Ages One to Three


I’m getting such conflicting parenting advice. How do I discipline my baby?


With discipline, the two words to remember are “kind” and “firm.” At one year, the majority of discipline involves child-proofing to provide a safe place to explore, and redirection of the child when they get into things they shouldn’t.

There will be frustration explosions when your child can’t get what she wants, but she shouldn’t have everything she wants, and happy isn’t the only acceptable emotion. Learning how to reflect feelings (simply explained, this is stating what emotion you see your child expressing, so she has a name for it, and when she is verbal she can use her words with power) is helpful, so that young children feel validated and understood.


My daughter is so stubborn! What do I do about the power struggles?


Most 1- and 2-year-olds are determined. That’s normal. Some are more so than others.

Regarding the butting heads, it is important that we not be creating power struggles where there don’t need to be power struggles. Butting heads with your child simply means you both want something equally as much. The thing is, it’s the adult who must have the skills and maturity to stop the power struggle and find a solution. The 1-year-old sure isn’t going to be able to.

As for the so-called war most punitive child-rearing “experts” will say you are in, you can either choose to be at odds/enemies/adversaries with your child, or you can be the captain on her team. You get to decide, and your perspective will shape what is happening. Now, 22 months is VERY young! I barely consider 22 months to be a toddler and not a baby. At this age, I make the decision, offer a few limited choices, and realize that too much power is scary for a baby this young! Your 1-year-old is looking to you to set some firm and healthy boundaries, and while you want to give her some “very limited” choices on occasion, too many choices are going to create the very power struggles you’re trying to avoid. Her unwillingness to make a choice is simply the fact that she’s too young to be asked to make that choice. A lack of choice is a choice for Mommy to choose in our house.

Remember, kind is important, but so is firm. Decide what you will do and then do it. You can only control yourself.

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