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These are my thoughts, yo.

"Advice on How to Discipline a Two Year Old Girl"

jasmine banks

Not everyone has the time or space to manage a blog (or even a quality blog). Sometimes those of us that do forget that it originally writing (blogging) wasn't about SEO, being the most popular, or having the most viral blog post- it was about connecting with others and sharing your story. I LOVE storytelling. It is a huge part of my culture and I think it is transformative in a wholly unique way. Meet Holly and Addison. Holly is a single mom, a Catholic, a lover of  Eminem, a vegetarian, and very politically conservative. She is NOT a blogger- but she DOES have a story to tell. Here it is: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“ADDISON CLARE FAIRCHILD! GET OFF THAT CHAIR BEFORE YOU FALL DOWN!” I yell at my 23-month-old daughter for what feels like the ten-millionth time in around five minutes. Of course, she doesn’t listen so I go, pick her up out of the chair (which induces screaming that would make anyone think I was beating her bloody), and turn the chair on its side.

Anyone who has a two-year-old knows exactly the frustration I feel when my daughter will not listen to me, especially when it involves a behavior on her part that can lead to injury. Of course, I know part of her listening and behavior problem stems from the fact that she is frustrated as well and it’s my fault. When I yell at her, she gets scared. That’s not fair to her, or me, and it’s impeding my quest to find an effective discipline method. Just as I believe children have a right not to be hit or spanked, I also believe that they have a right to live without unnecessary fear in their own homes.

I am one of few parents in my circle of friends who chooses not to spank. It’s earned me some ridicule and also some warnings of a life of delinquency and disrespect if I don’t spank her now. A lot of my friends and family will reference Proverbs 13:24, also known as the “spare the rod” verse. They point out how my current method of discipline is working. They’re right, but does that mean that spanking is the answer? Also, why do some Christians feel the need to read the bible both literally and figuratively, based on the situation? For the record, I am a devout Christian.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association define spanking, in so many words, as hitting the child with an open hand while not causing injury. A study published in 2010 in the journal, Pediatrics, found that a three-year-old child who is spanked twice or more per month has double the chance of displaying aggressive behavior by the age of five, according to a news report on the study by The New York Times.

On the other hand, a series of articles about discipline posted on Focus on the Family’s website advocates spanking children as young as fifteen-months-old, and the author even states that some of the most intimate moments with his children were in the moments right after he spanked them. Am I the only one who believes that there is something wrong when some of your most precious moments with your children to be after you have inflicted physical pain? If I am alone in that line of thinking, I’m happy being a loner. I want Addison to trust and respect me because she knows that I will love and protect her, not because she fears me.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t found an effective discipline method yet. However, here are the few books I’m reading in my efforts:

  1. Thomas Gordon - Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children
  2. Hal Edward Runkel - Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool
  3. Thomas W. Phelan - 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12

I have noticed that kneeling down or picking Addison up, in order to put myself at her level versus standing over her, while simply talking to her is more effective than yelling. I won’t lie and say that I don’t still occasionally lose my temper and yell but I’m doing better, and our relationship is better for it. If I can just get through the first few moments of screaming, all the while talking to her in a calm voice and trying to explain my feelings, usually her anger will subside and it’s a lot easier to redirect her attention.

Never once has the thought of spanking my child crossed my mind, no matter how many times she’s hit me or how angry I’ve become. Being a single mom makes crucial a trusting and loving relationship. In our home, that means that spanking and screaming are not welcome methods of discipline.

I do enjoy hearing other’s stories of nonviolent discipline so does anyone have any opinions or experience that would help me out? I’m all ears!