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Toddler Discipline: Kill 'Em with Kindness

Here’s a tip I recently discovered…  Actually, it’s not really a new trick.  In fact, it’s an old trick I’m sure many of us have pulled in the office to deal with those difficult colleagues who are nasty to us.  The funny thing is, it works with children, too.  Or rather, it worked with Gavin…

They say when someone is nasty to you, don’t get mad – kill them with kindness.  If that person is any kind of human being, (s)he’ll soon be embarrassed for being nasty and let up.

Although that is where the theory originated from, I have to hand it to my son for teaching it to me.  It is a slightly different application, but the concept is still the same. I’ve noticed that whenever I’m mad or upset, he will completely disarm me by saying something like, “Mummy, I love you so much!”

Taking a leaf out of my son’s book, I started doing the same back to him. Whenever he refuses to do something I ask him to – for instance, take a bath – I’ll play the “who’s my cutie” game. I ask him to come and give me a hug and start asking him, “Who’s my cutie?” and “Who’s my darling?” and “Who’s my precious?” Well, you get the drift. Naturally, Gavin will reply that he is. While we’re playing the game, I’ll start undressing him for the bath and he rarely resists.

Okay, I realise I might get shot down for this tactic because it sounds a lot like “conditional love”, but it does work and I don’t only play the game to get him to do things he doesn’t want to do. I still play this game spontaneously with him without any expectations. So does that count?


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

4 thoughts on “Toddler Discipline: Kill 'Em with Kindness

  1. I know what you mean. I often forget a lot of the “dos” and “don’ts” sometimes when Gavin is difficult. Blame it on the Mummy brain, being pregnant, being tired, or just plain autopilot parenting, but I do try to correct it whenever I remember. And this is all before I’ve even had no. 2 in the picture!


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