Should You Discipline Your Toddler?
The short answer is yes. Discipline does not necessarily equate to punishment. Young children can drive a parent to his or her wits end in no time. The hardest thing for parents is to keep our cool and not lose it on the child, who, if we are really honest, is not purposefully driving us crazy. Usually it’s due to our busy day that the child’s activities are causing us stress and not the child. Parents should remember that while we know we love our children unconditionally, we need to make sure our children know that as well.
Discipline is often confused with punishment. Punishment is simply negative discipline applied which usually breaks the will of a child. Punishment usually only secures compliance but not submission. Spanking is a form of punishment that has lost favor with most parents in the past 10-20 years. Discipline is simply showing a child that he or she has done wrong, letting them know why it is wrong and explaining how they can do it differently next time.
Children should suffer consequences of bad behavior. Consequences may mean telling their big brother they are sorry, or cleaning up the mess they made throwing food. Consequences should always match the infraction and be age appropriate.
Always tell your child you love him or her no matter what when setting out consequences of bad behavior.
The most important aspect of discipline is consistency. You may be thinking you’ve never been consistent. We all have things about ourselves that need changing and you can change your habits. Another important aspect of discipline is that both parents are “on the same page”. You must back up your spouse and vice versa. Your spouse can help you remember that you told your child no ice cream after supper tonight. Don’t give in, not matter how much your child begs or negotiates. If your child refuses to stop simply send them to another room until he or she stops asking.
Being a parent is not easy and can be exhausting. Your children know how to wear you and your spouse down. Stay strong and be consistent and eventually your children accept no as no and yes as yes.