Gentle discipline when safety is an issue...2 yr old running into traffic... - Mothering Forums
Thread Tools
#1 of 9 Old 05-07-2014, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
RoseLemon's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 35
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)

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. 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.

RoseLemon is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 9 Old 05-07-2014, 09:14 PM
Yuba_River's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,404
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
That is tough. I went through phase like that when my Older son was 3. He had to hold my hand any time we were anywhere near cars. It wasn't punitive, just matter of fact. If he had been too big for me to hang onto that way I would have used a harness. I know people have strong feelings about those, but sometimes they are the gentlest option. I tried to balance the restriction with lots of time playing in safe places where he could run totally free. This will pass. Hang in there!

lucky mom to Oliver, 8/6/07, and Finn, 11/28/10, and wife to DH
Yuba_River is offline  
#3 of 9 Old 05-09-2014, 12:38 PM
StacySmith's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 19
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

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)   :)

StacySmith is offline  
#4 of 9 Old 05-11-2014, 12:18 PM
KSLaura's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Colorado
Posts: 595
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
At that age, my kids went straight from car to stroller or shopping cart....for their own safety. Once we get to a safe place, they could walk. I still require my 5YO to hold my hand in parking lots. If she doesn't, I pick her up and carry her (though, she is only 30 pounds). Doesn't happen very often though. When she is in a listening mood, we talk about looking both ways before crossing a street, being aware of your surroundings, etc...

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. smile.gif

" rel="">familybed2.gif  DD1 12/05, DD2 12/08

Computer Engineer- I write better in 1's and 0's. ;-)
KSLaura is offline  
#5 of 9 Old 05-18-2014, 06:30 PM
transylvania_mom's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: abroad
Posts: 1,079
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
I got an umbrella stroller for mine when they were that age. They are light, they fit everywhere, cheap (I payed $ 20 for mine).
I would just buckle them in the strolled when we needed to go somewhere. No need to stay inside!


transylvania_mom is offline  
#6 of 9 Old 05-18-2014, 08:42 PM
katelove's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 5,143
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 264 Post(s)
I agree with the PPs. This is totally age-appropriate behaviour and you will need to physically prevent him from running into the car park for quite some time yet I would think. It is great that smacking him is not an option for you and I doubt it would work anyway. I certainly wouldn't trust any toddler around cars just because they'd been smacked once for running into a car park.

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  mdcblog5.gif

katelove is offline  
#7 of 9 Old 05-19-2014, 06:10 AM
farmer's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 211
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)

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  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!

Mom to E(11/92), H(10/95), C(4/98), S(12/00) and M(4/13)
farmer is offline  
#8 of 9 Old 05-19-2014, 02:42 PM
BeeandOwlsMum's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 24,385
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 79 Post(s)
Toddler Runner here too. We are working on the rules. You have to be up or hold my hand when we cross streets, walk by busy streets, are in parking lots, are in stores. When we are in parks open spaces she can walk hands free. It's a lot of repetition. And a lot of up down up down. I also make sure she has plenty of time and space to run free, it seems to make the times when I need her to hold hands or be up easier if she doesn't feel confined at all times. A leash/harness wouldn't have worked for either of my children. You ever seen a cat on a leash, and how they just lay there? lol.gif yeah. Add in really mad yelling and there you go. So we opted to really work in teaching the girls what is safe and what isn't. Not the easiest for sure. :-)
BeeandOwlsMum is offline  
#9 of 9 Old 06-06-2014, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
that right, A leash/harness wouldn't have worked for either of my children,thanks
tomforucase is offline  

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 839

5 members and 834 guests
Dakotacakes , K703 , KerriB , lauritagoddess , omarinbox1888
Most users ever online was 21,860, 06-22-2018 at 09:45 PM.