Another rant, be warned!
My mom was watching what turned out to be a very annoying, misinformed tv show. Some people believed that hitting your child is essential, a must, so you can successfully discipline your child. Others were saying that all a child needs is love. Not making this crap up!
I happen to disagree very strongly with both points of view. Shocker! What else is new?! I am very much a do-my-own-thing type of person. I research things, educate myself, analyze the possible outcomes, make my own decisions (with my husband, of course, particularly when it comes to my child). Ultimately, we do what we think is right. Frankly, I don't give a damn what our relatives think! Facts are worth much more than opinions to me. I do not mean that I do not welcome advice. I mean that, to me, advice with facts to back it up is worth so much more than simply "I did x, so you should too."
Don't have a lot of time right now, but here are my beliefs and how we respond to unwelcomed behaviors...
Lots of positive reinforcement.
Try to make being around parents fun. Every day, do something fun with your kid. Little things at home make kids so happy... I wish you could hear Ari's laugh when she runs after her daddy trying to catch him!
Lovingly, calmly and respectfully set limits.
If you say no, mean it. Otherwise, your word as a parent is worth crap. If your word is not worth a damn, then don't get mad at your child when the child does not listen to you. It's your own damn fault, no offense!
Enforce the limits/boundaries. If you said "if you do a, x will happen," make x happen. Take away what you said you would take away.
Consequences come immediately. When Ari thinks spilling juice on the floor is cool, I immediately say "ut-oh," take the juice away, and I don't give her attention until the tantrum is over.
Once the situation has passed, it belongs there, in the past. We give her a hug, tell her we love her, and move on, onto fun stuff.
It goes without saying that no one parent is perfect, but if you communicate that your word is worth something and if there are consequences to your kids' actions, they will get the hint.
We all have bad days and frustrating moments. No one is 100% consistent. Every parent loses it every now and then. Being a parent does not mean you stop being human. But if we do our best and do right by our kids, hopefully we will be proud parents one, five, twenty years from now...