Get tips on how to create your better way. It's free!  

Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.
Please provide a valid email address.
Thank you, your sign-up request was successful! Please check your e-mail inbox.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Please fill in the required fields.

Setting Boundaries With Toddlers

Setting Boundaries

I had a friend write to me the other day and ask me to write an article about how to stop her toddler from using bad words. And well, that prompted an entire article on setting rules for our little people. When did these kids get minds of their own anyway? No one ever asked me if this was OK!

But I digress. Our job is to let them have their spirit, nurture it, even encourage it and teach them how to listen at the same time. No small task. However, I do think it can be done. And while my kids are not perfect, by any means, I’ve found a few things that really work, and they’re below.

Our children really want to please us, especially at this age. I think our goal should be to use that to our advantage. Sometimes the only attention they can reliably get from us is negative. We’re busy, we have a lot going on, but we will stop what we’re doing when they pour red juice on the white couch. They know this, and they will use it. So if we can train ourselves (you know, by yelling in the shower or in the car when they can’t hear us) to reinforce great behavior, ignore undesirable behavior and consistently discipline the truly unacceptable behavior, then we can lick these “terrible” toddler years and have some fun instead.

I think the more important thing to remember is that WE are the parents. Don’t be afraid to be powerful and in charge. You are the boss, and your kids expect you to be the boss. When they feel that no one is in charge, it can really upset them. At the same time, they will happily fill the role to the best of their ability.

Keep in mind, I’m no doctor, at least, last time I checked. I’m a newbie mom doing the best I can. I try to use common sense, and sometimes I completely blow it. But well, I figured I could share at least those things that have worked.  I hope they work for you too!

Here are the main points in this article, you can click on the topic that interests you most, or you can read it all.

1.    Extinguishing Bad Behavior
2.    Avoiding Tantrums
3.    Keep Your Word
4.    The Power of Eye Contact
5.    Phone Rules
6.    Your Enemy, The Word “OK”
7.    Dealing With The Word “No”
8.    Your Friend, The Time-Out
9.    The Power of The Positive
10.  Please and Thank You

1. Extinguishing Bad Behavior: Ignore, and I mean completely ignore undesired behavior. When you’re home, walk away. Not in an angry way or in a mean way, just in an indifferent way.

In an example I was given recently, a child loved to swear when someone dropped something. Thought it was the funniest thing ever. So, in public places where the response from grown ups could be maximized, the child would drop something and swear with glee — much to the dismay of her mother. In a situation like this, my move would be to engage the child in something else, before she could see the reaction of the other adults. Sing to her, pull out the favorite toy, show her a sticker or piece of gum from my purse. Whatever I could do to completely ignore the behavior and distract her from reactions.

The other step would be to drop things in front of her and say loudly, “OH DEAR!” (or whatever you would want the child to say) and make a funny face. If you do something funny, chances are the child will emulate it. This helps fill the void that your walking away creates.

2. Avoiding Tantrums: When a child is about to throw a tantrum, one of the best things you can do is calmly and nicely let her know that you heard them. You can repeat what she’s saying, “You want the candy, don’t you honey. Yes? I know you want the candy, but right now we’re not going to eat candy. We can have some later, after dinner.”

I like this one. I like it a lot. Not only does it work, but it’s just common sense. Even as adults, we have all had the infuriating experience of feeling like someone has no interest in what we’re saying. So by repeating what the child says, he or she knows that we heard them, and we’re still asserting our rightful role as the boss in the relationship. Saying, “I understand that you want it now, I’m so sorry that you’re frustrated,” let’s the child know that you got the message, and you’re still in charge.

I’ve found a few tears and annoyance may follow, but the tantrum is usually averted because what’s the point? You’ll just walk away anyway, and they got their point across. It’s a powerful little tool this one. I use it probably three times a day…(cont)

Page 1 | 2 | 3

Comments are closed.