Thursday, April 15, 2010

Discipline & Toddlers

Leif turned to me in the car yesterday and asked me: "How do we want to handle this?" and by this he meant Riley's tantrums. When she first turned 1, she was throwing them here and there but by 14 months she had stopped. Now they've started up again and a simple "Please stop that" no longer works. I didn't realize just how strong willed my daughter was and I didn't realize how soon we would have to discuss discipline. She can go from happy to upset in seconds and then back again. I'm pretty sure this is normal for children her age, haha. But throwing herself on the ground isn't the best way of expressing her frustration. The question is: How do we discipline her while teaching her a better way to handle these situations?

I'm a firm believer in being a parent first, and a friend second. My child doesn't run things, Leif and I do. I don't care how hard you cry, kick and roll, no means no in this house. But whats the right approach to helping my daughter learn this? What will work best for her? I called my mom this morning and she gave me some advice on how to approach dealing with tantrums and getting Riley to listen. First she suggested Dr. Dobsons The Strong-Willed Child and then she shared her own personal thoughts on parenting. My mom and I butt heads a lot but we share the same views on parenting for the most part.

A lot of the things she suggested Leif has already started to do. Something I've noticed is that Riley tends to listen to Leif more. She doesn't seem to take me as seriously as she does him. I think its because I'm not the best at following through. Especially since Becks been born I've been letting her get away with a lot more and not addressing certain things. I'm learning that follow through and consistency are really important when it comes to discipline. Those two things are important when it comes to a lot of things:)

So, what is your approach to disciplining your toddler? And what advice have you been given that you'd like to share or advice you yourself have come up with? I'm all ears!


Patty said...

Well I don't have a two year old but I have had a few misbehaved ones in the classroom :-). I think you have it right with the following through and consistency. When I was a nanny, time outs always worked. I would just sit and let her cry and come back every five minutes and let her know when she was done she can leave and give her a hug when it was over/talk to her about it. It may not work for every child but it worked for this one. :-) You are a great mother and you will figure it out!

Anonymous said...

Well I don't have any toddlers but remembering how my tantrums were dealt with: I was given a spank and then a talking to a few hours later when I had calmed down as to why I was spanked and how embarrasing it was for my parents and that me being spanked in public was to show me how it feels to be embarrased.

All About Aleigha said...

Wow, i could of wrote this entire post (except the 2nd baby being born part). Aleigha listens to Henry so much better than me. I need help with this same thing so I'm anxious to see what others say. Time outs dont work for us anymore b/c she gets up & runs. I think I'll check into Dr. Dobsons.

Anonymous said...

Oh toddlers. They have such strong emotions. We are currently doing time out, and well it sometimes is affective and other times not. It can be more frustrating for me because of how many times I have to STILL put him back in time out.
The Wee One listens to the hubs more too because he isn't with him 24/7 like he is with me. So when the hubs comes down on the Wee One for some reason it means more to him. I've also discovered that if he sees me get frustrated or give up then he his tantrums get 10 times worse. Whereas if I stay calm I can generally get the problem solved a lot faster.

Now that I have written you a book, I am going to wish you Good Luck and can't wait to hear what you and Leif discover works best for her.

The Bailey Family said...

Haven't gotten to this yet, but was given a great book by a family friend before Clint was born. Here's the website to the school of thought:

Kendahl, Stepmom Extraordinaire said...

I am absolutely no help! I didn't have to deal with that phase since I came into Punk's life when she was 4 - pretty much past the tantrum phase. I can say that following through is huge! And kids will always pick one parent as the discipline-er and one parent as the good cop, so to speak. Looks like she's already got that pegged! Good luck!!

Sharon said...

I've raised 2 girls through the "terrible twos". What I remember about discipline is that whatever method you use, be consistent. And no means no.

Also, don't laugh or smile when she does something naughty. Even though it is cute and funny, you've got to put the parent game face on and make sure that your face and body language communicates that you didn't approve of what she was doing. There were many times I had to bite the inside of my mouth to keep from screaming with laughter at some of the antics of my girls. When they were out of earshot, I would bust a gut laughing.

Finally, let Riley know when she is being a "big girl" and reward her accordingly. Eventually, you will be able to remove the rewards because the desired behavior will be ingrained.


P.S.--Potty training is coming up soon for you. My younger daughter was trained fast because I tied in going on the toilet with wearing pretty dresses: I went to a consignment store and got 20 dresses for $20. As long as she went on the potty, she could wear her pretty dresses. She never had an accident.

Sharon said...

One more thing, being a parent of a toddler is far easier than parenting teens.....with toddlers, you can pick them up and move them; with teens, it's a whole 'nother story.

I'm at the teen stage and miss those days when they were so little. Yeah, I was sleep-deprived, but teens keep you up in other ways.

Enjoy every last moment with your little ones. You'll blink your eyes and they'll be grown. These times go by so fast.

Anonymous said...

As somebody who deals with tantrums every day (it's practically my entire job) consistency is the most important aspect of decreasing this behavior. If you threaten some type of consequence and don't follow through, she will learn that her tantrum worked and will get her what she wants (whether it is attention, an item she wants, or to get out of a task) and you will probably see an increase in tantrums in the future.
If you follow through sometimes, but not others, this is actually the hardest type of reinforcement of tantrums to break because sometimes it works (It's like the idea of somebody playing a slot machine.. sometimes you win, so you keep playing). And from my experience, the reason why she would listen to Leif more than you is that you have more opportunities to be inconsistent.
You may feel that you are having a harder time following through and that may be true, but when it comes down to it, nobody is consistent with consequences 100% of the time. You just have more opportunities because you are there for more of her tantrums/ challenging behaviors.
Time out or spankings are only effective if they are actually punishing consequences (She may not care about time out and may actually enjoy it, many children do), and punishment is only truly effective if it is applied consistently, every time a specified behavior occurs. If a consequence to a behavior is truly punishment, you'll see a rapid decrease in behaviors if you apply it every time. It also helps if it is related to the reason why the tantrum us occurring (e.g., She wants candy, you say, "No," she throws a tantrum, but she still does not get candy).
(Sorry that was so long, I just really like solving behavior problems :) )

KC said...

Hi Margaret,
It's been so long I can't remember how I stumbled on your blog a while back (maybe a year ago?) I think maybe we have mutual friends who are mutual friends or something and I'm pretty sure it was by a link from someone else's blog.
I'm just now getting caught up with my blog favorites after a long year. I've really enjoyed following your blog and your walk/journey with the Lord. After living in the US for 10 years and now having African American sisters who are following hard after him and understanding the struggles and trials that come along with that it's refreshing and encouraging to see a sister who has her eyes set on Him and how she is managing life and family in such a way as to bring Him glory.
Anyway, I just read this post today and although I don't have kids, I have many friends who do and as a Kindergarten teacher I'm thankful for the way they have modelled and are walking through discipline/correction. Many opportunities to observe and discuss these matters and mutual desires to train young ones in the way they should go and shepherd their hearts to Jesus have helped me in the classroom.
All that to say I've been encouraged and helped by 2 books that you may already know of and find useful. 1-Shepherding a Child's Heart (Tedd Tripp) and 2-Don't Make Me count to three (Ginger Plowman). My church does a parenting class based on the 1st book that I've attended and I've only read parts of the 2nd one. However, my friends have all read, shared and suggested insights from them both.
I've been greatly challenged and exhorted by these believers to get to the heart issues when dealing with the little ones entrusted to me (be it at work or when caring for friends' kids) in such a way that is Biblical and ultimately points them to His truth. It's never to early to start and from what I read on your blog I think you and your husband may be interested in some of the principles and help these books offered in raising your children.