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  • Gareth Ellis

No, Rupert, No! Repeat

Since Emilia has arrived Rupert has been amazing.

He beams when he sees her, he lays his head on her chest when he can, and he hasn’t had any regression in sleep (fingers crossed.)

However, Emilia or not, there’s one thing I’m struggling with as Rupert has hit the 18-month milestone and that’s discipline – I’m not sure what method is going to work.

At the moment he doesn’t seem to understand no, he’s too young to stay on any naughty step and there’s no way I’m laying a finger on him, so what do you do?

I think at this age the key factors are staying calm, being stern without shouting and being persistent – which all go out of the window when you’re tired and just want to enjoy a nice meal without it being thrown on the floor.

But it’s so important not to lose your temper, even though it’s easier said than done because we don’t want him to either be scared or be a shouty, aggressive child.

Also, I had a problem with anger and I’ve said things over the years that I still cringe at now, so it’s one thing I don’t want to pass on to him. So, I have to try and stay as calm as possible when it comes to disciplining him.

The step below anger is being stern – and there’s a massive difference. Being stern for us involves making eye contact, talking firmly without raising our voices, and trying our best to explain to him why he’s either done something wrong or he should stop what he’s doing.

For example, when you change him at the moment he likes to kick his legs around, often connecting with my legs or groin area. So, my current tactic is to stop changing him, get his attention, look him in the eye and say something like ‘Rupert, we don’t kick do we?’ as he laughs and kicks me again. So, deep breath, and repeat the process again for as many times as you need to (often 10).

The last point takes me nicely into persistence. My understanding is that this is the most important step in teaching children to do anything. Jess and I are fairly uniform on our approaches on things, so the hope is that he’ll get a consistent message and he’ll learn that we’re the bosses. Well, for now.

The amount of meal times he has thrown food on the floor is huge, but through persistence he does it a lot less nowadays.

To be fair Ru knows when he’s doing wrong. Nine times out of 10 he looks at us with a cheeky grin before he does something and then as we say, ‘No Rupert, don’t do that,’ he does it anyway.

In the last few months he’s learned that when he does something wrong he needs to say sorry. For example, if he lashes out at Jess or I

then we tell him it’s wrong and tell him he needs to say sorry, to which he runs over, and gives you a cuddle and a kiss.

Just recently he picked up a plastic dog and threw it at Emi as she was laying on the floor getting changed. If his reaction was anything to go by I just know he’s going to be not only a good big brother but also a good boy. As Emi burst into tears, so did Rupert. He cried as if it had hit him and he ran to Jess for a cuddle. I felt so bad because I knew he wasn’t throwing it at her in malice, he just wanted her to play.

Here’s hoping he learns quickly enough so he can teach his little sister too. My guess is that they’re more likely to gang up on us.

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