A Preliminary Conversation about Toddler Discipline

Good Morning,

It is very rewarding for a parent to be complimented on the behavior of their child.  There are two prerequisites for creating this situation.  First, you will put in countless hours working with your child, teaching them right from wrong.  Second, your child will have to remember and execute what you taught them about behavior.  Once this has happened, you are well on your way to receiving compliments on your child’s demeanor.  Way to go!  It feels great to get public recognition for your hard work.

Discipline needs to start early in life and remain consistent.  Kids who listen and follow directions have parents that put in a significant amount of time and effort to ensure that their child can play safely with others, be appropriate in a public setting, and function without a parent nearby.  Yesterday, this blog talked about helping toddlers become social.  I believe that the goal of many parents is to see their children grow into functional adults who are accepted and liked by their peers.  Today I would like to offer some things to think about that may aid you with any method of discipline.

  • Start early and be consistent.
  • Practice good communication skills with your kids and your partner.  Take the guess-work out of behavior.
  • Have a conversation with your spouse and other caretakers to ensure that everyone is on the same page and able to execute the same discipline methods.
  • Be willing to tweak current practices to grow and accommodate your child’s needs.
  • Tailor ideas to fit your child.
  • Find a standard with which you and your spouse are comfortable and stick to it.
  • Remember that not all kids are the same and you may have to change strategies for each child.
  • Remember that your friends may utilize a different structure.  That’s ok.  Their child may need an alternate strategy.
  • Practice staying in control.  A method will only work if you are able to keep your emotions, words, and actions under control.
  • Once you choose a particular ideology, seek advice.  It is amazing what other people have experienced and what you can learn from them.  Start with the professionals (your doctors, books, etc.) and move to parents who have actually put a certain set of steps into practice.
  • Do not fall back solely on what your parents did.  That may not work well for your child, and it may not work all that well for you.  We often feel that something “worked for me when I was growing up” so it must work for our children.  Fight that urge!  Do some research to find out what options are available, and select a strategy that you feel will match up best with your family.

I plan to cover some popular disciplinary methods over the next few weeks.  I welcome questions and comments regarding discipline.  I recognize that this is a hot topic for many parents, and I would love to start a dialogue on the subject!

Take a few minutes to check out these great sites:

Le Top Blog offers some secret tactics
has been there
20 Commandments of Toddler Discipline

Good Luck,



9 thoughts on “A Preliminary Conversation about Toddler Discipline

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  5. I agree with it all.

    I often question what truly needs discipline and what does not, because of misunderstandings, unknown wrongs, minor stuff, and more – which battles do you choose? Then when it does happen, at what level, and what is too much or too little?

    Thanks for those other links too.

    • Hi Ellie,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I know that lots of parents struggle with the exact same things you mentioned. First, I would like to advise you to keep discipline consistent. The things being disciplined and their consequences should always be the same, no matter the situation. If you are questioning what should be disciplined, tackle the big stuff like hitting, biting, and talking back and work out the rest as they arise. Keep the communication, both verbally and non-verbally, between you, your child, and your partner open and consistent as well. This cuts down on the guess work for your child. They shouldn’t have to just figure out how to behave, they should be told and shown. As far as too much or too little, that is up to you. Verbal reprimands to start and more aggressive punishments like time out are on a child to child basis. Only you know what really works with your kid. Also, make sure you are comfortable and confident in your methods of discipline, this will help you stay in control of stressful situations and show your child that you are the boss. This is important for their safety and ultimately the relationship of parent/mentor to child/student.

      I look forward to hearing what methods you choose to adopt and how the discipline conversation is going for you. Good Luck!

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