Firstly, I’m not even sure whether I like the word ‘discipline’ really – it just sounds a bit… harsh somehow? Maybe that’s where we’re going wrong 🙈🤣 But I’m not too sure what else to call it… ‘trying to teach them not to behave like feral, out-of-control little brats?’ 🙈 Because to be quite honest, this is what the twiglets behave like a large amount of the time, especially when we’re at home. So how the hell do you go about disciplining toddlers?
Bedtime is a particular favourite. I wrote a post before about the joys of bedtime. But just to recap, we follow a calm, soothing routine every night then as soon as we leave the room, the twigs jump out of bed and start creating merry hell. Preferred merry-hell-creating activities include: jumping on their beds and shouting, emptying their toys all over the floor or over the safety gate into the hall, pulling books off the shelves, and a new one last night – pulling the stuffing out of the cushions in the corner so they are no longer usable 😬😩
If we stay in the room, it makes them worse 🙈 I read a post on a Facebook forum recently (those lovely, non-judgemental platforms of joy! 🙄) It was by a mum whose twins demonstrated quite similar behaviour to the twiglets at bedtime. A lot of the comments from other mums said things like ‘show them who’s boss’, ‘we don’t take any crap from ours’ and ‘ours aren’t allowed out of bed’ etc. I was reading them thinking ‘that’s great but hoooow do you enforce this?!’ Because now we come to the crux of it… The twiglets just don’t listen to us 😭
Lack of Listening
See, while the behaviour can be crap, it’s more the lack of listening which worries me. They seem to have absolutely no regard whatsoever for authority – they show NO respect towards us as being in charge. It sounds ridiculous talking about two-year-olds having respect as I’m sure they’re probably too young to really learn that yet.
But all the children I know seem to listen to their parents, maybe not all the time but at least some of it. Some kids even get upset at being told off as they know they’ve done something wrong or upset their parent or whatever. The twiglets literally roar with laughter in our faces if we tell them off.
To Shout Or Not To Shout?
I don’t really believe in shouting at children as I don’t think it sets a good example. It’s not really modelling the behaviour we want them to show and I would never want the twigs to actually be scared of us as such. Obviously I fail miserably and end up screaming like a fricking banshee multiple times a day when they drive me up the wall 🙈 But in theory, we try not to shout 🤣
But you know when they’ve done something really bad and you do raise your voice on those occasions to let them know you really mean business and they’ve been super naughty? And most kids would think ‘ah crap, we’ve done it now’ and be at least a little bit contrite and sorry? Yeah the twiglets still don’t give a flying f**k – in fact if anything it’s just all the more amusing for them 😭
Is Being Twins The Issue?
I do think the twin element has a part to play in the twigs’ behaviour. They certainly egg each other on and encourage each other by laughing hysterically and getting very over-excited together if one is doing something naughty. And on the occasions when we have split them and spent some 1:1 time with each, their behaviour has been drastically different – both much calmer and easier to deal with.
However, I can’t blame that entirely because all the other twins I know behave wayyy better than H and C and do actually listen to their parents. When we went round to a friend’s house for a twinnie playdate one time, I noticed the mum didn’t let her twins climb up and stand on the sofa (and definitely not hurl themselves off it like my two do at home 🙈) But they absolutely listened to and followed her instructions – I was in awe 😭 H and C just seem completely batsh*t crazy compared to other children – so much more hyperactive and naughty.
Are We Doing Something Wrong?
I just don’t know where we’ve gone wrong, or if we even have? Maybe they will just grow out of it all and go on to be model citizens and pillars of society (rather than the juvenile delinquents I keep envisaging 😭) We can but hope.
But I just can’t help worrying that we’re just not doing the whole ‘discipline’ thing right 🤔 I know people would say there’s no right or wrong and what works for one family won’t work for others. Similarly, children are all individuals so different things will work.
But what if we are just being too soft with them and letting them get away with too much? Maybe we always have and that’s why they don’t listen to us? Maybe they have too much screen time and that’s why they’re little turdmonkeys? Maybe I’m being my usual overthinking self and should just chill the f out and not worry about it (well I’m sure that part is probably true anyway 🙈🤣)
What Else Have We Tried?
We tried using ‘time out’ a while ago but it didn’t seem effective at all for us. If one of them is really angry and lashing out, I will give them a sort of time out in their room. But it is more just so they can calm down safely without hurting the other one – it’s not a punishment as such.
The only thing which sometimes works is if I can think of an immediate consequence for their behaviour. Sometimes it’s easy to think of one – take away the toy they’re messing about with etc. But depending on the behaviour, it’s sometimes really hard to think of something that’s relevant and will actually bother them enough to stop the naughtiness. They don’t seem to respond very well yet to a consequence that’s in the future – ‘Santa/the Easter bunny won’t come,’ ‘you won’t be able to do this/see X’ etc.
I try to just distract them sometimes but that can also be difficult when you’re outnumbered and they’re basically ganging up on you 🙈🙈
Tips on Disciplining Toddlers Please!
Anyway, I’m completely rambling! But if anyone else has children who don’t/didn’t listen to you, do send any advice my way on disciplining toddlers. Let me know what worked for you or whether it just got easier as they got older.
For now, I’m just clinging for dear life to the fact that the twigs behave like angels at preschool and actually seem to do what they’re told when it’s not us telling them. At least I know they do have it in them to behave like nice human beings – if that changes, then we really are f**ked 🙈