Posted by: nafthi | 2005/11/29


My daughter is 16 months now and her personality is realy starting to show and so the need for effective discipline have arrived. I know quite a bit about discipline for older children (I use to au pair), but find myself at wits end with this age group. Can you recommend any worthwile parenting book that focus on effective discipline strategies for this age group. Many thanks!

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Our expert says:
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Watch the BBC DSTV series, now on weekdays at around 5, on child-rearing, for brillinalt tips. I wish they'd do DVD and books relating to this series. Toddler taming seems to be the most widely recommended book at present.
The principles summarized by Purple are the basis for any successful plan

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Our users say:
Posted by: nafthi | 2005/11/29

Thank you doctor for the recommendation, I appreciate it and will look into it!

Reply to nafthi
Posted by: lady nina | 2005/11/29

hi there

dr james dobson has wonderful books
and dr phil's "family .." book has some great guidlines

good luck


Reply to lady nina
Posted by: Purple | 2005/11/29

The book Toddler Taming by Dr. Christopher Green, an Australian paediatrician is excellent - practical and he writes as if he understands the actual pressures of normal life.

Basically though - being too strict or too lenient will produce a child with the same awful behaviour - one from being rebellious and one from pure selfishness. The middle ground is the best place to aim for.

Try to compliment and praise your child whenever they are being good, as all children do actually aim to please, and giving this high grade attention when they behave well means that it is repeated.

Don't expect adult behaviour from a toddler or a young child -they aren't specially trying to annoy you - they genuinely don't know any better. Learn as much as you can about childhood development as this will help you to understand what behaviour is going to disappear as the child grows older - whether you intervene (and probably prolong the behaviour by giving attention to it) or not.

As you have dealt with older children, you probably know all about star charts, rewards for good behaviour, taking away priveleges for bad behaviour after a warning etc. You also know that this won't work on a toddler - they are just too young until about 3 and a half or 4.

Try to have as few rules as possible - its best to stick to ones where not following them would be a danger to the child.

Be consistent - this is the most important aspect of whatever form of discipline you use.

Act immediately with praise, or a time out if you think you are going to kill each other - if a minute or two passes, your toddler has forgotten already and won't tie the two events together.

Distraction works wonders and averts many situations.

Time outs don't really work until your child is about 18 months old - they don't seem to grasp it before then. My paediatrician disagrees with me, but in my mothers group we have found it to be true.

You and any other major care givers must provide a united front.

16 months is a bit young for discipline - distraction will probably work wonders. Most kids aren't wilfully disobedient until around 20 months to 2 when it first starts happening.

Hope this helps.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Tina | 2005/11/29

My opinion - parenting shouldn't be learnt from books. Perhaps I just haven't found any good ones, but it always works better for me to just go with what feels right. Very vague statement, but children aren't going to react in the same way to same types of parenting. It really all depends on the personalities of the parents AND the children. Plus environmental variables thrown in. The subject is far too wide to be contained in one good book.

If you really become stuck - go and see a therapist for some extra help. The therapist can objectively look at all the variables and give help.

Reply to Tina
Posted by: ... | 2005/11/29

yikes... 16 months old and the word discipline in one paragraph give me shivers.... but then again I haven't had children yet, so maybe I'll understand that a bit better somewhere down the line....

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