Discipline leading to tears

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by FGMH, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. FGMH

    FGMH Well-Known Member

    DS has developed a response to discipline that I am finding very hard to deal with - he bursts into tears and cannot stop crying or listen to me until I cuddle and comfort him.
    A very typical situation: He uses words that he has picked up at pre-school and that we have banned at home. I tell him calmly " we don't talk to oneanother like that in this house. please do not use word xyz." or "we do not use hurtful words in this family". If he persists, he gets one clear reminder and then either I leave (e.g. stop helping him get ready for bed) or ask him to leave for a time out (e.g. the table during a meal). He will then start crying very hard, it's nearly like a tantrum, and there is no way to calm him except to cuddle him and comfort him and it takes a long time.
    He seems to be unable emotionally to deal with any kind of discipline or correction at home at the moment. But it feels like I am rewarding him because by the time we can talk the situation is too far away for him and it does not register with him that I really am hurt by his words or displeased with his behaviour. Accordingly, his behaviour does not change.
    I am at a loss how to deal with this. Any ideas?
  2. JuliaS82

    JuliaS82 Active Member

    I have found that I have to take a step back (mentally) and spell out why a behavior is unwanted. My two have better reactions when I help them connect the dots.
    For example: "We don't use that word. It (hurts my feelings/makes me sad/makes your sister sad) when you use that word."
    Also, when he has the emotional melt-downs, but that into words as well... "You're confused as to why you hear that word at school but not at home and upset that it got you in trouble"
    Since I started labeling emotions for my kids, they are now more frequently putting it into words themselves.."Mommy made me upset/ I got scared" and it leaves their minds open to solving the problem.
    Adjust the wording accordingly depending on age, but thats the general idea.
    Hope this helps!
    1 person likes this.
  3. ECUBitzy

    ECUBitzy Well-Known Member

    Rachel (MissBossy) does something similar and every time I read it I just think it's genius. It makes so much sense!
  4. FGMH

    FGMH Well-Known Member

    Thank you. Yes, I will try and spell out for him more clearly why we don't want him to use those words.
    I don't think he is confused whether the words are ok or not because our pre-school has the same sort of policy towards language as we do at home. But some kids do use hurtful words and there is not always a teacher at hand to hear and step in, for example in free play or outdoor play. Maybe part of it is experimenting with unknown language in a safe environment at home?
  5. mama_dragon

    mama_dragon Well-Known Member

    My two went through a phase of trying out words at home and in the car.  Its typical and experimental.  I didn't make a huge deal out of it.  I just told them that it was a potty word and we don't say potty words unless we are in the bathroom.  Which they found highly amusing.  Often this would lead to a discussion about what is a potty word and what is not a potty word.  For exampe you cannot call your brother a poopyhead but you can say you need to poop.  Or they would ask me about a word they heard at school.  Sometimes they make up silly words and ask if its a potty word and then giggle insanely.  On the ride home from school it can be highly amusing listening to them say made up stuff to each other and then shout we don't say that that is a potty word and then giggle insanely.  Or they say what they heard someone saying and then discuss how that was not nice and they should have gone to the potty to say that.  For example reading the Lorax we have to stop and discuss the Onceler saying "shut up" and how that is not very nice and what he should have said instead.  This is a discussion between the two of them.  I just listen.  But whatever they got the message and not only do they not use bad langauge but they also correct me and others. And they have a pretty good grasp that it isn't just cuss words its how you use words and how words can hurt others.     
    Honestly at that age they do not need a lecture or explanation.  I just kept it simple.  Thats a potty word and we don't use potty words or call each other potty words its not nice.  My two love to discuss so from there we got into other aspects of language but I let them lead.    
    As for the tears when do exhibit behavior they should not... often its due to overload and may have nothing to do with what they just did at the moment.  It may have built up and they need an emotional release.  After they calm down with help I describe the behavior I saw.  I then ask what they could have done differently, how they felt or were feeling etc. what ever seems appropriate at the time.  I just go with the flow of the conversation and let them do the talking.  Often they already know what they did was wrong and can come up with a solution if I just lead them a bit and relay what I saw or what I am hearing from them back at them. 
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