If considering win an argument with a toddler this is like trying to hopscotch on quicksand – it’s not going to work. Inappropriately punishing or yelling at a child will only result in hurt feelings on both sides not to mention raising your blood pressure and draining your emotions as well.
Advocates of positive discipline for toddlers teach that children can, and in fact do, behave without yelling, bribing, threatening, or physically injuring the child. The following tips will help you get on the right road to practicing better disciplinary behavior while creating a more harmonious connection to your child.
1. Understanding the Reasons Behind Your Child’s Behavior
Experts claim that children inherently want to behave well. However, if and when they appear to get off course, there’s a reasonable explanation for it.
It’s your job as the parent to discover why they are exhibiting the behavior. Once you understand the cause of their actions, you can simply remove it and heal the emotions behind it. As a result, your child will be less likely to behave in that particular manner any longer.
You may need to ask yourself specific questions related to certain actions: Why is your child constantly punching her younger sister? Could it be a desperate attempt to gain your undivided attention? Perhaps you ignored your child while frantically trying to get dinner on the table or when you stayed on the phone too long.
If so, you need to determine what changes you can establish in your own behavior that will be more congruous to the needs of your child. In general, adults expect too much from children today.
2. Your Expectations of Your Child Should Be Consistent
Parents frequently ignore certain behaviors hoping they will eventually go away. As nice as that would be, that rarely ever happens. If your child physically harms another child, let them know consistently that the behavior is absolutely unacceptable – every time it happens.
3. Focus on Your Own Behavior – Not Your Child’s
Keeping a cool head in the heat of the moment can prove to be extremely challenging at times. However, you are indeed your child’s primary role model and whatever behavior you are displaying, you can be rest assured it is you who they will emulate.
Is your behavior acceptable? Are you yelling and screaming in order to gain control of the situation? If so, this is the wrong approach. You may ultimately have to count to ten, walk away, or call for backup.
Whatever you have to do, you must center yourself so you can effectively take charge. You are the parent.
4. Praise Good Behavior and Ignore the Bad
Most often, children misbehave because they are simply seeking your undivided attention. Therefore, it’s best just to ignore whatever they are doing that is considered bad.
Is your child incessantly whining and complaining? Walk away and pretend you can’t hear them; your child will soon figure out there’s a better way to express their feelings.
Overall, positive discipline for toddlers works much better than enforcing negative authority. Think of your behavior as a mirror, what your child sees is what you’ll be getting back in terms of behavior – good or bad.