Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Starting up toddler discipline

It’s time for DH and me to bite the bullet and start disciplining Cameron. I would have preferred to wait until she was a little older and just use the tried and true method of redirection until then but then this week happened.

On Sunday I had a lovely play date with my friend Amanda and her son Holden. It was so cute to see how excited Holden was by Charlie and he was constantly petting the dog. So that part went well. What didn’t go well was when Cameron decided anything Holden had she needed RIGHT THEN and WITH FORCE. There was toy grabbing, pushing and a couple of close calls with biting. I don’t mind if Cameron stands up for herself but being a bully is not something I want to encourage and I don’t think that redirection and/or ignoring her is cutting it.

Monday we got a sad face on Cameron’s daily daycare report and a note telling us that she was very aggressive with her friends, pushing and grabbing toys. Tuesday was a repeat. I spoke with her main teacher who told me that occasionally she will put Cameron in a crib if she is being too aggressive but only if she (the teacher) was changing diapers and couldn’t intervene directly. Her teacher assured me that it is a phase and she sees it all the time, especially with bright children. While appreciate the stroke to my parenting ego I can’t just let this go. Cameron was also pushy with her cousins on vacation so this has been a phase for more than a few weeks and I worry about it morphing into habitual behavior.

There are a few things running through my mind:
  • Is this because Cameron is an only child and doesn’t have to share her toys at home? Well, she has to share at school and we have fairly regular play dates and outings to the splash park so I don’t think that is really the right question. Although perhaps I could use it as an argument to convince DH to have another?
  • Is this because Cameron is the oldest child in her room (by a few months)? This one carries a little more weight with me. Cameron needs to learn her limits from other kids, not just adults. But as the oldest by a few months she is a lot bigger, faster and naturally more aggressive. The challenge is that she won’t move up to the next room until 18 months so we have at least another 2 months of this to manage/correct until then. And of course once she starts to Transition you KNOW that I will have other issues…ah, the joys of parenting!
  • Do we really need to start formal disciplining with a toddler? I’m not opposed to this but I’m looking for experiences from my readers about time outs, good discipline/parenting books about toddlers and even general empathy. Please reassure me that my child is not going to turn out to be a sociopath!!


LauraC said...

Oh my gosh you are too cute.
No she will not be a sociopath. That doesn't happen until age 4!

Her teacher is right, it is a phase. We saw it all the time in the 1s room (and 2s room). One kid would go through a month of hitting and the parents and teachers would work on time outs and it would get better. Then the next kid would start hitting. Unfortunately you are starting with her being the hitter instead of the hittee. At least then you could have felt righteous about your perfect child getting injured! ha!

Until they are 2, something like 1 2 3 Magic is not going to work. We had a little time out mat in our kitchen that we made the boys sit on. We just kept putting them back there and putting them back there until they sat. If that didn't work, we would sit and put them in our lap, cross their arms like they were hugging themselves and tell them they were in time out.

As for sharing at home HA HA. Real sharing doesn't happen until well after 2, and even that is forced in a twin world. We had to set a timer for them to take turns and even then, there were tons of spectacular WWE moments over toys. Now they are good about sharing but 4 is WAY different than 1.

Amanda said...

Holden was in his first timeout this week at daycare for biting. I think they are going through the same phase.

Miss Madison's Mommy said...

Madi gets aggressive too! She slaps or pinches to get the toys away from her friends. So embarrassing! I've heard to can start time out this early, but isn't time out for breaking rules and does a 16 month old really know the 'rules'?? What to do, what to do!?!?

confused homemaker said...

It's normal & it will pass. At this stage generally you just redirect when things go south.

Even when they get older you'll find sharing is hard. Then again how many of us what to share our cars with the neighbor just because?

WorkingMom said...

It is a phase, so don't worry about it. We're going through it with the Baby too, who's fine (almost too passive) with kids his own age... and super-aggressive with his older brothers - they've even started putting him on the step for a time out!

Danielle said...

I agree. It's a phase. It's normal at this age. Time outs aren't very effective until they're closer to two. I really think the key things are she not get what she wants out of the bad behavior and to redirect and distract. I know it's easier said than done, believe me.
I doubt any of your worries have much to do with it. This is totally normal. Most kids go through an aggressive phase...or two...or three...or...