How to Set Limits for your Toddler Without Shouting

It can be a real challenge not to raise your voice in the heat of the moment

David Fox
Family Matters

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Photo by Julien L on Unsplash

We’ve all done it. Every single one of us has said “I’m not going to shout at my child” when dreaming about the ideal parent we’re going to be, and then every one is us has broken that rule when the actual reality of being a parent hits.

It’s easily done. In fact, even as I write this I can tell you that I shouted “stop it!” at my two-year-old earlier this evening. I was cooking chilli and brown rice on the stove. She wanted toast, but also wanted a snack to tide her over while the bread was toasting. I said no, she could wait two minutes.

She got upset. Cried. Shouted. Even shoved me. I shouted at her to stop.

I lost my cool. Everything — the heat of the kitchen, the need to make sure the food didn’t burn, my worry that even a light shove from a toddler could knock me, a disabled man, off my feet — got to me, and so the shouting was instinctive.

Did it help? Not really. I felt an immediate pang of regret, my daughter asked for a hug. Yes, the problem of her shoving me had been solved, but only temporarily — and would she now associate an outburst of emotion with getting shouted at?

What should I have…

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David Fox
Family Matters

The challenges and triumphs of parenting while disabled. Email: davefox990@hotmail.com