Anyone who has a toddler at home has faced the “Terrible Twos”, the age at which a child who was hitherto sweet and willing to listen, turns into one that throws temper tantrums and refuses to listen. While this may be an extremely challenging time for the parents, the behavior is quite normal and indeed, an important part of a child’s development. Children at this age are developing independence, learning how to express frustration and this unpleasant behavior is a side effect of this change. Parents must realize that the child’s refusal to act the way the parents want them to, is not a sign that the child doesn’t love them. The role of parents, in this case, is to instill discipline at a young age for the greatest impact. Here are some tips on how to discipline a toddler the right way without bringing on those dreaded tantrums.
- Pick your battles: Fighting every battle can be exhausting and frankly, not worth it. The children will simply take no to be the new normal and would not change their behavior. To prevent this, parents must prioritize their concerns according to their values and tolerance. Sometimes letting your child wear two different pairs of shoes can be ignored but stopping them from running down the street should be a priority. Decide what matters to you and stick to your decisions.
- Give them choices: One of the main symptoms of the terrible twos is the child’s growing independence. They want to choose what to wear, what to eat and what to play with. Presenting them with choices helps prevent frustrations that lead to tantrums while giving them a sense of control of their own lives. Ask if they would like an apple or a banana to eat or pink or yellow dress to wear.
- Keep it short and sweet: Children at age are not very good with logic so leave all the deep logical talks for when they are older. You need to be easy and shouldn’t forcefully put your complicated perceptions on them.Always remember: Short and simple things are easy for them to understand and much more effective than complicated ones.
- Don’t back down: Many parents think that giving in to the child’s tantrum is an effective way to stop the screaming. That is not how to discipline kids as all it teaches that if they scream loudly for a long time, they will get what they want. Same is the case with negotiating. So, stick to your guns and don’t back down.
- Introduce consequences: Your child should learn that bad behavior comes with consequences. This does not mean yelling or hitting as these outmoded disciplining methods have more negative impacts than benefits. Depriving your child of a bedtime story can be an effective deterrent for the bad behavior.
- Punish the behavior not the child: Never tell your child that they are bad. Say that the behavior that they are exhibiting is bad, even if it is a small one like biting a friend or a sibling.
- Praise them when the occasion demands it: Raising children is not always about teaching discipline, but it is also about praising them when they have done something good and reminding them that you love them. This positive reinforcement will make them exhibit a right and desired behavior.
The terrible twos and toddler hood may seem like a never-ending phase, but with little sternness and right proportion of love, you can sail through the journey with ease.