Toddler Discipline…an oxymoron?

The little one is getting older and perhaps a little wiser. She’s learning how to get what she wants and how to act up when she doesn’t.  She usually doesn’t go too far, but I am concerned on just how to discipline her. There are those who believe I should start spanking Syd, but I can’t do that in good conscience.  Partially because I don’t believe that she understands what’s going on.

But when she takes my recipe books and attempts to tear it to shreds, I can’t say that spanking doesn’t run through my mind.  Especially since there is only so much you can put on a top shelf and only so much childproofing can be done.

There are videos and books out there that are dedicated to toddler discipline.  Books like 1-2-3 Magic” and the like are really more change for way parents handle a situation than getting the child to change.  My favorite of the moment is ‘How to Get the Best From Your Children” by Jo Frost aka “Supernanny” .

Frost encourages parents to pay attention to what’s going on when a child is acting out.  Usually there are clues that will indicate what is going on with the child.

From Book Excerpt: Ask the Supernanny Part 1

When you’re right in the thick of things, separating fighting siblings every two minutes, or dealing with your toddler’s round-the-clock tantrums, it’s easy to lose your perspective. This is where a diary comes in handy. Refer back to it to see when and where problems tend to occur. Can you see a pattern emerging? Are there underlying issues that never get resolved?

If your kids squabble, bicker, or fight, what sets them off? Is sharing an issue? Are certain toys regularly fought over? Do your kids always act up when you’re otherwise occupied — on the phone, when friends come around for a chat, when you’re trying to talk to your partner? How do your kids behave outside the home?

The timing of outbursts can also be very revealing. When are your kids more likely to quarrel? When is your toddler most likely to have a meltdown? Small children who lose it just before lunch or just before the evening meal may well be hungry. Low blood sugar can make otherwise easygoing kids irritable. Bringing your mealtimes forward a little can help to ease the situation. In the same way, kids who are fractious in the evening may be overtired. An earlier bedtime could be the answer.

 All of this makes me think about what I am doing.  A lot of the times, Syd acts up when we aren’t paying attention to her or when she’s plain ole bored (Sundays come to mind). And don’t even get me started when she’s hungry. She will practically run into a wall if you let her. One thing I did change was the way I started talking to her. Instead of yelling, “No!” and “Stop that!”, I started to explain why I was turning what she wanted to do down and I started meeting her at eye level.  Once I changed how I handled things, I realized that she understood more than I thought she did and that she was running both me and her father ragged while she was getting what she wanted. Whenever we discipline her, she looks at me with a smile, laughs and then moves on to something else.

At least I got the screaming to stop.

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