Although when dealing with your toddler, most of the time it’s all pleasure and joy, there are moments when a parent must act in a non-pleasing way. This is of course, for the greater good of your child. Instances of misbehavior are the perfect example for times like this. In this blog, we will discuss how to discipline your toddler.
In being a good parent you need to use these instances to discipline your toddler. This will help you get rid of the negative traits that your toddler could develop, and will also make parenting much easier and enjoyable for you.
Discipline your toddler like a toddler
It is crucial to remember that you are dealing with a toddler. For example, biting, kicking, screaming for no reason, breaking stuff, and so one, are normal things that are expected from a toddler. Remember that they are in the early stages of their existence.
Most child psychologists agree that it is during this stage that we start experimenting and trying out things.
This means that we are going to see what biting other children is like, what screaming and crying does, what happens when we throw that vase mommy fancies, and so on… You need to understand that this is a healthy process and it should be treated like one.
Your toddler will also try good behavior, hugging, showing love, being obedient, ‘helping out’ in their way, etc. To discipline your toddler you need to show them which one of the new things they are trying out are bad, and which are good.
You can’t discipline your toddler by sitting them down and having a conversation on the meaning of good and evil. That just won’t work. Instead you have to discipline your toddler like a toddler.
Keep in mind that they have a hyperactive brain, and a short memory. If you see something inappropriate going on, act! It is important that they realize you’re saddened by their behavior. Use a firm and serious tone when addressing something bad they have done.
Also be precise with your words. It is never a good idea to show off your masterful eloquence to your toddler. A simple “No…” followed by whatever bad thing they did, will always suffice.
Most of the time it can be problematic to tell what is the right response. It can be hard to tell whether you’re being too harsh or not harsh enough. Whatever the case may be, you should never scream, or use old-school spanking techniques.
This is potentially the worst thing you can do, as it wont discipline your toddler, instead it will teach them that violence and screaming are appropriate.
So with this in mind what can you do exactly to discipline your toddler?
The big NO: Disciplining your toddler begins with telling them “No!” from time to time. You need to set limits that cannot be passed under any circumstance. Don’t ever loosen these limitations, as it can send the message that nothing is off the table.
Be the example they need: It is a well-known fact that children imitate their parents. Around your toddler keep the attitude and behavior, you want them to have.
Patience: For most toddlers life is a sprint. They go from one thing to the other in a snap. For us adults though, life is more of a marathon… If you want to discipline your toddler, keep trying. Show them that you have the patience necessary to deal with all their misbehavior and still come out on top.
Punishment: Going back to what we addressed already, discipline your toddler like a toddler. Punishments should be your last resort, for the most extreme of crimes. Obviously you need toddler punishments, don’t go overboard.
“I am going to take away your toy if you don’t stop that thing you’re doing.” It is important that you always follow through with your punishments and never throw around empty threats.
Rewards: After showing the stick, you must show the carrot. Rewards are tricky though. It so easy to mistakenly teach your toddler that good behavior is something that they do only to get something in return. You need your rewards to be subtle and occasional.
Know when to give up: From time to time, your toddler just won’t listen. This doesn’t mean that you have failed to discipline your toddler, it’s just human nature. Let them be. Sometimes it is okay to let them have their way. Just pretend that you are unfazed by their behavior or even worse disappointed. Eventually they will give up on their own.
Be amazed: From time to time, catch your toddler doing something sweet, and be amazed. Tell them how fantastic it is that they did something like that. This will enable them to repeat good behavior.
It’s all okay: At some point you will have to say no to your toddler in public. You may risk having them throw tantrums around in public, but it is all okay. It’s better to discipline your toddler than to save yourself from an insignificant, brief, uncomfortable moment.
The effort you will have to put in to discipline your toddler is going to be tremendous. At the end of the day, it will all be worth it though. If you discipline your toddler, you will set the gears in motion, to make a wholesome, caring and amazing adult.