Toddler Discipline

Umm… what?  The last two years have been a lie?  Real parenting doesn’t start until now?  And I have no idea what I’m supposed to do.

Ellis is a normal toddler, and as such, sometimes she can be challenging, like when she death kicks me in the face while I’m trying to change her diaper and then laughs when she does it again after I tell her not to do it again.  Or when she keeps yanking on the dog and making him yelp after repeatedly being told she’s hurting him.  Or throwing her milk at me across the table when we’re out to eat.  Or absolutely refusing to even try a bite of the meal that was her favorite thing to eat two days ago.  “No, don’t like,” she says.  Again, all normal toddler behavior.  But how I react is what is going to make or break my relationship and my authority with my daughter.  And lately, I’ve just been staring dumbfounded asking myself, “Oh, crap.  What do I do?”

So I bought a book.  I didn’t do any research.  I didn’t read any reviews to see what was popular out there.  I browsed the parenting section of Barnes & Noble for 5 minutes (or what I like to call a vacation these days) and found what I thought sounded promising, but also to the point – John Rosemond’s Making the “Terrible” Twos Terrific!

I read the first chapter last night, and while the core of what he was saying made sense, he also has a very old school mentality that sounds much like “Spare the rod, spoil the child.”  I knew I would need to read some reviews to make sure I wasn’t accidentally getting advice from Parenting Hitler.  I’m going to go forward with this book because I think the core of what he is advising is helpful, even though he is delusional in thinking that parenting in the 1950s was perfect, and we’ve been screwing up our kids ever since.

What I agree with:

  • The Seasons of Parenthood – The first two years of a child’s life are child centered, and it is the parents’ (though he expressly states mothers have the greatest parenting responsibility) job to meet the needs of their child and provide a secure, loving environment.  Between ages 2-13, parents should become an authority figure.  The attention should be centered on the parents, not the child, and it’s the child’s job to please his parents and learn to self-govern, or do things for himself.  And the final season of parenting (though, to editorialize, we parent until we’re dead really) is where the parent becomes a mentor to the child in helping him to finally be “emancipated” or an adult who can go out into the world on his own with all the good character traits instilled in him by his parents.  I mean that’s our goal as parents, right?  To provide the world with remarkable, good human beings?  Rosemond emphasizes the focus on the character of the person we want our children to be, not their accomplishments.

What I have issues with:

  • Rosemond believes the father plays a supporting role in parenting, and it is really the mother’s job to get it right in effectively disciplining and raising her children.
  • Paying less attention to our children makes them better people.  I don’t believe in helicopter-parenting or doing my child’s homework for her, but parents do have be involved in what their children are doing.  There has to be involvement.  I might be misunderstanding him, but he makes it sound like now that my daughter is two, she should be dressing, entertaining, and feeding herself by now while I watch TV on the couch undisturbed.  I should probably be smoking a cigarette, too, while running my feet through thick shag carpet.

I’ve only read the first chapter, and haven’t gotten through the Q and A at the end of it.  I plan to write more reflections as I continue through the book.  Also, have you parented a toddler?  Are you doing so right now?  What has worked/is working for you?  Any other good book recommendations, podcasts, parenting websites you’d recommend for navigating the year ahead?  

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2 thoughts on “Toddler Discipline

  1. Good entry! Do we have the same child?! This time is very challenging to say the least. I got for Christmas (and it has since been packed away :/) No-Drama Discipline by Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson. I’ve only read the sample on my Nook and asked for it for Christmas. The other two I like that are also packed away, are Parenting with Love and Logic. This is kind of for older children but is a great read so far. Their other one Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood might be right up your alley. I follow them on Facebook too – Love and Logic Institute.

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