When it comes to teaching our children, there are endless ways to discipline. Even to this day I still learn something new almost every other day. So why do we have such little patience in allowing our child to take the time to learn and to do it in the right manner? By right manner, I mean learning in a way that is fun and encouraging for them. In a way that excites them, makes them more inquisitive and happy to learn and ask questions. In a way that pleases them and so, fullfiling nothing or no one but their own curiosities.
I recently started researching more into disciplining my two year old because, well, if you have a two year old you would know they can be bouncy and happy one minute and suddenly have a melt down over not having sun glasses on outside in the ‘too briiiiiight’ sun. It was driving me absolutely insane, mostly because I didn’t know what I was doing. I had bits and pieces of advice from parents, from my family, from personal experience and from super nanny. That was it. I felt lost that we were having the same battles everyday and we were both going to bed absolutely shattered and annoyed at one another.
Punishment could never work for me. Partly because I’m not the kind of person to follow through with keeping my child on the ‘naughty’ step and also because the crying and screaming would ultimately make me give in. So I opted for a different way to discipline. Positive parenting.
I’ve incorporated this method into our lives for quite a while and one of the most important things I’ve noticed is the lack of power struggles I’ve had. There was a time when everything would stress me out because it wasn’t going the way I planned. This would ultimately lead to a lot of shouting, crying and feeling lost. By letting my child lead and understand their need to explore and figure out the way things work in this world, I’ve found my zen mode. It will always be things that have made you cringe – the crumbs from the biscuits, paint filled hands, tiny hands splashing water – this is all part of play. The day you adjust your mind to understand this concept, that is the day life will suddenly become easier for you.
Did you know creative mess can actually be a good thing for your tot? There are some fun ways to explore making a mess in the kitchen in the link above.
Overprotective or ‘helicopter’ parents constantly hovering over their kids can actually lead to anxiety in children and make them believe they can’t do anything right themselves. There has been a lot of study on this topic recently and you can see the correlation between hovering parents giving constant attention, when it’s not really needed, or just the need to control everything and the feelings it leaves the child with. Feeling of unworthiness, not being good enough and ultimately disappointing your parents because they don’t see your achievements even if it’s the smallest of things e.g. drawing a scribble by yourself and telling a story about your picture. Jana is now at this stage where she is happy to hold the pencil colour in her hand and attempt to draw. At first, she would think what she was drawing wasn’t good enough and always insisted I did it for her. Being patient and consistent in asking her to try over and over has given her the confidence to believe she can do it too.
At first it may seem like your losing power by listening to your toddlers endless demands, but don’t let the words of others interfere with your disciplining. They will not be spoilt and will not walk all over you if you listen to them. It might actually bring you two closer.
Of course positive parenting doesn’t mean toddlers will get their way when they do act out by hitting/biting/hurting others or throwing a tantrum – this is an opportunity for you to connect with your child.
Here are a few steps in how to diffuse the situation with minimum (or no!) drama:
- First and foremost you have to remain calm and in control because everything you do will eventually be mirrored by your child. The patience you show now will pay off in the long run.
- You have to get down to your child’s level in order to understand them and not intimidate.
- Empathise. It may seem that ‘as usual’ your child wants to be destructive and cause havoc in the middle of your grocery shop. He may be tierd, hungry or adamant on getting those candies. You recognise what they’re feeling and then give guidance. E.g. ‘You look angry, I know you really want those candies but it’s time for your dinner. How about we get you something to eat and think about getting those candies later?’ This makes the child realise you understand them and that it’s ok to feel all these big feelings but we need to learn how to keep them in control. Give them some time to cry then a hug and a kiss and repeat ‘you can’t have those right now, we need to go get your dinner now.’
- Remind them to use their words to explain their feelings because you won’t allow hitting/biting/pushing.
- Hugs cuddles and more kisses! 🙂
This is just a small example of what I’m talking about, in the upcoming posts I will try to have more examples that you can learn from on how to speak to your child so you both understand each other and are able to communicate with respect.