Thursday, January 26, 2012
Juliet is at the stage of development where it is very hard to share her toys. "No" is a much-beloved word. I believe this is normal, and I choose not to discipline her for it. I know this might be a controversial opinion, but I don't expect her to share her things. Yes, I do need to teach her that we share with friends, because it is the kind and generous thing to do. She will learn this, hopefully soon, and hopefully because I will model the behavior for her. She often will voluntarily share her toys with friends or her sister, and she receives praise for that choice. But I don't expect that she do it all of the time naturally yet, like an adult might, and I try to be patient.
But honestly, it is really, really embarrassing when your kid whines "Nooooo....." when a 9 month old reaches out to grab her toys. It is that embarrassment that makes me doubt my parenting strategy.
It is also really, really embarrassing when you are engrossed in conversation and your toddler decides to stand on the coffee table and start stomping her feet loudly. It makes me want to discipline her.
But, it's me who should know better. I wasn't paying any attention to her, I was actually blatantly choosing to ignore her, and so she decided to stand on the coffee table for my attention.
Yes, she needs to learn that it's not good manners to stand on a table. But it's also poor manners to ignore your child just because you want to show off to some new friends. Right? Do you see what I'm getting at?
At dinner tonight, Juliet chose to throw her food on the floor after I clearly told her not to. And I know that she was testing those limits. I do feel that those are the moments that the discipline does come into play, for her to understand that when we are members of a family, there are boundaries of behavior so that we can all respect one another. I do not want to be a permissive parent who does not teach her child boundaries and thereby unintentionally raise a brat. I just want to be thoughtful abou my reactions.
I am still figuring out the right way to discipline for these types of behaviors. I tried a time-out for the food throwing incident, and I just felt like a fraud. Maybe because my mom didn't do time outs with us as kids (that I know of, anyway), but it just seems like a lame strategy. It doesn't feel like the time out is associated with the behavior, and that it's just a way for the mom to try and feel in control of the situation without really teaching the child anything.
I may change my mind on the time-outs as Juliet gets older, but for now I think I am going to stay away from them. It just doesn't feel like it jives with me or my child.
How about you? Do you do time-out? How do you discipline your toddler?