discipline him but running into traffic/parking lots is very dangerous, so you will simply have to help him until he learns to stay at Mommy's side on his own. I am thinking of this situation as is pertains to my dogs also... Being on a leash is not punitive, it is for their own safety because they do not have the self-restraint to stay at my side on their own. In fact, the dogs get excited when they see the leash now, so your son might even start having a positive correlation with the harness, since it means you will be going out. *** Please do not take this comment as a direct comparison of your child to a dog, but at the very young ages, children's cognitive/reasoning abilities are very likely on par with a dog's ability to reason ***
I'm really glad that you are not choosing to spank your child in a situation where he hasn't actually done anything wrong, he's just being his rambunctious toddler self :) Try to remind yourself that restraint that is not used as punishment is not punishment (like the previous poster said, it wasn't punitive, it was a fact of life), and self-restraint is a skill that most people take a long time to learn (and many people never do) :)
We did use a backpack/leash thing briefly. They work well for 2YO's. I found that a cheap 'unbrella' stroller worked better for us most of the time. I don't view this as a punishment at all, just age appropriate expectations for young children. As they get older, and can comply with your safety expectations, they will get more freedom.
Not sure if something like this would be an option, but I signed my oldest DD up for gymnastics right after younger DD was born. She had a chance to run, jump, and play in a safe environment while I held the new baby.
" rel="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/familybed2.gif"> DD1 12/05, DD2 12/08
Computer Engineer- I write better in 1's and 0's. ;-)
I would just buckle them in the strolled when we needed to go somewhere. No need to stay inside!
The stroller is a good idea. I was able to just hold my toddler's hand but she usually wouldn't try too hard to get away. I would also suggest that before you open the front door you remind him of your expectations "we need to stay safe around cars so I'm going to hold your hand/you're going to sit in the stroller until we get to the _____. Ok! Let's see how many RED cars we can see!"
This will be a long term project. I still have to remind my 4yo often that we need to hold hands and concentrate when we cross a car park.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
I prefer a harness to a stroller if you're trying to get some of his energy out! :) My son is just over a year old, and we use our harness when we go to his older siblings' track meets. He is FAST and has tons of energy and it only takes two seconds for an accident to happen.
I wanted a very sturdy harness, and finally found one online. I think the web address is childharness.com. It is a Canadian company, very small--I think the woman's name is Elaine? Anyway, I'm thrilled with it, and we keep it in the car. I bring my son to work with me, and when we're outside doing garden work anywhere near a road, I put it on him! :)
Good luck Mama!
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