The Enforcer...it sounds like a pro wrestler, right? Actually, it's my new nickname for Mackenzie.
She is so funny right now, repeating everything we say. Even if the words don't come out right, she has the tone perfected. In the bathtub tonight, I kept telling Addison, "No, no, no", and shaking my finger at her for letting the water out of the tub. Mackenzie, my little helper, mimicked everything I did...down to shaking her own finger and saying "no, no, noooo" to her sister. (Addison blocked us both out completely, by the way.)
It was pretty freaking cute, until I had to pop Addison's hand because she would not stop draining the water. What did my little enforcer do? She started hitting Addison's back! Oops...
This scenario actually brings up a problem I have been going over in my head for quite sometime. How exactly am I going to discipline these girls??
The way I see it, there are a few general methods of discipline at this age: spanking, time-outs, and redirection are the main three that come to mind for me. I am not necessarily opposed to any of these methods in theory, but I'm not sure what is going to work for our family either. Discipline, like so many other parenting decisions, is definitely a personal family choice. What works for one family may not suffice for another.
I have tried a very basic form of time-outs on occasion with the girls. Last weekend, when Mackenzie was pushing Addison down in the front yard (!), I made Mackenzie sit beside me on the ground for a minute or so. Eventually, she stopped pushing Addison and moved on to scooping handfuls of mulch out of the flower beds...so I guess it was really a combination time-out/redirection. At this stage, I think that's the method I lean toward most often. Sometimes it works better than others, and as they get a little bigger and can better understand some simple reasoning, I will do more of the time-out, with an explanation of why they're having to sit out.
At times, though, distraction or time-outs are just NOT going to work. Those are the times I tend to turn to spanking (in the form of a light swat on the hand or leg, or sometimes a pinch on the inner leg). When they are touching something they are not supposed to be (the stove!), or when they have repeatedly been told to stop doing something (usually getting in the dvd cabinet), I use the swat or pinch to make it clear that it has to stop.
However, the incident in the tub tonight reinforced my hesitancy to use spanking at this young stage for the girls. I know that with two toddlers, hitting and fighting between themselves is going to be an issue at times. How do I teach them that it's not okay to hit, if I'm spanking them to reinforce it?? The experts say that whatever you do, just be consistent, which we am not doing very well. I have sort of been picking a method on a case-by-case basis, varying according to the situation, and I think that will probably continue until we figure out what works best for the girls (and us). Maybe I won't warp them too badly before we figure it out! : )
What works for your family? Have you figured out your method of discipline yet? I am especially curious about discipline if you have young toddlers, or what you did when your kids were this age.
Please share, and rest assured.... I think there is a pretty non-judgmental group of readers here, so don't be afraid to tell us what works for you!