Tuesday, November 29, 2011

- disciplining a toddler -

Lately, this "beautiful, ugly stage" (a wonderful term coined by the lovely Sonya over at {shutter mama} that Ellie is in has been challenging to say the least. She is an amazing toddler, but she is still a toddler, nonetheless, and the number of hysterical fits she throws is getting higher and higher.

This past weekend, Matt and I had a couple of heated loving, but passionate discussions about discipline and what is the best way to handle Ellie right now. Let's just say, we have some different opinions on this topic. Let me start by saying that Ellie has quite the "dramatic" personality already, so when she decides to throw a fit, she goes absolutely hysterical. I know, I know, don't all toddlers get hysterical when they are throwing fits? But I swear Ellie can take it to a higher level when she wants to!

I have found that the best thing to do when she is that upset is to let her know I am not happy, but then completely ignore her until she gets a hold of herself and calms down. I do not, by any means, let her continue misbehaving, or let her just run off to play, but it's more like a "time out" in a way, so she can calm herself down. Usually, she seems to respond the fastest when I implement this "time out" (so to speak) by talking very sternly to her and then completely ignoring her and her fit (which obviously leads me to believe she is throwing the fit to get attention...sound familiar any fellow momma's of toddlers out there?)

Matt however, has a slightly more "old school" approach to discipline. Nothing at all in the way of spanking, etc, but let's just say he doesn't agree with me that she should be given the space to calm herself down on her own time. To him, that feels like we are letting her get her way by not forcing her to do whatever we are asking her to do at that particular moment.

We've tried it both ways...usually, using my approach, she calms herself down fairly quickly, and we carry on with our day after she tells me she is "all done" with her fit and I tell her what she did wrong. Using Matt's approach, she usually gets even more hysterical until she finally tires herself out (but that can be a long time!) I don't doubt that she really could be learning her lesson using his approach. But it still just doesn't feel right to me. And just the same, my way of disciplining doesn't really feel right to him.

Is there even a right or wrong answer? Probably not. We both agree discipline is obviously very important, and we both agree on the general household boundaries that need to be set. But how we enforce those boundaries, well that's how we differ.

I'm sure this isn't the only time we are going to disagree about parenting. With every stage that Ellie goes through, comes different parenting hurdles that we are going to have to jump over. And to be totally honest, even after a few conversations about this particular hurdle, we didn't fully come to an agreement about how to proceed, because I don't really know if there is a perfect agreement we can both feel good about.

But what I do know is, at least we were smart enough and open enough to talk about it, and to admit to each other, that we really don't know what is 100% right or wrong when it comes to parenting. And that neither one of us will ever have all the answers. But at least we have each other and neither of us are in this alone!

We will get over this hurdle together, even if we slightly disagree over it, and we will face the next hurdle together...

...BUT, in the meantime, if anyone has the magical answer for dealing with toddler tantrums, we are all ears!!


Natalie said...

I am not looking forward to this stage at all. Hopefully you'll find all the best answers and share them!

Mrs. Pancakes said...

That can be a tough age!! Maybe lots of consistency and cuddles...and planned ignoring:-)

Melanie said...

Goodness... can I get an amen sista?! Hahaa... I so understand what you guys are going through. Jax being 3 still has those complete melt downs. It can be over something big or teeny tiny. I have found that the just letting him calm himself down (ignoring) trick, also works best. Haha... I'm glad I'm not the only one ignoring my child! Just jkn) I think being a mom we know are babies best, but we are not going to always know what to do. We just get to figure it out together along the way. Actually that plan does not sound too fun! If you figure it all out friend, please let us know! Xo

I promise you are the only pal I leave novel comments too) Lol.

Miranda said...

gosh i wish i had magical powers! i am so torn on how to discipline our toddler. i don't know how to even do time-outs with them because they won't sit still! but i do ignore tantrums so i don't give them the extra attention they are trying to get.

Genevieve said...

I loved reading this Kyna. Thanks for you honestly. I get frustated now so I can only imagine how difficult it can be as they get bigger. You are an amazing mom!

Renee said...

I'm just starting to experience these tantrums with my litte one. So far, I do the stern explanation and then ignore her, but she's only 16 months old right now, so I'm sure it's going to get worse. I too wish there was a magical way to deal with these girls. I'm not looking forward to the "terrible 2's".

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