Toddlers, Tantrums & Gentle Discipline

>> Monday, March 15, 2010

Last week I had to go shopping for Miss. Bean's birthday party decorations. I was on my own with E and we would have to go to a store that I knew wouldn't have a cart to put him in.  Before I left home I thought about taking my sling with me, but unless E is tired or in the mood to be carried I knew this would be pointless.  So off we went, I was hoping for the best. omg! Let me be clear - he wasn't being bad, he was being 2 (nearly 2)!  He found great pleasure in running up and down the isles - never touching anything - just a great game of chase...
As E is nearing 2 years old he's really showing me that he is almost 2 - you know, tantrums, running around, listening when he "wants" to do so.  With my other children I always said no such thing as the "terrible two's" just wait for the "terrible three's", yeah E is disproving my theory (at least I hope - can't imagine 3 being harder than this!).  I'm struggling as a parent.  I've always been an attachment parent to a degree with all of my children and with each child my mindset as an AP has deepened.  The ways that I may have disciplined my children in the past, no longer feel like the right thing for me. Not because I want to spoil him or I am too soft. I just want to teach him, not make him.  Does that make sense?  I don't want him to run down the store isles because he is afraid he will get a "time-out" or a "swat" *gasp*.  I want to teach him that he shouldn't run down the isles because mommy needs to get the shopping finished, because he could fall, because he could end up getting hurt. But he's 2!  How do I teach him these things without losing my mind in the process? I'll be honest, when he's having a screaming fit I'd really like to do the same - but I know that isn't teaching him anything positive either.

I've read a few great blog posts the last few weeks dealing with this issue.  I thought I would post them here in case any of you are dealing the same sort of situation with your toddler. Plus they will be in a handy spot for me to come have a refresher course when I'm losing it.

Natural Papa writes It's Not Called Permissive Parenting
Naomi Aldort at The Natural Child Project writes Surviving the Toddler Years
Staying Patient from API Speaks

This parenting gig really doesn't get much easier with each child - at least not for me.  As each of my children are different, I'm a different parent too.  How do you as an attachment parent or parent who believes in gentle discipline handle parenting your toddlers?  Have you written or read a great post on this subject? If so please share, I can use all the help I can get.

8 comments:

radmama March 15, 2010 at 2:52 PM  

So hard to shop with toddlers. It's always one errand too many! J can only handle one errand right now and her walking around any store is not yet a safe or sane option.

But, thinking back to the big ones when they were wee..

At that age, If they aren't going to stay with me in the store - right with me, holding my hand- they go in the cart, stroller, backpack or sling. Or we leave the store.

I will let them try, but will gently and firmly put them in the carrier or stroller if they can't resist dashing and pawing things.

Usually there's an eye-to-eye conversation before we go in about my one or two key expectations, in short sentences.

it is a lot of work, but I have found the repetitions to pay off in time and we had quite civilized store trips by the time they were 3 or 4 or so.

I have no patience for running around in stores, but I know other people have different "buttons." But I'm pretty strict.. too strict I have been told.

Krista March 15, 2010 at 3:00 PM  

radmama - thanks for your insight. That was the only store we had to go to. One errand (I did all the others the night before - without him lol).

I know I didn't have the eye to eye conversation before we went in that store. So in truth maybe he didn't know how to handle himself.

He's so different from my last little one. She wouldn't think to let go of my hand or let me out of her sight. Feels like a whole new ball game with him, and he keeps me on my toes for sure!

radmama March 15, 2010 at 3:02 PM  

Wise woman.

I'm not saying I always did the whole routine, I'm just saying how it worked best.

Also, "after mama pays for X, we can go outside/go home/ go play" helped

Poor little barbarians. They don't understand our rules.

Krista March 15, 2010 at 3:21 PM  

I was just thinking about what happened later that day - I had to take those cupcakes to the school and before we got out of the car, I did do the whole eye to eye you *have* to stay with mommy talk because my hands were full. He did much better that outing. I'll have to make a good effort to keep repeating that conversation with him.

I have thought about using when we're done here we can do X but I worry is that bribing? because I'm not sure I want to set up that cycle either. Maybe so long as I don't say be good and we'll buy a treat eh? yikes

radmama March 15, 2010 at 3:34 PM  

I think of it more as 'what to expect' and we do it whether they're good or not.. 99 per cent of the time.
Like, first we brush your teeth, then we put your shoes on.

I have to know what to reasonably expect, too. Eg. I could expect one child to hold hands at 2, but not another.

Krista March 15, 2010 at 3:46 PM  

"I think of it more as 'what to expect' and we do it whether they're good or not.. 99 per cent of the time." - That is fabulous advice. I can do that, I like that it's not behavior based.

I think your right about helping them know what to expect. I do that other times - like in 5 minutes we need to do X. I don't think I've said "after this we'll do x" in an outing situation because I worried that I was bribing, and that was one thing I didn't want to start at 2.

Lee March 15, 2010 at 5:37 PM  

I'm right there with you. We're two months away from three-- today she had a meltdown and REFUSED to participate in dance class. I told her that she could either stand up and dance, or we could go home. She said she wanted to go home & watch TV. I was livid.
She "changed her mind" when we got to the car, but I strapped her in anyway-- I didn't realize my child could scream quite to that decibel level.
As "punishment" we drove by daddy's work and I made her tell him how naughty she had been in class, and then when we got home, no TV. She asked about TV only once, otherwise was happy to play with toys, the cat, and "read" quietly. And yes, we did have a talk about the day and how it's okay to feel out of sorts, but NOT okay to scream like that.

I guess what I'm saying in my longwinded was is "you're not alone!"

Krista March 15, 2010 at 8:37 PM  

Lee - It's amazing how these little beings can push huge buttons with us, isn't it?

I know with my other children, I found parenting them challenging at 3 because they are really exploring their independence, but at the same time they have just enough mental maturity that you can reason with them occasionally. I haven't found the magic formula for reasoning with my 2year old - I don't think he has reached that milestone yet or maybe I'm just not using the right words.

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