Thursday, January 5, 2012

Can You "Train" Your Children?

I read this post awhile ago, and if you don't want to read it, the writer pretty much has come to the realization that you cannot train your children [to sleep] because they are "human beings" and "not robots"...I, however...beg to differ!

Of course there's that precious(ly annoying at times!) newborn stage where no matter how much you want them on a schedule, it ain't happening. The cluster feeding, the peeing/pooping in diapers the minute after you change it, oh wait...I want a baby in the near future, let's not think about all those things right now! BUT, there certainly does come a point in your baby's life where, per my research and personal experience, you can "train" them. If you want some proof, please take some time to read on our experiences with using SleepEasy to sleep train/sleep learn Braden. It worked like a charm and I really believe the research/methodology behind the theory of it.

Now that we're well on our way into toddlerhood, I still firmly believe you can train your a degree. We're working very hard on making sure Braden learns that he has to eat "x" amount of his meals before he can be "done", as he would say. He has done REALLY well with this too, and he certainly doesn't get dessert unless he finishes enough of his meal. He is working on his manners and cleaning up after himself too.

That being said, I have learned, at his particular age of almost 2, he cannot be trained to:

  • sit still for pictures
  • "pose" for pictures
  • not run away from me in public places

The good old bribe of "if you do 'this', I'll give you a cookie!" stopped working between 22-23 months, he figured that one out pretty fast!
Daily Thomas trance...

I believe in treating infants like dogs. Before you get all fired up at me...let me explain myself a bit better!

  • K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid
    • Babies, infants, toddlers...they don't understand wordy why bother? Keep it simple with as few words in your instructions & explanations. 
    • Example: DON'T: "You can't have dessert today because you didn't eat all of your supper, I told you that if you didn't eat your supper you wouldn't get your dessert, remember?"
    • Example: DO: "No cookie, eat your num nums."
  • Praise
    • Braden responds really well to praise. If he puts his toys away, eats at his kid table, "good boy, Braden! Good job, Braden!" with lots of hooting and hollering...he eats it up and aims to please so he can be celebrated even more!
  • Discipline
    • I'm not quite at this stage yet as Braden doesn't get time outs...but it's quickly approaching. I believe in discipline, or else he's going to end up running this household. We will be using time outs as discipline, I'm not a spanker...if Jay wants to, that's up to him.
So that is what I meant about treating your child like a dog. Mostly in the way you "train" and "speak" to them...not tying them up outside and letting them fend for themselves...however on certainly bratty days I've been tempted! ;)

As always, my disclaimer is this: everyone has the right to parent whichever way they want, whatever way that works best for them and their families...but if you're anything like me, you believe that children ARE trainable because you need your sanity! I didn't know that I would sleep train my child, but when he was waking up every hour for no apparent reason, my friend Carley came to the rescue and saved my sanity by lending me that book. You might think I'm evil for making Braden cry it out to learn how to self soothe to get to sleep, and that's don't have to do it! There's lots of parenting and child raising techniques that I do not, and will not ever, understand...but I do understand that they might work for you!

Have you had experiences where you've had to "train" your child? What works best for you and your family?


  1. Sleep training!! Amen! I have 3 2 year olds who sleep the same 12 hrs at night & the same 2 hours each afternoon. There were some points in transition stages that it got tough to keep it that way. But we "trained" the heck out of them!! CIO gave our family sleep, sanity & the ability to be awake, engaged, fun, active parents!

    We are working on training to pick up. We do timeouts & working on "appoligizing" AKA hugging our sibling to say sorry after a timeout for toys stealing/hitting/etc.

    Heck, if we can't train kids... why do they call it POTTY TRAINING!!

    If you ever come up with a way to train a kid to sit still though, I'd LOVE to hear how!!

    I'm surprised at your "I won't spank" but "its up to J." I just kind of pictures families as being one way or another. Like you saying Jay better not spank or else. I'm not a spanker as it being the form of dicipline, but as a quick attention grabber to say "HEY you need to listen & listen NOW!" Followed up as needed with a timeout & a conversation about what was done wrong. Even that happens few & far between.

  2. I was thinking of you when I wrote this too! All my friends/family who have multiples have trained their children...I don't see any other way around it???

    The spanking thing....we haven't reached that stage...I do NOT believe in it, Jay was raised with spanking and feels that it "worked" for him as a I figure if he feels strongly about it when the time comes, it's going to be a "Daddy" thing to do, Mommy isn't participating! I can't see Jay actually winding up to hit our kids (because in my mind, that's what spanking is - hitting)...but I guess we'll see, I'm leaving it up to him.

  3. Yes, i believe a child can be trained! OMG if that wasn't true then we'd all have crazies for kids! I mean to a certain point though. Not everything is "trainable" but, yes lots of things are. I have to agree with you! You can't let a child run you, once that starts happening. Goodbye to any kind of life and relationship with your husband! Love this post!

    In our sea of love

  4. I agree as well that children can be trained. Tristan has learned to hold my hand if he's walking (we do have a few slip ups though), he's getting better at not throwing food on the floor. Luckily though I never had to sleep train Tristan, he's been sleeping through the night since about 5 months. Before then he'd sleep about 6-7hours at night before waking up and he's had a bedtime 7-8pm since he was 6 months.

  5. I love your post, however, I have news for you, you discipline your son, even if that's not what you call it.

    When he doesn't get dessert because he doesn't eat enough, that is discipline. It is done out of love and it is a cause and effect.

    Again, I love your posts!

  6. i definitely agree you can train your child.

    that being said, i fully believe some kids just have major sleep issues. i've read 5 different books on sleep, done CIO for weeks and weeks and weeks with no result [i mean 3 weeks into "training" he was still crying for over 2 hours at every wakeup]. then you talk to friends who say their kid slept through the night from 10 days old. blah blah. i'm tired. nothing is working.

    but he's almost potty trained. so that is a plus.

    LOL. so tired.


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