I’m not sure what’s worse – the negative connotation that comes with the title or the fact that in such a critical stage of development in a child’s life, they are labeled as terrible. Sure they try your patience, test your limits, make you consider having only chocolate for every meal (or your indulgence of choice). But they are listening to every little thing you say, and I want my son to learn from the way I respond to his actions. If I were to yell and scream and slam doors, he’ll see this response and when he gets frustrated, he’ll do the exact same thing. Parenting is essentially monkey see, monkey do. And I never want him to hear me call him negative adjectives such as terrible, because I know he’s listening.
I’m not perfect, but I’m trying to learn the best way to respond to him when he gets angry or throws a fit. I know consistency is key in a lot of aspects of a child’s life, but sometimes we have to change the way we discipline. Time out may have worked yesterday, but today it’s just not happening – and that’s OKAY. I’m beginning to learn disciplining is a lot like childbirth: unpredictable. I had all of these plans of how we would discipline our children and yet here I am trying to learn new ways that will get the best response. Our usual go-to’s are: time out, quiet time with a book instead of toys.
I always tell him “hey, I understand you’re frustrated and upset, and that’s okay but you can’t (insert whatever action). So we’re going to take a few minutes to calm down and then we can talk about what made you upset when you’re ready, okay?” In the beginning he would just look at me like I was crazy, but now he tries to tell me what he wants (or I decipher it) or we’ll walk around pointing till we figure it out.
No matter how we have to discipline, we always make it a point to get down to his level and talk to him and explain why he got in trouble in the first place. I never want to make him feel like we are superior to him. I strive to be more like Ms. Honey and not the Trunchbull, you know the whole “I’m big, you’re small. I’m right, you’re wrong.” I want him to know we have respect for him as he should for us.
Sure this may be a lot to expect from a two year old, but I know for a fact they are a lot smarter than we think. And days don’t always go like this for us, but I at least try because this age is all about learning and growing for him and for his parents. So give yourself some grace and take each day as it comes, because one day we’ll miss this.