Is Your Toddler in Control? Taking Charge of Your Tot
Are you getting so annoyed that you forget what behavior you were trying to prevent in the first place? The annoying child can pester you to the point where you don’t care what she does, as long as she stops bugging you.
In her book Toddler 411, Dr. Brown recommends these commandments of toddler discipline:
- Don’t back down to avoid conflict. Giving in just because your child is annoying you is not going to change the behavior in the long run. Nip this one in the bud.
- Be consistent. If you have the same set of rules and consequences in play every time your child has annoying behavior, it may soon come to a stop.
- Don’t yell, but change your voice. Even though your child is driving you up the wall, maintain control and talk in a voice that commands attention for the right reasons.
Give Up the Guilt
Is your little one making you feel like a monster because you’re spending too much time at work and not enough time with her? The guilt card is an ace to any clever toddler.
“Take a step back. You kind of have to rationalize it in your own mind, particularly if you’re a working mom,” says Dr. Brown. “If you reflect about how you interact with your child when you are around, you are less susceptible to the guilt card.”
Claire Robinson, a mother of two, says she never lets the guilt card enter the game at her house. “Give your kids dedicated time, give your spouse dedicated time, and give yourself dedicated time. Set limits and stick to them; don’t worry about what anyone says.”
Communicate with Your Spouse
Ever think you and your partner are being played for suckers by your toddler? Does he run to ask Daddy permission to do something after you’ve already said no?
“It’s probably a good idea never to promise a toddler anything because then once you’ve promised, you’ve set yourself up,” says Dr. Brown. “You can say maybe and leave it open ended—otherwise you’re the party pooper.” You’re also less likely to step on your spouse’s toes if you don’t make promises without checking in with him or her first.
Our toddlers are creative and clever; they don’t miss a beat. Yet with the knowledge of these manipulation techniques that children use, you can learn to spot the tactics and regain control over your toddler.
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