I had someone ask tonight, "When do we begin to discipline."
The day they can begin to reach or crawl.
This is the point where they are choosing what they grab or where they go (the will is making a choice). You don't think they are ready to be punished or told 'no'. Test them. See what happens when you say no a few times. The compliant child will agree (but there will be a day when they will see if they can pick their own way). But if you have a strong willed child, they will look you in the eye and touch or go where you just said 'no'. Matter of fact, they want to make sure you see they are making their OWN choice.
Typically, most of our children learned 'no' pretty quickly (they seem to respond to a strong 'NO' for a few weeks or months). Although, we have had a couple that were slightly strong willed and pushed on to their own hearts desire on day ONE! Basically I am saying the 'NO' for the strong-willed child didn't carry a lot of weight for them. It was much more a persistent swat on the hand or leg (all of our children got to a point they push...just the strong willed one does it much sooner!). It doesn't take much to get their attention when they are that young. They need to know we mean business. It wasn't a suggestion! We meant for them to stop!
We have found disciplining at a young age has saved us a lot of grief later. We learned early on from someone to teach tools, treasures and toys.
Tools are to be used the right way. And are to be treated with respect.
Treasures are things you Do NOT touch.
Toys are theirs to enjoy.
Teaching these things at an early age meant we could go places and not have to be in a sheer panic of our little one touching/throwing everything. (hmm, lest you think we raised perfect children let me share right now Brady threw a friends glass heart off a table 2 days ago. Thank goodness it landed on carpet!) Guess we need to work with him a little more!
This training IS on going. I can't tell you how many times we reminded them in the car about tools, treasures, and toys. Or how many times we had to say 'No' over and over again. Or how many swats on the bottom to prove we were serious. But looking back now typically around 3-4 years of age we no longer had to spank or it was very seldom not an every day thing. They knew what was expected of them and they followed the rules.
I think the best advice I can give to a parent at any stage in parenting....
MOM and DAD....BE ON THE SAME PAGE! Nothing can cause more chaos than parents not working together as one! If you find that the two of you parent different then NOW is the time to attend a course, get away for the weekend, or talk to another couple and find common ground. (you need to agree) The older kids get, the smarter and quicker they can think, the faster you will lose the ground of parenting. I don't mean to make parenting sound like a war, it really isn't (it can be when nobody understands the battlefield they are on). But disciplining and raising our children for the Lord IS a battle that I promise the enemy can move swiftly and bring destruction into a home that is divided. Parenting can become a very frustrating role when you are on a wandering path. It can be defeating when the parents are contradicting one another. And you will confuse your children. Do you feel you are parenting as a team? Or do you feel you are all moving different directions. It takes work to keep yourselves in step with one another. But it will be well worth the time to do it.