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positive discipline and staying connected to 14 month old

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  • positive discipline and staying connected to 14 month old

    Hi, all:

    (Just reread this and am apologizing in advance for being all over the place . . . thanks for reading in spite of that!)

    Like so many others, AP seemed to me so intuitive during the early months and into the first year. Now at almost 15 months, my dd is everywhere and exploring everything in sight and I want to continue on the path we've been on--gentle, compassionate parenting that's positively focused and that nurtures her spirit. She is very spirited and headstrong ("singular minded" I sometimes call her!), which I love and which is a direct offshoot of both her father and me. We are also big into humor and silliness, because it's just such a part of our personalities (and now hers!) and our lives.

    I guess my question is about positive discipline in general. I've tried to be proactive about things, so I don't spend all day saying no to her. It feels bad to me, and I don't want to be breaking her spirit or discouraging her curiosity all the time. It just feels bad and controlling. For example, we put a gate around our Christmas tree after she broke the first ornament, because she can kind of touch it now, but ornaments are not so easily grabbed and I don't have to say no. I'm not sure if this was the right thing . . . ???? But I do feel like it solved some problems and has allowed us to periodically explore the tree together through "gentle touch" and "fingertips" which she seems to be able to grasp.

    What are some resources to help my spouse and I learn more about alternatives to "no" and controlling parenting techniques? Is it possible and realistic to parent as I'd like to ideally do (i.e., encouragement and positivity vs. "no" and ongoing conflict)?

    And, most importantly, how do I stay connected with my toddler as she starts to explore her world? That sounds crazy, probably. I'm having a bit of a grief response to the start of individuation happening, but I'm trying to work through it and allow her all the space she needs to explore her world. It's hard sometimes to just go with them through the pulling away, pulling you close times, especially when they so often conflict with what's "convenient"--which is fine with me, just an observation.

    I'm still breastfeeding on demand, and we are committed bedsharers until it's the right time for her, and we practice the rest of AP. But discipline recently has just been a bit of a conundrum for me. I want to like myself as a parent when I hear things come out of my mouth.

    I know no one is perfect (oh, how I hate that!), but I'd like to feel like I'm doing everything I can for this wonderful little angel of a girl. And this one just has me a bit more stumped than other things.

    Sorry if my "questions" weren't clear. Feel free to comment on whatever portion of this you wish to. And thanks in advance for your advice or for just connecting with me.

  • #2

    That was pretty clear! I think your concerns are common in that switch between sweet holdable infant to independant toddler! (I had an adjustment at 3yrs old!) Many people in my local group have some adjustment at this age because it does require a new set of skills...that can become intuitive with practice!

    A few people I know have done the gate around the tree. There is also putting the breakable ornaments high, and the less delicate ones on the bottom.

    I think it does help to understand why your child is doing does take more work to constructively redirect a child to a safe and acceptable curiosity object, but convincing a child he is not curious is pretty much impossible! Wouldn't it be great if they would just naturally know that you would not like something so would not do it! If our modern lifestyle was more toddler freindly it would be just as intuitive as infanthood!
    Have you taught her some signs? That is a great way to have some dialogue (and connection) at this age. Even if you just do a few (I included 'wait' as one of our signs, very helpful!)
    Possibly helpful threads

    Non-API links
    Dr. Sears can start to lean authoritrian but still good ideas.


    • #3
      It sounds like you are already headed in a really positive direction! Just in your example about the christmas tree/ gate shows that you are thinking PROactively, rather than REactively. That is a very huge part of positive discipline; it's adopting a "working with" approach, rather than a "doing to" approach. (BTW, a gate around a christmas tree is a very popular technique with little ones!)

      Being proactive, and "working with" your daughter in your positive discipline endeavors means that you will be spending a lot of time considering her feelings and needs. This alone will maintain your close connection you created with your AP methods during her infant years. It will definitely be a transition to navigate, but many parents find that their techniques for maintaining a connected relationship shift from physical (babywearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping) to emotional (positive discipline, empathy, non-violent communication). This forum will be a helpful resource to turn to when you need to!

      These are some helpful books:
      Connection Parenting, by Pam Leo
      Playful Parenting, by Lawrence Cohen