PostHeaderIcon Who’s The Mama?

By Terez Howard

We’ve all seen it before. It’s the wild child at the grocery store that kicks and screams for a pack of M&M’s. It’s the tot that repeatedly stands on top of the local library’s toys, the ones not meant for skateboarding. It’s the terrible 2-year-old who defiantly throws her hat to the ground, yelling she is not leaving Eat’n Park. (That last one was mine).

Children have minds of their own. It’s a joy to see a child’s budding personality blossom. As a youngster grows, however, some parts of her attitude need a bit of pruning. Kids have to recognize their role in the family as subordinate to their parents. How can you find the balance between being a dictator and a pushover?

Give them choices

Probably one of the best points I’ve ever read in regards to raising children is to give them choices. A toddler wants to be in control, so let them. Before you write me off as the pushover, hear out this Hitler mom (as my mother so affectionately refers to me).

Here are some examples of the choices I give my daughter:

  • Would you like to have a banana or an apple?
  • Do you want to paint or color?
  • Would you like to dance to They Might Be Giants or build a snowman outside?

Notice the common thread? No matter what she chooses, she will eat her fruit, participate in an artsy project and burn off her seemingly endless energy. I don’t care what she picks because in actuality, she’s doing what I want her to do.

Be quick and concise

Toddlers can hardly sit through a meal, let alone sit through a lecture. So when my daughter chooses what’s behind door No. 3 and throws her toys in a fit of rage, it’s time for quick action. Don’t let the tantrum go on and on before responding to your kid. Nip it in the bud.

I quickly tell Micah we don’t throw our toys, and to stop. Then, I usually give her more choices. I might tell her that after she puts her toys away, she can pick what she’d like to have for a snack. I add, “If you don’t listen to me, you’ll have to stand in the naughty corner.”

The naughty corner

If you’ve ever seen Supernanny, then you know what I’m talking about. This is the place disobedient children go when they refuse to listen to Mama and Daddy. I always thought this naughty corner was a ridiculous way to tame a beast. But one day, when I’d had it with my 2-year-old’s uncooperative attitude, I led her to the naughty corner. After just one minute of crying in the naughty corner, she was willing to cooperate.

Now when I calmly (and sometimes, not so calmly) tell her she will have to stand in the naughty corner if doesn’t pick up her toys, those toys make it to her toy box in a hurry. She knows that I’m not crying wolf.

With the Eat’n Park incident I mentioned in the beginning, I told Micah that if she would not let me put her coat and hat on, she would go to the naughty corner. She must’ve thought that Eat’n Park did not have such a place because she kept repeating no. We marched to the bathroom, where she stood in a corner until she got herself together. “No matter where we go,” I told my whimpering child, “I will find a naughty corner.”

The short of it

  1. Give them choices.
  2. Explain the consequences in five seconds.
  3. Enact a disciplinary routine.

Remember, no matter where you are or who you are around, you are the mama. Be consistent with your children. You’re efforts will be rewarded with a mannerly kid.

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