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Old 01-28-2013, 03:20 PM   #1
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Toddler Discipline Tips

My 2 yo ds is a typical stubborn, defiant toddler. But I have no idea how to discipline him for doing normal toddler behaviors. Such as not sitting down in the chair or for not listening especially when he is doing something is knows he isn't suppose to, like kicking or hitting (usually the dog).

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Old 01-28-2013, 04:36 PM   #2
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I use a combination. Carefully phrased "choices" so they do what I need, short time outs for safety issues like hitting, counting to 3 and then doing it for them (like if they insist on getting in the carseat themselves they have til I count to 3).
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:33 PM   #3
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Re: Toddler Discipline Tips

Isn't it a frustrating age/stage?!

Removing the audience works best for my 2.5yr old right now (ha! ask me again in another 2 wks & it will likely be different).

I've used these, all but the last are accompanied by purposeful ignoring of child & engaging with other child/spouse/person the phone (I pretend if no one is there):
  • timeout area, with timer on to release
  • room with door shut until ready to be coorperative/pleasant
  • in room with door shut until ready to get dressed for bed
  • leave the house to put other kid/bags in car if not getting outdoor gear on (I do go back for her - she just isn't in the first trip out)
  • gently take their hand/arm/foot & walk them through whatever they need to do (ie pick up thrown toy & put back nicely)

Then I try to be really pleasant & reset the tone when timeout or removal from a situation is over - everything is a clean slate!
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:38 PM   #4
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Re: Toddler Discipline Tips

I sound like such a meanie in my last post. I do try to be playful in parenting, too:

Ex. if they are being silly when we are trying to go, I address is directly:
"ah - you are being silly! I'm going to tickle that silly all out of you! " proceed to swoop her up, tickle like mad, giggle in her ear, blow on her belly, then look her in the eye:
"now I need cooperation. will you put your socks & shoes on first or you coat?"

And, yes, lots of positive encounters, new experiences, avoiding pitfall areas (hunger, overtired, lack of attention) goes a LONG way.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:47 PM   #5
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Re: Toddler Discipline Tips

We definitely try to avoid situations that will encourage defiance and I reserve some things for when I need them. For example, putting on shoes - she loves to put on shoes, but doesn't love to always go upstairs to get her diaper changed. So, I'll use that to my advantage to get her upstairs without a fight. Also she loves her current toothbrush and will stop doing almost anything to go upstairs and brush her teeth, so I talk about that as opposed to naptime, etc.

so, little things like that help.

I sorta just concentrate on what makes my life easier in a lot of those respects. She rarely fights diaper changes and clothing changes when she's on the changing table - she will tantrum if you try to do either thing on a bed or the floor.. so, we never do them anywhere other than the changing table.

a big help has been the book 'First the Egg'. She quickly has learned the 'first, then' agreement. So now, if we're struggling with anything, it works 90% of the time so say 'first you sit in your chair' and she'll say whatever like 'then, we read the book'. And I'll answer 'first the chair, then breakfast, THEN the book' and she seems to understand that she's not getting told 'no', she's going to get what she wants eventually. It works with a lot of things around here. First the diaper, then the shoes. First pick up your bear, then we'll do this puzzle, etc etc etc.

and then I try, instead of really disciplining, to tell her what to do. If she's hitting or throwing her bear or whatever, I try to tell her 'be sweet, be nice, bear gets sad when you throw him'. It takes times and consistency, but it works. Now, if she throws bear in frustration, for example, she'll say 'bear is sad' and go pick him up. Doesn't completely solve the issue, but she's 2 and she has no impulse control - she's gonna throw him. The important thing I can do is make sure she knows that it's not nice.

a lot of 'use your words' when she's whining or starting to tantrum. So she learns that she needs to use words to get what she wants instead of just screeching.

same with the cat. Except I don't have a lot of sympathy for our cat because she asks for it. Some things I will sharply tell her 'no' like stepping on the cat. But other things, like hugging the cat too tightly, I let the cat deal with it. The cat can get away.

Used to, she'd get in trouble for banging or scraping her utensils across the kitchen table. Now, we simply take the utensil from her and set it on our placemat. We tell her she has to 'act like a big girl' and 'forks are for eating'. but there's no real punishment, except she's learning that every time she does it, she loses her fork.

tons of positive reinforcement - she's practically a narcissist when she does something right 'good job, so sweet, I'm so proud of you' is what she'll say to herself when she's doing the right thing.

there are some deal breakers that land in 'discipline' right away. Which includes writing on anything other than the chalkboard with chalk and a few other things like that which, if left alone, can lead to other things I don't want her to do like writing on walls and floors with markers. Running away from me in public gets her a small spanking. And she knows it. I can pretty much trust her to stay on the sidewalk now because of that as well. She'll tell me 'stay on the sidewalk, not in the road!'

tantrums depend. If I can just walk away, I will. If not, then time out is used until she calms down. I don't put a timer on it because I'm not using it as punishment, per se, but as a 'you need a moment to calm down' thing. So, as soon as she's done, she gets to tell me 'no fits, I'm sorry mommy' and give me a hug.

so.. that's a lot.. but consistency, positive reinforcement, choose your battlegrounds, but don't overlook any battles (you let it go once and they'll try 100 more times to see if you'll let it go 2x).

can you tell I'm right in the middle of it? cause I have a ton of thoughts on it. I win and fail every single day. but it's getting better.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:14 PM   #6
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Re: Toddler Discipline Tips

I've found that really listening to my children & striving to relay to them that I understand their feelings makes all the difference. When toddlers feel understood & like their emotions (they themselves don't always understand) are validated they become new little people and negative forms of discipline frequently become unnecessary.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:22 AM   #7
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Re: Toddler Discipline Tips

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Originally Posted by raymark View Post
I've found that really listening to my children & striving to relay to them that I understand their feelings makes all the difference. When toddlers feel understood & like their emotions (they themselves don't always understand) are validated they become new little people and negative forms of discipline frequently become unnecessary.
This is interesting. Can you share some examples? Are you modeling after Happiest Toddler on the Block? I guess what I'm asking -- are you saying the same type of thing, or perhaps this is something you developed on your own?

I have a newly turned 2 yr old, so very interested in this topic!!
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:41 AM   #8
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Re: Toddler Discipline Tips

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Originally Posted by raymark View Post
I've found that really listening to my children & striving to relay to them that I understand their feelings makes all the difference. When toddlers feel understood & like their emotions (they themselves don't always understand) are validated they become new little people and negative forms of discipline frequently become unnecessary.
This is me too. While I do employ discipline techniques where things are not optional (shoes and coats when it's cold, carseats, no hitting, etc), I also try to not make a fuss about things that don't matter too much, and set them up for success.

So, for example, I verbalize their emotions when they can't (I see you're very mad. You didn't want to wear your coat, and mommy made you. We need our coats when it's cold). Even when I do need to discipline them, I validate their feelings (you were very mad at your sister for not sharing her toy. But hitting hurts, we can't hit people just because we are mad)
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:51 AM   #9
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Re: Toddler Discipline Tips

This is a great thread. Keep them coming!
I just wanted to touch on the topic of natural consequences. DD hates putting on her coat before we go out. Granted, it's a cool 58 degrees here and she really only needs a light fleece jacket. She says, "I'm not cold, I'm warm". I explain that it's chilly outside and she should at least take the coat with her if she won't put it on. DD will put the jacket in my bag and then head outside. Before she's past our front porch, she comes running back to me to say, "I'm cold!", and starts digging in my bag for her jacket.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:02 PM   #10
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I use a lot of redirection with DS. We also have our routine, which helps. If he knows what's coming, he's more likely to be sweet. Keeping him fed, lots of playtime and storytime. If he's really not listening, I don't ask repeatedly, instead, he can go to his room until he's ready to cooperate or look for his ears. I just sadly shake my head and say 'uh-oh. I think your listening ears have gotten lost. Can you find them for me?' And he goes off on search of them. By the time he comes back, he's usually ready to cooperate. It works...for now :-D
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