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Thread: Toddlers and loving guidance ... for New Beginnings!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Toddlers and loving guidance ... for New Beginnings!

    Anyone have a high need toddler? PLEASE share your words of wisdom about parenting with loving guidance with the mother who wrote the following question:

    “Responding to my baby's high needs was sometimes exhausting, but from the beginning it instinctually felt right to parent him in such a responsive and gentle manner. Now that he is an active toddler and still intense in his needs, I find that I am having a hard time calmly and gently responding during tantrums or other highly emotional situations. He is too young to really understand long explanations and we both end up frustrated. How have other parents maintained discipline while parenting a high needs child with loving guidance?”

    Responses may be published in an upcoming Toddler Tips column in LLL's New Beginnigns publication. Please comment on this thread or send your reply to toddler.tips@lllusa.org.

    THANK YOU for your input!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    New York

    Default Re: Toddlers and loving guidance ... for New Beginnings!

    My third child was a high need toddler. He needed to be held from morning to night, he needed to sleep next to me, he could not tolerate any separation. he was also way too adventurous when given the opportunity. he would climb the book shelves, pull the heads off his sister's dolls, throw everything in the toilet and put dangerous things into his mouth.
    i kept him safe and maintained peace with in our household by
    1. Wearing him in a sling
    2. sleeping with him on the floor in a futon
    3.letting him wear the same pajamas 24/7 for months at a time, and letting him be naked when he took off all his clothes.

    I did not make any demands on his behavior. i did not expect him to put away his toys, or eat his snacks only in the kitchen, or even share with his sisters.
    i did not have discipline issues because i did not expect him to behave or be "good".
    By the time he was 4 years old he was the most docile well behaved happy little boy on the block. He never hit his playmates, he shared with everyone and loved going to nursery school.
    Started my family in 1986
    Finally done in 2001

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Toddlers and loving guidance ... for New Beginnings!

    At that age I would use very little talking and a lot of body language, redirecting and distracting. Unfortunately, at least in our case, it didn't get easier, DD1 is 5yo and still we need to put a lot of effort into her discipline, more than with the rest of our girls, we still use redirection and logical consequences. It requires a lot of effort on our part but that's the way it is. I try not to compare as they are all different and have different needs. I do get very frustrated too.
    I'm sorry I can't tell you it gets better it might be different with you, they change so much!
    I can recommend a few books:
    Raising your spirited child
    Honey, I wrecked the kids (I just finished this one and it's amazing!)
    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Toddlers and loving guidance ... for New Beginnings!

    Communication is your friend, even with a very young toddler who doesn't have a lot of verbal comprehension yet. A simple "Ouch, hot!" or "No, dangerous" or "Later" or "No thank you" or "Hurts baby!" are often all you need. Another good friend is redirection and/or distraction. With a spirited toddler, it's easy to get into head-to-head battles over something the toddler is determined to do and you are determined not to have him do. But the toddler's curiosity and short attention span can be your way past the confrontation. If he's throwing a fit, don't bother fighting him. Just distract him with the breast, with a snack, or with a toy, or put a surprised expression on your face and say "Wow, look over there! There's a bird outside the window!" or "Ooh, look, there is a toy hiding under the couch. Let's try to get it!". The final puzzle piece is consistency. Toddlers thrive on routine. So try to aim for consistent wake-up and sleep times, and regular mealtimes, with lots of healthy snacks in between. Often when your kids are melting down, they're just hungry- and that goes for older kids, too!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Toddlers and loving guidance ... for New Beginnings!

    Ladies - your thoughts are inspired and wonderful. THANK YOU so much! It is this type of fabulous mother-to-mother input that makes New Beginnings such a wonderful publication, kind of like a LLL Meeting in magazine form. Any other thoughts from anyone else??
    Last edited by @llli*jean.merrill; August 6th, 2012 at 07:19 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Toddlers and loving guidance ... for New Beginnings!

    Any toddler is draining but a high needs one is even more so! I've found that keeping a consistent schedule, reasonable expectations and having distractions available for big meltdowns are key. Also, having a needy tot encourages me to pace myself and not over-schedule our days (plus it gave me an excuse to run errands alone thus providing me a break, win/win!). Picking your battles is important and recognizing that that budding independence is really going to help them in the long run. Realize that this time is short and that high-needs tot will soon be independent and grateful for such a gentle/patient parent to encourage growth through those first few years.
    Punk-rock luvin mate to DH and mama to DD1 (born '03) , DD2 (born '08) and nursling DS (born '11) who survived infant botulism.

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