Last night, Brittan from Babbling Brunette and I were talking about disciplining our toddlers. Her Madi is 3 and Rory will be 3 in May. To say it's a tough age...is an understatement. Rory (and Madi, I found out!) is incredibly strong willed. She's stubborn, slightly mischievous and at times a straight up holy terror. Really she's just testing her boundaries and figuring out consequences, right from wrong, all that stuff that unfortunately you aren't born knowing. When Rory hits Trace, she had to learn quite quickly that hitting equals time in her room. (Or whatever the misbehavior of the moment is!)
My mom works at a wonderful school for autistic children. A mom of two of her students shared their discipline method with me and I think it's genius. When the child misbehaves (hitting, kicking, biting, yelling, throwing a fit, whatever) you stop them with a firm voice, say "I love you too much to let you (insert action here)" then pick them up and calmly place them in their room.
I've been trying this for about 2 weeks with Rory and it's starting to work. I like it because saying "I love you" in the midst of discipline reminds me to come from a place of calm, a place of love. Forcing myself to use a calm voice is soothing to Rory and doesn't leave me feeling guilty. Letting her calm down in her room is great. It drives her bananas when she hears the rest of us having fun or watching TV. She gets mad that she's missing out on fun but being in her room, she calms herself down pretty quickly. There are a few toys and lots of books in her room, but nothing to really "play" with and certainly nothing to hurt herself on or with. Sometimes it takes her 3 minutes to calm down, sometimes it is 10. But whatever it takes, she calms down. Once she's done pitching a fit, I go in and we talk for a few minutes about what she did wrong, why she was in her room and why she can't repeat the action.
Is it perfect? Probably not. I'm sure some of you are reading this going "Kate is bananas! That would never work with my kid!" Well, that's true. It might not. It's working for Rory and for goodness sake, that's all I care about at this point. I'm ready to be done with this difficult stage in her life. (Which, by the way, was even WORSE last week when she was on Prednisone. Hello Roid Rage! BLAH!) As she gets older and her offenses get more serious, of course our method will have to change but for now...I'm thankful that something (anything!) is working.
Do you have a toddler? Nanny or babysit for a toddler? Got any discipline tips? Share away, please!