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I posted this in the Toddler forum but thought I should post it here as well...I guess I realize I haven't really identified our "discipline technique". I haven't read any books. I am flying by the seat of my pants & it's time to figure out what works for us...<br><br>
DD1 is 2.5 & just not doing well with sharing. The result being frequent meltdowns (crying & hysterics) with some pushing & grabbing & I just don't know how to handle it.<br><br>
And I admit, I spent DD2's pregnancy focused on vbac research & fell very behind on toddler rearing reading. So I feel kind of lost. I know 2.5 can be a tough age & that having a new baby sister can also be tough. I guess I would like to just try & figure out what I can do to help, not make her behavior worse.<br><br>
The meltdown behavior has happened without sharing issues being involved too. Sometimes she is hungry, sometimes tired. But often, in some way, she didn't get what she wanted & that is how she reacts. Pure emotion pouring out at 100 mph.<br><br>
Some friends are telling me I need to stop trying to talk or reason with her when she has a meltdown & that I need to ignore & walk away. I am trying to do that at home but I do find that hard to do when out in public. Other friends are also talking about discipline charts they are doing that involve sticker rewards & taking away of favorite things for punishment. (no snack after dinner, no book before bed, favorite toy goes away for a little while etc)<br><br>
What do you do? How do I parent my toddler? How do I teach sharing?
 

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Before I start...just yesterday my 3yo screaming at my 5yo about something she had he wanted...and she was being very high and mighty to him about it. It's always a work in progress, but here's my theory, FWIW...<br><br>
The externals are very, very important to a little one. When I am parenting how I'd like to, and not on default or in frustration, the most I say in those situations (even with my 5yo) is, "You don't feel right inside. That feeling is hungry/tired/overwhelmed/whatever it is. When you feel that way, you should tell Mama, x, and I will help you fix it." (Or, when you feel that way, you need to y, and you will feel better.) At that point, it isn't a discipline issue. They are back in baby mode, and feel frantic.<br><br>
During a meltdown, I typically acknowledge the feeling I perceive one time. Then I suggest words they could use to express what they are feeling. I offer a reason if I have one. And then I make it happen. I think we can stir them up more when we keep going about the issue and try to calm them. Mine have all seemed to appreciate my matter of factness. I still acknowlege them, like I said, but I put my emphasis on the "what to do about it" instead of their emotion, does that make sense?<br><br>
I try to be very direct, and simple. "If you throw that, I will put it on the fridge." She throws it. "Mama said if you throw that I will put it on the fridge." And do it. She screams, you say, "I'm sorry you are sad/mad/whatever. I said that if you threw it I would have to put it on the fridge. You threw it, so I had to put it away. I am going to read a book. You can come if you like." And I proceed to enjoy a good children's book in their line of sight. I don't discuss it further, unless I repeat what I just said. And I don't change what I offered over and over. I said I was reading a book. And I do.<br><br>
Property rights are important with a little one. They need to know what is theirs, just theirs, and what is yours. I don't enforce sharing at play dates. I tell my children before we get there that the toys at the other person's house belong to them, and they don't have to share if they don't want to.<br><br>
Again, 2.5 is young, so my conversation in the car might go like this:<br><br>
"We are going to Matt's house! Sometimes Matt does not want to share his toys. Sometimes you do not want to share your toys. That's okay, they are your special things. Matt has special things, too. If he does not want to play today, you can come sit with Mama."<br><br>
If there was a sharing issue, "Oh, Matt does not want to share his things today. Sometimes you do not want to share your things. You can come play with Mama." And then I would pick up my child, and follow through. No more discussion, except if I needed to repeat, "Matt did not want to share. Sometimes you do not want to share. Let's play cars." Then I pull out something fun and play with it. Eventually, the other child/ren will come around. He can't refuse to share, because they toys are mine.<br><br>
When we have others at our house, I have my kids remove the things they don't want to share. When other kids come over I remind them that they have put their special things away, and the rest may be played with. And I enforce. If I suspect my child is going to have a hard time sharing, then I remove ALL the toys before the other children come. The only things left out to play with are "mine", and I am sharing with everyone. If you can't play nicely, then I'll have to put my things away and we'll be done for today.<br><br>
I think issues with a 2.5yo need to be dealt with right when they happen. Punishing with a random thing, especially much later in the day is too abstract for one that young. I'm not big on punishing at all, I use natural consequences. And I wouldn't ignore and walk away, either. I just try to help them express it, and then help them move on.<br><br>
eta: Just trying to be more concise.
 

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We don't enforce sharing unless it's something like a large bowl of food. We emphasize taking turns or trading.<br><br>
Re: solutions suggested by friends:<br>
1. If she has a meltdown, she is in her lizard brain - talking does no good until she is calm. Hug her if she'll let you, help her calm down, then you can talk to her.<br>
2. I don't think taking away an after-dinner dessert works for a 2 1/2 year old who is having a meltdown at 2 p.m. - they don't have the long-range planning capacity to conceptualize delayed gratification. We are leaving the playground right now if you keep taking so and so's toy, they can understand. I still go for a lot of distract/redirect - take her to another part of the room if she's trying to take toys from another kid, go outside if the object is indoors, give her something else that's fun, pretend to fall down and request help...whatever you can think of to get her on another track than "I want THAT thing. Right. Now."<br><br>
My DS2 is older than your LO, into the holding stuff phase. He doesn't care what he has, but no matter what it is, DS1 wants it. I told him he has to bring another object to trade out for whatever the baby has, or he can wait until baby is done/drops item and then take it. This seems to work well.<br><br>
Mostly, what DS1 doesn't want to share is MAMA. No gettin' around that one though. We try to make special time for him and me, I acknowledge how he is feeling by mirroring what he says or is upset about. We work with him on identifying emotions, identifying needs (if he wants to nurse while baby is nursing - is he hungry, thirsty, or needs a hug/attention?). And sometimes the sad truth is that he has to wait for the attention.<br><br>
Harvey Karp's <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Happiest Toddler on the Block</span> might have some good strategies for you to employ.
 

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Thank you both SOOOO much for your thoughtful responses!!!<br><br>
Just 1 More-I am re-reading your post to take it all in as well as taking notes. And I am going to have DH read it as well. I will repost more of a response later on...I do have some questions & some wwyd scenarios.<br><br>
kcparker-I like Harvey's books but admit I only skimmed happiest toddler. Tonight I will be doing something with just DD1-not sure yet-but for a couple of hours we will get some quality time. The funny thing is that when we do that-she asks about DD2 & where she is the whole time????
 

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Just wanted to recommend "Unconditional Parenting" by Alfie Kohn. It's also on DVD, but I read the book, so can't comment on the DVD. He doesn't list 10 "magic solutions" to solving all parenting problems, but rather sets our expectations for our kids, and asks the question of what kind of adult do we want our child to become. He specifically talks about rewards and punishments, and the long term impact of those strategies. I think it's important to think about...do I want my child to do what I tell him today, or do I want him to go grow into an adult I can be proud of...and is my parenting style going to achieve that?<br><br>
As far as what to do in a specific situation...can you post some details? My 2.5 yr old will share some things with other kids...and understands private property to some degree, but he doesn't always know what he has to share (the slide), and what he doesn't have to (his toy cars). On the other hand, he doesn't have a younger sibling yet (until August), so I imagine it'll be hard for him to share his toys with a younger sibling. And so, I would think it's important for him to have his private space where to keep his toys so he doesn't have to.
 
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