Now that I have a toddler, I have found myself saying a no, where I didn’t say no at all before. I have found the beginnings of the disciplining stage of parenthood to be awkward. (I’m not sure awkward is the right word, but that’s what I’m going with.) I know that all parents must discipline their children and everyone needs to hear the word “no” every now and then throughout their lives, but teaching a 1-year-old who doesn’t understand what she is doing is wrong is straight-up awkward.
I am trying to be extremely patient and only telling her no to things that will ultimately endanger her, but I also don’t want to overprotect her to the point that she doesn’t learn to manage things for herself. For example, “No no Chicken, don’t pull on the lamp cord” is something I deem that will endanger her. Whereas the stairs are dangerous, yes, and I don’t want her to climb up and down them without me there for guidance, but she’s going to have to figure them out eventually and practice is the only way that will happen.
I have also found that I can’t just say “no no Chicken and take it away and continue with what I was doing prior to that. She just goes right back to what she was doing that wasn’t safe, and she has no idea why it’s bad. If I want to successfully teach her the difference between what is okay and what is not, I have to tell her “no no” to the bad thing and immediately whisk her across the room and distract her with something that is okay. It is moments like this when I realize babies are not that different than puppies. When I trained my lab and golden retriever to not chew up my house I did that exact same thing. I would say no to the thing I didn’t want them to chew and then hand them a toy or bone that was okay. So if your thinking about having a kid, I recommend raising a puppy first, it will teach a lot of the basics. And yes, I know that babies and puppies are completely different, but seriously, in the early days, there are a ton of similarities.
I have by no means perfected this toddler disciplining thing. And the darn little girl gets smarter every day, which always changes the game. As I am new to this whole parenting life, I am just trying my best to show empathy for Chicken. I know I will never be able to understand the mindset of a 13 month-old, but I’m trying. Hopefully, that will get me through.