Discipline

The baby is kind of turning into a real person, someone who actually UNDERSTANDS things.  It’s bizarre.  But this also means that she needs that discipline stuff that is so popular among the parenting set.

Here are my general thoughts.  I believe that I can’t expect her to do things that I don’t do and vice versa.  So if I want her to not hit, I cannot hit her.  If I want her to not yell, I cannot yell.  If I want her to clean up after herself, I have to clean up after myself.  And etc.

So, I don’t yell at her.  Pretty much at all.  Which is REALLY hard to do when she bites me on the shoulder or the leg.  But the times I broke and did yell, it did absolutely no good.  She bites me when she wants my attention and yelling at her is giving her attention.  So now I just ignore her.  If possible, I walk out of the room.  (Not possible when we are in the grocery store and she wants me to put her down so that she can “wa” instead of riding in the cart.)

Matt and I also have a pretty standard policy of giving her what she wants if she can ask for it nicely.  This works really well.  REALLY well.  This is within reason, of course.  If we are at the grocery store alone together and I have shopping to do, I can’t let her walk, it just isn’t practical.  But if we are running a quick errand with Matt at Best Buy and she says “wa” and points at the ground, she usually gets to walk.  Anyway, around the age of one, she developed the ability to stop crying (YES, stop crying in the middle of a tantrum) and respond when we say “if you calm down and tell us what you want, we will give it to you.”  (Well, at one, she couldn’t talk at all, but she could point and sign and make her wishes known pretty well.)  Now she will pretty much stop crying if prompted to, which is a miracle.  Now, I imagine this policy won’t work forever, as she gets better at asking for things and has more complex wants.  But right now, her wants are things like crackers and walking and getting picked up, so they are pretty easy to give to her.  If she starts requesting candy and new toys every time we go out, that will be a different story.  Like I said, she only gets what she wants if it is reasonable and practical.  But, getting what she wants when she communicates calmly has made a huge difference to her personality and her behavior.

Now, come back tomorrow and we will discuss the two year old girl who slapped Elizabeth in the face at the doctor’s office.