By Keshnie Kitti Mathi, an ex-pirate and proud momma of 2, who enjoys sharing the joyous, scary, usually hilarious ups and downs of parenthood and wifehood. Click here to read her stories on her blog called: Letters to my baby
Are you struggling with tantrums, sudden bursts of anger and slamming doors?
Did your once sweet angel suddenly become a little gremlin who screams and cries for the smallest thing?
Are you worried because you are not that great with discipline?
If you answered yes to any of the above, fear not! Here’s 10 of the best tips for handling those very stressful situations like a pro!
1) Don’t do what they do
I know it’s tempting to stamp your foot right back at them, but try your best not to. If they scream, go quieter. If they hit, move back. Allow the anger to unfold and do not say a word until it is done
2) Involve your child in the choice of discipline
Ask them what they think should happen if they break the rules. My 5 year old “chose” the naughty corner for the 1st step, a sad face on her reward chart if the behaviour persists (which means no surprise on Friday) and finally the most serious consequence – a toy gets put into the charity box and gets given away on Friday (and she cannot decide which toy it is).
3) Be consistent
You and your significant other need to have a chat and you both need to stick to the same game plan. No good cop, bad cop this time! Also, enforce the same rules all the time. There is no free day!
4) Encourage good behavior in ways that promote good behavior
Try not to bribe your child to do things. We are all guilty of promising them extra screen time if they shower immediately or a toy on Friday if they stop shouting at the mall. Rather encourage good behavior by reminding them of the consequences e.g start moving the chair to the naughty corner or bring out the reward chart and a pen. It also helps to remind them of the time they did what they were meant to do and how proud/happy/amazed you were.
5) Be fair
We all have bad days. Don’t hold your child to higher expectations than we hold ourselves to. They are only just learning to control their feelings and play nicely, and they have off days, tired days, quiet days, etc. Discipline when it is needed only and do not bring up past issues as reminders if no issues currently exist.
6) Be careful of labelling them
Choose your words carefully. We create the labels that our kids will internalize and live. Saying ugly words out of anger is not ideal and should be avoided.
7) Be the change you wish to see
Children learn what they live so let your actions towards them and others always reflect what you want them to emulate.
8) Remember you are shaping the future
Above all else, remember they are little people growing into the parents of tomorrow. And they only stay little for this long.
9) Too much of anything is bad
Too much screen time is as dangerous as constant correction or too much sweet or processed foods. Limit anything that might adversely affect the way your child, or you think. Remember too much screen time for you is just as bad. I recently saw a 2 year old at the mall push his mums phone away so he could look at her while he spoke!
10) Embrace family time and instill values
Eat together, play together, make eye contact, put away your phone or tablet when you are around your kids. It’s amazing how loved you feel when someone looks at you and gives you their full attention.