Wednesday 13 June 2012

I'm one of those mothers - part 2

At the park, Alice twacked a baby on the head with a plastic cup. The poor little creature obviously started to cry. Alice, stood there, fascinated, looking at the cause and effect of what just happened. After all, a young toddler isn't capable of understanding that other kids have feelings (empathy comes much later in life).

I realized a bit too late what just happened since I was not standing next to Alice. I quickly analyzed the situation and came to the conclusion that "lecturing" my 14 month old baby who did something bad a few minutes ago is as pointless as correcting a dog who pooped in a room while you were away.

That being said, I simply told Alice the usual No hitting (difficult concept for a young kid but I didn't find anything else that was brief and direct...any word suggestion?), apologized to the mother and moved on. However, it seems that some parents expected more drastic discipline from me!

This situation already happened over the past few months. Consequently, if you knew me, you would know that I already read tons of material on this delicate subject and asked a few moms how they were dealing with this.

It is completely normal for a toddlers to hit (or bite or have tantrums) since they don't have the developmental capability to put their feelings into words. Of course, they need to learn that hitting is bad, duh! However, I don't think that common contemporary discipline is the solution...especially at an age when most words sounds like blah blah blah. In that case, after the usual (and socially acceptable) No hitting is said, I think that substitution and distraction is a better strategy.  

Alice is pretty predictable. She always acts this way when her "emotional tank" and "physical tank" are getting empty. Skipping naps, being surrounded by a lot of people, changing her daily routine (and having a mom that was not at all in the mood for parental social activity at the park) are things that could trigger Alice's inappropriate behavior.

As a parent, it is my responsibility to make sure that Alice's "emotional tank" and "physical tank" are full. By practicing positive discipline, I hope to create a respectful, empathic, and loving environment that will help Alice during that phase in her life...because yes, it is a phase! 

I think that knowing yourself and your child is key for dealing with that type of situation...and not attending social events when you prefer a quiet day with your man and your little ninja!

Yes, I'm one of those mothers !

 note: Alice and I at the park...and filling her "tanks" with my dad later that day.  

* * * * *

joanna: Oh, it is also challenging for us. Using no, ...!  sadly comes pretty naturally but I'm working on finding logical alternatives.

vanessa at lynn david: There is nothing wrong to be a mom in the no, ...! group. For us, with a baby that is very active and curious, it didn't work so we tried something else that felt more appropriate in our situation.   

sandra:  Oh, thank you so much! Recycling is also very popular here and it never gets old :)     

190.arch: So happy that you enjoyed that post. I loved what you said about how adults use "no" even when they want to say something different. This is very interesting! Also, thank you for the tip on the future WHY phase :)

new duds: The funny thing with active babies is that often they are totally eager to learn new things in a positive way and to please their parents. This is why the no, ...! was not efficient. In a few hours, Alice can learn a new "trick" and is over the moon when I say "Bravo Alice".  

shanon: Alice aslo tunes out when I say no, ...! too often or she even thinks that it is funny! Love the dishwasher story. So cute!!!

alyson: Alice also generally stops whatever "bad" thing she is doing if I don't look. Babies are funny little things :) However, as I wrote in this post, any kind of discipline is more difficult to do if your baby's "tanks" are getting empty. This is when Alice would get, like Wolf, in the flower beds (not that we have flower beds but you know!!!).

shannah: Ah, Shannah. You always have the best links and suggestions. xox


UK lass in US said...

When my kids were mean to another kid in any way, they used to have to sit next to me instead of play. So any hitting / arguing over a toy / selfishness etc. meant no more fun for a while.

Joanna said...

I'm really enjoying hearing about your ideas for dealing with these new more challenging behaviors! Helping me to think about mine...

one claire day said...

Instead of the "no hitting" I use "gentle hands" and show Lalie what gentle hands means by gently stroking her face and arms etc and repeating "gentle hands" and then I get her to do it to me. It really seems to be working! x

Hoola Tallulah said...

Ah, you took the words right out of my mouth. Your perspective is always so sound. Bear got into the habit of biting recently, and the headmistress at nursery took us aside, and gave us quite a telling off, I was so annoyed and said, quite sarcastically "Oh I suppose I should have a word with him about that"... silly woman!
It is of course a phase, most babies go through it, I expected a bit more common sense from a nursery headmistress!

Sid. said...

At that age I agree with one claire day: label the "no" action (e.g., "no hitting") and then offer a simple acceptable alternative (e.g. "gentle touch"). When they get a bit older and you get the sense that they now understand that an action is inappropriate (and have better motor control), my response was a bit more intense. Not screaming or anything but getting very serious and emphatic very quickly (with eye contact on their level): "We don't hit. Hitting hurts. If you hit again, we're leaving." No threats, just a brief explanation including the consequences of their decisions. With only one kid, I'm definitely no expert but it's really seemed to work very quickly with my daughter for a range of undesireable behaviours.

kt said...

Yup, we always worked with "gentle hands", too--worked really well for the critters in our girlie's life.

And we found early on that there was a trio of needs (tanks) that had to be properly met for our miss--if she was becoming crabby, she either needed to eat, sleep, or poop.

Still valid and she's nearly 15.