Parenting is one of the most difficult, yet rewarding experiences life has to offer. Sometimes I take short cuts when disciplining my daughter, to make it easier. I know it’s wrong, but sometimes I just can’t avoid them. The habit I need to break most is bribing her when she throws a tantrum, especially in public.
It all started when she was about a year old. She was beginning to form words, but couldn’t yet form full sentences. We were shopping at a local grocery store. She saw a ball that was apparently life changing. After she realized I was not going to give in and give her this red ball, she threw the most intense tantrum I’ve ever seen. People began looking at her as she threw her arms up and down as she screamed. After two or three minutes of this embarrassment I finally got her to stop by giving her some cookies I had in her diaper bag. Big mistake.
At the time bribing her served as a quick fix, but in the long wrong it created more problems than fixed. Now no matter how big or small the tantrum she thinks she can get something simply by increasing her volume. It has become more difficult to stop her, unless I give in and bribe her with some sort of treat. Her mother and I have had enough!
We recently decided to break this habit, no matter how crazy her fits were. So during our first attempt, her tantrum began but we stood our ground. We explained in a calm manor that her yelling wouldn’t get her what she wanted and if she didn’t calm down then we would take away a privilege. She persisted. I warned her one last time. She threw herself on the ground and screamed louder than ever before. I picked her up and took her to her room, put her in her crib and said now you have to go to bed early. She screamed and screamed. I said goodnight and shut her door and went about my evening. I stood my ground. After about twenty minutes she stopped. I checked on her a while after and saw she was sound asleep. Even though it was hard seeing her cry, I felt like I had done the right thing for her. She had to learn that remaining calm and in control will get you further. She had to learn how to communicate with her words instead of her screaming.
The next day she wasn’t getting her way and began to cry and scream at her mom. I walked into her room and looked at her. She continued. I told her I would put her to bed early again if she continued and she would miss bath time (her favorite). She immediately stopped. It was amazing to see her understand what I was trying to teach her.
From then on she was easier to discipline. It only took one time for her to see I meant business. Even though it was easy for me to break the habit, it may take a few times for you to overcome this obstacle. Stand your ground. It really pays off for both of you. Remember you are the parent and you know what’s best for your child. It’s not about being an overly strict parent, it’s about being a good parent.