As I’ve said, toddlers get into trouble most frequently because of their natural desire to touch, bite, taste, smell and break everything within their grasp. These are normal and healthy reactions that should not be inhibited.
When, then, should they be subjected to mild discipline? When they openly defy their parents’ very clear commands! When he runs the other way when called, purposely slams his milk glass on the floor, dashes into the street when being told to stop, screams and throws a tantrum at bedtime, or hits his friends.
These behavior patterns should be discouraged. Even in these situations, however, severe punishment is unwarranted. A firm rap on the fingers or a few minutes sitting on a chair will usually convey the same message as convincingly.
Without watering down anything I have written about discipline, it should also be understood that I am a firm believer in the judicious use of grace (and humour) in parent-child relationships.
In a world in which children are often pushed to grow up too fast, their spirits can dry out like prunes beneath the constant gaze of critical eyes. It is refreshing to see parents temper their harshness with a measure of “unmerited favour”. Likewise, there is nothing that buoys every member of a family quite like laughter and a lighthearted spirit in the home.
This article was written by Focus on the Family Malaysia (www.family.org.my) and the Questions and Answers are extracted from “Complete Family and Marriage Home Reference Guide” by Dr James Dobson with permission.