A New Year calls for an evaluation of not only your physical health, but your emotional health too.
As a young child grows, his needs and comprehension levels grow and change rapidly -- so does the need to implement or change a discipline routine. During these changes, you might find that whatever form of discipline worked a few months or weeks ago may not work anymore -- and what works for your older child will not work on your toddler.
Dr. Harvey Karp, M.D. says in his book The Happiest Toddler on the Block, that it becomes quite clear when there's a need to implement discipline with your toddler. He believes that this occurs within months or days of your child becoming independent -- with the beginning stages of walking. "Your waddling wonder will start developing a new sense of power and defiance. And suddenly you may feel the need to learn how to discipline your little one without squashing her spirit -- or losing your mind."
When disciplining your child, it's important to keep your reaction at a neutral level. The book 1-2-3 Magic: Effective discipline for children 2-12 better explains how children react to parents in reactionary and disciplinary situations.
"Have you ever seen a small child go down to the lake and throw rocks in the water? The big splashes are a sign of impact. [The children] are making that happen," says Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D.
Dr. Phelan then describes the analogy and shows parents how it's tied to home life, "If a small child gets big, old you [the parent] upset, your upset is the big splash for him… having all that power temporarily rewards -- or feels good to -- the inferior part of the child."
The book The Explosive Child, by Ross W. Greene, Ph. D., gives parents tools and tips on how to understand and parent easily frustrated and inflexible children. This book goes into great detail about having empathy for your child's reactions in situations, helps parents to clearly define the problem at hand, encourages validation of your child's fears and gives create ways to invite your child to problem solve through different approaches. With these steps and a lot of thinking ahead, you can potentially get through defiant behaviors and explosive tantrums with ease and less frustration -- for both your child and you.
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