How do you discipline a stubborn toddler?
First of all, we have to understand that this is a toddler who is very impressionable and will pick up attitude, character and personalities from two very important people or one very important person. The parent(s). So ask yourself Why is the toddler being stubborn and where are they picking up this stubborn behavior before disciplining the toddler for his/her behavior. Because if they are picking up this behavior from the parent, then they think it's ok. So the question isn't how to discipline the toddler but how to change the parents approach and behavior at home. Toddler's are copy cats of their parents. Haven't you ever heard this line before, "You are stubborn, just like your Mother or Father"?!! What you are telling your "toddler" is that they are WRONG for trying to be just like YOU. Hmmmmm.?!
Check out the Love and Logic audio books and dvds from the local library. There's one specifically for toddlers. They're a great way to give your toddler some limited choices where whatever they choose you're ok with. My favorite piece I picked up from that series is "do you want to go to your room (or the car or anywhere else I want her to go) with your feet in the air or feet on the ground?"
I look at it this way--stubornness is a very important trait to have in this world. Adults need to be stubborn to survive, succeed in their careers, and have a great family life. Being stubborn in something means you have determination. They say the smarter your child is, the more stubborn he/she will be, because they think in ways they can't quite express verbally yet. I give my almost 3 year old choices, and answer his questions as best I can. I think it's great for them to be somewhat stubborn in life. The problem arises with clashing heads with mom and dad, and that's where the authority card comes out, and they have to learn to obey your authority. I try to remember my son is a person, with desires and thoughts more complex than I may realize, so I try to encourage his determination, and pick what issues are really important, and which issues I don't really care about. I read a book that says as long as they approach you respectfully and patiently, you should always say yes unless you have a good reason for saying no, not just "because I said so".
Great posts ladies. I too have studied the Parenting with Love and Logic series and found it very useful. I originally studied it to help with some behavioral issues we were having with my then preteen stepdaughter (about 6 years ago), but I find the principles work just as well with my 4 year old daughter. The principle that I've found most helpful is the concept of limiting her to two choices and ensuring that both of the choices are acceptable to me. It's an easy concept that gives a child the feeling of having some level of control (independence). I don't know your child's personality but my daugther is all about being a "big girl" (aka independent). I will admit that I have spanked my daughter in the past and have found that I later regreted that form of discipline, not because I was angry when I spanked her but because it really was about having power over her instead of working with her to resolve the issue. I've found that working with her and discussing the issue usually produces a better result and she feels more secure and more empowered than the results created by spanking her. We've also found that putting her in time out and asking her afterwards if she knows why she had that consequence allows for a dialogue that leaves her feeling heard and allows an opportunity for some powerful teaching moments.
I second the Parenting with Love and Logic books. I have found great success with these tools. We were already doing many of the items they suggest in our parenting process, but there was some fantastic suggestions to help us fine tune some of our messages we were sending. I am so thankful my friend turned me onto these books.
I too have a very stubborn child, a boy of 3yrs, who is closer to the size of a 6 yr old. I know he will be much larger than myself before long and I do not want to trust in threats or spankings to keep him in line. The stubbornness comes from his Father and I. I know it is a strong characteristic of both of our personalities. As we have opened up to these learning techniques, I have also seen my son opening up these books and hoping to find something for himself in them. Even if he is just associating with the pictures and letters so far, I find myself tickled that he wants to learn with us. I think being a parent is often times a more trying education of us both than any other institution. I am far more concerned on how well I educate my child than a grade I earned from a college credit.
Standing your ground is very important. My toddler hates the naughty step, so keeping him there until he says sorry and does something to show that he is sorry is often effective. Also, find something that he really likes (for my son it is his little DVD player) and threaten to take it away if he continues bad behaviour...you have to follow up with the threat for it to be effective.
A parent needs to be consistent. If jumping on the couch is allowed some days and other days the children are not allowed to jump on the couch then the children do not know if the parents mean what they say.
Very True.Unfortuantely It's even harder when they mimick someone that gets on your nerve already.If your husband drives you crazy and your son mimics-you have two mule headed people to deal with.My husband has picked up some really head strong ideas that makes everyday life really hard.Everythings is always someone elses fault and finds it acceptable to think only of immediate gratification and is very self serving.Its very negative and I would hate to see my son behave the same way and be as miserable as his father.He loves his father so much and I totally agree with what you are saying about correcting him about acting like his dad that he loves more than anyone.I have had to move to my mothers for a while to try to give a different environment and another person to support positive manners.I have 4 kids so this is really hard,but seems to be working a little.He knew he could get away with anything as long as he had his dad to let him off the hook.He would run to him and I couldn't put him in time out for cursing,throwing tantrums in stores,name calling-the works.It helps to have support.Thank God for my mom.Consistancy is the only way and it's exhausting.Genes really are amazing how these little ones can be so much like their parents,even aunts and uncles.
I am big fan of positive Discipline. I worked in the education field for several years and went through many trainings.on this topic. I also have recently found a book called, Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, which covers ages 3-5yrs. This has helped me tremendously with my daughter. She just turned 3yrs old and is very strong willed. Once you can figure out child's personalty type, there are many resources that aide in figuring out what method works best for that child. My daughter is considered a "Spirited" personality. (Which really is a nicer way to say stubborn and determined! lol) I have researched this type and learned different techniques that have helped me!! Lord knows time out and even spankings DO NOT work for her!! Our lives are much happier now that I am "in training" to be a better mom to her.
Another good read is How to Behave So Your Kids Will Too...sorry don't know the author
I am struggling with my 3year old. Her general behaviour at home is great although I do get the odd tantrum but taking her out anywhere is a complete nightmare.
90% of the shops I go in she has a tantrum. Just the other week I took her into my local coop and because there was no baskets with wheels she screamed the place down. She refused to leave the shop. I had to pick her up an carry her to the car, which made her worse.
The following day I went into my nearest main town and again she kicked off because she didn't want to do what I wanted to. Since then I have taken to doing as much of my shopping and bits an pieces while she is in nursery because I get embarrassed when people stare.