Tag Archive | "disciplining children"

How To Discipline A Toddler Without Feeling Guilty

Feelings of guilt are natural in parenting. But, it will not do you or your child any good. Fortunately, there are methods you can follow on how to discipline a toddler that will not leave you feeling guilty.

Set Rules and Stick To Them

Just like everyone else, children need boundaries. Talk to your toddler about your rules. Make him understand them clearly. For instance, do not just say “You are not allowed to open the front door.”. You have to explain to him the possible dangers he will face once he goes out of the house on his own. It is very important that you are consistent in your discipline. Do not put your toddler on a time-out for pulling his sister’s hair and then disregard the same behaviour the next. If he knows what to expect from you, not only will he be less likely to misbehave but you will not feel so guilty when he does and when giving him a consequence.

Give Yourself A Time-out

It is very common for parents to start yelling when their children are unruly and then feel awful about it afterward. Whenever you are angry at your toddler, take a break, count to ten or go outside and come back when you have calmed down. Having a clear mind helps you make good decisions when disciplining your toddler and you are less tempted to react in a way that can hurt or frighten your toddler (e.g. spanking, using bad words).

Ignore It

Learn how to pick your battles. All too often, toddlers misbehave not because they are being rowdy but because they want to exercise their freedom. Choose not to get mad over small issues. Ignoring the tantrum or misbehaviour is the best way to discipline a toddler without the guilt, especially if you are in public. Just let it go and eventually, your little one will stop whatever he is doing once he realizes you will not give him any attention.

Cut Your Toddler Some Slack

Say “no” every time and your toddler will see you as a mean mommy. If your toddler threw his peas because he does not like his food, control yourself from reprimanding him. Let him have his way sometimes. After all, your child needs to make mistakes so he can learn what behaviours are acceptable and unacceptable. Plus, always telling your toddler what to do will only leave you feeling guilty.

Keep It Fun

You do not have to be strict to make your toddler obey you. Look for creative ways to enforce rules. For instance, if your toddler does not want to brush his teeth or make his bed, turn it into a game by setting an egg timer and tell him the target is to complete his task before the timer goes off.

Recognize Good Behaviour

Whenever your toddler behaves or does something good, provide positive reinforcement. If your little one cleaned his room without being asked, do not just praise and say “You did a good job honey! Mommy is going to buy you a new toy.”, but encourage - “That was so kind of you. Thank you baby!”. The latter gives encouragement to repeat the behaviour without expecting any reward.

Guilt-free discipline will make things much easier for you and your child. It will help your toddler misbehave a lot less and regain your proper train of thought.

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Disciplining Children Without Using Threats

Parents have a hard time controlling their emotions once they are irked with their children. Hence, they result to using threats in the hope of correcting their toddlers’ bad behaviour. However, threatening will only backfire. Here are some tips on disciplining children without using threats.

Talk To Your Child

Communication is the best way to discipline a toddler. Instead of telling your toddler you will spank him if he does not clean up the mess he made, talk to your toddler in a calm yet firm manner and in words a toddler can easily comprehend. Help him understand that cleanliness is very important and that he should be responsible for everything he does. Set a clear expectation. Give him simple rules and let your child know that there will be consequences once he breaks them.

Decide On A Consequence

Giving a consequence is more effective than using threats. But, be sure you are consistent or otherwise they will become ineffective. Choose a consequence you think will work on your toddler. For instance, you can put him on a time out. Leave him in a quiet room for a few minutes (you can go to other room so you can still keep a close eye on your toddler) and once the two of you are calm enough, you can talk about the problem. Or, you may also withhold privileges such as watching TV, playing video games or playing with friends.

Change Your Words

The next time your toddler misbehaves in the grocery store, instead of saying “Stop running now or I will take away your toy.”, try, “Baby, can you help me find the cereal you like?”. This distracts him from the negative behaviour and offers a positive alternative.

Give Your Toddler Freedom

The more you threaten your toddler, the more he will rebel. Allow your little one to be independent. Give him options. If you want him to clean up his room, instead of saying “No dinner until your room is tidy”., you can say something like, “I want you to pick up your toys and return them in the toy chest. Do you want to do that before or after dinner?”. It gives your toddler a choice while making your expectations clear.

Ignore The Misbehaviour

Toddlers are attention seekers. However, giving your toddler the attention he is looking for each time he misbehaves only increases the misbehaviour. If your toddler is whining because of a toy you did not buy, ignore his complains. Once he realizes you will not give in, he will eventually stop.

Provide Positive Reinforcement

It is very crucial that you give your toddler plenty of love and affection. Giving him a hug or a kiss after a consequence will help your little one understand that you love him but his behaviour is not acceptable.

Most importantly, do not lose your cool. Restraining yourself from using threats can be difficult especially if you become impatient with your toddler. But, if you remain calm, your toddler will also feel calm which makes disciplining your child a lot easier.

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Five Common Mistakes Parents Make When Disciplining Children

Raising children is no easy task. Disciplining children is even harder and everyone screws up. Here are some discipline mistakes every parent should avoid.

Mistake # 1: Bribing or Using Rewards

“If you clean your room, I will buy you a new toy.” – sounds familiar? This is probably one of the most common discipline mistakes parents make. This strategy may work for a time, but after a while, your toddler will start misbehaving in order to get prizes. Do not bribe or offer a reward just to elicit a good behaviour from your child. Give rewards after a good deed is done.

Mistake # 2: Losing Your Temper 

It is not very easy to stay patient when toddlers do things that are not right. However, losing your patience will not get you anywhere. Plus, it will only show your toddler that the way to get attention is to misbehave, yell or cry. So the next time your toddler behaves badly, especially in public, try not to lose your cool. Count to ten. Breathe in and breathe out for a few minutes and then take both of your toddler’s hands in yours, look him straight in the eye and firmly say “You know that hitting is wrong. Violence is not good.”  The secret is not to humiliate or make your little one feel guilty, but to treat your child with respect.

Mistake # 3: Being Too Negative

There is nothing wrong with setting limits. Limits are good for everyone, especially for children. However, when parents constantly tell their children what to do and what not to do, children feel suffocated, causing them to rebel against the rules. Or when a toddler often hears his parents say “No”, the word loses its power. Instead of saying “Do not hit your brother!” say, “It is not good to hit your brother, you will only hurt him.” or instead of saying “No standing in the tub.”, say, “ We sit down in the tub because it is slippery.”. This way, you are telling your toddler how you want him to behave rather than dictating his every action.

Mistake # 4:  Modelling Behaviour You Do Not Want To See

When someone ignores you, you get mad. If you cannot get the washing machine to work, you yell. But, you get mad if your toddler reacts the same way when things do not go his way. Remember that toddlers mimic their parents. So the next time your child throws a tantrum, do not say “Shut up!”. Instead, get on his level, calmly tell him to stop and talk to him why throwing a tantrum is not good.

Mistake # 5: Praising Too Little

Affirmation is an influential approach for building self-worth. Give praise for a positive behaviour. When your little one helps out in setting the table, say “Honey, thank you for helping me prepare dinner. I am proud of you.” Knowing you appreciate his effort will motivate him to repeat the behaviour.

There is no manual for raising children. But, keeping these tips in mind can help you make your job easier.

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