It can seem like yesterday when your child was swaddled and depended on you for everything. Now, as they begin to traverse the world and start believing in themselves to do tasks, comes a whole new set of challenges. As your toddler begins exploring, so does the need for setting boundaries and being able to talk to them about what they can and cannot do. 

Discipline vs Punishment

For many parents, they may have been raised in a more punishment-based household. If you did something wrong, you would be liable to sit in a corner facing the wall, miss a meal, get yelled at or get spanked. At the time, punishment-based learning seemed like the way to go for parents who wanted to have a better hold on their children, but of course most parents know this does not always translate to that. 

For many kids raised this way, it can feel lonely and put a barrier between you and your parent. It felt like they were not appreciated or able to do anything without receiving a punishment, even if the deed committed did not seem so bad. For a lot of people, the word discipline sounds more severe than it actually is, and most associate it with a more punishment-based line of action. But discipline does not involve any direct punishment at all, and can actually be a great bolster along with setting boundaries with your toddler.  

Boundaries and Discussions

Growing up today, many parents are embracing a more positive approach to parenting. Rewarding good behavior and explaining words and actions to children can make a much more positive impact not only on your child’s experiences, but also in how they behave in future situations. Using a more positive form of discipline can help your toddler understand their actions better, and how it makes you feel. 

Discipline is similar to being kind while also being strict. There are boundaries for a reason, and it is to keep them safe. Explaining these ideals to your toddler may feel like speaking to a brick wall at first, but the more they begin to comprehend these ideals, the better they will understand their actions and what could be the result. Rewarding positive experiences and explaining why it was a good thing and also explaining why you are disappointed when they do something wrong can help them make better life choices throughout their entire lives. Simply punishing a child only makes them feel low, and usually does not explain to them why their action should not be repeated. 

Having an open dialogue with your toddler and making sure they understand (and that you understand where they are coming from!) can help you both blossom and prosper as the years go by!

Katie Kyzivat