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not an issue for me yet since the big L is only 7 months old but.. this sort of terrifies me. i don't want to be a passive-aggressive parent, nor an angry parent, but i am sort of afraid of how i am going to react when he acts like a twat. some craziness could come out of my mouth. i don't want it to. at the same time i don't want to be a total enabler for his worst tendencies.

and from my understanding, at the beginning, there is simply no reasoning with them so i can't be all "here's WHY we have to leave right now" i just need to be like RIGHT, we're LEAVING. ?? this is not the kind of person i am!

Tracer Hand, Saturday, 18 July 2009 12:40 (twelve years ago) link

No, you can't reason with them. When they get up at three in the morning and want to play or watch Nick2, they don't know off the top of their head that you're supposed to sleep at night time, not dance around. You just have to tell them to do it.

And it does feel awful. I feel like an asshole staff sergeant most of the time, especially at dinner. But think about this: When someone gives you directions to somewhere, they just say "Turn left at the second light." They don't say, "With the expansion of the city in the 1960s, many businesses moved away from downtown and out toward the suburbs. With this manifest destiny, more roads were built to accommodate the growing numbers of commuters. In 1974, after many accidents at the intersection of Jackson and Airdale, a stoplight was installed with a second light being added two years later at the corner of Jackson and Phineas. A Carpet Barn was one of the earlier businesses to move its location, but with the death of its owner and the recession of 1981, the store closed leaving an empty building for many years until the facility was remodeled as a dance club in 1987. --- That is why you have to turn left at the second light to get to the club."

Telling a 2-year-old not to eat a mushroom in the backyard because it might have poison in it is like telling the equivalent of that last paragraph. It's hard for them to follow along and they probably won't care anyway. That's why repition of the simpler stuff is so effective. They're not going to learn why until much later on. (I'm 35 and I'm still learning "why" on most things.)

It's your job as a parent to sometimes be the bad guy and lay out the facts for them, whether they agree with it or not.

http://i34.tinypic.com/t0sw0h.gif (Pleasant Plains), Saturday, 18 July 2009 12:54 (twelve years ago) link

What he said.

Beanbag the Gardener (WmC), Saturday, 18 July 2009 13:34 (twelve years ago) link

But more specifically, you can't let a child's hysterics get you upset and shouty, because the feedback loop increases to total meltdown by both parties pretty quickly. Occasionally, I would worry that I was coming across as cold and unfeeling, but really, matter-of-fact and workmanlike is the best way to go to deal with toddler hysterics.

Beanbag the Gardener (WmC), Saturday, 18 July 2009 13:39 (twelve years ago) link

I can only speak for two-year-olds but IGNORE and DISTRACT are the two main weapons in my armoury when dealing with tantrums. And yes, keeping calm is really vital. I know parents who shout at (or worse, hit) their toddlers every time they do something naughty and it's horrible and ineffective. The only time I ever really raise my voice is on the (thankfully) rare occasions that Howie has hit someone.

In terms of getting them to do stuff, one tactic that works (at the moment) quite well with Howie is giving him a choice (as he is an independent little bugger). So if I need him to put his shoes on I say "Do you want to put your shoes on, or your sandals?" or if I need him to hold my hand, "Which hand do you want me to hold, your left or right one?" So he feels like he has an element of control over the situation.

Similarly, if I really need him to do something he doesn't want to, like lie down for his nappy change, I give him the choice: "You can come and lie down here, or I will pick you up and put you down." He so hates being forced to do anything that 9 times out of 10 he would rather come and do it himself.

Meg (Meg Busset), Saturday, 18 July 2009 20:47 (twelve years ago) link

Also: pick your battles.

Meg (Meg Busset), Saturday, 18 July 2009 20:50 (twelve years ago) link

i am so not cut out for this

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 19 July 2009 00:34 (twelve years ago) link

Oh, you are. Just remember it comes gradually.

One of the BEST things I learned when they have a tantrum, is to put them down on the ground. On their back. You might also stand over them and look at them with a blank expression. Trust me, it looks menacing for a kid. Then walk away. They quickly get the picture. This way you don't give them attention and the tantrums quickly subside. Well, quickly is of course a relative word. It's also great because they can't hurt themselves nor anyone else. Yes, I know it's about a tantrum. But with disciplining comes tantrums.

Unregistered Googler (stevienixed), Sunday, 19 July 2009 19:59 (twelve years ago) link

I basically agree with what PP said; the tricky thing is to switch from that to explaining. We started that at about 3 or 4, I think.

It's frightening when your discipline works sometimes. We're now living in a mid-sized apartment rather than a house, and so everyone needs to keep their voices down when inside now. This isn't coming easily, but I'm barking "keep quiet" all the time. But today the nine-year old plasters "do not yell" signs around the house. So she's getting it. But success in discipline feels strange, because so often you don't know if it's working until, say, the next big public tantrum about how she can't take a break from walking while in the middle of the road or whatever.

la saucisse est une femme? (Euler), Sunday, 19 July 2009 20:38 (twelve years ago) link

This is the hardest thing of everything. Trying to discipline two two-year-olds has been the toughest experience of my life. I think the one other thing I would add is that as soon as they are old enough to become attached to things (toys, books, TV shows), you can threaten to take them away, which is much more effective for some kids than yelling.

schwantz, Monday, 20 July 2009 03:44 (twelve years ago) link

Tracer - I know it sounds hard and it is, to begin with. You hear yourself saying the sort of things that infuriated you as a child - "because I say so!", "if you can't share it we'll put it away for good!", etc - and your heart sinks a little. I always thought I'd be able to avoid that empty rhetoric, patiently explain and justify any act of apparently arbitrary discipline to my kids but, as Schwantz and Meg say, (i) early on, explanations are meaningless to them and (ii) most of time, you're just trying to get their shoes on in less than 15min for chrissakes.

I also fear that I'm inconsistent: too lax (not following through with threats of toy/treat/trip withdrawal, but what are you going to do when you've got them all the way to the park gates, turn around and drag them home? Some threats are just empty and they know it), too severe (sudden withdrawal of privileges without forewarning because I've just had ENOUGH). Pam is much, much better at this than me. In fact, I probably undermine whatever system she has in the evenings and weekends. Not that they're well-behaved for her either. Oh lord no.

Picking your battles - oh so true. Jumping on the bed? A felony at 2, a minor misdemeanour at 3, a caution at 4. Drawing on walls/furniture? Always bad, always will be.

The first you make them cry with the content of something you've said, rather than the way you've said it, is a scary moment. A feeling of absolute power and terrible responsibility.

It's all good though, innit?

Michael Jones, Monday, 20 July 2009 08:48 (twelve years ago) link

I fear how Elisabeth will be. Even now she enjoys when I say no. She literally runs to the DVD player, starts pushing the buttons and looks at me. She also wags (?) her finger. If she's silent, I have to check cause usually she's doing something wrong. Like today: she was spraying the apple juice over the floor. She came to me, wagging her finger. I looked and agreed.

Unregistered Googler (stevienixed), Monday, 20 July 2009 13:56 (twelve years ago) link

i have a suspicion that the answer to this will be like the answer to all other parenting questions: just be more patient than they are, outlast them, and you will triumph

Tracer Hand, Monday, 20 July 2009 17:52 (twelve years ago) link

time out is an invaluable tool, imo. from when our oldest was relatively young -- 2, i guess -- we instituted it, and he understood it pretty quickly. if we said 'go sit down,' he had a designated corner he went and sat in. these days i just tell him to go to bed. usually a few minutes in his bedroom is all he needs to calm down. sometimes he'll stay there for 20 minutes, which is fine with me too. the hard ones are the tantrums in public. sometimes there's no real option except to scoop them up and get out of wherever you are. the 4-yr-old had a total meltdown on the playground the other day, so we just packed up and left and went for a walk. we found a fountain and he ended up sitting next to it for about a half-hour, just watching the water.

a lot of this i take from what i remember about being a temperamental kid. i used to have huge, crying tantrums. what i eventually found worked best was just getting out of whatever setting i was in, whether that meant going to a different room or going outside or whatever. time out follows that same principle, separating the child from the immediate situation that is creating the problem. definitely just yelling doesn't accomplish much of anything, although i won't pretend that that doesn't happen. i never feel good about it, but sometimes it's just there and i do it and vent what i need to vent and then go back to being as calm as possible.

the key thing i think is to think about it less as "discipline" -- which sounds so fascist -- than as civilizing. it's about teaching them how to deal with all the frustrations of life, all the times you don't get what you want or have to wait for it or the thing you thought you want turns out to be disappointing or you want the thing someone else has or etc etc etc. stuff that most grown-ups struggle with too. but everyone needs to know what the boundaries are, what kinds of expression of frustration or desire or disappointment or anger are acceptable and what kinds aren't.

flying squid attack (tipsy mothra), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 07:06 (twelve years ago) link

Elisabeth approached two kids in creche and pulled out some of their hair. She does this with Ophelia. Or rather attempts to but I try to stop her. It's very hard though. I usually am very strict but she continues to attempt the hairpulling. In the creche they put her in the bathroom. Timeout indeed. :-)

Unregistered Googler (stevienixed), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 20:42 (twelve years ago) link

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