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    No 10 in our series ‘Using positive discipline’: Think before you lift that punishing angry hand...

    Think before you lift your hand to hit your child.

    Ask ‘why is s/he behaving like this’ first.

    Is it because of tiredness, hunger, have you been concentrating on something else and your child feels rejected? Is your child in a state of fear? Or is your child just inquisitive as all children should be?

    And then ask ‘why am I getting so cross, irritated, self - righteous and judgemental right now?

    What from my present stresses and past troubles are acting here to prevent me seeing my small child as a human being due respect, bodily integrity and understanding?

    Ask your own parents at what age they found you most difficult when you were small. Then be careful to think about how you feel when your baby is that age – you will have deep unconcious memories of this time and may become too angry and punishing of your own child then. For me it was between 2 years and 2 and a half. Your feelings then are also the feelings your parents had about you...

    If your toddler needs to explore the loo keep it clean and know that a few family germs won’t kill them. Wash their hands afterwards! Do not stifle curiosity with anger and fear.

    Rather make your child’s environment safer to explore. 

    Try to develop an attitude to a bit of mess – or a place in your home or garden where you don’t mind them making a mess...children need to play and explore freely and without unreasonable ristrictions. Find ways of organising play areas so that the mess does not overwhelm you or your child. Or else pay large amounts to occupational therapists (and even psychotherapists) later...truly!

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