Parenting Tips for a 2-Year-Old

By Greg Baer M.D.

July 25, 2023

The mother of a young boy wrote:

“Jacob amazed me today. He was whining about something, and because we had talked about this behavior before, I simply took him by the hand and fastened him in a car seat that was on the floor.

"Of course, he whined louder and cried for a little while, but I left the room and told him I’d come back to check on him in a few minutes.

"This was not our first time, so he stopped whining within just a few minutes.

"I came back, took him out of the seat, and laid down myself for a rest.

A Two-Year-Old Child Loves Consistency

“He came to me, tapped me on the face, and said, ‘Mama, you didn’t ask me what I learned.’ I laughed out loud.

You see, my usual pattern, before I let him out of the seat, is to ask him two things: Why are you in the seat? (Whining or teasing or whatever)

And, What did you learn? I think it’s important for him to learn from being in the seat, instead of the seat just being a technique for stopping a behavior.

“So, I asked him why he was in the car seat. But that was not enough for him. He took me by the hand, and walked to the car seat. He sat in the seat, insisted that I buckle him in, and said, ‘Okay, now ask me.’‘

“I was tempted to fall on the floor laughing, but I restrained myself because he was serious about maintaining this pattern. I asked him why he was in the seat, and he said he was whining. I asked him what he learned, and he said, ‘I’m not happy when I’m whining. I’m happy when I just talk to you in English.’

“This was so funny that I just had to tell you.”

A Two-Year-Old Child Loves Being Taught

This story is all the more meaningful if you know that Jacob was two years old. Parents often fear that imposing consequences on younger children is cruel because they don’t understand what we are teaching. Not true. If we are immediate and consistent in our consequences, children adapt quickly. They learn. Unproductive behaviors disappear. They are happier. And they LIKE learning. 

They like the attention of our lovingandteaching them. Who knew? We must not rob them of the happy life that comes from learning how to feel loved, how to be loving, and how to be responsible.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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