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.
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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