Disciplining Your Toddler

When Gabbie was bitten by another toddler at a playhouse (http://etceteratbp.blogspot.com/2010/04/day-off.html), I tried not to intervene. I let the attendant act as a referee between the kids because I don’t want to be bias as this might cause another trouble with me and the other kid’s mommy. But the kid’s mommy wasn’t paying attention to her son- she was just sitting in one corner and texting all the time. I was also sitting in one corner, but my eyes were glued to Gabbie and whatever she was doing. I knew that Gabbie will never hit or hurt anyone, but still I paid close attention because I know other kids are not as disciplined as she is.

When I went to see Gabbie and the bite in her wrist, the attendant called the kid’s mommy’s attention. The mommy just said sorry. For me that wasn’t enough. But I just let it pass, because Gabbie said there “no sakit”. But when the kid did it again, I morphed into a defensive monster mom. But I didn’t do anything to the kid. I talked to the mother who was not a bit apologetic. I pulled Gabbie away from the kid and he went on hurting other kids with his mom just holding and trying to pull him away. But it looked like the kid was naturally a war freak. When his mom tried to stop him, he’d turn to her and hurt her.

This thing got me thinking. How did that mother discipline her child? It was clear that she doesn’t know how to do it. There was no attempts to explain to the kid what he was doing and how it was hurting other kids. There was no time-outs, there was nothing.

According to http://www.parents.com/baby/development/behavioral/toddler-hitting-biting/ , here’s how one should handle biting and hitting toddlers:

Just say “no.” An incident requires an immediate response. Use little words and a big tone. In a firm, serious (but not threatening) voice, say, “No! We don’t hit! No biting! Biting hurts!” Then redirect her to something she can do, Reynolds advises. Tell her she can hit a pillow, stomp her feet, or use her words.

Don’t let him profit from attacks. He doesn’t get to keep the toy that he got through aggressive means. If a strategy works, he’ll keep doing it, Kinnell says.

Pay more attention to the victim than to the culprit. In doing so, you model compassion and teach your child that she can’t grab the spotlight by acting up. Praise good behavior. Pay your toddler with positive reinforcement when he doesn’t resort to fisticuffs, Reynolds says (“You gave your friend a turn. Good for you!”).

Shadow your biter. Sure, you’d rather spend playgroup socializing than playing kiddie cop. But you need to stay one step ahead of your child, anticipating and blocking her next bite. Remove toys that trigger conflicts.

Give him some gentle diversions. To relieve some of your tot’s frustration, provide him with soothing sensory activities. A foolproof choice: water play (a basin with an inch of water and some cups, funnels, and scoops).

Allow them some breathing room. Cram toddlers together like sardines, and you shouldn’t be surprised if they act like baby piranhas.

Most of all, remember that there’s no malicious intent when a one-year-old hits or bites. Your little one means well—she just needs to learn better ways to express her needs and wants. And that’s something even adults have to work on from time to time.

Now I know why the kid just keeps on doing it. Gabbie had her ‘acting up’ moments, too. Once or twice during that playtime she would grab someone else’s toys. But when I tell her “Gabbie, no, just get your own toys”, she would stop and find her own toy. When that particular toy has been freed, she’d point at it, then look at me as if asking if she can already touch it. When I say yes, that’s the only time she will get it.

I know we still have a long way to go. But shouldn’t I get an “A” now for disciplining Gabbie that way? 🙂

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~ by ivymarasigan on April 26, 2010.

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