Home Forums Parents Room Ask Our Expert – Behaviour & Discipline Introducing Behaviour & Discipline Expert Joanna Fortune

This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  baileysmammy 4 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #2315275


    It is a pleasure to introduce you all to Joanna Fortune, our new behaviour and discipline expert, who is voluntarily lending her time and expertise to reply to all your questions as best as she can.

    Joanna Fortune is a Clinical Psychotherapist specializing in child and adolescent Psychotherapy with over 12 years experience. She is widely recognized for her use of simple supportive language to make connections with parents and children. Among many other things, Joanna is a regular contributor in the media on issues of child development and parenting. Joanna founded Solamh Parent Child Relationship Clinic in Dublin in October 2010.

  • #2319319


    Hi just wondering if you could give me any tips for disciplining a rambunctious 19 month old little girl . We do positive reinforcement and time out for bad behavior . Problem is time out doesn’t seem to be working as she laughs and smiles her way through it. Then when over goes straight back to what had caused the time out in the frist place.

  • #2319702

    Joanna Fortune

    Thank you for your question and it is one I hear a lot so you are certainly not alone with this struggle.

    I believe that to be most effective, discipline should teach and not punish. You want to teach your child the behaviour you want to see instead of punishing the behaviour you don’t want to see. So you must make it very clear to them what it is you expect them to do.

    The first 3 years of life for children are the most important and are also the time when you are laying the foundations for everything that will come next in life as they continue to grow and develop. Holding this in mind I think it can be really helpful to “Set some Ground Rules” and as much as possible make these positive statements. For example “In this family we use gentle hands; In this family we listen to our Mums and Dads; In this family we share our toys with others; In this family we eat dinner at the table; In this family the TV goes off when Mum and Dad say so” etc and you can amend this to suit whatever the behaviour you face most at home is. This allows you to remind your toddler what is expected of her through repetition and also you can say to “Remind me how we do this in our family?” and then praise her when she says how it should be done

    I also find “do-overs” a helpful system. When she e.g. throws a toy across the room you can say “I think you forgot how we treat our toys in this family, would you like a chance to do it over?” and allow her to pick up the toy and put it away, when she does it right the second time, praise her efforts and forget that she got it wrong to begin with

    Try to explain her behaviour as much as you can. “I see you are showing me your cranky part because you are tired and hungry after walking around the supermarket all morning. I have a snack in my bag for you now and when we get home you and I are going to have some cuddles on the sofa together”. Telling your small child that you understand what they are feeling and why and can reflect that back to them allows them to develop cause and effect links between their physical and emotional states.

    “Parts Language” is another helpful tool. You can have as many parts as you need to help you through any given situation. “I can hear your angry part when you shout. It makes me feel so happy when I see your happy part, I wonder what we can do together to bring your happy part out?”

    Time out does not work with all children, sometimes “time-In” is more effective. Try using distraction techniques with her when she is acting out. Give her a job “I need you to come and help me in the kitchen please” or “Can you find me the blue box in here” and give her something to do when she is starting to act out. Sometimes the acting out is an attempt to get your attention so show her a more positive way to get your attention. If distraction stops the tantrum or the negative behaviour then job done!

    Ask yourself some questions before your respond to behaviour:
    Is she tired/hungry/over-stimulated/under-stimulated?
    Have I been busy and less available?
    Did I tell her I would be into her in a minute and then start doing something else?

    Sometimes negative behaviour is our children’s way of communicating something to us, it’s up to us to try to work out what they are trying to communicate…as best we can.

    I hope this helps

    Kind regards


  • #2344738


    hi my child is 29 months old, she’s starting too course and throw very bad tantrums. iv tried the naughty step but I don’t think she gets whats happening and why shes been put their. HELP!

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