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discipline of 15 month old - is it too young?

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#1 Elfie34

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:04 AM

Hi all,

My 15 month old is becoming a rather cheeky and naughty little boy, he likes to hit us and kick us especially during nappy changes. He also likes to throw food and spit it out at us and then he laughs. I am inclined to just say NO sternly when he is being a little bugger but DH thinks we need to discipline him better. I dont really think we can at this age though, considering he doesnt really understand everything we say. Does anyone have any suggestions to combat tiresome behaviour?


#2 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:14 AM

I think it is a bit young......saying no sternly I think is good, re-direction if he is throwing a toy or hitting, with throwing food...hmm...that's a tough one! I'm inclined to say most babies do that! If it happened a lot during a feed I take it to mean he's not hungry...or has had his fill, so I take him out of the high chair and then clean it up. Again. All day seemingly. Sigh.

Good luck!

#3 Mummy Em

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:15 AM

At that age for hitting I usually remove myself. If I am holding them then I put them down and move away, just for a minute or even 30 seconds is enough. With the throwing food you could take his food away for 30 secs or take him out of the high chair and pop him on the ground.

#4 Bart.

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:16 AM

I put my DS2 into the 'thinking spot' for the first time at 15-months old.  I had to keep putting him back and I kept it up until he'd sat with his bottom on the floor for a minute.  I put him in the corner of the living area so he can still see us but not get to us.

The second time, he continued to get up so I did the same as the first time.

The third time, he sat there for the full minute and continues to do so now.  He's 17-months old today and has been in the 'thinking spot' about six times.  

He understands perfectly well that his behaviour wasn't right when I put him there and generally it does curb it so I think it does work for him.  I also use it so his big brother (3y9m) can see that I'm treating them the same and disciplining when DS2 does get too rough or destructive.

I guess all you can do is try!

#5 Elfie34

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:17 AM

yeh that is what I am doing. I guess I am just worried I am not doing 'enough', but i guess he is young and the gentle approach is probably best at this age

#6 Elfie34

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:19 AM

Good idea. Does he cry and carry on when you do it?

QUOTE (Bartholomew @ 08/01/2013, 11:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I put my DS2 into the 'thinking spot' for the first time at 15-months old. I had to keep putting him back and I kept it up until he'd sat with his bottom on the floor for a minute. I put him in the corner of the living area so he can still see us but not get to us.

The second time, he continued to get up so I did the same as the first time.

The third time, he sat there for the full minute and continues to do so now. He's 17-months old today and has been in the 'thinking spot' about six times.

He understands perfectly well that his behaviour wasn't right when I put him there and generally it does curb it so I think it does work for him. I also use it so his big brother (3y9m) can see that I'm treating them the same and disciplining when DS2 does get too rough or destructive.

I guess all you can do is try!

#7 Ally'smum

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:20 AM

My DD is 19 months and I say no a lot and distract her to stop the behaviour.

I have tried to distract/time out but she is too young. She was spitting and I told her she had to sit on the seat for a minute and then say sorry, but she spent that time spitting so it didn't work.

Distracting to stop the behaviour or physically moving them to stop it is the only thing that works for us right now, but I would definitely be telling them it is not allowed. Throwing food annoys me the most but she has pretty much stopped doing it for now. It is all new and fun and learning so I can imagine he enjoys it, especially if he gets a reaction.

#8 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:27 AM

Ds is 14 months (nearly 15) and I wouldn't even consider 'discipline' yet.  He isn't doing anything to be deliberately naughty, he also hits and kicks out during nappy changes but it's not in a nasty way, he's learning what happens when he does these things.  I don't make a big fuss or give a big "No" because that is giving a reaction that is sure to make him do it again.
I just continue on quickly, distract and move on.

#9 Elfie34

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:48 AM

I should probably add that he does appear to know he is doing something wrong because he laughs at us, especially with the kicking , it is a full body kick he really tried to get us. I usually ignore it or distract him or if it is really bad like him slapping my face hard I say NO.

I think DH reacts more to DS bad behaviour than I do, and is more worried about it than me. Perhaps I need to gently suggest he ignores it.

#10 50ftqueenie

Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:49 PM

My DS is the same age and was hitting us quite a lot. I found a firm "no" just invited more hits because he thought it was a game. We've just ignored and distracted and he is already heaps better.  Now to apply the same tactic to the dangerous throwing he likes to do.  Ahh toddlers, always one move ahead of us!

#11 Natttmumm

Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:54 PM

I think at that age we just let the consequences follow. E.g. If food was thrown a few times after we said no we ended the meal, if they hit us we said no and if it kept happening we put them down on the floor. That kind of thing.
Time out was useless until over 2 for us and even then it wasn't great.
The other method that worked at this age was distraction and changing the environment. So if he was hitting we would get up and say let's go outside or let's play in your room etc and try not to make a fuss.

#12 Mummy Em

Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:55 PM

QUOTE (ran27 @ 08/01/2013, 08:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I should probably add that he does appear to know he is doing something wrong because he laughs at us, especially with the kicking , it is a full body kick he really tried to get us. I usually ignore it or distract him or if it is really bad like him slapping my face hard I say NO.

I don't think that means he knows he is doing the wrong thing. I think that indicates he thinks it's a game, where he acts and you react. Cause and effect - toddlers love it! Ignoring it will make it no longer a game.

#13 niggles

Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:01 PM

It's not just that a gentle approach is best at this age but that plenty of other approaches can make matters even worse. Personally I think characterising that behaviour as naughty is even taking it a step too far. It's just a baby exploring the world of cause and effect and realising that he can affect people as well as things.

With that in mind I'd skip the stern "No". If it's anything like a big reaction I'd skip it. Any reaction is a good reaction to a baby. I tend to ignore anything I can (being ignored is often boring to a baby) and clear up or distract or remove baby from anything I can't ignore. Unsafe things I give a calm but firm "Uhuh" and head shake to followed quickly by distraction or removal to another activity. Throwing food is any easy one. That just means the meal is over so pack it away and ignore it. Nappy changes are notoriously difficult at this age. It's not naughtiness, he's bored and busy and being made to lie still unfairly in his view. Just get it over with quickly and with as little fuss as possible.

The other alternative to "No" is to start telling him what you want him to do, rather than to stop doing something. He's too young to know that the opposite to stand is sit, and the opposite to throw is put down and the opposite to rough is gentle. So I say things like "Sitting in the bath" and "Gentle hands with the cat" and "We've had enough to eat now have we?" and "No more thanks mummy". It's an investment in the future to start modelling the language you eventually expect them to use in that scenario.

#14 Cranky Kitten

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:59 AM

Niggles is absolutely right. My 14 month old does very similar things, he's simply exploring his world and what happens when he does x y or z. At this age the most effective "discipline" is to ignore, distract, redirect and teach them what you *want* them to do rather than what you don't want them to do.

Hitting gets a response of calmly saying "hitting hurts mummy - be gentle" while showing him how to gently stroke. Nappy changes are as boring as bat-poo to a kid who wants to be off investigating under his own steam, so I keep a little basket of fiddly toys next to the change table to distract him with while asking him to "lay still while we change your nappy".

It's important to remember that it's not his being deliberately naughty. He's far too young for that.

#15 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:06 AM

DD was a prolific food bowl thrower at that age (we even had to wash the walls one time). nothing worked to stop it (we used to move her away from the table, give her a look and calmly clean it up)- she has recenly just stopped on her own around 21 months. we keep working on the hitting etc. I really don't think they ar being mean at this age, they just don't understand that it hurts. we are starting to see some understanding now as she repeats "we don't hit others, it hurts".

#16 bluebug

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:09 AM

Isolation to the cot (only for 15 seconds - timed on the microwave) worked really well at that age for our daughter. She understood that she had to stay in there and wait for the 'beep' (microwave timer). She definitely understood the point of the cot time and it helped us to encourage her to improve her behaviour. We would warn her: 'if you do that again, you'll go in your cot,' and then she would either stop the bad behaviour or else keep going with a deliberately naughty look on her face, quite clearly doing it on purpose.

In my opinion, it's easier to start consistent discipline methods earlier rather than to have to bring them in later once bad habits are already established.

#17 Mummy Em

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:16 AM

Time out is usually not recomended for children under 2.

#18 beabea

Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:31 AM

A lot of sources recommend time out for children from 10 or 12 mo (I am thinking of one parenting book written by a dev paed). So opinions vary a lot.

I think you do need to address behaviour at the outset rather than letting it establish, but there are ways to do this other than punishment, as such.

Some people have mentioned natural consequences, such as ending the meal if food is being thrown. To me, a 15mo throwing or spitting food is either a) not hungry or b) exploring. If not hungry, the obvious response is to end the meal. This is not a punishment, but a logical step. If exploring, you may well decide that is not an appropriate way to explore - again, ending the meal and providing an alternative seems right, and again this isn't a punishment it's a logical way to address the cause of the problem. So I guess a key thing would be to try and understand the cause of the behaviour and work with that. Books and other resources on childhood development will come in handy. Trying to get things like food, sleep etc in order obviously makes life much easier.

Some people say you shouldn't childproof, but rather teach the child how to behave. A 15mo can only learn so many things at once (and resist so many temptations in one day) however, so I think it's best to remove the opportunity for misbehaviour such that you're only working on as many things as everyone can cope with at one time.

I also agree that a 15mo has a big knowledge gap in terms of what is appropriate or not. They haven't developed the cognitive skills necessary to see things from your point of view, either. Try to say what you want, instead of what you don't want. Demonstrate where necessary. This is an exciting phase because you are really going to be their teacher for the next little bit. A teacher wouldn't limit their feedback to telling the students that they are wrong - you would expect, at the same time, to have the right answer given and explained to you so you know better in future.

I think with things like kicking you through nappy changes you could try a) providing another nappy-change activity, b) calmly manoeuvring yourself, redirecting the kicks and/or holding on to the legs to make contact impossible. (I would be inclined to try both at once.) Your aim should be to make the kicking boring and not-fun and some alternative of your choosing much funner.

That said, a good, stern, "No!" can work wonders if used judiciously, and backed up with some teaching. Walking away and refusing to interact except on civilised terms is something I do with some frequency. And never forget the power of a glass of red at the end of the day, and a good babysitter. original.gif

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