Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Child Training Tuesdays- Toddler Edition

I'm looking for mommy's of toddlers today. I personally have had several toddlers. Lily is my 7th toddler. I say 7th, because as most of you know, she is not our 7th child, but we had a foster daughter for 18 months, and she was a toddler. Next year we will be dealing with our 8th toddler. As you all know, toddlers are challenging. If for no other reason then they want to touch and play with everything!! If you have ever had a toddler, you know what I'm talking about! So, how do we train our toddlers, without breaking their spirits?

I have some thoughts that I will share, but I would love to hear what you all think about training toddlers as well. We practice training with our toddlers. We have training sessions in which, the toddler is set up in a room with something that they shouldn't be touching. We know that they are going to touch it (the tv for example), and we are right there, ready to take the time to train. So, I'm sitting there, and Lily (for example) goes for the tv (for the millioneth time). What we will do, is tell her no (to start off with), and when she goes to touch it anyways, we take her little hand, and just give it a quick little thump, along with the word no. There are no angry words or tones here, no slapping, no yelling, just a quick light thump on the hand. The toddler doesn't really get at first what happened, so she will go ahead and touch again. Again, the thump to the hand. She's realizing slowly that there is something about this word no, that makes it uncomfortable for her to touch the tv. It depends on the stubbornness of the child, but she will get the picture after awhile, and learn not to touch the tv. She is also learning that when she is told the word no, it means that if she goes ahead and does it, there will be a consequence.

Now, two things to keep in mind here. Again, this is a calm, and even cheerful process, if it's done right. Secondly, even very young children need to learn to associate the word no, with physical consequences. As they grow, they will learn that the world comes with physical consequences for not obeying the rules. Some of these consequences are very painful. I don't want my children to have to learn this the hard way. This is one reason why I believe so much in the biblical mandate of spanking. Now, I also believe that there is a wrong and a right way to go about it. But, we are not talking about spanking on these small ones. This is training. You do not want your toddler to grow to think that they can get away with doing what they want. The world will not be so kind to them. You want them to learn boundaries from a young and impressionable age. If they learn the boundaries young, then you can do away with much need for discipline as they get older. Although we believe in spanking, our 11, and 9, and 8 year old children rarely ever have need of one. They were taught when they were very little that there are boundaries and physical consequences. Does this mean they are perfect and never need any form of discipline....no. No training will produce a perfect child, but it will help them learn much more self control, and respect for the rules, than a child who has never been so trained.
These training sessions that I am talking about are about being proactive, not reactive. We as mothers are much more likely to loose our cool with a toddler that we have not trained, because they can often seem very out of control, and it tries our patience. It is much easier to be calm, and give them controlled training sessions when they are small, then to wait until they are a tad older, and you end up snapping at them all the time, because they are continually doing things that they shouldn't. No toddler will be perfect no matter how much training, but believe me, it helps! I know this is true, because we had a foster daughter that we could not do this kind of training with (no physical discipline at all was allowed), and it was often more difficult to handle those toddler issues, when all we could do was seperate her from the situation. I have seen how seperation teaches our children only that they cannot do this thing for a brief amount of time, but they can do it later, once they are back to business. They cannot make the connection. I use seperation (time out) with older children, when I can come in and we can discuss what they did, and why it was not right, and work things out that way. But, for little ones, I haven't found time outs to be at all successful in teaching those children anything.

Most important, is to love, laugh, enjoy your toddler. They need lots of love and attention, and you need to work to keep them safe, but for us, part of keeping them safe in this world, is to effectively train them in boundaries. They need it, and mama's...so do we!

If you have any further thoughts on training toddlers, I would love to hear them. I actually have further thoughts, but I've got myself a toddler, who needs my attention right now, so I will continue this perhaps next week. Please share your thoughts today, either on your blog, and let me know, or here in the comments! Enjoy your toddlers today!!

No comments:

Post a Comment