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Dr. Phil, MD
Dr. Phil, MD, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 61483
Experience:  GP in the United States
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hi i was wondering if you could help. I have grown up with

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hi i was wondering if you could help. I have grown up with low self esteem and didnt have a great relationship with my mother. I have a 2 year old daughter and i am scared of repeating the same parenting mistakes my mother did. can you give me some advice on how to discipline her without having a damaging effect on her self esteem? For example if i ask her to come down stairs with me she will say no and run off. Can you advise me on how to manage this type of situation and similar ones that wont effect her self esteem and confidence longterm? thank you
Hello. I'm Dr. Phil, licensed and practicing internist. Excellent service is my goal.

What types of disciplining are you doing now?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

if she does something very bold like slap annother child i give her a warning and if she does it again i then do 'time out or the naughty step' where i sit her usually in the hall outside the room and tell her she is going to time out as she was bold, then she sits there for 2 mins. after that i ask her to say sorry and i tell her i love her and give her a hug. but its the general misbehaving during the day like e.g. refusing to come downstairs or jumping about car and not getting into her car seat. i usually threaten to leave her there ( i never would) or else threaten to give her favourite toy to another child. i hate that type of parenting though. i think it is very detrimental. but i dont know what to do?

Thanks Sarah.

I think half of what you are doing is very correct.

The warning and the time outs are appropriate.

This is correct and you are doing good here.

Threatening to leave you child or to give her toy to another child creates mistrust. I would not recommend that.

Your child is two years old and is going to misbehave. That is normal. Kids test boundaries at this age. The key is accepting that there is nothing wrong with your child and parenting in a positive way.

When she does something like won't come downstairs, you simply say something like mommy loves you very much but doesn't appreciate when you don't listen to me. Say, you are going to lose privileges when you don't listen. For example, you will not have your favorite toy. Give her a chance to comply and if she doesn't then take it away and follow through. The follow through is the key.

Also, make sure she knows it is her choice if she chooses to act out or not.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you i knew that i was doing in certain situations wasnt correct. I also do a please coming downstairs now and if she says no i usually say i am going to count to 5. do you think i could say your part first followed by the counting to 5 to give her a chance?


Any advice on how how to deal with tantrums ? eg if i say no you cant have something sometimes she will just throw a tantrum. is it best to ignore ? or is that just giving the impression that i dont care ?

Thank you

you're welcome Sarah and sorry about the late replies

1)Yes, I would say what I said first. Then tell her you are counting to 5. Count strictly to 5. No pauses. Then follow through. the follow through is key

2)Absolutely ignore a tantrum. Every tantrum should be ignored. When she calms down, which she absolutely will, then tell her you love her but you will not communicate with her when she CHOOSES to behave like that and that tantrums are not acceptable.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

thank you for advice,


one last bit of advice would be greatly appreciated.


firstly what things can i do to help ensure she grows up to be confident with a good self esteem? and what can i do to avoid giving her a low self esteem


think my parenting confidence is at a low as i know people generally parent how they were parented and i dont what history to repeat


Also my daughter has been potty trained for a few months but sometimes she goes through periods of having accidents, mainly in creche. the creche felt that it was almost laziness as she tells them " mummy and daddy will clean me up' and she doesnt seem bothered by having accidents.

what is the best way to handle this? i had been told by a friend to threaten to put her back in nappies and give her big girl pants to someone else if she was going to be a baby but i worry that is a little damaging mentally for a 2 and a half yr year? what would be the best thing to say and do you feel ? thank you.


The best thing to do is to make her have pride in herself.

When she does something good, don't say, I'm proud of you.

Say, "you should be proud of yourself."

This will teach her to take pride in her own work and not rely on your approval like your mom did with you.

I would say that she is only two and it is pretty good that she is already trained. Kids will naturally have accidents. Don't threaten her. Be positive. Always be positive. When she goes on the potty, say you should be very proud of yourself for going on the potty. You are a becoming such a big girl.

My kids are 3 and 5 Sarah so I have not only doctor insight into this but parent insight as well!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you so much for your advice. I want so badly for her to grow up to be confident and self assured.

Really glad i found this website as its difficult to get exact answers even from parenting books.


I say to her a lot when she is trying to do jigsaws or something she finds difficult " you can do anything you put your mind to" is that ok?


I tell her a lot that i think she is so clever and mummy is proud of her and loves her very much. hopefully it all works




That's ok but don't say you are proud. Say she should be proud or herself. That instills self confidence instead of looking to you for reassurance
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