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…About Disciplining a Toddler

by The Momma on July 15, 2011

The Daddy: Disciplining the Child: How Much, How Early, and How Often?

The Momma: I definitely think the Noodle is getting to the point of needing discipline. He understands commands, he knows when he’s doing something we’ve said not to do, and he’s definitely testing his boundaries. That being said, I’m finding it a challenge to find the right way to discipline him that feels right to me and still accomplishes…anything.

D: Yeah, it’s definitely more apparent that he’s testing boundaries now. You know, when you tell him not to drop food on the floor, and he looks directly into your eyes and slowly and deliberately moves him arm over and drops a Cheerio right on the ground.

M: The little turd.

D: Now seems to be the time to really hone it in and make a concerted effort with things like time outs, taking away the fun thing that’s distracting and the like, but it still feels awkward. Like some of that won’t sink in. It’s tricky.

M: I think it’s got to be a case of repetition, repetition, repetition. For his sake and ours. If we always have the same reaction to the same behaviors, then surely at some point it’ll click…right?

D: Right? RIGHT???!?!?!?!
D: Yes, I think that’s the way to go. Especially when he’s picking up on so many other things right now. The kid’s a total mimic, and I have to think the same brain-pattern making must apply to boundaries and rules as well. Did I say think? I meant HOPE.

M: I mean, he’s starting to get the picture. He knows what no means, he knows what time outs mean (even if I’m unsure of their effectiveness beyond letting ME cool down). He’s got to make the connection soon. Ish. I hope.

D: Yeah, for the record, asking him if he “needs a timeout” only to have him nod, say “ya” and then go over to the corner and sit down? Never in a million years was I expecting that one. Every time he does it, he might as well be saying “Checkmate, Dad. How’d that work out?” and I end up feeling totally bewildered and defeated.

M: I have to stop myself from laughing when he does it.

D: But getting back to the “right” “wrong” ways, it’s a challenge for sure. Not much seems like it’s a applicable, and other times, the more extreme stuff seems a little early. That, and the utter futility that seems to pervade when we do something only to have him do the exact same action not 5 minutes later.

M: Honestly, I think a lot of it is that at not yet two, capital D discipline isn’t really, totally, truly possible. That’s not to say that you don’t correct and steer and all that jazz, but the reality is his little squirrel brain just isn’t quite to the point of being to understand fully what consequences are, what empathy is, what remorse is. He WILL, I know he will, but right now he’s basically all id without any ego or superego to back it up (what up freshman psych!). So discipline, as a matter of course, is just really freaking tough right now.

D: Whoah, you went and dropped some science on me! The real drag is that with his size, when he does act up, everyone expects that he’s older than he really is, and that he’s an undisciplined brat. I know we shouldn’t worry about other people’s perceptions are, but that shit still gets to me.

M: I think that’s one of the toughest things for me. I just want to yell “He’s not 4, he’s not even TWO YET!” For the most part I can let it roll off my back, but there are occasions *cough airplane cough* where I just know the judgment is hitting from all directions and I get really stressed about it.

D: What was that? It sounds like you have a bit of a bad travel experience stuck in your throat.
D: Bottom line I guess is that this stuff is gonna get harder before it gets easier and that it’s the new parenting fun experience we get to power through.

M: What, you mean it’s not all Legos and swimming pools with kids? We gotta do WORK too?

D: Apparently. We must not have read the brochure carefully enough!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lex July 15, 2011 at 9:34 am

Can I just say that while I was reading this I had to put Munchkin in a time-out for hitting her sister in the head with a damn door? Because that just happened. And then came the almighty (?) time-out.

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