True discipline is done from a place of LOVE and not anger.
Correction, like a pilot who slightly adjusts to stay on course for the destination, is a positive thing.
It helps the child stay in a position to achieve a positive destination.
Much of disciplining a toddler is just constant re-directing when they get off course.
And removing temptations that may set them up for going rogue.
Their little brains are in a constant state of curiosity and they are not trying to be “naughty” or “mischievous” by investigating the cause and effect of their actions.
They haven’t yet developed the self-control to not touch certain things. Or how to do what you ask quickly and efficiently. It’s not a skill that’s in their wheelhouse yet. And that’s okay, right?
When in a situation that feels stressful or exhausting and you feel anger and frustration toward your child bubbling up…
Here are a few tips…
- REMOVE– Remove the child if they are in a dangerous situation with themselves/a sibling/an object- wait for a better time for correction when you are both calm.
- RESTORE– Take a moment to restore yourself to peace/calm, whether that means walking in the other room, doing some deep breathing or your favorite physical way to process your emotions through. Ask the Lord for help. He’s right there and He’s the perfect parent. Then approach them with the invitation to help them restore peace and calm within themselves. Holding/rocking/bumblebee breaths/crying/animal walking to get large motor muscles moving/swaying limbs like an octopus to get frustration/anxiety out, etc…Children cannot process correction when they are in a state of overwhelm. Their brain can’t focus on your words yet.
- GET CURIOUS– Ask yourself what might be going on with your child? Are they hungry? Tired? Overstimulated? Seeking Connection? What might they be feeling inside?
- COMMUNICATE– Ask a “what” question, not a “why” question. Ask “What happened?” or “What are you feeling?” Instead of “Why did you do that?” **Normalize the “big feelings” to remove shame from getting a place. Big feelings are a challenge for most adults, of course little ones are not sure what to do with them. Share that Mama sometimes feels this way, too, and it’s okay.
- CORRECT with CONNECTION & LOVE– First forgive. As Mama, you get to go first, and see this situation through God’s eyes of GRACE & UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Say sorry if you need to. If you lashed out or yelled. WE model the correct way when we ask for forgiveness. It’s the most humbling thing we as Mamas can do. Then explain in simple terms why we can’t do X,Y, or Z when we’re feeling _________________. Seek connection and let them know that you love them very much. We don’t love based upon behavior or what they DO but only because of who they ARE! Move forward as if it never happened. Because that’s what God does with us, all day, everyday, He lets us have a fresh start. This is the challenging part, but if you’re processing your own emotions you do not need to retreat into “cold shoulder” or “passive aggression” or “holding a grudge.”
If you’ve had a tough day, hang in there, Sweet Mama! It’s only one day or one moment in your day and not the end of the world. Give yourself the same grace you would give a friend. We’re all still figuring out how to show up to our children as our HIGHEST and MOST NURTURING selves. You are still a GOOD MOM even if you’ve had moments when you were not a GOOD NURTURER. Welcome to the human race. 😉
If you find yourself needing some support on becoming more EMOTIONALLY BALANCED and RESILIENT, and to restore PEACE & CALM to your day to day living, Hit the Coach with Me button and let’s chat about how I help mamas get FREE! XO, Jenny