The Discipline Dilemma – By Vicky Dal Molin

I’m starting to get the impression that most toddlers are the same. Why you may ask? It seems that each week my son gets older I receive the perfect email from a myriad of parenting websites regarding the latest developmental behavior to make itself know.

This week…. It’s about discipline and what perfect timing as I start to navigate through the murky waters of toddler tantrums. Technically my son has been practicing his tantrums for a couple of months now but this week he has taken them to a whole new level. We’ve gone from a cry and a foot stamp to precision aim with projectiles being thrown in my direction.

Boy there is a whole lot out there about discipline. How much have I found helpful… not very much of it to be honest. Have we gone soft?

One of my favourites is this article on on the 10 Ways to Say “No” without saying “No”.

“[P]arents deny certain junk food requests, like ice cream and candy, by offering a healthier alternative, such as yogurt”. Oh David Walsh PhD….. do you actually have a toddler? Because all I see my son doing when offered an apple instead of the kit kat is practice of the throwing of projectiles… only this time it’s fruit and a whole lot messier.

It gets better “Instead of shouting as your toddler flings a bowl full of macaroni and cheese to the floor, simply take the bowl away and explain the reason why he shouldn’t throw food.” This actually made me laugh out loud. Sounds nice in theory Ms Linda Shook Sorkin. But reality is the next time you give them the bowl food will be flung… it’s a toddlers right after all.

And then there’s my personal favourite… “If you catch your toddler ripping apart prized peonies or pulling a family pet’s tail, point out that plants and animals are alive too. “When you hurt the flower (or pet), you hurt its feelings and growth.” This helps you[r] child develop empathy and awareness of the feelings of other living beings.” I’m guessing Michael Vick’s mother forgot that parenting technique.

But seriously when you were raised in the generation I was, this all seems way too fluffy and far from realistic. Are we really disciplining here or creating a soft, entitled generation to come? Now I don’t really have the answer because I’m no expert in human behavior… and as a first time mum I’ve only been at this for 19 months. Some of it must be rubbing off though… I find myself saying things like “inside voice please” at the shouting and “gentle hands please” when my son is getting rough… but do I really think that’s discipline. Not right now as I see zero change in behavior…. Maybe that will come?

I tell you what stopped me from grabbing at the boiling saucepan on the stove – the clip on my hand as my mother shooed me away. I didn’t go back a second time. I don’t seem to be having quite as much success with the “sweetie – hot” whenever my son goes near it.

Oh and for the record before anyone jumps at me – I do not condone beating children and corporal punishment – I might not be an expert but I do get that teaching a child with violence leads to violence. But I feel we have over sanitized discipline and now it’s all about the warm and fuzzy and I’m just not convinced how effective that really is.

Once again I find myself ending this post with – Time Will Tell. I’m either going to have a super polite extremely well behaved child that we talk everything out with or an ill behaved loud bundle of trouble.

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