Monday, August 22, 2011

When Should You Start Disciplining Your Lil' One?

Just when I thought my lil' curly headed toddler could not get any sweeter, I decided to go up & check on the lil' ladies before starting this post. There was Asher, hanging half way off her bed minus 1 Huggies diaper. Apparently, she had to use the restroom really badly mid-sleep. She must have gotten up & lugged herself to the Elmo potty chair to take care of business & then dragged herself as close to back to bed as her tired lil' self possibly could - The only thing, only half of her made it-LOL! Well, now that I have rediapered my Ashy, on to the blog....A question I have heard a lot of debate over recently is, "When should you start disciplining your lil' one?".  My personal opinion is that a lot of times parents underestimate their kids & start too late. Don't let those adorable big eyes fool you! When you recognize that your baby understands when they are doing wrong, then it is time to start disciplining them. For example, lil' Austin, my 9 month old, may look cute & innocent, BUT she knows very well how to make a somewhat attitude-toned yelp when she doesn't get what she wants. Mommies, you know exactly what shriek I am talking about, it's the one you hear from your baby when you know an object could potentially cause your lil' one harm so you take it away from them to protect them, but they throw a 9 month old version of a "fit" because they want it anyway. Or maybe you are not being quick enough in bringing them their food & they make sure to let you know about it. As a parent, you can recognize the difference between innocent crying & actual fit throwing. It can start younger then you think. If they are throwing themselves back with purpose & protest against you, they are ready. If they are squirming out of your hands & keep flipping over because they don't "feel" like having their diaper changed, they are ready. If they throw things down with anger & purpose or say "No" to you with intention, they are ready. If you tell them "No" but they knowingly do it, take it, or grab it anyway, they are ready.

Now while I do believe that babies (usually 9 months old is when you may start recognizing willfulness and/or defiance here or there) need discipline in some circumstances once you see in them that they are more aware of various actions being wrong or right, you also have to make sure you are correcting them to their age level & level of understanding. The way you need to discipline a 2 year old is definitely going to be different than the level needed for a 9 or 10 month old. Oh, & most importantly remember that in order for your young 1 to understand more quickly that a certain behavior is not acceptable, be CONSISTENT in disciplining that action EVERY time. And it helps especially when both mom & dad are "on the same page" as well.

Consistency is such a HUGE thing. Just the other night I was preparing dinner for the girls & Austin was doing her thing, crawling around in our carpeted living room (which is open to the kitchen) playing with her sisters & daddy close by. Well, suddenly lil' Austin got curious & started making her way over to the kitchen tile. As a mommy, it is my loving duty to teach her that the kitchen is not a safe place for her to play (especially when someone is cooking). Austin is already starting to understand some of the set boundaries & various limits, such as not pulling dvd's or books off of the bookcases, not climbing up the stairs, not purposely flipping over while having her diaper changed & so forth, so I knew, with work, Austin could also understand that the kitchen tile was off limits. So I simply picked her up, put her back on the carpet then pointed back to the tile saying, "No, no. Danger!".  I then went back to cooking with the corner of my eye right on her. She sat there for a moment just looking at me with a very quizzical look on her face before then deciding to try it again. I then repeated the exact same process of picking her up, putting her back on the carpet, & repeating the same words as before. Since this was a new boundary to Austin, I gave her this 2nd warning. She let out a lil' whimper, but then went right back to trying to crawl on the tile. This time she was crawling full speed to see if she could get past me before I could get to her. Of course the attempt failed & this time I also saw a change in her "attitude". I could now tell she understood that the kitchen was forbidden, but she was purposefully challenging it. This time I had to discipline her & then I did the exact same thing of putting her back on the carpet & telling her the same words. Now, some people might say "Why didn't you just put her down far away so she would forget about the kitchen?". I don't believe in that because it would not be teaching her anything in this circumstance. If I tell her later on not to run out in the street, I can't simply move the street. If my family goes into a store & we come across an aisle with fragile items, I can't simply ask the store to move them so that my kids don't touch or break them. It is my duty to lovingly train my kids to obey right away & trust that I have their very best interest in mind always! I kid you all not, this was repeated no less then 6 or times the other night, until my strong-willed lil' Austin realized that I was not going to back down & I meant business. So funny because today we were all making our way to the living room (my older girls walking & lil' Austin crawling) when I noticed my lil' Austin start to make her way towards the kitchen tile. She suddenly stopped herself, sat down for a moment, & then decided to head the other direction without me even saying a word or giving a look.
We underestimate our lil' ones. They are SO smart if we would just give them the chance. And again, I can't emphasize it enough-Consistency PAYS!-M&M Momma

Who says girls can't tackle?

Like 2 seconds later lol


Silly ladies

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