Award-winning author, L.R.Knost

Sandbox Soapbox: Toddler Insights

[Portions reprinted from The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline by L.R.Knost. Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood and Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages also available on Amazon and through other major retailers.]



You look a little frazzled, Dude. Hard day?






toddler boy parkMan, I love my mommy to pieces, but seriously, she does NOT know how to share. I took one little thing out of her purse, and she freaked! Snatching and saying, “Mine!” and everything. And right in the middle of the store, too! So embarrassing. Everybody was looking at me, rolling their eyes. I felt like a total failure.





I hear you! I have the same problem. And mine has been getting into EVERYTHING, too! Like, I stashed my cracker under the couch so I could have a little snack later, and she totally threw it in the trash! Who does that?





You think that’s bad? Check this. I’m minding my own business, just chillin’ with my toys, and she just snatches me up and carts me off and straps me in the highchair, no warning at all. And I’m not even hungry! Then she gets all upset when I do a little physics with my food. Btw, so cool how sometimes it falls straight down and sometimes it splats against the wall. I think it has something to do with the consistency of the food and the angle of my trajectory. Just a working theory atm, though.



Cool! Let me know what you figure out. How about this. I can’t get anything done! No joke! I spent all morning building this stellar block tower. Dude, you should have seen this thing. It was epic! So, I walk away for like one second, and she dumps the whole thing in the toy box! An entire morning’s work, gone. I don’t know why I bother sometimes.




Same! And what’s with this new ‘time-out’ thing mine’s into all of a sudden? I get the slightest bit upset about something, and, just when I need a cuddle, she sticks me in this chair and won’t let me get up! Like a chair is a good hugger? Really?





That is just wrong. Hey, how about this whole potty training dealio? She wants me to do my business in a little plastic bowl. We eat out of those things! Seriously, you gotta wonder what goes on in their brains sometimes.





You’re lucky. Mine keeps propping me up on that big white contraption with water in it. I could drown! And you should see what happens when she pushes down that handle in the back. Can you say vortex of DOOM?!?





Not cool, Dude, not cool at all!  Are you dealing with tantrums yet? Mine has got a temper like you wouldn’t believe! Anytime she doesn’t get her way, watch out for the fireworks! She yells and flaps her arms and stomps around, and, I hate to say it, but she’s starting to hit. Like that’s going to solve anything. I have no idea how to handle these aggression issues! Why can’t they just be reasonable like us?




I think it’s a communication issue, myself. I mean, they’re just barely starting to understand us when we talk to them, so I try to cut mine a little slack when she starts getting frustrated. I just stay close, maybe pat her arm or offer her a toy. Sometimes she settles down a bit and starts smiling again, but sometimes she just needs a little time to calm down. I stay present, though, so she knows I’m always there for her.




I think you’re messing up there, Dude. You need to walk away, just walk away and let her deal. If you comfort her, she’ll expect you to help her process her emotions, and that’ll lead to dependency issues, mark my words! When she freaks, you’ve got to force her to control herself! When she’s ready to be reasonable and listen, then you can be friends again.




I don’t know. Mine flat out won’t listen. I can’t tell you how many times I have to ask her to play with me before she finally looks up from her toy. What is it with parents and electronics, anyway? And then all she does is say, “Just a minute, hon.” What exactly is a minute, btw?




‘Just a minute’ means ‘This is more important than you,’ Dude. Come on, get with the program. You have to make them pay attention! Yell. Throw something. Bite the cat. Whatever it takes! Don’t let them get away with disrespecting you like that or they’ll never pay attention.





Word. Talk about getting with the program, how do you handle the sleep issues? I just cannot take another sleepless night! She keeps me up for hours every. single. night. It starts out great, bath-time, a book and cuddles, but then she just clocks out like I’m some kind of a toy she can switch off when it gets dark! And, man, is it dark. I don’t know what’s living in my closet, but it is ginormous!




Sleep training, Dude! It’s the only way. They turn that light out and shut the door, you follow them! Every time. Or, if you’re too scared (totally get that, btw) then just start hollering and don’t stop. If you can’t sleep, make sure they can’t, either! And don’t give in. Not even once. You let them get away with that stuff one time, and you’ll never get any sleep, ever! They have to learn that it’s their job to take care of you day and night, even if all you need is a hug!



Got it. Oh, man, here she comes. Seriously, do you have this problem, too? We’re at the park. Everybody’s having a good time. And she just up and decides to leave. I think she’s got some anti-social tendencies. I’m thinking of having her tested.





Same here! But I’m working on it. They’ve got to learn it’s not all about them, and it’s our job to teach them. Look, here comes mine, too. Watch and learn, Dude. I’m using the arched-back, flail and wail today. Deep breath and, “No! No! Noooooo…”



Related posts:

Backtalk is Communication…LISTEN

When Children Act Out ~ Reflecting Our Emotions

The Problem with Punishment

Bridge Over Troubled Waters~Parenting a ‘Problem’ Child

Why Whining is a Win!

Rethinking Tattling

The Incredible Power of the Whisper

The Taming of the Tantrum: A Toddler’s Perspective

12 Steps to Gentle Parenting

The Thoughtful Parent’s Guide to Positive Parenting Guides

Award-winnning author, L.R.Knost, is the founder and director of the children's rights advocacy and family consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, and Editor-in-Chief of Holistic Parenting Magazine. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood ; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages ; The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline ; and Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, and children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series.

37 Responses

  1. Oh, this is WONDERFUL! Love it! 😀

    February 11, 2012 at 9:19 pm

  2. This rocks my world. LOVE!!!

    February 12, 2012 at 1:02 pm

  3. Love it! Reposting on Facebook… 😀

    February 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm

  4. L.R. Knost

    Thank you, mamas! I was cracking myself up writing it, and now my children think I’m crazy, lol.

    February 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm

  5. I love this! Great post!! <3

    February 13, 2012 at 6:13 am

  6. Taiya

    Fantastic! Thank you!!!

    February 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

  7. This is SUCH a great reminder to see the humanity in our children. They have valid needs and desires too! THANK YOU!!!

    February 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm

  8. Hawley

    Wonderful writing. A pure pleasure.

    February 14, 2012 at 8:05 am

  9. Valerie

    This is hilarious! But then the “she’s starting to hit” comment comes out of nowhere. Gentle mom hitting? Did I misread something?

    February 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    • L.R. Knost

      Lol, that would be a bit of a shock if these mothers were supposedly practicing gentle parenting, but the point is that these mothers are using mainstream practices like schedules and control-based discipline/punishment instead of gentle parenting practices like connection, communication, and empathy. 🙂

      February 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      • Valerie

        Perfect! So I “got” the rest and the “hit” just hit me hard, so to speak. I guess I have the hardest time with that aspect of mainstream parenting (corporal punishment). Thanks for the reassurance!

        February 15, 2012 at 12:11 am

        • L.R. Knost

          You’re welcome, mama. I have a hard time with that as well!

          February 15, 2012 at 12:43 am

  10. Jo

    Love it – going to repost on FB too as it’s a great way to make people think twice about what they are doing. Thank you!

    February 15, 2012 at 2:39 am

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  14. Tanya

    LOVE THIS!! I read and re-read a lot of different blog posts for advice and reassurance….this one will NEVER get old!

    February 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    • L.R. Knost

      Thank you! 🙂

      February 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm

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  21. Hilarious! Congrats on your VOTY honor!!! I am being honored too in the category of humor– will you be at the conference? I am new to all of this conferencing stuff…. I think I probably need to find something to wear besides flip flops and yoga pants from Old Navy’s stellar 2008 line. Good problem to have. Great post. Love the blog!

    June 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    • L.R. Knost

      Thank you, and congratulations to you, as well! I haven’t read through all of the BlogHer Voices of ’12 yet, but I’m looking forward to it! No, I won’t be attending. With six children and homeschooling and writing and running a business, my life doesn’t allow for travel at the moment, lol. I hope you have a wonderful time, and congratulations again! 🙂

      June 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm

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  24. Sheer brilliance. And so true. I have twin 2yos. And while I’m pretty conversational in the language of toddler, I have not yet mastered any of the twin dialect.

    I have NO DOUBT this is what they’re discussing. Especially when I see “the look” my son Search can shoot over. “I love you Mommy, but seriously. So. Dumb.”

    June 29, 2012 at 12:36 am

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