Terribly Cute! Disciplining Your Cute Kid
On a recent trip to our local mall's kids play area my daughter had a meltdown when it was time to leave. I calmly told her that there was no way that we could stay as it was 9pm and the Mall was closing and all of the other children were going home. She promptly yelled, No Way? Stay Momma! Way! Way! Way! In the cutest darned way anyone ever could with her little mouth curled up in a way that I wanted to smother her in a thousand kisses. It was cute at 2 but this may not be so cute at 12.
We’ve all been there. Our kids can act so cute but they can also act so terrible. So how do you discipline your terribly cute tike? Here are a few things to remember. Young kids are constantly testing and pushing boundaries. They don’t do it necessarily to get on your last nerve, they do it because they are actually new to the world and they are figuring out what works and what doesn’t. They also simply don’t understand some things which is why kids often ask why. Kids also mimic what they see and hear. So if you get frustrated often and yell and scream, expect your little one to try this as well.
So the next time your kiddo puts on their cutest pouty face or does the cutest or not so cutest thing when you are trying to discipline them here are some tips to remember when disciplining your terribly cute tike:
You had a tone!
As mentioned and as you have surely experienced or seen, kids will push boundaries with you. They are curious about your reaction. When possible try to discipline your child or correct behavior without changing the tone of your voice and your emotional response. It’s when you do react emotionally or yell that kids learn what works to get a response from you and they will continue trying to illicit this response.
Stick to it!
Your child must know that you will do what you say you will. Once you identify consequences for behavior you must act on it. When you don’t stick to your own rules it will signal to kids that they can potentially get away with certain behavior and therefore they will keep trying it and you.
Listen and Explain
It is critical that you listen to your child’s objections. Especially young children. So often we are in discipline mode and we haven’t stopped to think that our child may simply not understand. My daughter constantly asks why she can’t go near the street. At two years of age, she simply doesn’t understand the dangers. So it is important to listen to their questions and explain why you are saying what you are. Be prepared stick to your consequences but also be prepared to explain to your child why you have a rule as often as need be until the child gets it.
Not one size fits all
The method to which you parent may vary for each child. It is important to know what each child values and responds to. Rewarding and withholding items that the child values will help you to control their behavior. Also, understanding that for some children a negative outcome like sitting in timeout may be more impactful than withholding an item such as a toy for a set period of time. Invest the time to know what works for each child.