Discipline Tools That Work
No. No! NO! Stop! If these are the most commonly used words in your vocabulary, you just might be the parent of a toddler. Babies can be difficult, but a toddler is a different animal entirely. Toddlers just learned that they can defy you, and defy you they will. Will it ever end? A lot of times, if you find the underlying causes, and use some practical discipline maneuvers, toddler tantrums will largely leave your life.
Find the Problem
Behind every screaming toddler, there is a reason. They are not just doing it to irritate you, except when they are. Little ones aren’t very articulate at expressing their feelings. As when they were babies, you have to use your intellect and intuition to figure out what’s going on. Is he hungry? Is she over tired or over stimulated? Small children are very much creatures of habit. If something goes on that is out of their routine, such as a late meal, a missed nap or a surprise activity, you should expect them to resist. The best thing you can do is to prevent the behavior before it happens. Try to stick to your regular routine as much as possible.
Find the Solution
Despite your best efforts, your toddler will break down sometimes. At that point, you need to get on their level. Childhood expert Dr. Harvey Karp recommends that you use short, simple language to help them express their feelings. Instead of, “I am upset that my tower fell,” you might say, “Tower fell! I am upset!” Then you can focus on solutions.
The period between one and four, when your child is still learning to express herself, can be one of the most difficult in parenthood. You may avoid the worst outbursts if you find the causes and encourage expression.