5 Mistakes Parents Make when they Discipline their Toddlers
5 Mistakes Parents Make when They Discipline their Toddlers
Having young children is a full time job. There is a reason that the parents of toddlers are so scared when their children turn two. There is that common knowledge that the “Terrible Twos” are the worst age for toddlers. They are learning to speak better, they are more mobile, and they start developing their own little attitudes. It can be quite challenging to go through the act of raising them and making sure that you are doing it in a fair way that will not come across as being too strict.
We are all human therefore we should not be afraid of admitting that we make mistakes. Any parent will tell you that it is not an easy job, nor is it a job that you can do perfectly from the start. There are going to be things that are done that you will look back on later and wish that maybe you hadn’t done it exactly that way. Let’s take a look at five of the possible mistakes that parents make while disciplining their toddlers and work at maybe not having that happen or not continuing to do the same thing. Knowing what to look for when you do begin disciplining will help you keep yourself out of potentially frustrating situations that will only serve to cause you stress and anxiety later on.
1. Being too negative
One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of parents make nowadays is that they are immediately negative in their commands to their toddler. It can seem innocent enough, and you may not even realize you are doing it at first, but it happens. Phrases like “Do not touch that” or “Stop hitting the dog” are straight forward, sure, but they also come across in a very negative manner. Using the words, “Stop” and “Not” or “No” don’t always come across correctly to the mind of a toddler. They are still learning and to constantly tell them what not to do isn’t the best way of teaching them. It will end up turning into a game with them because they will of course want to do the thing that you said that could not do. Instead of disciplining them negatively, turn it around so you are explaining to them what to do while teaching and disciplining. Using phrases such as “It hurts the dog’s feeling when you hit him, so why don’t you pet him instead?” is much more effect than yelling not to hit the dog. And when you use this method, you need to praise them afterward when they have done the thing that you want them to do. It just positively reinforces that training. This will bring you an easier time later when making sure they behave correctly and it keeps you from constantly repeating yourself to the point of insanity.
2. No follow through with punishments
Another mistake that some parents make while disciplining their toddlers is that they do not follow through when they threaten a punishment for a certain bad behavior. Your child will never take you seriously as the leader of the house and as a parent if you do not follow through with something. If they are naughty and do not listen to you when you tell them not to do something or to stop doing something else, then you need to follow through with whatever warning it is that you give them. For instance if you are at the park playing with your toddler and they keep throwing rocks or sand at other kids or you, then you need to give a simple warning such as, “Since we do not throw sand at other kids, if you do it again, we will have to leave”. If your toddler does in face to it again, then simply pack up and leave. They will keep testing the boundaries that you set for them and if you do not reinforce them, they will continue to stretch them in every aspect of your discipline. Giving time-outs when they don’t listen is another great way for them to learn that they do need to listen to you or they will have to miss playing with their toys or having fun because they were acting naughty.
3. Using rewards and bribes to get them to listen
A huge mistake that can come to bite you later on is using bribes to discipline your toddlers. If you are trying to get them to behave in public or even at home, telling them that if they are good, or if they do a certain task then they can receive a toy or a treat, can be over used. You do not want to use this as your go-to way of getting your toddler to listen to you. If you do, you will eventually condition them into only listening to you if they are rewarded somehow afterward. By using this method too much, you break down the proper development that your toddler needs to grow. It of course can be very grueling and can easily start to wear on your patience if your kid will not eat all of their dinner, but instead of offering a treat every single time you want them to eat something, reinforce their good behavior with a positive comment. This will keep them from always expecting something in return, and it helps teach them right from wrong. So if they eat all their dinner without you even having to say anything to them, reinforce that with an “I am so proud you ate all your food. You are such a big boy.” This helps them feel like they accomplished something great. You can also use this if something negative happens. Instead of saying you will take something away because they acted a certain way or did something badly, instead say that you were disappointed in them for something and they will learn by the tone of your voice and the frown on your face that they did something wrong. This is all very important when your child is young and learning to have a better sense of right and wrong.
4. Yelling and losing your temper
Something else that is common and can happen to anyone is blowing up or yelling at your toddler when they have just pushed you to your limits. It can happen even when you are trying your best to not let it. But kids can keep pushing boundaries and when you have had enough, it is your first instinct to yell at them to be quiet or pick up their toys, or just eat dinner. But if you do this too often, it because ineffective as a discipline method. In enough time, your children will start to tune you out and just not listen to you anymore. In these times, it’s just always best to maybe take a step back, breathe, and go into the situation with a clear head. This will help not only you, but your toddler as well because in some cases, they don’t always understand why you are yelling at them in the first place. It will become white noise. So keep this from causing you further headaches and try to nip this mistake in the bud before it begins. You do not want to be one of those parents who are constantly yelling at their kid and that kid just doesn’t even listen anymore.
5. Excessive explaining or over talking
A lot of parents tend to make while disciplining their toddlers is lecturing or explaining too much. Toddlers are little people who are developing everything; therefore they will not fully understand what you are saying to them or what you are going on and on about. They will only really understand a few words and even then, their attention span is going to run out pretty quickly. The most effective way of getting your child to listen to what it is that you want to say is to speak is short sentences with your point being fairly easy to grasp. They will not want to listen to you explain just why it is that they should not hit the family pet with a wet towel. You will lose them pretty fast. Just tell them it is not a good idea and leave it at that.
Disciplining children is tough, and toddlers especially can be challenging to even the most patient person. But the key to being a parent that can discipline their toddler effectively is to make sure not to fall into some of the pitfalls and mistakes that we as humans are wont to do. Don’t be too negative; make everything a learning experience for them. Make sure to follow through when you are giving a punishment, but conversely, make sure not to use too many treats as rewards for good behavior or bribes. It will only hurt you in the long run. Keep your temper in check and not yell at them repeatedly, and of course, don’t over explain things to them .Keep away from all of these things and you will be a pro at disciplining your kid in no time.