Toddlers can be exhausting and as they start to test boundaries and learn about acceptable behavior, it can be tough work being a parent. While there’s no single right way or “good discipline” when raising a child, however, there are some methods of discipline which work particularly well.
The natural reaction is to discipline 3 year olds who are constantly misbehaving, which may be to raise your voice, but disciplining your toddler with love is a far better approach. Here is an overview of how this type of parenting works.
Best way to discipline a child
There isn’t a parent alive who hasn’t felt frustrated with their child’s behavior at one time or another but staying calm is key to loving discipline. Keeping a lid on your own feelings is key so you remain calm at all times.
Raising your voice might get results quickly but it sends the wrong kind of message to your child.
By disciplining through yelling, you’re teaching them that the person who shouts the loudest gets their own way. They won’t pay attention to the content of your words as they’ll be too distracted by the anger in your voice, and their emotional response.
There’s no denying that shouting is a short-term fix but it stores up problems for the longer haul. If you feel like you can’t stay in control, leave the room for a few minutes and return when you’re feeling calmer.
Teaching yourself to take a deep breath and not to shout may take a bit of work but your toddler will really respond to the difference.
If you were brought up with a parent who frequently said “Because I said so!” you may well have been conditioned into thinking that you don’t need to explain your actions.
There’s no question of who’s in control; a small toddler has no authority in the home and explaining your decision does not mean you’re having to justify your actions.
Instead, by explaining exactly what the problem is, or the reason why you’re doing something your way your toddler will learn a far more valuable lesson. They will not only understand the reason behind what you’re asking them to do – which is surely what we all want?! – but also that the way to communicate is to be calm, reasonable and talk about things.
Your toddler might not yet understand everything but you can simplify it to what is appropriate for their age. It’s never too young to start with this approach.
Disciplining through love means taking the extra time to really understand what your toddler is trying to communicate. Young children aren’t just being naughty for the sake of it; their temper or behavior is being caused by an underlying issue.
It may be that your child is tired, hungry or simply frustrated at not being able to complete a task. Being a toddler means learning lots of new things and there may be times when their physical ability simply isn’t keeping up with their cognitive development!
Toddlers don’t have the skills to self-analyze, or to work out what’s really going on. As their parent, you can empathize with them while offering a gentle correction. This helps to maintain their dignity and to strengthen the connection between you. It can also help to ease any frustration at not being properly understood.
A Lifelong Approach
Discipling with love is an approach which is suitable for parenting a child of any age. Starting at birth and continuing all the way through, it’s a gentle and affirming way of connecting with your child while still maintaining strong and appropriate boundaries. It can take more effort, to begin with but once you’ve been adopting this approach for a while it will become second nature and you’ll see the benefits in your toddler’s behavior.