KWEZI AND I: Disciplining a toddler

At times, your preschooler will push you to the limit. /Net photo

I have a tendency of stressing myself over stuff that many other people may find trivial. For instance, I have been combing Google (yeah, I am that kind of parent) trying to find out if someone else has been looking for information on how best to discipline a child.

You see, I come from a really large family and as far as I remember, my mother has always been a verbal disciplinarian. She had a way with words, especially proverbs, sayings and general life stories that she would use to drive her point home. If push came to shove, a stick was unleashed and a beating administered but it was rare because you also really require lots of energy to spend time running after a “farm” of children with a stick.

I have been struggling with disciplining Kwezi. I don’t know what works best and as usual, I am trying everything. In the general scope of things, she is a great kid. She takes a little bit of time to warm up to people but when she eventually does, she is like the best friend you had not seen in a long time.

So what exactly is the issue? I have several times ended up in a “fight” with Kwezi because she screams and sometimes slaps me when she doesn’t get her way. I can’t scream back but I have resorted to pinching or sometimes slapping her back so that she knows exactly how it feels. Over the course of the last few weeks, it has worked wonders. I noticed that every time she raises her hand, she is reminded that she will be repaid in the same currency and she quickly brings it down. Honestly, I am laughing while I write this but I don’t think it’s funny. I feel that perhaps out there, there is another method that is healthier.

What is even more frustrating for me is that the nanny tells me that that particular behaviour is limited to me alone. She does not behave like that with any other person. In fact, the nanny tells me that she is a very disciplined girl—until I show up. Is this just a phase? Is she spoilt? Maybe I am not going about it the right way but please don’t tell me about talking to her. Talking to a four-year-old is sometimes as frustrating as talking to a person who is dead asleep. I am at my wits end but as always, this is one other learning curve, but I am running out of patience.