Posts Tagged ‘Discipline’

Why Toddlers Bite and What You Can Do About It

Ouch! Toddler biting hurts and it can be just as painful to see other children avoid your toddler because they don’t want to be bitten. If your toddler is biting others, it’s important to know that this behavior is very common, and it’s usually not intended to harm others. There are also simple steps you can take to curb your toddler’s biting problem.
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Why Toddlers Bite

There are several reasons why a toddler may bite. Though biting is painful, most of the time it’s a natural extension of your toddler discovering her world.

Your toddler is exploring her world with all her senses, including taste. Whenever you give your toddler a toy, it probably goes straight into her mouth. A young toddler will not know the difference between chewing a toy and biting someone.

Young children are fascinated by cause and effect. For example, when they drop a spoon at mealtime, Mommy picks it up. Once they discover this cause and effect relationship, spoon dropping can provide hours of entertainment – until Mommy stops playing! If your toddler bites someone, they get a loud scream in return for their efforts – cause and effect.

Sometimes, older toddlers bite to get attention. If your child is not getting enough positive interaction in his day, biting is a quick way to put attention back on himself – even if it is negative attention.

Older toddlers are great mimics of adults and other children. Imitating others helps toddlers learn more about the world around them. If your toddler has seen other children bite, he may simply be copying their actions.

Toddlers can also bite out of frustration. It’s tough being a toddler! They’re leaving babyhood and becoming more independent, but they don’t have good control over their bodies. They can’t talk well enough to express their feelings. When a toddler can’t express his feelings with words, he may bite instead.

How to Prevent Todadler Biting

If your toddler is biting, it is not a good idea to bite him back. Instead of stopping the biting, biting back usually teaches the toddler that biting is okay.

Instead, try to discover what triggers your toddler’s biting. Does he bite when he’s fighting with another child over a toy, playing nicely with a friend, or when he’s hungry or tired? Once you determine why your child is biting, it will be easier to stop it.

If you think your toddler is biting to explore her world by tasting, try giving her a teething ring to chew on instead.

If he bites when he’s fighting over a favorite toy, consider purchasing an extra toy so there will be no need to fight.

Is your toddler biting to get attention? Try to spend more positive time with your toddler. Reading a book together or playing together might give him the attention he’s looking for.

Teaching a Toddler Not to Bite

The next time your toddler bites, use your voice and your facial expression to show the biter that biting is not acceptable behavior. Look into your toddler’s eyes, speak firmly and say something like, “No! Johnny, biting is not okay. It hurts Sally when you bite her. Look, she’s crying.”

If your toddler can talk, you can ask him to tell the victim that he’s sorry. You could also have the biter help bandage and comfort the victim. This will teach your toddler nurturing behavior, and help him realize that his actions can hurt others.

Copyright 2008, Christian-Parent.com.

Ten Alternatives to Spanking

by Destry Maycock

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Spanking is only a temporary solution to ongoing problems. Spanking usually leaves a child wondering what should I do differently so I don’t get hit again. Seldom are spankings followed by instruction on what the child needs to do or stop doing. It generally is nothing more than a release of the parent’s frustration directed toward the child. It teaches a child to comply because of fear rather than a sense of what is right or wrong. It teaches children that violence is an acceptable way to solve their problems. Children who are spanked often have a greater risk of low self-esteem, aggression, lying, cheating, depression and bullying. Spanking sets the example that it is okay to hit when a person is upset or angry. Below are ten alternatives to spanking that you might find helpful.

1. GIVE CHOICES. A choice gives some control back to the child on the parent’s terms. Parents who are really good at providing choices have children who are more compliant and good at making decisions. An example of a choice might be, “would you like to stay here and play with your brother without hitting or would you like to go play alone in your room? It’s up to you.” Be careful not to use a choice and a threat because there is really no true choice to be made when you do that. For example, “would you rather stop hitting your brother or get a spanking.” Provide two options for your child that you would feel good about if he/she chose either.

2. TAKE A TIMEOUT. It is perfectly okay to say, “I’m to upset to deal with you right now, I will talk to you about this later.”

3. GET SOMEONE ELSE INVOLVED. If you feel like your child has got you so angry that you may not be in control, then ask someone else to help you who is not as intimately involved in the situation. This reduces the likelihood that you will strike you child. The key is being able to recognize when you are approaching the point of no return and asking your spouse or someone else to intervene.

4. TEACH THEM WHAT YOU EXPECT. Instead of punishing them for misbehaving, teach them what they can do differently. “You know……. I really get frustrated when you throw your book bag and coat on the living room floor. Next time, please hang them up in the closet. Is there something we can do to help you remember this?”

5. RECOGNIZE THEIR POSITIVE BEHAVIORS. Too often parents only notice their children’s misbehaviors and disregard the things they do well. Reinforcing the positive with praise or privileges is a healthy way of establishing desired behaviors in your children. Catch them doing/being good. “Wow Taylor! I really like how you picked up all your toys without mom telling you to. That is what I call being responsible.”

6. TIMEOUT. The general rule is one minute for every year that the child is old. The setting where the timeout takes place isn’t as important as the fact that you are tying the misbehavior to the consequence. “David you know that I don’t like it when you lie to me. You need to go to timeout for lying. Let’s talk about what you can do differently next time to keep a lie from coming out after you get your timeout done. See you in six minutes David.” As for the setting, it should be place that is quiet and the child is unable to get your attention or be unintentionally rewarded. If a child is having a tantrum then their time should start when they have calmed down and can keep it under control for the duration of the timeout.

7. CONSEQUENCE. Providing a logical consequence is often very effective. Again you need to tie the consequence back to the misbehavior. “I would love to be able to take you to the store Sara but remember last time how you ran around the store and would not listen to me. Well, I’m just not up for that today so you are going to have to stay home with Dad. Maybe next time I will be ready to give it another try.”

8. PICK YOUR BATTLES. Pick the top four things that you just can’t tolerate and focus on disciplining them just for those four behaviors. This let’s your child know what is really important to you and you don’t come across and disciplining them for every little infraction. For some, fighting with siblings, lying, talking back and not following through with a request would be the misbehaviors they would focus on. This isn’t to say that you would neglect to intervene where your child’s safety could be compromised.

9. SET LIMITS. Instead of telling your children what to do try telling them what you are going to do or allow. “I will be happy to take you to Jason’s when you have finished your chores.” “I will talk to you about this when you can speak with a calm voice.” Remember that we have little control over what others do or how they behave and all we really control over is what we do and how behave. Telling your child what you will do or allow is a great way of setting limits.

10. STATE YOUR REQUEST IN THE POSITIVE. You may ask yourself what is meant by that? Have your ever noticed how we usually make or request or directives in the negative. “I’m not going to fix dinner until these dishes are done.” “You are not watching TV until you have completed your homework.” What is the first thing your child hears? NOT or what they can’t have. Which sets the stage for a battle. However, just by changing the structure of how you make request will increase your child’s cooperation. Try stating things in the positive by telling them what they can have or what you will allow. “ I will be happy to fix dinner when the dishes are done.” “You are welcome to watch TV when your homework is finished. They are less likely to argue when your are telling them what they can have or you will allow.

Destry has had over eleven years experience working with children and families as a professional Social Worker. He has also taught many parenting courses and studied the topic of parenting thoroughly throughout his career.

Effective Parenting Techniques – How to use Time Out Successfully

by Henrietta Joyce

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Dr. Phil in his effective parenting survey of 17,000 people found that the two top challenges facing parents were making punishment work and improving school performance. In my experience as a class teacher and coach I have noticed that the biggest obstacle to maintaining effective discipline within the home is a lack of constructive, consistent discipline. Effective discipline should be positive, constructive and for correction rather than punitive. Many parents look upon discipline as a last resort when they are in a rage and therefore were confused and inconsistent in their use of Time Out.

Picture this! Your child is screaming like you are killing him, arms flaying wildly feet thrashing around. You feel angry and frustrated and you’d like to respond by shouting back at him or worse still giving him a swift slap on the bottom. Does this resonate with you? Well I’ve experienced this many times too. Tantrums are unfortunately horribly normal. Most young children have tantrums, throw toys, bite or stomp when they are frustrated. Although embarrassing and irritating, when dealt with calmly by using effective discipline techniques most children grow out of it. Time Out is often over used by parents who have not thought up other discipline strategies.

Be Consistent. It is vital that your child knows that you always follow through.

Children don’t like being ignored so if your child’s behaviour is petty ignore him or her. For difficult behaviour that cannot be ignored, and for children who regularly disobey their parents Time Out can be useful if used correctly. The purpose of time out is to calm your child down and interrupt difficult behaviour. If a child is hysterical Time Out may not be the best solution. Research shows that Time Out is most effective for children three to six years of age. Time Out is inappropriate for children under two.

Time out is only effective when:

· The adult remains calm
· The child understands in advance about Time Out
· It is viewed as a calming measure
· It is not over used

To use Time out as an effective parenting technique I suggest the following guidelines. Children must be told clearly which behaviours lead to Time Out. Parent cannot change the rules on a whim or when they are angry. For example if the rules are Time Out is used for biting, hitting and throwing things you cannot decide to send your child to Time out for refusing to eat her carrots at meal time. Remind her that Time Out is a way of helping her to calm down and behave better. Children should be shown where the time out area is in advance.

Choose a safe, quiet boring place. Hallways, bottom step, chair facing a wall or a small rug are all suitable Time Out places. It is always a good idea to have a back up room to send your child if he refuses to stay in the Time Out area. Remember Time Out is not a punishment so don’t use a scary place such as a dark cupboard or cellar.

To be effective Time Out needs to be short about three minutes for a three-year-old, four minutes for a four year old, a minute for each year of a child’s life.

When your child has been quiet for about two minutes invite him to come out. If your child refuses to come out don’t cajole or nag simply ignore him, he will join you when he is ready. Ask your child for an apology. It is important at this point to discuss calmly and pleasantly what has happened don’t lecture. Many parents omit the final phase – the discussion. It is in fact the most important part of the using Time Out effectively because during the discussion the child is taught the correct way to behave. Finally give your child a hug to reassure him that you still love him. This is how to use time out as an effective parenting technique.

Henri Joyce is an experienced teacher and coaches effective parenting and parenting through divorce. She teaches a effective parenting techniques at the University Of Masters. To claim some valuable downloads and newsletters on effective parenting, you can subscribe to her popular newsletter at: http://www.effectiveparenting.co.uk

Star Charts

by Dionna Sanchez

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Star Charts have to be one of the best motivational tools a parent can use. Star Charts or Reward Charts are commonly used for potty training, bed wetting, chores and personal hygiene. They can also be used for character qualities, homework, special activities or events and even TV/Nintendo/Computer time.

All you do is create a chart with columns. Make a list of what items need to be done and decide how long you want the chart to continue. It can be a week, month or even longer depending on the goal and the age of the child. When the child has accomplished each item – they get a star for the day. You can draw a star in the box or let them put a sticker there.

The idea is that your child is working for a goal. When they reach the end if they have the allotted number of stars, they get a designated reward. It can be a gift, toy or a certain function they want to attend. The chart motivates your child and eases the responsibility off of your shoulders onto their own. Hopefully, whatever the focus of the chart has been, will become a habit to them before completion. Star Charts are marvelously simple in theory yet so often forgotten. The next time you find yourself battling with your child over an issue – try a Star Chart.

Dionna Sanchez works on motivating her children at home and other mothers at Emphasis On Moms.

Minimizing Temper Tantrums: Giving Your Toddler Choices


Oh, the terrible two’s. As a mom of twin toddlers, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to my boys turning two. As their third birthday approaches, I now realize that it wasn’t really as bad as I had been expecting. I don’t think temper tantrums can ever be eliminated completely, but there are some things you can do to minimize and sometimes even avoid them.
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One of the best ways I have found to avoid a toddler tantrum is by giving my boys choices. When you give your toddler a choice, he feels like he has some control over the situation, and is much less likely to throw a fit to get his way. This solution does have a catch, however.

When you are giving your toddler a choice between two options, don’t offer him anything you don’t want to give him. At this young age, they don’t yet understand that you are in fact getting them to do what you wanted in the first place. Yet, they think it was their idea. (You have to be sneakier about it when they get older, but this also works on older kids!)

I have listed below a number of scenarios I often find myself in with my boys. They fall for it almost every time!

One of my boys is very clingy and wants me to hold him all of the time. When we are at the grocery store and he wants to get out of the grocery cart, he wants me to hold me. I tell him he can either sit in the cart or walk and hold my hand. This usually distracts him from wanting me to hold him.

Most kids hate wearing hats, and it is often hard to get them to wear them outside. If I want my boys to wear a hat, they each have several to choose from and I let them pick out which one they want to wear. Sometimes it may take 10 minutes for them to decide, but they are both happy in the end (and so am I).

Food and eating can be big issues when parenting toddlers. A toddler can drive you nuts trying to get him to eat what you want him to. I have found that giving them acceptable choices usually gets them to eat what I want them to eat. If I want them to eat a vegetable, I let them choose between two vegetables. Having clear expectations also helps. If you tell them to eat two more bites before they eat dessert, they will usually cooperate quite easily.

Getting a toddler into the bedroom at night can also be a challenge. If you entice them into their room by letting them choose a book for you to read to them, you will probably have few complaints. After a story or two they are usually ready to settle down for bed.

If your toddler is starting to have a tantrum, try to distract him as quickly as possible. Try to get him interested in an engaging activity. Make sure that he is not hungry or tired.

Toddlers thrive on routine. Try keep them on as regular as a daily schedule or routine as possible, with regular sleeping times, eating times, and play times.

Establishing a daily routine for your toddler, as well as giving him choices as much as possible, will result in a happier and much more well behaved toddler.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit http://www.Christian-Parent.com