How to Discipline a Toddler

Discipline is a touchy subject for most parents to say the least. And it’s very rare that a parent has a clear understanding of what discipline entails, or how it is should be practiced. On top of that, every parent has a unique way of disciplining a child and that often results in two vastly different ideas on how to regulate a child’s behavior problems. Here you will find some tips on how to discipline a toddler.

Start by identifying what your idea of discipline is. What were you taught as a child? What have you read that has shaped your view of raising a well-disciplined child? The second thing to identify is what is your partner’s idea of discipline and how does it match up to yours?

Here are a few foundation blocks to consider concerning discipline for toddlers;

Be united

It’s so easy for a child to play mom and dad’s rulings against each other. Trust me, they don’t tire of the shenanigans and the ultimate aim of the game is to get a yes, when you have already said no. Standing together eliminates all possibility of this and saves you time, getting to the heart of the behavioral issue quicker.

Be attentive and inquisitive

Often, a child’s behavior problems are the result of something that’s bugging him. This is especially true for toddlers who can’t fully articulate what they are feeling. You’re possibly tempted to feel your little one is being a downright disobedient little monster when he is mid-fury, but he may just be tired, hungry, bored, uncomfortable or all of these. This is bound to make him moody. If this is the case, be sure to see to your child’s needs, but don’t let bad behavior go unnoticed simply because your little one is hungry. At some point, he will have to learn to curb his outbursts even if they are fueled by basic instincts.

Don’t turn a no into a yes. Ever.

You know that saying; it takes a lifetime to build a good habit and a couple of seconds to break it down? Well, the same applies here. Consistency is the key to teaching stability. It may seem like a daunting thing to do, but by being consistent, not only do you hold to your discipline choices for your child, you create an opportunity to prevent future behavioral problems in your child. After your cheese stick sees you’re pretty serious about your decision, the novelty will wear off and he will (even if reluctantly at first) respect your discipline.

A few quick tips:

  • Notice how your child responds to your methods. If it’s not working, try another tactic. Don’t discipline harder using the current technique.
  • Show your child what you want them to do and make it fun. If you have more than one child, get them to help each other behave morally. Make a game out of it.
  • Be patient and remember your toddler just doesn’t do reasoning. That will come later.
  • In the toddler phase, instead of turning to severe discipline methods each time your child vehemently says “NO”, try concentrating on guiding your child’s behavior first. Use your child’s behavior problem to bring his attention to what is and isn’t acceptable. Perseverance is the answer here.

Possibly the best word of advice that a mother has ever given me is to “suck it up and stick to your guns,” those were her words verbatim. Don’t forget that your ultimate responsibility is to ready your child for the world. Yes, they won’t always like you for it, but you are your child’s parent first and foremost and not his friend.

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