Parenting Tips – How to Discipline Children at Different Ages | Parents

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  • August 30, 2018
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Transcript

00:04
I’m Dr. Ari Brown.
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I’m here to help you figure out when to start disciplining your child and how to approach
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discipline for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
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Discipline is about teaching your child, so you have to be realistic about what he understands.
00:23
For example, when you say “be nice”, your 15-month-old may have no idea what nice means.
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You have to show what you mean by be nice, like showing her how to pet the cat instead
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of grabbing its tail.
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And setting up rules and limits are different depending on the age of the child.
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One and 2-year olds need physical limits like putting the potted plant out of reach.
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But 3 and 4-year olds, a verbal limit should be enough, such as “Don’t touch that plant,
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honey.”
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So, when is the right time to start disciplining your child?
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Kids can respond to discipline as young as 9 months of age.
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That’s about the time they start testing the waters to see if they can get away with things
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that you’ve already said no to.
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You know the drill: your child cruises over to the dog food bowl to grab a snack, but
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before he does, he looks at you with a little grin on his face.
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That’s because you have already told him 10 times that that’s not okay.
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If your child is smart enough to figure out this human behavior, he is more than ready
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to be disciplined for it.
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For babies, the best response is redirection.
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Just removing the temptation, like taking away the dog food, will reduce the number
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of times you need to say no.
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It’s also pretty easy to redirect the baby to another more appropriate activity like
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banging on some pots and pans with a wooden spoon.
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For toddlers, give choices and teach consequences.
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Toddlers are all about control, so giving them a chance to make decisions makes for
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fewer power struggles and discipline moments.
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Of course, you only want to give two choices, both of which are things you want them to
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do anyway, and if a toddler misbehaves, make his time fit the crime.
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For instance, if your toddler enjoys running away from you when he’s outside, say, “You
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can’t play outside if you run in the street.”
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Your child learns that his poor choice has consequences.
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For preschoolers, catch them being good and ignore undesirable behavior.
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Three and four-year olds aim to please and they thrive on their parent’s attention.
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So, noticing good behavior will minimize those ugly attention-seeking behaviors.
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And when your preschooler starts calling you a poo poo head or some other preschooler cursing,
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ignore it and she will quit.
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Yes, it’s funny the first time but if you respond to it, you’ll hear it a hundred more
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times.
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Being a parent of a 1 to 4-year-old can be a real challenge but you will be a pro when
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your child becomes a teenager, and with teenagers in my own house, I can tell you, teenagers
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are much easier.
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Keep your chin up.