Dicipline and Stress

Updated on July 23, 2009
A.S. asks from Ballston Spa, NY
13 answers

I am wondering how people dicipline there 2 year olds? I am just not sure when to just say no, use time outs, or ignore. Also how do mom's relieve stress from a long day? Any suggestions would be great.

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answers from New York on

Alison - I was similarly looking for lots of different ideas and got a book called Unconditional parenting that gave me a philosophy to think about when disciplining. I still use a lot of different methods, depending on what I think is driving my child's behavior, but I have found having this in the back of my mind has really helped me discipline with respect for my child.

As with all of the discipline theories, I have taken this approach (and the language and intensity of the author's message) with many grains of salt. I hope you find this helpful. Good luck!

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answers from New York on

Speaking from my own experience, I have a 2 yo. I say no to throwing toys (b/c I also have a 6mo in the line of fire), and anything else which may cause himself or others harm. If he does something naughty, I get down to his height looking him in the eye, scold, saying that was naughty because xxx, and if you do it again you will go on the naughty step. And I follow thru immediately if it does. 2 minutes on the step; explain simply why he is there and that he is not to move for 2 minutes. no more attention, walk away. If he gets up, put him back down and the time starts over (that doesn't happen anymore). After time is over, get on his level, say once again something like, "you are not to hit your brother, i want you to say sorry." After apology, kiss and hug! Basically, say no, give a warningm then if behavior persists, use time out. I'm not sure about ignoring; to me, it doesn't seem to teach anything.
As for stress, a nice hot bath with salts or something that smells nice, dim lights and candles.

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answers from Albany on

I would suggest reading The Continuum Concept. I used the ignore method for bad habits, like dropping food on the floor, etc. People tend to over-discipline children and it just frustrates both parties. Learning occurs so much better when it's at the right stage of development. Toddlers don't do well with time-outs. They usually act up because they need attention so don't isolate them during their neediest time. Swiftly change the scene. We took a lot of walks and spent a lot of time outdoors. Kids like nature more than toys if you let them out. They will be far more relaxed. TV is way too stimulating for a young brain so destress and leave the TV off except for some special occasions. We allowed Barney for half an hour a day for a Mama break for example. Then later on Henry (animal show).

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answers from New York on

* work a lot on using/learning words with your toddler.
* time outs are 2 minutes for a two year old ...and I have a designated time-out lounge chair, which also doubles as his diaper changing station on the main floor. I chose this chair because he hates changing his diaper.
I have found my toddler's tantrums are very infrequent now, and really short...
-many times he already knows he can't have the thing that started the tantrum, so he immediately moves to wanting some alternative.
Ex: he wanted the cookies, and freaks out when I stop him and say no.....throwing whatever he can grab, and stomping around....
So I stay calm with my "NO Cookies!! Do you want a time out?"...If he doesn't settle down, I sit with him in the "time-out chair" , give him a firm cuddle to keep him from flailing his arms all over. Then I talk to him calmly, ask him to use his words, and tell me what he wants.....He usually changes his story and says 'strawberry milk' or some other more acceptable item. (of course I am making alternative suggestions as we sit there)



answers from New York on

Dear Alison,

Discipline is never easy especially for a young child. If my daughter (17 months) does something she is not supposed to, I giver her a warning then if it doesn't work (and it often doesn't) I redirect her attention elsewhere. If she hits or throws things I get down on her level and tell her a firm "no" and in language she can understand, tell her why it is unacceptable. For continuous bad behavior I giver her fair warning again that she she will have a "time out" and if behavior persists I follow through with what I said I was going to do. After a 2 minute "time out" or taking her toy away or whatever punishment I deem appropriate (never a spanking), I reassure her that I love her but she can't do whatever it was that caused her to be punished in the first place.

Children will often test their limits and yours. The most important thing is to remain oonsistent. For instance, if throwing toys is not acceptable one day but the next day you let her or him do it because you don't feel up to the battle is teaching them it's okay to do. If it is unacceptable one day, it has to be that way all days.

As to your other question, taking a brisk walk by myself after my husband comes home from work helps a lot. Sometimes you need that time away even for 15 minutes to a half hour to refresh.



answers from Binghamton on

It sound like you have gotten some good advice. I agree with the others...time out and CONSISTENCY. Parenting is hard work but they learn quickly if they get the same result each time they misbehave. I also found that giving 2-3 year old some choice, makes them feel empowered. I used to lay out 2-3 outfits each day and let my girls (triplets) choose one. Give 2 lunch choices, or let him pick the book to read...ect. This worked great for me at 2. Good luck If he naps during the day, take one as well. Good Parenting is exhausting but so worth it in the long run. J.



answers from New York on

Hi Alison,
Sorry to give you another book suggestion, but a friend told me to read Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline and so far (I'm not done) it makes sense. The main point is to "focus on what you want" in terms of behavior. If you tell your child something like, "Don't throw food!" He/She hears, "Throw food!". Instead, compliment your child when he/she does something you like, and be specific. Good luck, I too have a two year old. :)



answers from Syracuse on

Sorry Alison, I had to laugh at your last question! When you figure out the answer, let me know? I have a 3.5 yr old and a 2 yo! I'm married, I work FT plus am a Navy reservist. I have yet to figure out how to even find the time to releive stress!!



answers from New York on

Please let me know when you find out! I also have a almost 2 year old and am pregnant with twins. It seems like she knows I can't move as fast as I used to and I have hardly any stamina to deal with "bad" behavior! I need answers to both of you questions! Sorry I have no advice for you.



answers from New York on

Hi Alison-

First off, I am hoping that you are looking to expand your disipline techniques and not just starting down this road...

A few things we find that work really well are to get down on your child's level and speak directly to them while making eye contact. This goes for all types of disipline measures.

1) When to Say "No" - I think "no" is an appropriate reprimand for minor infractions. We use "no" in our house for things like not touching the stereo or other breakables. We also use "no" for teasing the dog/cats or opening the patio door after we have asked her not to, etc. This is like a first level offense. Now, don't get me wrong, being first level does not mean it is a one time warning. It may take repeative action to enforce what we are saying. It also may take a distraction technique like "No, we are not playing with the stereo. That is Mommy's and Daddy's toy... Let's play with your dolly/puzzle/etc."

2) Time outs - We have found that time outs are an effective tool for boundary pushing issues like actually smacking the dog around (instead of just bothering her) or refusing to eat nicely by sitting at the table or picking up toys or for tantrums. We don't tolerate tantrums in our house, but you have to be able to distinquish what is a true tantrum versus a break-down from the inadbility to communicate yet. We use a "1, 2, 3 strikes, your out" method with warnings. If we get to 3 then it is to our naughty chair. We purchased special kiddy chairs that we keep stored away so that they are not play toys. They are only used when she is getting a time out. Time outs are typically their age plus 1 minute and she must stay seated the whole time. Afterwards, we get down on her level and we talk. She has to say sorry and tells us what she is sorry for - not listening, not picking up, not being nice - and then we get huggies. We try really hard to give her the words she is missing by saying things like "I know you were angry because we are picking up your toys, but it time for bed and we always cleanup before bed"

3) Ignoring - I have a tendency to do this more than my husband. As long as she is not going to get hurt, hurt someone else or break something, I will let a situation play out. The one catch is that since Hubby is the primary caregiver, I always ask him about the boundaries he has set for our daughter. IE. If she must sit to eat at the table, then that applies to all meals, all the time, no exceptions. Consistency is key to all of the disipline tools.

I know that is can be very hard, but you need to keep your cool as the behavior you model will be the behavior she uses to cope as she grows and gets older.

As for stress releif, I am a very physical person and getting your kids involved in some sort of exercise like walking is a huge help for me. My daughter's favorite activity is to go to the Heritage trail, park at the Monroe Park and Ride and walk the 2 miles down to the gooseponds. When we get there, I can take a break and sit on the benches while she plays on the playground. I also enjoy reading. Putting my daughter down to sleep at a consistent time (8:00pm) every night gives me a few hours (8 to 10pm) before I need to crash so I can pretty much do what I want then including getting in some "hubby time".

Best of luck!



answers from New York on

My son just turned 2 and it's been hard. He's throwing the ultimate tantrums, hitting, biting, kicking, the works. The one thing that works for us is our pack-n-play believe it or not. It's set up in our office and when he misbehaves, I put him in there to cool down for just 2 minutes, then I try to talk about what he's doing wrong. It seems to be working for us. I'm having a hard time with public tantrums though! It's so embarrassing when he pitches a fit in front of 100 people at the beach! I need a remedy for that.
As far as relaxing goes, a glass of wine always helps me!
Good luck,




answers from New York on

First of all you have to learn to pick your battles. Two's seem to get into so much trouble, that it seems you are always saying no. I think that bothers the parent more than the child. Remove as many things as you can that can cause him harm or be damaged, this way you eliminate a ton of nos. Gradually replace the knick knacks so that he learns he cannot touch things, but that's after he stops the tantrums.
Try to anticipate his needs and then encourage him to verbalize what he wants. Most two tantrums come from the inability to communicate their needs. Sure he can say drink or baba, but he might not want milk and cant tell you. So BEFORE he starts screaming offer him choices within reason.
As for the discipline I always used the counting method. And they learn to count real quick. LOL "No, no, dont touch, throw, hit, bite, etc." (they dont listen) "If you do that again you WILL (stress WILL) go in time out." (they dont listen) "ONE, stop touching, hitting, etc.) Two, you WILL go in time out if I say THREE" "THREE!!!" Immediately put him in time out, no excuses, no more chances. After a few days of being consistent he will come running as soon as you start to say 3.
Tantrums should be dealt with calmly and firmly. He needs to be put somewhere where he cant escape or hurt himself. I always used a high chair. Leave him there until he stops screaming and then calmly explain screaming will not get him anything. Then try to figure out what he wanted and either give it to him or tell him why he cant have it. If he starts screaming again, repeat the treatment. But its important to deflect them before the tantrum if you can.
Stress is easy to relieve. Wait till he turns 19 and goes off to college. In the meantime go for a walk and enjoy a few minutes alone.



answers from New York on

Hi, My daughter is a bit over 18 months and I guess I do things a little differently.... I try not to tell her "No" all the time. If she does something wrong, for example bite me, I will say "Mouths aren't for biting they are for eating", or if she throws her food, "food isn't for throwing balls are for throwing". That way when I do tell her "No" it has a little more signifgance - "No do not touch "X"" where "X" may be the stove or some nick nack or such has more meaning becuse she does not hear it all the time. . I also tell her she is being bad when she does not listen, and that if she keeps being bad she will get a time out. If she does get a time out, which is rare, it is very short, maybe 2 minutes and then I get her and she apologizes. Every once in awhile she will test me to see if my response is the same, so I would say consistency is also veyr imporatnt. Treat her infractions the same way each time. Bad is bad no matter where she is or who she is with.

Mostly I have found that when she throws her food from her chair, it is becuse she wanted to get down and I did not realize it. So I would say tring to figure out what your child wants will head off the majority of the problems. Granted that is not easy... but I find that my daughter does not have tantrum to get her own way when she sees that I am trying to understand her...

Of course she is not the perfect child... she still bites sometimes when she is tired, but that is mostly from frustration I think...

Wishing you good luck and lots of patience!

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