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Parenting Issues Message Board

Parenting Issues Board Index

They're supposed to be terrible at two !!! (not much reassurance, sorry !!) This is the time when they learn so much about themselves and the world around them,and their capabilities- and that they are not extentions of their parents. They have to go through this developmental stage in order to have good senses of self worth and self esteem.

It might seem like they're imploding every day, but each day, something, even if very small, is getting into their growing minds, and forming who they are going to be-- most of personality and values are actually learned by age 4-5, so this is the beginning of that ! If YOU need some time away, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a babysitter for a few hours and just getting out of the house- use the time to shop without a screaming child (and save the rest of us from that !), go get some coffee you really like, or some special ice cream; meet a friend and split the babysitters' fee; but take a break for you=

Your little one will survive it- they often behave better for others, and act out around those who are more familiar. (I have 'babysat' more than 300 kids through church, day camps, private homes (many regulars)- over 11 years from ages 11-22, and 3 long term 'nanny' type situations'-from ages 22-26; in total, newborns (6 days old) through elementary school, and the occasional teenager house arrest monitor; the kids were almost always well behaved).

I used an isolated (but visible to me) chair; 60 seconds for each year of age of the child for discipline not responding to 2 verbal warnings, or immediately if there was some physical contact (hostile) with another child or pet; if 2 kids got into it, I'd sit them in chairs, across a table, looking at each other, until they could apologize, and play without fighting. Older kids had TVs, toys, snacks, etc taken away.

Parents were always informed. I was lucky; parents went along with my discipline (even if they happened to call in the middle of it to say they'd be later than expected, and the kid whined to them - can't deny a child talking to a parent- would probably scare the parents to death, and also make the kid feel unsafe with me).

After the discipline was over, there was a brief discussion about why it was done, the child was give the chance to ask questions, so I knew he/she understood why he/she was disciplined, and then the subject was dropped. As a babysitter, even if I was given permission to spank, I never did. I didn't feel it was my right to physically discipline someone else's kid. Removing the child from the rest of the fun was usually enough. Going to bed early without a snack was the ultimate horror (they weren't missing a meal- so no starving of the kid, just the 'fun' stuff, and getting consequences fitting the behavior).

Whatever I was doing, it must have been ok- I was booked almost every weekend, some weekdays, if early enough for school, worked in the church nursery twice on Sundays, and on Wednesdays, and on New Years, families would combine and stick a bunch of kids in one house, each family paid me, and I might have 6-8 kids. And it worked, because order was kept, but it was still fun.

Toddlers need structure, but still the chance to explore, make mistakes, and learn, with someone there to support them and be a place to get comfort when nothing seems to go right. Then need space to screw up. They need to be able to wear an orange stripe shirt with purple plaid pants if they pick it out now and then (if just playing at home) to have some mastery over their bodies and what's on them. They need to know that thieir sense of self worth is more important than color coordination of their play clothes in the backyard. Maybe set up a 'backyard' rack in thier closet, and whatever they pick out is thier chance to dress themselves. Explain that if they go to pre-school, or to church or out to a special function that there's a rack of clothes for those events, and the colors have to go together a bit differently, but what a good job they do getting their backyard clothes picked out. ......little things like that can help- and in the great scope of life, why sweat the small stuff- find things that really don't matter, and let the little guy become a master of his universe in simple ways, so when he has to move on to the big stuff, his sense of self-confidence has a base to build on.
:) Good luck :)

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