Excerpted from Joan Durrant’s Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting

Dr. Joan Durrant was the principal researcher and co-author of the Canadian Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth; a member of the Research Advisory Committee of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children and a co-editor of Eliminating Corporal Punishment: The Way Forward to Constructive Discipline (UNESCO). 

Her book  positive discipline

BABIES: 1 TO 2 YEARS

 growing baby

This is a time of amazing changes!

During this stage, your child will begin to walk and he will have a “language explosion”!

Walking changes everything. Now your child can go wherever he wants to go. He can reach things that he couldn’t reach before.

He is thrilled with his new independence. He loves to explore every corner. He loves to touch everything and taste everything.

This exploration is your child’s journey of discovery. It is how he learns about his fascinating world.

All children need to explore, touch and taste. It is absolutely necessary to their brain development.

When he explores, your child is a scientist. He will do experiments to see which objects make noises, which ones fall, which ones float. These experiments teach him about the objects in his world.

For example, he will drop a toy over and over and over again. He is not doing this to annoy you. He is doing this to understand what “falling” is.

He will put his hands in his food to discover its texture. He will put toys in his mouth to discover their taste. He will spit out his food to see how it feels.

None of this behaviour is “bad”. It is your child’s task at this stage to discover his world. He is an explorer.

It is a parent’s task to make sure that his world is safe for exploration. If your toddler can explore safely, he will learn a lot very quickly. He also will learn that

With all of his exploration, your child will learn an amazing number of new words very quickly. He will want to know the name of everything that he sees.

This is a wonderful opportunity to give your child a rich vocabulary and a love of words. It is important to:

talk with him


read to him


listen to him


answer his questions

During this stage, your task is to nurture your child’s growing independence.

asian one year

 

He needs to know that you will respect his need for independence and that you will support his strong desire to learn. Your toddler’s need for independence might lead to some conflict with you.

At this stage, children start to say “No!” When a toddler says, “No!” she is not being defiant or disobedient. She is trying to tell you how she feels.

While toddlers know the names of many objects, they don’t yet know how to name feelings. It’s very hard for them to explain their feelings.

When a toddler says, “No!” she might be trying to say: “I don’t like that.”
“I don’t want to leave.”
“I want that.”

“I want to choose my own clothes.” “I’m frustrated.”

Also, they don’t understand how other people feel. If they can’t name their own feelings, they certainly can’t name someone else’s feelings.

When you’re tired and need some peace and quiet, your child is not able to understand how you feel or what you need. If she’s noisy, it’s not because she’s being “bad.”  It’s because she doesn’t understand how you feel.

When you’re in a hurry and your child isn’t getting dressed, it’s not because he wants to make you late. It’s because he doesn’t understand why you have to leave now – right when he’s drawing his masterpiece.

When it’s raining and you want your child to put her coat on and she says, “No!” it’s not because she is being defiant. It’s because she doesn’t understand yet how it feels to get wet in the rain – or because she wants to choose for herself what she will wear.

Toddlers experience a lot of frustration in their daily lives. They want to be independent, but we can’t always allow them to do what they want to do.

Not only do they say “No!” a lot; they also hear “No!” a lot.

Toddlers are frustrated many, many times throughout the day because adults say “No!” to them so often. We are trying to keep them safe and teach them important rules.

But they don’t understand our intentions. They only feel the frustration of hearing “No!”

As a result, toddlers can have tantrums. The frustration builds up in them and they don’t know how to let it out. Their language is not developed enough for them to express their feelings.

So sometimes they collapse in sadness, discouragement and frustration. They express their feelings through tears, screams, and throwing themselves onto the floor.

Many parents can relate to this. When we don’t understand our children’s intentions when they say “No!” we sometimes become frustrated and have tantrums too!

In these situations, we can teach our children important things, such as how to handle frustration and express feelings in a constructive way.

These early teachings in resolving conflict are another building block in your child’s development. They will strengthen your relationship and teach skills that will last a lifetime.

3. Problem Solving: 1 to 2 years

In this stage, children are walking and they love to explore. Parents’ major challenge is keeping their children safe.

Imagine this...

Your toddler is very active. He walks quickly all through the house touching things – including knives and scissors.

You worry that he will get injured if this continues.

To solve this problem, think about what you read in Chapter 3 about this developmental stage. Now list as many reasons as you can to explain why your toddler does dangerous things.

 

Did you include reasons such as:
 needing to touch in order to learn


a strong drive to explore


lack of experience with danger


lack of knowledge of which objects are dangerous


limited language for understanding warnings and explanations

excitement about seeing, feeling and tasting new things

trust in the safety of his environment


a love of learning?

If so, you have applied your knowledge of developmental level to figure out why your toddler sometimes does dangerous things.

Now imagine this...

During one of her trips through the house, your toddler sees a bowl sitting on a table. It just happens to be your favorite hand-made bowl. It belonged to your mother and you treasure it.

When your toddler sees it, she reaches for it and knocks it to the floor, where it breaks.

To decide how to respond in this situation, think about what you read in Chapter 3 about this developmental stage. Now list as many reasons as you can for why your toddler knocked down your favorite bowl.

Did you include reasons such as: 
lack of knowledge of which objects are breakable

inability to understand your feelings about the bowl

not understanding how her actions can cause things to happen

needing to touch in order to learn a strong drive to explore

limited language ability for understanding warnings and explanations

excitement about seeing new things trust in the safety of her environment a love of learning?

If so, you have applied your knowledge of developmental level to figure out why your toddler sometimes breaks valuable things.

Remember that your toddler doesn’t touch, taste and drop things to make you mad. She doesn’t have any understanding of which objects will hurt her, which ones are valuable to you, or which ones will break. She doesn’t know anything about money, so she doesn’t know how much things cost.

When a toddler touches, tastes and drops things, she is learning about her world.

Now imagine this...

It’s a rainy day. You need to take your child to a doctor’s appointment. Your bus will be coming very soon. When you try to put your child’s coat on, he refuses to wear it. He says, “No!” and runs from you. Your can feel your frustration rising.

Take a moment and think about what you read in Chapter 3 about toddler development. List as many reasons as you can for why your child is refusing to put on his coat.

Did you include reasons such as:
a powerful drive for independence, 
lack of understanding of time, 
inability to understand why it matters if he wears his coat, inability to understand why it matters if you miss the bus, inability to understand why he has to go now, 
being interrupted during an activity that is important to him, a wish to make his own choices about what to wear
, lack of experience with rain and the discomfort of getting wet, increasing stress as he senses your anger rising, 
dislike of the sensation of wearing his coat, 
normal toddler negativism?

If so, you have applied your knowledge of developmental level to figure out why your toddler sometimes refuses to do things that are necessary, logical or important to you.

 

 

Responding with positive discipline 

1 to 2 years

The situation

Your toddler is very active. He walks quickly all through the house. Wherever he goes, he touches things. He has just reached for a pair of scissors that he saw on a table.

What should you do? Let’s think about each of the following responses and decide which one is best – and why.

  1. Slap his hands to teach him not to touch dangerous things. 

  2. Scold him loudly, to scare him away from the scissors. 

  3. Catch yourself, take a breath, and calmly and gently take the scissors from him, tell him what they are called, and show him how they cut paper. Explain that they can hurt him, so you will put them away in a safe place. Then distract his attention with a toy. 


 

Step 1 – Remember your long-term goals

What are some of your long-term goals that are relevant to this situation?

Check off each response that would lead you toward your long-term goal.

  1. Slapping his hands 

  2. Scolding him loudly 

  3. Gently naming the object, calmly showing
 him what it is for, explaining that it can hurt him, putting it in a safe place, distracting his attention 


 

Step 2 – Focus on warmth and structure

Compare each response with what you know about providing warmth. For each response check off whether it would provide:

emotional security

show unconditional love


show affection


respect his developmental level

show sensitivity to his needs

show empathy with his feelings

Now compare each response with what you know about providing structure. For each response check off whether it would

provide clear guidelines for behavior

give clear information about your expectations

provide a clear explanation support your child’s learning

encourage your child’s independent thinking

teach conflict resolution skills

At this age, children begin to learn from structure. They can understand more words than they can say, so they can begin to learn through explanations. Remember that it takes time for them to learn all that they need to know. And they still need to learn mainly by touching things.

 

Step 3 – Consider how your child thinks and feels

Why do toddlers touch dangerous objects?

 

Step 4 – Problem solving

Compare each response with what you know about the developmental level of toddlers. Check off each response that would respect your toddler’s developmental level.

  1. Slapping his hands 

  2. Scolding him loudly
  3. Gently naming the object, calmly showing
 him what it is for, explaining that it can hurt him, putting it in a safe place, distracting his attention 


 

Step 5 – Responding with positive discipline

Now that you have thought about your long-term goal, ways of providing warmth and structure, and your toddler’s developmental level, which response would you choose?

If you chose #3, well done!

 

A note on child-proofing

Young children need to explore. This is how they learn. It is absolutely necessary for their brain development.

Parents need to keep their children safe.

The best solution for this situation is to “child-proof” your home.
Crawl through your house and see it from your child’s point of view.

Where are the dangers – the sharp objects, poisons, breakables? Put them all up high or in locked cupboards.

Cover electrical outlets. Lock up knives and tools. Lock up medicines.

Turn pot handles toward the center of the stove. Make sure that heavy objects can’t be pulled down.

Be sure that your home is safe for exploration.

 

The situation

During one of her trips through the house, your toddler sees a bowl sitting on a table. It just happens to be your favorite hand-made bowl. Your toddler sees it, reaches for it and knocks it to the floor, where it breaks.

What should you do? Let’s think about each of the following responses and decide which one is best – and why.

  1. Shout angrily to show her how her actions have hurt you and send her to her room. 

  2. Slap her on the bottom to teach her not to touch your things. 

  3. Let her see your sad face and explain that you are very sad that the bowl broke because it was very special to you. Have her help you to clean it up. Have her help you try to fix it. Explain that when some things are broken, they can never be fixed. Put all of your treasures in a safe place out of her reach. Sit with her and show her how to touch objects gently. Let her practice on unbreakable objects. 


 

Step 1 – Remember your long-term goals

What are some of your long-term goals that are relevant to this situation?

Check off each response that would lead you toward your long-term goal.

  1. Shouting and sending her to her room 

  2. Spanking her 

  3. Describing your feelings, teaching her how to 
clean up, showing her how to fix it, explaining what “break” means, putting your treasures in a safe place, teaching her how to handle objects gently 


 

Step 2 – Focus on warmth and structure

Compare each response with what you know about providing warmth. For each response check off whether it would:

 provide emotional security

show unconditional love


show affection


respect her developmental level

show sensitivity to her needs

show empathy with her feelings

Now compare each response with what you know about providing structure. For each response check off whether it would

provide clear guidelines for behavior

give clear information about your expectations

provide a clear explanation support your child’s learning

encourage your child’s independent thinking

teach conflict resolution skills

At this age, children begin to learn from structure. They can understand more words than they can say, so they can begin to learn through explanations. Remember that it takes time for them to learn all that they need to know. And they still need to learn mainly by touching things.

 

Step 3 – Consider how your child thinks and feels

Why do toddlers touch precious objects?

 

Step 4 – Problem solving

Compare each response with what you know about the developmental level of toddlers. Check off each response that would respect your toddler’s developmental level.

  1. Shouting and sending her to her room 

  2. Slapping her 

  3. Describing your feelings, teaching her how to 
clean up, showing her how to fix it, explaining what “break” means, putting your treasures in a safe place, teaching her how to handle objects gently 


 

Step 5 – Responding with positive discipline

Now that you have thought about your long-term goal, ways of providing warmth and structure, and your toddler’s developmental level, which response would you choose?

If you chose #3, well done!

Children have a right to protection
from all forms of physical and mental violence.
Article 19 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

 

A note on Parental Anger

There are many times during life with a toddler when you might feel frustrated or fearful. Sometimes these feelings will lead to anger.

We feel angry when we think that our children are intentionally being “bad”. If we think that they can control their behaviour and that they are trying to make us mad, we are likely to get mad.

But toddlers don’t understand how we feel. They don’t know what will make us mad and what won’t make us mad. They are trying to figure all of this out. They are frightened by our anger. It's not a response that they are hoping for.

During the toddler years, patience is extremely important. They will learn from us how to act when they are angry.

It takes self-discipline on the part of the parent to control anger and respond with positive discipline. Sometimes it can help to take deep breaths, go for a walk, or leave the room until you cool down.

Children’s learning is gradual. It will take time for them to fully understand what we are trying to teach them. But their understanding is the key to our long-term goals.

Tips for controlling your anger:

  1. Count to10 before you say or do anything. If you still feel angry, walk away and give yourself time to calm down. 

  2. Drop your shoulders, breathe deeply and repeat calming phrase to yourself, like “calm down” or “take it easy” or she's just a child."
  3. Put your hands behind your back and tell yourself to wait. Don’t say anything until you have calmed down. 

  4. Go for a walk and think about the situation. Think about why your child might behave as he did. See it from his point of view. Plan a response that respects his point of view and also explains why you got angry. 

  5. Go someplace quiet and work through the steps of positive discipline. Return to your child when you have planned a response that meets your long-term goals, provides warmth and structure, and recognizes how your child thinks and feels. 

  6. Remember that the situation is an opportunity to teach your child how to resolve conflict through communication and problem-solving. 


Anger is a signal that you and your child do not understand each other’s points of view. It tells you that your communication needs to be restored.

Don’t let anger lead you to say mean things, put your child down, yell or hit. Don’t try to get even or hold a grudge.

Remember that our most important learning happens in the most difficult situations. Seize every opportunity to be the person you want your child to become.

The situation

It’s a rainy day. You need to take your child to a doctor’s appointment. Your bus will be coming very soon. When you try to put your child’s coat on, he refuses to wear it. He says, “No!” and runs from you.

What should you do? Let’s think about each of the following responses and decide which one is best – and why.

1. Grab him and slap him to show him that he can’t defy your authority.

2. Take away his favorite toy to punish him.

3. Explain that it is raining outside. Take him to the door and show him the rain. Put your hand out and show him what “wet” means. Tell him that he will be able to carry an umbrella to help him stay dry.

 

Step 1 – Remember your long-term goals

What are some of your long-term goals that are relevant to this situation?

Check off each response that would lead you toward your long-term goal.

1. Grabbing him and slapping him

2. Taking away his favorite toy

3. Explaining what rain is, offering to let him carry an umbrella to help him stay dry

 

Step 2 – Focus on warmth and structure

Compare each response with what you know about providing warmth. For each response check off whether it would:

provide emotional security

show unconditional love


show affection


respect his developmental level

show sensitivity to his needs

show empathy with his feelings

Now compare each response with what you know about providing structure. For each response check off whether it would

provide clear guidelines for behavior

give clear information about your expectations

provide a clear explanation support your child’s learning

encourage your child’s independent thinking

teach conflict resolution skills

 

Step 3 – Consider how your child thinks and feels

Why do toddlers sometimes refuse to do what we want them to do?

 

Step 4 – Problem solving

Compare each response with what you know about the developmental level of toddlers. Check off each response that would respect your toddler’s developmental level.

1. Grabbing him and slapping him

2. Taking away his favorite toy

3. Explaining what rain is, offering to let him carry an umbrella to help him stay dry.

 

Step 5 – Responding with positive discipline

Now that you have thought about your long-term goal, ways of providing warmth and structure, and your toddler’s developmental level, which response would you choose?

If you chose #3, well done!

 

A note on toddlers’ negativism

It is completely normal for toddlers to refuse to do things that you want them to do. They are not doing this to make you angry or to defy you. They are doing this because they have discovered that they are individuals and they are experimenting with their ability to make decisions.

Sometimes you will explain things to them, but they still won’t do what you ask them to do. This is because they want to make their own choices.

It can be helpful at this stage to offer children choices so that they can exercise their decision-making skills. “Do you want to wear your green coat or your yellow coat?” “Would you rather walk or be carried?” As long as the child chooses one of them, your short-term goal is met.

Just be sure that the choices you offer are choices that you can accept. If you have to go somewhere, don’t say, “Do you want to go or do you want to stay home?” If the child chooses staying home, but you have to go, your child will only learn that his choices don’t matter and that you don’t mean it when you offer them.

Also, a threat is not a choice. “Either put on your coat or I’ll slap you/leave you home by yourself/never take you with me again.” This is not a choice, but a threat. Threats only lead to fear in your child. They also create a trap for the parent. If your child refuses to put on his coat, you will feel that you must follow through on your threat, which will only make the situation worse.

 

 

 

Our Mission

The MISSION of the Action Team to End Hitting Children is to gather many people to do small jobs for the purpose of diminishing and finally ending the hitting of children. By "htiting" we mean to include beating, spanking, slapping, shaking, popping, and any other form of physical or emotional punishment that demeans the child and creates emotional, mental, and physical harm. Our strategy is to use many people to do small amounts of work that create momentum to make a difference. 

Follow Us

Get involved and stay up to date with the latest news by following us on one of our social media accounts.

 

Get the latest videos, memes, and shares by liking us on Facebook today

Download Now

Powerful Parenting
positive parenting

Download Now

Contact us

 333 Clipper Street San Francisco CA  94114, USA
T: +1 (415) 265-7539