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Discipline vs Punishment




As much as we want parenting to be rainbows and sunshine, there are tough moments when our kids do something that they shouldn't and you have to redirect them onto the right path.


I would love to say that I have it all together and am the queen of patience, but there are some moments that really test me--the moments when my toddler drew on the walls while I was in the restroom, or when I asked her if she needed to go to the bathroom 10 times and she said no because she was too busy watching TV and then ended up peeing all over the floor.


These moments of parenting make it really hard to not lose my cool, but there is one paradigm shift that really has helped me to stay patient in these trying moments.


The word discipline means to teach, not to punish, so whenever I find myself in a tense parenting moment, I try to take a moment to pause and think, "Is my reaction to this moment a teaching moment, or is it a moment of anger, where I want to punish my daughter so she can feel the emotions I am feeling right now?"


This question is the difference between a freak out moment and a reality check where I realize she's 2 and doesn't really understand things the way that I do.


Punishment may be putting her in time-out for these offenses, or maybe spanking if you're that type of parent (I personally am not), but teaching is grabbing a cloth and telling her that she needs to clean up the writing from the wall, or wipe up the pee from the floor.


It'll take a toddler way longer to clean up these things than it would take you as a parent, but from what I have seen, the lesson is much more long lasting than a time out or any other discipline method has ever been, PLUS, it allows you raising your voice to be saved for the most dire situations, such as them about to end up in a dangerous situation, so that when those situations arise, you raising your voice is that much more effective.


It also has given me a moment to reflect and refine my parenting as well--maybe instead of asking Sofia 10 times if she needs to go to the bathroom, I just need to take control of the situation and tell her she needs to try before watching TV. Similarly, maybe I could've been more careful about leaving art supplies out when she was unsupervised.


Obviously, I am not a perfect parent and I am learning more and more about parenting and refining my parenting techniques every day--but I wanted to share this tidbit about parenting that has really gotten me through some of these "terrible two" moments with a bit of grace.


Have you had any tough toddler moments? Share your experiences with me down in the comments!


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