Discipline: When kids test parenting mettle

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies

Two recent posts by two different mommy bloggers really hit home with me. The first is by Morphing into Mama, and it made me laugh and cringe at the same time.  MIM often talks about people who "parent without a license." And even better? Gives examples. She attended a workshop with some parent friends on positive discipline and one of the moms felt like the workshop "didn't apply" to her or her child. This same woman organized the workshop and then said, "I'm just so in awe of Junior.  I just don't think he needs it.” MIM's point, and I agree, is that "discipline is about teaching – teaching children to learn how to control their own behavior, how to understand and control their own emotions, how to behave in social and other life situations.  We can’t expect children to instinctively know how to do these things on their own.  It’s our job to teach them."

Hot on the heels of this post is a poignant post by Mamaloo A Go-Go where she observes that her "once-sweet" child is not grabbing and shoving other kids to get at toys. She writes, "
He's begun pushing, pulling, and grabbing from other kids when he wants something, or doesn't want them to have it. I've seen this everywhere and I know it's normal but it's bringing up some unexpected feelings to see it in my own child."  Her 19 month-old suddenly has a mind of his own.  We've all been there, right? We've all watched in horror as our darling, empathetic one-year-olds turn south. It is normal for kids to test this way, but this is the time where parents need to step in and be parents. At this age there are lots of strategies: you distract, redirect, even tell the child "no hitting."  Some people even start short time-outs at this age. Ever try reasoning with a toddler? It's near impossible. Working on the behavior now nips it in the bud.

The difference between the parent in MIM's story and Mamaloo A Go-Go is that Mamaloo is at least aware that she needs to take the next parenting steps. She takes her license seriously and i don't see it being revoked any time soon. Mamaloo will be fine. But MIM's friend? As she says, we'll probably be seeing her on Nanny911.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.