A Journey into the World of Toddler Discipline


I always thought being a mom would come naturally to me. Ever since I was 2 years old or so I’ve wanted to be a mom (and lucky for me, I had a great example to go by!)

And honestly, in the beginning, being a mom DID come easily. With the job I have (by the way, I’m the Director of Content here at EverydayFamily. Nice to meet you!), there were endless resources available to help with the transition, as well as an amazing local mommy group who helped to support me along the way. 

The thing is…being a mom to an infant is WAY different than being a mom to a talking, walking, emotional creature like my almost 2 year-old daughter. I know how to change diapers, sing lullabies, cuddle, and love, but this whole discipline thing has me going crazy!

I swore I would never raise my kids to be spoiled brats, but I’m beginning to think I’m already failing at this. Lyra is 21 months old, and to everyone other than Brett and me, she is an amazingly sweet and demure child. But at home, when it’s just us, it’s like she knows just how much we love her and uses it to get what she wants!

Even as I’m writing this, I can almost see your head shaking, a half-laugh escaping. I have a feeling this is not something that’s unique to my life. So, here I am trying to figure out how to stop the constant “no’s” and tantrums that fly left and right when Lyra doesn’t get her way, hoping that by writing it out and reaching out to fellow moms who have “been there, done that” that I may be able to piece together some resemblance of a strategy to take into battle.

Well, I suppose “battle” may be a strong word for it, but it does feel that way sometimes most of the time. All I really want is for my sweet baby girl to learn that when mommy and daddy say to do something, she needs to do it, and when we say no, it means no!

We’re not unreasonable, but if we ever want to add another child to this picture (which we do want somewhat soon), we need to have a handle on the first child first!

What are your strategies for getting your toddlers to listen to you? Is there some magic trick we’re missing? I have a feeling it’s not a simple answer, but let’s see if we can figure this out together!  


What do you think?

A Journey into the World of Toddler Discipline

Shiloh Johnson is mom to Lyra (a beautiful, independent, smart, strong-willed 5 year old) and Coda (the most loving, sweet-natured, yet still wild and crazy, little boy), wife to Brett (a man who completes her life in ways she never knew needed completing), and currently the Director of Content here at EverydayFamily (the best job EVER!). Growing up with all brothers and a single mom here in Tampa, FL, she may have an edge to her, but gives love freely and unconditionally to those in her life. ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Thanks! You have some great advice!! I’ve heard of using a safe word, but must have forgotten about that until you reminded me. I’m going to chat with my hubby and figure out what word we can all agree on. Not saying "no" is hard, but I agree that it’s best if they don’t hear it over and over again. There are time it can be necessary, and she’ll hear it from her teachers at school for sure, but if possible, we do try to give her a couple of good options so that she feels she is making the decision. Of course, some of the times, she doesn’t like either option, and a fit begins, but those are actually becoming less and less these days, so maybe we crossed a hump! Thanks so much for the feedback! This is such a fabulous age, and I want to make sure we get to focus on the positive instead of the minor negatives 🙂

  2. I love this! And I think you’re very right 🙂 Already, the few things that we were having difficulty with before have stopped. It’s like Magic, lol! I’m sure there will be other things she does that we won’t be fans of, but for now, we’re on a great streak, I suppose I should just enjoy it while I can, right!

  3. I love that idea! We try and use positive reinforcement where we can, but I will definitely try doing it in conjunction with the discipline to encourage her when she stops when asks 🙂 Thanks!!

  4. winnietest says:

    Your daughter is perfectly normal and her behavior is part of her developmental stage. She is continuing the process of separation that began when she was born and will continue until she is an independent adult.

    The best way to handle toddlers is to avoid any and all power struggles, don’t engage…AT ALL! Now that doesn’t mean that she is just allowed to do as she pleases, it just means that your approach must be adapted to "toddler" speak.

    Begin with the idea that it is best to never say "no," instead always offer appropriate choices so that no matter which choice she makes it is an acceptable outcome. Then establish one word, when my son was little it was "STOP" and explain that this word is only for safety and that when you use it she must immediately freeze. Show her by acting it out at home until you are sure she understands and will freeze when she hears it. Of course you should ONLY USE IT WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY FOR HER SAFETY! From there it really does get easier and most toddlers will respond well to having choices which will give her a sense of control over her life and will avoid the head to head struggles hopefully. Good luck, despite the toddler issues that is a wonderful age and it is truly a joy watching your little one’s personality blossom.

  5. Nicole says:

    When you figure it out, let me know. lol.

  6. Sarah Kim says:

    I am 99.9% sure that all mommy and daddy’s can relate to this article. You’re asking for our strategies on how we got our toddlers to listen to us?? Haha…I wish I knew which one hit the bullseye 🙂 I believe, that as quickly as our little ‘monsters’ began to do as they wish, it will be just as quick for it to stop. You won’t even realize that they are walking along side of you at the mall or store and you didn’t even have to yell for them to ‘get back here’ followed by a high speed chase with a cart in hand 🙂

  7. Brandy says:

    I have always heard ‘consistancy is the only way with toddlers’. I suppose that’s true to some degree. I am a stay-at-home mom and when my husband doesn’t say, ‘no’ to the same things I do, we notice a huge change in our daughter. The thing I have noticed worked even better than telling her what not to do is getting super happy and excited when she does what I WANT her to. I know positive reenforcement sounds silly, but it works. Of course, I tell her, ‘no’ and distract her from her naughty behavior, but if I say, ‘no’ and she listens right away then I get happy and thank her, and she is less likely to do it again later. I hope you get some answers that help…


EverydayFamily.com Week-by-Week Newsletter

Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year! Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year!

Due Date or Baby's Birth Date

By clicking the "Join Now" button you are agreeing to the terms of use and privacy policy.

Send this to a friend