Parenting Mistakes

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Raising a toddler is a really big challenge. No question about it. And you've ever found saying kids should come with a manual, well, now, they do. It's called "Stop Second-Guessing Yourself: The Toddler Years". The author, Jen Singer, is here to tell us some of the biggest mistakes that parents of toddlers make and how to fix them. And I'm so glad you're here. Boy could I use your help. I always find myself saying that to you, but we have toddlers. So, you know. -I had 2 toddlers in the same time because I had a 1-year-old and then a 2-1/2-year-old and I- -And that's crazy. -It was absolutely crazy because one would go one way. One would go the other way. -It's hard to control them. You know, toddlers can be frustrating and exhausting and absolutely wonderful all at the same time and I think it's because they're so unpredictable and they throw tantrums that parents maybe start using some parenting techniques that they normally wouldn't or shouldn't, right? -Well, that's true. They forget that they're toddlers and there isn't a baby anymore. And so, they go for the easy fix for the bigger problems. And that causes larger problems in the long run. -Okay Let's talk about these 3 big mistakes. For starters, we say, sometimes, parents squimp on discipline when they shouldn't. Tell me about that. What do they do? I'm probably doing it, too. -You know, they're so darn cute so you think that, oh, they're so little. I'll just let some things go and, in fact, 63 percent of mom's surveyed on said that enduring tamper tantrums and their kid's not listening to them saying no is a big, big problem. However, you gotta just say no and I'll tell you why. When you're in the store and your kid's starting a fit, if you just say, oh, we're gonna leave if you don't stop that and then you don't leave, you've now set up for the rest of your lives that they're gonna know that mommy's gonna buckle. So- -She's gonna cave. -She's gonna cave if I keep it up. -So, just saying no is huge. Obviously, you have to do that. But you also recommend a discipline plan. Tell me how that works. -Yeah. You have to set a plan and you have to follow that plan. And no matter who's watching the child, they have to follow that plan, too. So, if you decide that you will not allow temper tantrums in the supermarket, well, then you pick up that kid and you take that kid to the car no matter how much they're screaming and how embarrassing it is and you do that every single time. -And stay consistent with your spouse, I would imagine, and support him. -Your spouse has to do it, too, which is, sometimes, a hard sell. But, yes. Everyone has to do it and they're gonna know who's the softie. -Okay. It's usually me. All right. The next mistake- underestimating what your toddler can do. What do you mean? -My cousin told me that his toddler had just learned how to walk. He turned around for a second, turned back around and his son was standing in the middle of the kitchen table. -That happens. It happens. -That's toddlerhood and, again, your toddler's not a baby anymore. -Hello. -So, you need to sort of anticipate what they're gonna do which is really hard to do because they're very crafty little creatures. But what you can do is watch other toddlers who are a little bit older than yours and see what they're getting into and then child proof accordingly. -So, you need to maybe child proof before you even thought that you should. -Get down on your hands and knees, walk around. Think like a toddler. Think what can I stick into there? That's what you'll do in order to figure out what your child might get into to. -Okay. But also, you say you need to let some things go. So, you're not sort of in their face every step of the way. -Yeah, you know, your house should have a little spot where your toddler can sort of roam free and you're not yelling no, no, no all the time. Sacrifice your Tupperware in the afternoon. Let them play with it because that's how toddlers learn- is from playing. Let them play. Don't make it like a jail cell for them. -Let them take every single DVD out of the TV compartment. -For us, there was it was the magnets off the refrigerator, the magnets on the refrigerator. -They all find something. It's kinda- it's fun for them. Mistake number 3, finally, is using short term solutions that create long term problems. -This is a big one. On MommySaid, about a quarter of moms said that they admit to letting their toddlers sleep with them because they were so exhausted. -Yikes. -But now, they're setting up their toddler to think, hey, I slept there last night. I get to do it every night. And you can't do that. Again, this goes back to disciple plan. Set up a bedtime plan when it's not bedtime and say, you know, we're not gonna let our toddler sleep in our bed. You can always go to your crib and then stick to that. It's the moment that you pull away from that. They're gonna remember that one time that you let them float a boat in the toiler or whatever it is. They're gonna remember. -Is that what you did in your house? -Yeah, we did. -Hey, everybody floats a boat every once in a while. But you said that you also need to keep it simple because they can stretch up that time. My son needs the extra drink and a little back rub and a book and there's always something else. How do you stop that? -Well, if you keep that up there, they're gonna act like Britney Spears at the Four Seasons and expect that every night and, before you know, your bedtime ritual is an hour and a half long. Keep it as simple as possible. Read a book. Change their diaper. Put them to bed. That's it. -All right. Sounds like I need to go home and set some rules. Jen Singer, it's always a pleasure to have you. Thank you so much for coming. -Thank you. -All right. And if you need a little more help maintaining your sanity, there are plenty of more tips in Jen's book, "Stop Second-Guessing Yourself: The Toddler Years". It's in bookstores now. Go get it. Thanks for watching Parents TV. See you soon.