Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Parenting each of my four children offered unique challenges. Finding effective ways to discipline each of them was one of the hardest. Each child was like a new chapter in a book. For example, time-out worked well for two children, but not at all for the others. The trick was finding out which technique worked for each child.
One technique that was not helpful was sending my daughter to her room. A child’s room should be a sanctuary, not a place of punishment. But my husband and I were desperate, and we couldn’t think of anywhere else to put her. To this day, she’s challenging to discipline!
When a toddler is acting out and misbehaving, it’s not so much misbehaving as it is challenging you. If what the child was doing was dangerous and it was a safety issue, I stopped whatever I was doing, held the child close to my face, and said “No” in a very harsh tone. That way, the child knew that “no” was different from the hundreds of other “nos” they heard.
—Victoria McEvoy, MD, a mom who raised four children; a grandmom of six-, four- and two-year-old grandsons; an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School; the medical director and chief of pediatrics at Mass General West Medical Group; and the author of 24/7 Baby Doctor, in Boston, MA