I believe you need to start discipline as soon as possible. When you are nursing and the baby bites, give a louder “ouch” so the baby understands there are consequences. Then when our darling toddlers start knocking things over or touching things they shouldn’t, we need to tell them no, not move the object. By telling them no and keeping the object there, we teach them the world does not revolve around them. To stay on this point; if you are going to take your child outside your home they need to know what they can and can’t touch. When you go to a friends house, store, restaurant, etc. they know “no” and this makes your life a lot easier. So there are different ways of discipline, I personally don’t believe in only one. I do believe what the Bible says in Proverbs13:24 NIV= Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
I have a few different ideas on discipline. I can tell you that no 1 thing works every time and for every child. You know your child, try different ways of disciplining and figure out what works best for you. Remember the punishment needs to fit the crime.
Spanking: I use this when a child needs a quick reminder to open those ears. I have used a wooden spoon or my hand. This is not abuse, it is a spanking- not multiple hits. 1-2 swats on the rear end is all it should be, accompanied with redirection; that is what I am talking about here. If my child touches “a pretty”, I spank their hand and tell them no. Again, this needs to have some redirection or moving the child away from the area (if it’s logical). By redirecting I mean have a toy, coloring book, blankie, pacifier available for your child.
Thumping their lips: I use this when a child spits, backtalks, says a bad word on purpose, disrespects, screams or yells.
Hot Tabasco or dry mustard: I use a drop or 2. I use this for biting or lying. I cannot stand lying, I teach my kids very young that telling the truth no matter what is so important. With biting, you can also bite back.
Hold therapy: this is for your out of control child where a spanking won’t shock them out of the behavior. If leaving the child to throw a temper tantrum will hurt him or someone else; I pick the child up and hold their body close to mine making sure they can’t move, I hold them until I can talk to them and feel their body relax and they can respond with a desire to change their behavior. If they are too big to hold, get on top of them similar to a wrestling position and keep them still until they relax. My son was tongue tied for 3 years and we didn’t know it. He would throw fits and fling himself around on the ground. I would hold him and cry with him until he would relax so we could talk.
Time-outs: the child needs to understand what no means before you start time-outs. They should be told why they are being put in time-out and not talked to until they are have remorse for what they have done. You do not need a time-out chair or certain spot for this; I have put my kids in time out at the grocery store and literally stood in the aisle while they thought about what they had done; these tend to be quicker because they tend to be more embarrassed out in public. For timing: a good way to start is by their age=how long they sit in time out. Now I have a child that sat for 30 minutes at the age of 2 because he didn’t want to tell me what he did wrong. Finally at the end of 30 minutes he told me why he was in time out. You know your child; do what works for you, not what others say.
Taking things away/extra chores: so this can start around 12-18 months depending on the child. You may have a child that no other disciple seems to work, but taking that special toy away does. (Do not take a blanket or something they find comfort and/or security in away, that can be traumatizing). The length that toy is taken can depend on the child’s age and why it was taken away. For a 1-3 year old 20-minutes to a few hours; while a 4+ year old it can be overnight or longer. So when we are dealing with an older child who has a bad attitude, disrespects, or is mean in some way- I start to give them jobs as discipline. These are not their regular chores. They might have to make a sibling’s bed, pick up toys that aren’t theirs. Serve someone all day by getting them food, drinks etc.
Following and During any discipline I always tell my child I did not like their actions, but I love them. Their actions are not them, so remember to separate their choices from who they are. “You are acting like a brat”; NOT “You are a brat”. You can always say, “I don’t like how you were acting, I always love you and I know you can make better choices”.
Parenting can be hard work. The earlier you start the easier it will be. I can tell you it’s worth it. Your children will represent your family and how they are raised.