Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On Discipline

I struggle daily with discipline and deciding what is appropriate discipline for a 2.5 year old. It is undoubtedly the hardest part of my parenting tenure. My personal parenting philosophy is "follow your instincts". It worked really well in infancy and early toddlerhood. It's almost laughable now that Gretchen is older.

I was totally and utterly unprepared for the sudden and drastic move from baby to toddler. All of a sudden my baby became a real, bona fide person with likes and even more dislikes. She really likes wearing pajamas, and godspeed to you if you happen to pick the polka dot underwear on the day she wants birdies. She yells, she kicks, she bites, she thrashes and she stomps. It would be really funny to watch except, you know, she's mine.

My first instinct when situations like this arise, so roughly 20 times a day, is to scoop her up, love her, hug her and squeeze her 'till her miserable little guts squirt out her nose. If you read any parenting book, even the hippie dippy ones that I buy, you know that is like, the exact opposite of what you're supposed to do. Not rewarding negative behavior seems easy enough but in practice...wow. Even the most positive, gentle approaches to discipline are out of my comfort zone. At the same time I know I won't be doing her any favors by allowing her to act like a violent heathen.

So, I flounder and I grasp at straws and I try really hard to balance how badly I want to respect and validate her with how much I don't want her to hit everyone. I haven't figured out that magical center point yet but when I do, I'll be sure to let you know.


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