I have been writing this post in my head for a few weeks now. We are struggling with a new issues as L enters his toddler stage. How and when to discipline. Let me start out with this is not a debate, while I welcome advice I am not looking to be criticized for our choices.
Logan knows and somewhat understands the word "no". When he first started becoming mobile I debated on using this word, as some mom on a mommy forum I frequent think that its not a good word to use. After some personal reflection and dicussions with a preschool teacher friend I decided that "no" is an important word in the English language. L needed to know this word and follow it. I try to be consistent and only say it when I mean, most importantly in safety situations.
Most of the time he listens to us, other times he looks at me with a very defient look and continues on with what I have told him no. In such cases I use redirection, I physically direct him away from whatever he is up to (often my computer, the cat food, the garbage, electrical outlets, etc) and help him find an appropriate alternate activity, such as books or toys. For the most part he momentarily protests and then is effectively distracted. This has been working. Very rarely have we just receantly started "spanking" his hand. This is only in situations of danger or when he is hurting someone/something (primarily the cat or dog) AND redirection has not worked. I have also just receantly started using a form of "time out" while I realize he is too young to completely understand this I find removing him helps. If he is being really difficult and trying I physically (and firmly) remove him and place him in a spot just away from where we were and this gets him upset because in a firm tone I say "NO (insert action)" and I very breaifly walk away from him and do something (for about 30-40 seconds) I count and cool down or make sure the cat isn't bleeding etc. Then I reapproach him. I get down in his level, I have a softer tone. I try to explain what he did wrong in simple words and I tell him to say sorry, which he doesn't but one day he will. Then I hug and kiss him and engage him in an activity together. I think this is working as well.
However in the last few weeks Logan has starting displaying some behaviours that I do not like and I am not sure how to approach. It is especially difficult because he is still so young (just under 15 months). I am not sure if these are learned behaviours (from daycare??) or if htey are just a normal part of him expressing his developing indpendence. He becomes very frusturated if something is not working his way (like if his push toy gets stuck or he can't reach something) and he will bite himself (on his hand or arm) or he will scream and clench his hands/teeth, he sometimes also hits himself or the cat or us. I try to talk to him and help him thru the frusturation I try to tell him to ask mama/dada for help.
I know for certain many of his behaviours are more of a cause and effect activity. He throws things and makes an angry face while yelling something like an "AHH" noise. And then he loosk at me to see what I do. Its as if he is testing me! If the behavoiur is not hurting anyone (us, him and animals included) I for now am ignoring it. Instead I wait a few moments until he has stopped ( I don't want to reward the behaviour) and I will interact directly with him (if I had been busy with something). Perhaps part of it is looking for attention? Again, if the behaviour is harmful I immediately address it, even if I don't believe he is trying to hurt us/him I won't allow it. Such harmful behaviours include, hitting, pinching anf biting, to both himself, the animals and us. At first this really really concerned me. I discussed it with our doctor and neither of us believe L has any developmental issues (he has well over 15 words now, he has great comprehension, he follows simple directions, he is extremely affectionate, and loves other children) we believe these are just nromal toddler actions, but I still feel it needs to be addressed, to some degree at least. Is anyone else facing anything similar issues? If you are how are you dealing with it?
Since Logan was very young I have prayed each night over him and I have asked God to bless me with the love and patience that HE has with me so that I can show Logan the same. I want to parent the way God does. I want to have a loving and obedient child, and yet I want to allow him to learn from his own mistakes. This is such a hard role to play. Before I had Logan I had so many ideas on how my child would act and how I would parent. And while many of these I still hold true, some I do not. Its such a hard line tho!
MckMama recently posted soemthing that spoke to my heart on the topic, she words it much better then I can! Head over and check it out.
And since no post is complete with out pictures, here are a few swing pictures from the apple orchard! I can't wait to check out the pumpkin patch next weekend!