Here are some common questions that parenting experts get asked frequently.
Is “Because I Said So” Enough?
Parents may say, “No means no.” Or, “Because I said so, that’s why.” You’ve certainly heard other parents say these things, and you may even have said them yourself. Well, in part they’re true and should be enough of a reason for not doing something, but using these phrases really doesn’t teach your toddler anything.
Remember, you are attempting to teach the concept of appropriate behaviour.
A short, simple explanation is fine. Say “You cannot climb on the kitchen counter because you may fall onto the hard tiled floor.” If your toddler repeats “Why?” over and over again, answer the first couple of times with the very same explanation. If he is trying to get you to change your mind and your story, he’ll quickly realize it isn’t working. After that, refuse to answer his “whys” by ignoring him.
What’s Wrong with Bribing?
The problem with bargaining is that once you start it, your toddler expects you to bribe or bargain with him every time you want him to do something. The only time it really works is if your toddler is faced with something particularly uncomfortable, scary, or unpleasant. For example, if your toddler has a fear of the doctor and it’s time for his yearly checkup and vaccinations, it may be helpful to promise that something pleasant will follow.
You might say, “I know how much you dislike going to the doctor. But we have to go. Why don’t we plan on having ice cream afterward?” You are not making the reward contingent on good behaviour but on his going along with what needs to be done.
Will My Toddler Take Advantage of an Apology?
Apologizing for your own bad behaviour or mistakes is one of the best ways to model good behaviour and the acceptance of responsibility. You are not perfect, and neither is your toddler. If he makes a mistake and is told to say he’s sorry, why shouldn’t you be expected to do the same?
Is It Okay to Discipline Other People’s Kids?
Here’s a simple rule. If you are the only parent in charge (e.g., your toddler has a friend over), you have a responsibility to supervise them. If one child is harming another, step in and correct the misbehaving child. If the other parent is present, wait to let her take charge first. If she doesn’t, be diplomatic. You might say, “I see the kids getting into it; we’d better stop them.” Do not take sides and stay as neutral as possible.