Toddler Discipline: The Magic Word

What’s the magic word?

Nope, it isn’t “please”.

Lately, I’ve discovered a couple of new words that can help my toddler to behave on command.  Well, it was quite effective initially.

Towards the latter part of my pregnancy, my ILs would take it in turns to take Gavin out with them from time to time to give me a chance to rest.  Whenever my SIL2 took him out, she would remind him that he has to “cooperate” with her or he would had to come home.  Gavin learned fairly quickly that he had to “cooperate” to get what he wanted.

Now I know it isn’t recommended to withhold the breast as a method of discipline and I would never have dreamed of doing so a year ago.  However, given how effective it is (breast milk is rated higher than chocolate, ice cream and trains on Gavin’s “need to have” list) and Gavin being much older now, I have relented – for better or worse.

Some time back, I linked the word “cooperate” to the privilege of nursing and it had a magical effect on Gavin.  One morning, when he was being particularly difficult, all I said was, “Gavin!  Please cooperate!”

Almost instantaneously, Gavin fell into line.  Then he said, “If I don’t cooperate, I won’t get nen.” (Just in case you’re wondering, “nen” is our word for breast milk).

When I began the journey as a parent, I had a lot of “dos” and “don’ts” that I would absolutely swear by.  Three years down the track, in the wake of my toddler’s destruction, nothing is as certain as it once seemed.  I still believe in reading whatever I can and absorbing whatever makes sense.  I implement whatever works and the rest is made up on the fly.

What about you?  What magical disciplinary tactics have you stumbled on during your experience as a parent?  Please share them with the rest of us in the comments section below so that we may all benefit from the knowledge database.

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.

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