Feature Archive

7 Secrets of Toddler Discipline

Experts share discipline tactics that can help make life easier for you and your toddler.

By Stephanie Watson
WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

How many parents have found themselves in deep negotiation with their 2-year-old over whether she can wear her princess costume to preschool for the fifth day in a row? What parent has not, at one time or another, taken a "walk of shame" out of the local supermarket after their toddler threw a temper tantrum on the floor?

Toddlerhood is a particularly vexing time for parents because this is the age at which children start to become more independent and discover themselves as individuals. Yet they still have a limited ability to communicate and reason.

"They understand that their actions matter -- they can make things happen," says Claire Lerner, LCSW-C, child development specialist and director of parenting resources for the organization Zero to Three. "This leads them to want to make their imprint on the world and assert themselves in a way they didn't when they were a baby. The problem is they have very little self-control and they're not rational thinkers. It's a very challenging combination."