TODDLER TIME (and discipline)!

TODDLERS NEED A LITTLE EXTRA SOMETHING

There is a saying that says, “You better nip that thing in the bud” which means that in order for a change to be made for the positive, heading a negative action off at the pass immediately is MUCH better than letting something go. Your child doesn’t need to be twenty years old to understand that negative habits need to change, and as a matter of fact if you wait for the world to discipline your child … you will have waited too long.

So how do you discipline an unruly toddler? First of all you must realize that as a parent you are the one that your child looks up to. YES, this little one with what seems like all the grim determination to tear you down, doesn’t really know that they are getting on your nerves. In the middle of the night when they are thirsty, they look to you for a drink. When they need to go potty, they find YOU in the crowd. YOU ARE THEIR WORLD, regardless of how they treat you on their bad days, mommy and daddy are the FIRST thing they want in the morning, and the last thing they think about at night. When you take this to heart, you will understand that THEY WILL LISTEN TO YOU when you decide to put your foot down and say “NO” to their tyrannical demands. A firm “NO” often reminds them that YES, they DO defer to you for EVERYTHING.

WHEN DO YOU BEGIN?

I have always thought that a child isn’t too young to have a firm grasp of who is the boss (you their parent). For example, a flip flopping diaper change can easily be kept in check with a steady hand and direct eye contact. No one needs a “spanking” or a frustrated mommy during a diaper change, but if you give into a flip flopping baby by laughing and carrying on with them, you are actually encouraging a behavior you will regret later. (Flip flopping usually begins at around 6-9 mos, thus this statement is directed to this age group and the beginning of child/parent testing. A little chuckling is ok, but giving into bad behavior is well… giving into bad behavior).

“Those who love their children care enough to discipline them” Proverbs 13:24

THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE

Hurting people hurt people and are easily hurt by people. This post today is written with the intention to HELP you as a new parent “nip bad behavior” in the bud BEFORE things get too tough and too overwhelming. We have a standard in our house that we as a family agree to ALWAYS HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. In our house we DO NOT speak negative words, DO NOT call each other names, DO NOT throw tantrums or become overly dramatic and positively maintain a culture of positive thought and energy. It has been in my experience that children who have become subject to abuses have been subject to parents who were frustrated, stressed out, drunk, drugged or in other words overwhelmed at the very idea of “being a parent”. An unruly child is a manifestation of an unruly parent. It is in my opinion that kids need much less therapy than their parents do.

A SMART MOVE

From as early an age as possible, we have chosen to believe that our children are sponges and will become whatever we speak over them. Speaking that they are “smart, sweet, awesome, clever, kind, etc.” Has benefited us greatly, our children as a result have been since toddler-hood as awesome as we have spoken. It isn’t all perfect however, and sometimes they do melt down, complain, and fight. How do we deal with it? AS SOON AS WE NOTICE A NEGATIVE ATTITUDE we challenge our kids about it, even the 4 year old. We say, “You NEED to change your attitude RIGHT NOW, and if you do not change it,  you will have to go into your room until you can come out with a new attitude.” If their attitude DOESN’T change right away, we do what we threaten and send them to their room. They can not come out until they have stopped crying and can move on with a positive attitude. I don’t care if they cry or carry on, it is a natural response. I do care if they begin drama for drama’s sake, and in that case they can act up as much as they want – just as long as it is away from upsetting their siblings and us as their parents. Typically however, as soon as the thought of “being removed” from our group hits them, their attitude changes instantly and they choose themselves to change or be changed, it is their choice.

A NOT SO SMART MOVE

It is not a smart move to discipline a child when you as a parent are tired, angry, hungry, or lonely. Children are naturally going to push you to get your way. There have been plenty times when I have mistakenly raised my voice at a child because I myself was worn out. The “dumbest” move that a parent can do (as a parent) is to not take care of themselves. Take for example when you are on the airplane, when you are waiting for the plane to take off the Flight Attendant reminds you to put on YOUR oxygen mask before your own children. WHY? This is because you as a parent ARE the leader, and as the leader your children need you in PRIME shape before you can take care of them. It is NOT smart for you as a parent to become out-of-shape, over tired, spiritually weak or exhausted. This total lack of attention to personal detail can cause a harsh and unfair disciplinarian and unfortunately an abused child.

IN CONCLUSION

In conclusion toddlers need a little extra something. When raised properly a toddler who is watched, encouraged, uplifted and reminded that you are “their everything” positively, will grow to become a child who is encouraged and uplifted, and then will grow into a teenager who is encouraged and uplifted. Toddlers and babies are seeds which grow into adults. It is in my experience that the sooner you can speak good words to your babies and stand firm in tone while using eye contact when they need a little extra discipline, the better your future outcome with your children will be!

 

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In honor of our little ones going back-to-school I thought I would begin a series totally devoted to kids and how I as a mom of 6 have dealt with certain issues. For the next 30 days I am going to cover my “smartest” and “dumbest” moments in child raising pertaining to certain issues, here are the other posts in this series:

Articles pertaining to finances:

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