On my one year old’s birthday, I was the happiest I could be! I thought “she’s going to start walking and talking, and we can sit in the bed and have movie night, this will be epic.” But… it was quite the opposite. It seems like the day after she turned one, she gained a new personality, and she is so busy. I get it; she wants to explore the world and learn all sorts of new things. She is still my sweet and helpful baby (thank God), but now it’s her way or the highway.
Here is a little background about my experiences with discipline. My mother and I had what I think a typical mother daughter relationship is; one minute I loved her and the next I still loved her but I was very mad at her. It happens, right? But the one thing she always knew was how to properly discipline me. Like many of you, I grew up getting whippings with belts, switches (that she would make me go pick might I add), or anything else that was lying around. And, I know you already know, but those whippings were not fun, like at all.
But over time, those whippings got old, and oh boy did she know it. See, after a while, my preferred punishment was a whipping. You wanna know why? Because I still had my phone, I’m still going to my volleyball game tonight, and I’m still going to the dance with Billy on Friday night. But then, she caught on! I remember getting in trouble (most likely for talking in school) and she took my phone. Honnney, I cried myself to sleep that night. I couldn’t live life without my phone!!! And I couldn’t go to the dance either, oh heck no! I felt like screaming “whoop me, whoop me now!!” But guess what, you bet that next week my mouth was shut in class!
But it’s interesting to reflect on this now, because while in high school, I took AP Psychology where we conducted a study on different types of discipline. And what I learned was amazing! We learned that for some children physical discipline (like whippings) was temporary; while using related or logical punishments (like time out or no game) seemed to have a longer impact on children. Since learning that new information in that awesome class, I vowed to do my best to never to put my hands on my children! Sounds easier said than done, right?
Before you had children did you ever give thought to how you would or wouldn’t discipline them? Will you be the woman in the store dragging her three year old out, or will you be that mom getting slapped in the face by little Bobby? But what if there was a small place in the middle that would work perfectly for you and baby. I am no expert by any means, but through motherhood I’ve learned a lot of pretty awesome things! Check out a few tips to consider when dealing with toddlers! Aren’t they just the best!
Patience my friend. I would like to think that before Riley, I was pretty patient, nah sis, you have no idea. Starting the discipline process is all about patience. It’s like a game. Who will tap out first? Honestly, in the beginning, I would tap easily. But now I can sit and have a staring contest with this one year old for hours.
Be consistent. This is a biggie. What is the point of starting a discipline regimen if you aren’t going to stick to it? Trust me, I understand, sometimes you feel like you need to step out of yourself and your religion for about two seconds, and then return to yourself and your morals to check on your child. It’s okay! Just take a few deep breathes, go get a bandage and an ice pack, since you were just smacked in the head with a McDonald’s toy, and continue with your day (sorry that just happened to me, and it still hurts). Practicing consistency with your toddler will also help with your relationship, and in other aspects of your life.
Applaud good behavior. In moderation sis, but this reward could be anything!! Riley loves to give me high-fives, so when she does something worthwhile, I get really excited and give her a bunch of high-fives! Find what works for your child, every child is different.
**Side Note: A few weeks ago, I found an old pink trunk that I brought with me to college and thought it would be the perfect toy box for Riley! So I cleaned it up really well, and voila, there’s her new toy box. So, as I was teaching her to put toys into said box, the first time she did it, I was ecstatic!! My baby knows how to clean up! I gave her a hug, kiss and a high five! Well apparently, that worked because we did that about 29 more times that day until all toys were in her awesome new toy box. I know what you’re thinking, and yes it’s tiring, and I will admit that by the 19th hug, they turned into church hugs. But I was just so delighted that she got excited about cleaning up and getting extra love from mommy!
Distract Them. Have you ever been in the grocery store and your toddler starts screaming? I usually grab something that I was planning on buying anyways and get really excited. For example I’ll say “Ohhhh Riley look at this, this is sooooo cool!!” This usually does the trick; if not stay calm the next tip should do the trick.
Think Like A Toddler. I actually had a good laugh with this and didn’t even realize I was doing it until I was with my mom and I told Riley “Don’t do that, that’s not nice!” And my mom said “She doesn’t know what nice is!” Then it clicked! I need to find a better way to let Riley know that wasn’t “nice”. So now when she does something that is not appropriate I sit her down and tell her no or “at-at” and/or act like I’m crying which works. The first few times I would try and tap her hand, but apparently that gave her the idea that it’s okay to hit back. But how can you blame her right? She doesn’t know that isn’t the appropriate thing to do, all she knows is that mommy did it to me, so I can do it back. Lastly, something that worked perfectly with most of us…The Look! You know that look your mom gave you, and you would stop right then and there and immediately become an angel child. Yup, this works too! But I would save this for the last resort.
Well this is all that I have thus far. What are your discipline tactics? Share your thoughts and experiences!