As a parent you have probably heard the term attachment style parenting. You might even use it as a guide for your own parenting. You aimed for a natural a birth, you’re a strong believer in breastfeeding, and maybe you co-sleep on occasion. Attachment parenting of an infant isn’t easy but we have all had those moments where we know it was the best choice. It just feels right.
But what happens when your infant turns into a toddler? Attachment experts seem to disappear and there isn’t much guidance. Fear creeps in, and you begin to wonder if all the cuddles and affection are really creating a monster… what if your mother-in-law was right all along?
The focus of attachment parenting is about letting our little ones know they are loved unconditionally. As an infant that means lots of cuddles and bonding. This doesn’t change with a toddler. What does change is that now we also need to manage our children’s behaviour. Children are going to challenge the rules; they do this to explore their world and test out consequences.
Here is the good news. Attachment parenting is an affective style of parenting a toddler and we can use discipline while being attachment focused. Here are a few tips to help guide you…
2. Use Encouragement. Focus on encouraging certain behaviours in your child. Our little ones aren’t tiny monsters sent here to drive us crazy. They just want to learn how best to be in the world. And remember, they are starting from scratch. Trust that for the most part, they want to please you and they want to behave well. So when they do share a toy, or say thank you, make sure to encourage those behaviours. Often we take good behaviour for granted and only notice when it’s bad. We just need to change our focus a bit.
3. Address the behaviour not the child. Sometimes, our kids are just plain misbehaving and we need to put our foot down. One thing to remember when we are doing this is to address the behaviour, not the child. By carefully choosing our language we can let them know we love them no matter what, but we don’t like certain behaviours. This is easier said than done however. Here is a simple rule that’s easy to remember. STOP-EDUCATE-REDIRECT. STOP the behaviour, EDUCATE them on why it’s inappropriate, unhelpful or ineffective. Then REDIRECT them to a more appropriate choice of behaviours. This tip helps to focus on the behaviour not the child, and it keeps us focused on the solution instead of the problem.
I encourage you to try out these tips and see how they work for you, but remember- you know your kids better than anyone and only you will know what is best for your family. Good luck and get some rest!
Kristen Johnston, MA, Registered Clinical Counsellor
Healing Cedar Wellness
For up to date information on upcoming parenting courses please like us on Facebook, or contact Kristen directly.
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