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gentle discipline for young toddlers


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  #1  
October 3rd, 2009, 11:07 AM
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So my little guy is 16 months old today but not really speaking yet and I don't know how much he understands when I speak to him since he doesn't really respond.

BUT he is starting to really test limits already. We've had a very rough week here (he is cutting 3 teeth including a molar) and he's been VERY whiney/clingy only he doesn't even know what he wants really - 20 times a day he will whine and gesture to be picked up then immediately fight me to go down and whine louder and then have a total meltdown when I put him down again. Well after a week of that my patience was kind of at a low and I took him to my mom's office since she was having a party and there was a change of pace. I had him in one of the offices with a door to nurse him and he started having a fit because he couldn't figure out how to put a piece that he took off of a broken printer back onto it. He started flailing his whole body around and screaming and I just snapped and yelled at him to knock it off, that was ENOUGH.

Now I am not a yeller by nature. I have yelled at him maybe 3-4 times in his life - under similar circumstances where it's been a rough several days with little sleep and lots of whining and then suddenly something sets him off and he goes flailing himself around, screaming, and seems totally zoned out of anything I might do or say. The last time he smacked me in the face with his sippie cup (he did not do it on purpose, he was just flailing around and I was trying to buckle him into his car seat so my face was right there) and that made me snap and yell at him to KNOCK IT OFF.

The thing is, the times when I have done this the results have been instant. He instantly stops kicking and flailing - it's like it makes him realize what he is doing and he stops or something... sort of shocks him out of whatever state he has worked himself into. The last time I did this (this past Friday) he stopped what he was doing and gave me a hug! and was just in general much calmer after that.

My mother thinks he is just testing his limits when he has these fits but I don't think it's even that conscious. I don't know WHAT sets them off specifically but it's like magic how quickly they stop when I raise my voice... only that's not what I really want to be doing. The thing is, I'm not sure what else to do. There is no distracting him at that point - he is just so into his own temper. I can't really let it run its course - he is only really doing this stuff when we are out somewhere and it's not the "normal" temper tantrum for him. His average temper tantrum is more like he gets down on the floor, puts his forehead against the floor and yells for a couple of seconds and then he is fine. I figure he is just releasing some steam and I just let it happen and then distract him with something else when he gets up.

I'm just afraid the other kind will become more frequent as he gets more toward 2 and I don't want to become a "yeller." On the other hand, is it really so bad raising your voice to get their attention? It's not a prolonged yelling fit where I am berating him or anything. It's generally like one short sentence like "KNOCK IT OFF" or even just the word "ENOUGH" because I've had enough. The one time my family heard me do it everyone at the table stopped what they were doing and sat up straight staring because I am generally VERY soft spoken and mostly handle little fits by taking him outside from where we are to let him blow off a little steam, run around a bit (usually little fits are caused by him unable to sit still for as long as he has been - usually at long restaurant meals or waiting for the meal to be served - if he has food in front of him he is fine and will nibble the whole meal) and I am usually talking to him kind of quietly while I do so.

Sorry this is so long. My family is very TP so they were kind of relieved to hear that I am actually capable of raising my voice and it gets such good and dramatic results that they are all kind of like "see, you just need to give him boundaries." But I don't like to yell and I know it's not a very AP thing to do. So does anyone have any thoughts/suggestions?
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  #2  
October 5th, 2009, 12:02 AM
ItalySarah's Avatar Proud Attached Mommy
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I am sorry you are having such a rough time. This age is hard b/c communication is not always known. I read the book the "NO-Cry discipline Solution" and I think it would really help you. The book talks a lot about ways to prevent problems and then how to handle them once there is a problem. I really enjoyed it.

Stick with your instincts....your baby boy is still just a baby and learning how to act. 1 can be such a difficult age for them b/c they can do more but there is still so much they can't do.
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  #3  
October 5th, 2009, 10:22 PM
(.Y.)mom2dd(.Y.)
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^ Ditto.

At 16 months, they are being overwhelmed with emotions, lack the ability to communicate and more. My dd is 26 months old and I sometimes catch myself having too high of expectations considering her development. I would also suggest more gentle discipline books because they give you the information on their development. Where more TP books and methods place high expectations on babies, AP books meet the babies, toddlers and kids where they are developmentally.

DISCIPLINE

Good luck!
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  #4  
October 6th, 2009, 02:00 AM
MilkyJo's Avatar Veteran
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Perhaps he responds so well to you raising your voice because you don't do it very often? If I lose my cool and raise my voice at Ben, he goes quiet and stares at me curiously, but after a second or two carries on with his tantrum .

Sorry, not sure what to suggest! Ben's been throwing little tantrums (clenches his fists, goes red in the face, shrieks and bounces up and down) for a couple of months now. They're not full-blown toddler tantrums, but I'm sure he's working up to those! For me, the only thing that really works is picking him up and taking him somewhere else; out of sight, out of mind. I guess it depends how tenacious your toddler is! As they get older, I would imagine distraction gets harder.
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  #5  
October 6th, 2009, 05:51 AM
10x_A_Mommy's Avatar formerly mom_of_8
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Gavin (17 mos) has those meltdowns here n there too. I've found that with him, when he throws his fit I have to just sit back, set him on the floor, and let him throw it and get it over with. The more I try to talk him out of it, hold him, etc it just makes it worse. Our biggest issue right now is with him hitting and throwing things. He'll come up and just hit me, I hold onto both of his hands, tell him No and explain that it hurts Mommy. I don't think he really understands right now though. The throwing stuff - not quite sure what to do about that because we always throw a ball back n forth so it's hard at this age to get him to understand what's ok to throw and what isn't.
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  #6  
October 6th, 2009, 07:42 PM
cln1812's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
Perhaps he responds so well to you raising your voice because you don't do it very often?
Yes, I was going to suggest the same. But if you make it a habit, do it more & more, it will become less effective. And I don't want to be one of those parents yelling nonstop at their kids while their kids ignore them completely.

DD is completely in the tantruming age. What I've started doing when she is naughty is putting her favorite toy of the day (it varies depending on the day and what she is into playing) into timeout for X amount of time. If she is very naughty and throwing toys, every toy she throws goes into timeout. With DD, I've found this along with redirection to be quite effective. She does not like not being able to get to her toys.
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  #7  
October 7th, 2009, 08:09 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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This is the beginning of the verbal interaction with your child & starting to build a more communicative relationship. It is bound to be full of missteps by both of you. Think of it like learning how to walk, he fell down a lot, probably still does...same here. While yelling has it's place (like when he about to touch something hot & you scream STOP) - it can't be how you handle tantrums because it literally is telling them it is okay for YOU to loose your cool & not be able to control your emotions while placing a higher expectation on them than what you are placing on yourself. If you are feeling frazzled & out of sorts, imagine that they too are feeling that way, but they aren't even able to verbalize it & talk it through. I get that it works....in off moments I have done the same (although my shock phrase has been HEY)...I try to quickly switch gears to talking normal & use a loud HEY to get a moment of "look at me". Earlier today Dh was frustrated with something & kind of yelled BACK UP to Ds...Ds responded by yelling back - Dh tried to tell him "you dont' talk to me like that" and I asked Dh "Really? He is supposed to hold his tongue & temper while a grown man is allowed to loose it? Is that fair?" We as adults set the tone in our house of how conflict is handled...we either handle it by attacking, shutting them down, or trying to work through it. There aren't a while lot of other options. I think the book suggested is great, but I also think when we shift our perspective & listen to ourselves & our children we can find a way to work through these things in total love & compassion while they work out their emotional lives. It WILL pass - whether you yell or not, whether you engage & allow an expression of frustration or shut it down...the only difference is what you are left with on the other side AFTER the tantrum age. GL! It is definitely tough & it doesn't get easier for quite some time...maybe after college I think.
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We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet




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  #8  
October 10th, 2009, 10:02 AM
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Thanks, everyone. I'm sorry I didn't get back to this thread sooner but it's been really rough. I think he is cutting at least 3-4 teeth at once, including molars, and has had some kind of a cold/virus on top of it and he has been MISERABLE and I just have not had the energy.

I'm definitely always butting heads with other people about what expectations are/should be. My family really enjoys going out to restaurants and we have done so frequently since Grant was a little one (since he could sit in a high chair and interact with others really, before that I refused to let him just sit in his carrier for the whole meal and didn't consider it fun to have to try to juggle holding him and eating so we just skipped it). BUT when he starts to get restless (the first sign/word he learned was "UP" to get out of his seat when he wants to) DH will take him and walk him around the restaurant. He just cannot sit that long.

My sister, on the other hand, has been making her child sit until everyone is done with their meal for her whole life. This, as you can imagine, creates a ton of conflict when Grant is allowed up and she really wants to get up too (she is 9 months older). He is fine when he has something to do, like color or eat, but waiting and being too young to engage in conversation he needs to do something else and we don't expect him to sit so long. I just know my family thinks we are raising a kid who has no rules but I figure that as he gets older and as you can reason with him and as you can include him in the conversation at the table he will naturally be able to sit longer.

That is just one example. And I do NOT want to use "yelling" as a tool. It happens and I am human and have to accept that but short of that, I feel like there is no way to "make" him listen when he doesn't want to (distraction doesn't work very well when he wants something either so he will have a fit when I remove him from the situation or when he is asking me to do something like lift him up to press the button for an elevator and I don't allow him to do that).

And a lot of the Sears stuff is great but sometimes he makes it sound a little TOO simple if you know what I mean. Like my kid doesn't always react the way he says kids will or have a simple cause and effect relationship.

We had our first REALLY big temper tantrum the other day and he kept wailing and then looking up to check reaction and then wailing more. It sucked but when he was over it, he was over it and we both felt we just had to let it run its course. I know he is more cranky because he is not feeling well but I don't want to raise a brat either - and I come from a very TP background so it is hard to ignore the voice in the back of my head saying that he needs to learn to listen, he needs to learn discipline etcetc - especially when I do things SOOO differently from my sister. But then I see my niece hit her back and point back at her and yell back at her and I think - yes, her house is cleaner and neater and yes her child listens better most of the time but I think it is going to bite her in the butt someday.
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  #9  
October 15th, 2009, 11:24 AM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Well a couple of things....
I know we are all human & yelling can & does happen. My only point is the difference between a frazzled moment & thinking that it is a good & productive tool. I don't expect anyone will never yell. I can't imagine many are even capable of that (perhaps a monk?).

As far as family pressure - that to some degree is to be expected no matter how you parent unfortunately. Families have a tendency to want to butt in & tell us what to do. All we can do is establish boundaries & stick to them. So what is your niece has to set there, or maybe even she can - that has nothing to do with what you should be doing with your child or what your child's personality can handle....ESPECIALLY when you are talking 9 months difference too. Not all boys are the same, not all girls are the same, but I have seen for SURE that most little girls can sit better & longer than most little boys as toddlers. Now that isn't ALWAYS the case, but it is OFTEN the case. So even that makes a huge difference. If your child needs to get down in order to be able to keep his emotional balance - then you need to worry about HIM first & the adults second. As adults, they have (or should have) learned to deal with things that make them unhappy & shut up about it ) - this is what I tell adults when/if they ever give me any grief...however my toddler is still learning how to be patient & cope & since he is 2 - I will work on what he needs first & their needs second. He WILL learn to set & be patient. He doesn't need to learn that by 16 months or you've lost some invisible "battle" & are doomed to have a child that always gets his way. I hate that people put all this undo pressure on things. It's as silly to me if they were telling you he should be reading by now if you just worked with him more. It all comes in time. As long as you are working with him & expecting age appropriate responses, there is no need to worry. And as he becomes more verbal & he can express himself more & understand better what you are saying, you can ask more of him & will likely see a LOT less tantrums as well.

Hang in there. I think you are allowing your family's expectations to become a bit internalized & putting under pressure on yourself & on Grant. It sucks because we should just be able to be the mothers we want to be & enjoy our children instead of getting heat from outsiders trying to run our families for us. ((((hugs)))))
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We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet




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  #10  
October 15th, 2009, 12:47 PM
superwoman8977's Avatar Awesome Mommy!
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First of all he needs to know the word "no". My daughter is 8 months old and already knows the word "no." You dont have to scream at him but it is time that when he does something he is told a stern "no." Thats the issue today I see alot the child isnt taught the word "no." from the get-go so they never learn. No is the basis to discipline.
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  #11  
October 15th, 2009, 02:10 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Originally Posted by superwoman8977 View Post
First of all he needs to know the word "no". My daughter is 8 months old and already knows the word "no." You dont have to scream at him but it is time that when he does something he is told a stern "no." Thats the issue today I see alot the child isnt taught the word "no." from the get-go so they never learn. No is the basis to discipline.
I have actually found that by not using the word "no" so frequently that I have the only toddler I know IRL that doesn't regularly tell me "no". What you say is often less important that how you say it & what you do as far as action. You can raise a well behaved child that never hears that word once & a poorly behaved child that hears that all time.

The biggest issue I tend to see is parents that don't actually do all that much interacting with their kids & expect kids to behave, mind instantly & entertain themselves. Those people should have dogs.
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B - Crazy momma to my two boys
We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet




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