Raise your hands if you’ve ever been personally victimized by a strong-willed toddler. If I reach up any further my arm is going to come off my body and launch into outer space. We are in the fun stage of childhood where “no” means “no go ahead and do what we just told you not to do but make sure when you do it you stare us directly in the face and smile.” Also, intentionally don’t listen because you get your selective hearing from your father. Which rolls me into this week’s topic: Discipline.
Why did no one tell me how hard it is to discipline a kid? I mean, have you ever TRIED to discipline a 2 year old—they think it is the funniest thing in the world. There is nothing more aggravating than trying to be serious and have a teachable moment only to be met with a belly laugh or an occasional slap in the face when the word “no” comes out. I feel like I have read every article I can find on how to effectively “steer a toddler in the right behavioral direction” and nothing has worked. Raising our voices out of frustration or to get her attention usually NEVER works- -it only leaves us feeling terrible for getting frustrated (and makes her laugh harder). Times-Outs, I’ve come to realize, are more for the parents than the kids—a nice little separation to cool off, because kids Cora’s age have NO idea what the concept of a time out is and in the end they just go back to doing what they were told not to do—which adds even more fuel to the fire. There is a lot of controversy regarding spanking, and it definitely isn’t for everyone, however, there are the occasional swats on the ass that prove ultimately ineffective, and again makes us feel terrible for getting frustrated. Along with the spanking I have considered (and this is just me) but if I’m technically “hitting” her in the butt to express to her she did something wrong after always getting after her for hitting– how is that really helping her understand we don’t hit?
“So what do you do, Taylor?” You may be asking yourself—well, fellow fans, the answer to that is……… to be continued. We are still trying to figure out something that works or at least gets the point across- but the truth is, depending on the situation and her mood it’s always a crap shoot. Disappointed in that answer? …yeah me too. Wish I had more for you— HOWEVER—I can tell you things we have tried in hopes that maybe they are something new for YOU to try.
The usual scenarios start off with Cora asking for something and us saying “no”. Before you get your panties in a wad we do not just say no to everything she asks. We attempt to negotiate with the terrorist in hopes of keeping the peace in our loving home. You want a cookie after having snacks all day just before supper? How about you have a cookie but after supper. Simple things right? WRONG. Anyways as I watch her grab all the nearest things she can get her tiny hands on to throw I wait for her to crumble into a pile on the floor because I without a doubt ruined her life. When she’s on the floor I get down to her level and I…don’t laugh… “pick the grouchies” (Shut up I said don’t laugh). I’m a grown ass adult, laying on the floor, pulling imaginary crabass bugs off my kid. Eventually she starts laughing and all is well. Does it work all the time? Not a chance—but at least it buys me some time to
run figure out how to fix the situation
Another thing we tried was the art of distraction- which was easier when she was an infant and I could redirect her attention with a plastic fork. This one is a tough one because my kid is a straight up grudge holder. It may work for like 5 minutes (if I’m lucky) but without much hesitation after its back to square 1.
If the above suggestions fail or you decided you have a little more dignity than crawling on the floor trying to find pretend bugs then this next one might shock you because it’s worked better than anything else. Ignore them. Yup- You’re fellow asshole mama just told you to ignore your kid. If she throws herself down on the ground to throw a fit as long as she isn’t near anything that can hurt her and vice versa—let er’ rip tater chip. Even in public- granted we luckily haven’t had many of those that required interference. I’m at the point in parenthood where if you want to snub your noses and make your comments and faces when my kid cries in the store clearly you don’t have kids or anything better to do. Cora usually stops to look up at us within minutes to see if we are acknowledging her wails of sorrow. Once she notices we aren’t paying attention she eventually gets bored and moves on. Again, it’s not effective every time but it’s had the best outcome.
While we are working with Cora on these types of things, I’m also trying to be more conscious of how we approach them as well. It’s so easy to forget that your kids are, well, kids. They are going to make mistakes and probably a shit ton of bad choices as they grow up. It’s our job to teach them right from wrong but it is also our job to be understanding. For me, I have to constantly remind myself that Cora is 2 even though she has the attitude of a 16 year old. I read this article called, “I’m not terrible—I’m 2.” Have you read it yet? If not I highly suggest it but to be up front grab a tissue and get ready for all the feels. It’s a reminder that there are things our kids get upset and frustrated about that cause them to lash out that we don’t understand. I’m not going to dive into details because I know 100% that if you do go and read it you will understand what I’m struggling to get at.
Whatever you choose to do to keep your kids in line I do know that consistency is key. If you lose your patience and your temper once in a while, I get it. We ALL get it—and it’s okay. I know for a fact I was yelled at on occasion by my parents but I don’t remember it and it didn’t ruin my relationship with them. I’m almost certain majority of the time I deserved it and I’m glad they stood their ground because I only turned out a partial jackass instead of a complete one. 😉
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Full disclosure this wasn’t supposed to be an informative or suggestive post. It’s mainly a venting post because this has been a long struggle in our house and some days I want to rip my face off. Trying to raise my kid not to be an asshole while still trying to be understanding of her needs and emotions has been a constant internal battle that we are still working on and I know that it will never be understood by Cora how hard it is to get after her about things until she has kids of her own she has to learn how to discipline- and when that day comes I’m going to laugh my whole ass off.
If you, too, are struggling with this — I’m all ears for what you’ve done or your approaches— you are not alone! And as always…
You got this!