Toddler discipline or mom vs. the tantrum

Toddler discipline is becoming one of the most talked about topics in our home as of late. The problem is, the answer to the question of how do we discipline our toddler is never one my husband or I can answer. When Evan launches into an epic toddler fit, my husband and I just sort of look at each other with our respective jaws on the floor. There is a silent dialog that we share in that gaze when the fit is erupting. What is this madness, and how do we make it stop?

Now, doesn’t that picture look just terribly pitiful? Well, rest assured, Evan was only shielding his eyes form a ray of sunshine, and was about two blinks away from a giggle. However, our days are now peppered with tantrums that end up making everyone, not just the toddler, pretty cranky. How in the world do you discipline a toddler?

Toddler discipline methods I have employed

  • Saying, “that’s a no-no!”
  • Saying, “that’s a no-no!” in a loud voice.
  • Saying, “that’s a no-no!” in a really loud voice.

Guess what? Not doing the trick. He looks us right in the eyes, and while a grin may not actually pass over his lips, I can see it in his sparkly, ornery little brown eyes.

I keep seeing visions of Supernanny in my head, dragging a screaming toddler back to their naughty chair sixteen-thousand times for a three minute time out. That’s 45 minutes of dragging, kicking, and screaming for a 3 minute time out. Don’t get me wrong, I see the necessity here, and I know that there has to be some consistency and follow-through, but I sincerely doubt that my 18-month-old is ready for a time out. In fact, Babycenter says:

Time-outs can be helpful, but few children understand the concept until they’re at least 3 years old. For a younger child, time-outs are confusing and frustrating. If your child is old enough to understand time-outs, use them sparingly and limit them to three minutes or less — just long enough for your child to get control of himself. Put him in a “naughty chair” instead of sending him to his room — you don’t want him to associate his room with punishment. Consider sitting with him. He’ll probably calm down faster, and you could use the break, too.

The last time I blogged about toddler discipline and tantrums, a lot of you told me that I should ignore the fit. Ignore, ignore, ignore, in fact. Well, my little fit-thrower is pretty persistent. Today when I tried the ignore tactic, I ended up with small person guy clinging to my leg like like an angry monkey as I tried to walk through the house with an extra 26 lbs. on one thigh.

I was resorting to putting Evan in his crib to cool down during tantrums, but according to the same quote above that’s a bad idea too. Let me reiterate, what is this madness, and how do we make it stop?

So, what can I do differently? How do you handle toddler discipline in your home?


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