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Discipline your toddler without yelling: is it possible?

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I make a habit of not yelling at my daughter (she is currently 2 and a half). If I do raise my voice, it's due to one of two reasons.

Reason 1: Her immediate safety is an issue, and my panic gets the better of me.

Reason 2: I lost my patience. This is self-indulgent and in my control. My patience usually has little to do with my daughter and more to do with what's happening in my head and my life, and I take full responsibility for keeping things that bother me separate from bothering my daughter or affecting how I treat her.

Combined, these things happen less than 5% of the time. Because I yell so rarely, if I do raise my voice (to talk to my husband on a different floor of our house, for example), it actually startles and upsets her.

I am able to not yell by surrounding ourselves in a safe space most of the time and minimizing temptation. Also, I pick and choose my battles, and learn the difference between things that are Wrong and things that I'd rather her not do. I'd rather her not throw her puzzle pieces everywhere, but I recognize that this is her playing and learning, and I let it go, so long as we clean it up together later. We do still have a few issues of things that are Wrong (splash outside of the tub, drop snacks on the floor and step on them), but we work on them together and my daughter eventually learns.

For example, she used to splash in the cat water dish and overturn her cup and shake it everywhere. She no longer does these things. When she did do them, crouch down on her level, gently catch her hands to get her attention, ask her not to do that, give her a reason why, then correct/clean up, and ask for her help. At the time, it doesn't feel like it is working, but as these two examples are things that used to happen for all the time and don't happen anymore, I think we are accomplishing something good in the long run. Consistency, patience, and calmness leave our household a happier and more peaceful place.

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