January 25, 2020

Positive Discipline for Toddlers

Toddler Next to the Lake

Almost every parent at some point will struggle to discipline their toddler. Once the ‘terrible twos’ have hit, you’ll sure know about it! However, discipline doesn’t have to mean telling your child off and yelling at them. In fact, many parents are now choosing the positive discipline approach, and are seeing huge benefits by doing so. Here, we will discuss some of the ways you can start to discipline your toddler in a more positive way.

1. Focus on good behavior

Toddlers respond much better to being told what to do, rather than being told what not to do. So, instead of telling them “don’t hit the cat”, try something along the lines of “we have to pet the cat gently”. Redirect their negative behavior into something more positive – toddlers love to please. It’s best if you can phrase things so you don’t even have to mention the bad behavior at all. For example, by saying ‘don’t snatch from your friend’, you will probably just reinforce the idea of snatching. By using a phrase like ‘use your words to ask for the toy’, without mentioning snatching or grabbing, your toddler is much more likely to perform the good behavior.

2. Give options, where possible

Toddlers love to feel in control, and in fact feeling like they are not in control is very often the cause for bad behavior. If your child has done something wrong, try and give them the choice over what to do next. For example, if they have hurt someone suggest they can either apologize or give them a hug. Or ask them if they would prefer to continue playing nicely or go and do something else to calm down. Simple choices are best for children at this age.

3. Prevent situations where bad behavior is likely to occur

If you have noticed that certain things or situations trigger negative behaviors in your child, try to avoid them, or at the very least be prepared to step in quickly. For example, if the child frequently fights over some toys with their friends, leave it out of sight the next time they’re playing together. Or if your child always has a tantrum in the grocery store, try providing distractions, or ask if someone else can mind the child whilst you go shopping. After a few weeks of not being taken to the store, you might find they are suddenly well-behaved the next time you take them.

4. Ensure the child understands what they are doing wrong

For older toddlers who understand most of what you are saying, and who are able to communicate well, this can be a great way to eliminate negative behaviors. Explain to them why they can’t shove their friends, or why they have to put on their coat to go outside. If your child simply thinks you are punishing them for no reason, they will probably keep repeating the behavior.

5. Let your child suffer the consequences

Of course, this depends on the situation, but it can work well under certain circumstances. For example, if your child will not eat their dinner, let them go to bed hungry. Don’t bribe them by saying they can have dessert if they eat dinner, or that they can stay up later if they eat dinner. Instead just use a phrase like ‘oh well, in that case you’ll be going to bed hungry. No more food until breakfast tomorrow.’. Using the ‘natural consequences’ of not obeying instructions is much more effective than bribing them with rewards which are not related to the behavior.

Hopefully, you have learned something new about how to positively discipline your toddler. Children respond really well to this kind of treatment, and you should notice an improvement in your child’s behavior almost immediately.

Links for Further Reading

It Takes a Village… Or, The Village, It Takes

My wife just shared this video with me. Take a look at this clip from Glenn Beck on The Blaze that’s an MSNBC promo for an upcoming story.

I’ve always had an aversion to the idea of “It Takes a Village”. I may have agreed more with this kind of a statement a few decades ago when the world was a smaller place and more people knew each other in the village they lived. I’m not sure about you, but there’s not a general agreement I have with the majority of people in my local community about how to live in general, much less what I want my children to learn.  Watch the full, unedited promo from MSNBC below.

Here’s what was said by Melissa Harris-Perry:

We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.

Do I believe an education should go beyond the walls of my home? Should it involve more people than just myself? Absolutely, but where it goes, who it involves and how far it goes should be under my complete discretion and without fear of retaliation or retribution on my choices.

What do you all say? I’m sure given the general audience of this blog it probably upsets many of you as much as it does my wife and I. But, what about your family members who don’t homeschool? What about your friends? What about those you go to church with that are educators themselves? What do they think?

I’d love to hear your comments below.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Facebook

I came across an article the other day that just had me flabbergasted. The story was of a mother in Texas that in essence banned her daughter from Facebook and other social media outlets after she had shared a photo via Instagram that were questionable of the type of daughter that she apparently pursued or wanted to be.

The daughter had posted a photo of her holding an unopened bottle of vodka on Facebook with the status of “I sure wish I could drink this”.

Did the daughter actually do anything illegal? No, not at all. Could she have used better judgment? Absolutely, because just like the mother shared in the article, there are risks for behavior even if it’s not illegal and those risks need to be understood and appreciated.

“I thought she knew better, but in her mind, she thought, ‘I’m not drinking, what’s the problem?'” Billingsley said. What the girl didn’t realize, she said, was that the photo might still send the wrong message to a future employer or prove attractive to a predator, who “can see it and think this is a little girl who likes to drink.”

Mom Bans Daughter from Facebook and Social MediaThe other thing that absolutely shocks me is the response from the media and others saying that the mother was being too harsh and shouldn’t have publicly embarrassed her daughter by posting the image below on her Facebook account.

The daughter apparently begged her mother to just give her a spanking instead of making her pose for the photo and having it posted.

Of course she did! She’s a smart girl, she knows the spanking would have just been painful momentarily and would have been over and not shared with anyone else. She realized by having the photo published by her mom instead would be seen by all of her friends and family (and now the entire national media). I’ll bet she’ll remember this lesson for more clearly than she would have remembered the spanking right?

If changing people’s behavior is best done by them being embarrassed about their own bad decisions and behaviors being made public, then perhaps a little more public embarrassment is in order. The odd thing for me is that people don’t realize or seem to care that their bad behavior is already being seen by everyone in the first place. Perhaps those of us who see the bad behavior and decide to ignore it or not point it out should change our own response. When we see someone being stupid and making bad judgment, perhaps we should call them out on it right when we see it in a much more public fashion. Maybe then we’d all start thinking a little more before acting, at least in public.

Oh, and one more thing. As the title of this post kind of poked at, your child having access to Facebook, Twitter, a smart phone and any other of today’s current “perks” of technology is NOT THEIR RIGHT! It is a PRIVILEGE! Keep that in mind before you decide to “reward” them by giving them access to something. It’s obviously much harder to take away than to withhold in the first place.

My son is 12 and he now has a cell phone and an iPod touch. He’s on Instagram just like this lady’s daughter. He doesn’t have a Facebook account because for at least one reason, the minimum age for a Facebook account is 13. Parents I want to remind you of that. If you’re child isn’t actually old enough to fulfill the Terms of Service agreement and you let them create an account anyway, what message are you already sending to your child?

It’s not a RIGHT! It’s a PRIVILEGE!