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Appropriate discipline for a 14 month old?
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Appropriate discipline for a 14 month old?

I wrote a journal about this and got some really interesting feedback and thought I would give it a try here as well.  My son is 14 months old.  We have no serious behavioral issues, just things that I am fairly certain are normal for a young toddler exploring boundaries, etc.  It's things like throwing his blocks, mild temper tantrums, throwing food, etc.  He is extremely strong willed and has a bit of a temper.  Honestly, nothing awful, just things we should probably start working on.  Neither my husband nor myself consider hitting of any sort a form of discipline we wish to use.  Currently we either ignore the behaviour we don't like or try diversion.  Honestly, diversion gets us no where.  He is unbelievably single minded at times..lol.  I have been wondering how effective time outs are at this age?  I have also been taking toys away (such as the blocks) when he throws them.  We do use a tonne of positive feedback, clapping our hands and cheering and lots of hugs when he does what we ask.  That is obviously preferable, but something stronger is needed from time to time.  I am looking for good tips keeping with the philosophy that discipline is to teach correct behaviour, not hurt or scare.  Thanks so much.
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13167_tn?1327197724
Hmmm,  adgal,  there are a lot of questions in your post.  

At this age (unlike a  6 month old) throwing food ends the meal after two warnings.  Honestly, if he's throwing it instead of eating it he's not hungry anyway.  It's time to end the meal.

If he's playing with blocks and throwing them in the house,  you can certainly offer an alternative  throwing activity.  Sponges,  whiffle balls,  rocks in the yard.  "We don't throw blocks in the house,  let's go throw stuff  in the yard".    Then offer stuff to throw,  and a target.  Throwing stuff is fun!!   Really,  if you get into as an adult  throwing stuff at a target is really fun that you can share with him.

If he's purposely hurting other children,  or purposely damaging property that's a different thing.  Whip off your sunglasses,  get down on his level and say "NO SIR!!  WE DO NOT BEHAVE LIKE THAT"  and whisk him off to a time out.

Adgal,  you're like me,  a generation ago.  I wish you the very best,  and know you will enjoy mothering your kids.  


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13167_tn?1327197724
YIKES,  too much editing,  not enough proofreading! Meant to say,  "Really,  if you get into it as an adult,    throwing stuff at a target is really fun and you can share with him".

Best wishes,  adgal.  
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377493_tn?1356505749
Thanks RR.  You know, I always find myself hoping you will be one the ones that respond.  I do take parenting pretty seriously and so want to do my best to raise a well adjusted and well behaved young man.  Sorry so many questions..lol.  I sure appreciate you taking the time though!!  As for mothering...it's the hardest thing I have ever done, but have never enjoyed anything so much.
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377493_tn?1356505749
Oh, I should mention.  The throwing does often happen when he is angry..he does have quite a little temper on him.  I will use a toy like that as diversion and he throws it.  Other times it's more just he is excited (happy excited).  He hasn't actually thrown them at anyone yet, although he did nail the TV set pretty good.  
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi there!  Well, I'm with you----------  I see discipline as being different than punishment but the way we guide and help our little ones along.  

At 14 months, some of what you mention as your boy's issues are actually ways he is communicating with you.  He has yet to have the words or ability to show you when he is mad------ so he goes to a base level response.  This would be a problem if he were 14 years verses 14 months . . . and believe it or not . . . well, actually I  know you'll believe it, some never learn appropriate ways to express their feelings.  So---------  my point is that with your smart little one (as I know he is)---------  start giving him words to use when he is able.  When he has a temper tantrum, say "you look mad!"  or when he is crying say "you look sad".  This sounds kooku probably--------  but some kids make it to 3 or 4 years old never having a real comprehension or the words to use for what they are feeling inside of themselves.  This understanding of his own emotions was key in helping my son control them as he got older.  When my son was a little older than yours, he was crying in his bed.  I would place books in there for him to drift off with during nap time------- and I came into his room and was saying in that motherly way "what's wrong baby?"  My 16 month old picked up a book that had trains with different faces in it and pointed to the sad one and said "sad train".  I scooped him up as I realized he was trying to communicate to me that he was sad.  So, this was a very wordy way of saying that even at 14 months, helping him understand his emotions and giving him language for it that he will eventually can use is a good idea.

Truthfully, I didn't have much luck with time out that early on.  And neither of my boys responded to time out really too well ever.  What worked for me was a consequence.  We had rules about throwing things---------- just like yours.  If you throw a toy, you lose a toy.  If you scream, I ignore or stop what I am doing that you want me to do.  When you stop screaming, I begin what we were doing again.  A simple "no fits" was all I said.  

I always always stayed consistent.  If it is a rule----------- it is always a rule.  This can be hard because occasionally you get tired and think "oh, it isn't THAT big of a deal".  So, I always tried to keep rules constant.  Also NO mixed messages.  AND . . .  I chose carefully what to make a rule and what not to make a rule.  I felt like I couldn't say NO all day long or the meaning of no would be lost a bit.  I always stayed calm---------  I never hit or spanked or whatever you want to call it.  

I'll tell you though.  We had one thing that was a no no -----------  as we had two boys.  When my oldest was 16 months and my youngest was just weeks old--------  my oldest bopped the baby on the head.  My husband gave a loud, sharp and harsh toned NO HITTING.  My oldest's eyes about popped out of his head.  But . . . he got the message.  That remained consistent over the years and still exists.  One way to get my meanest voice is if one of my kids is physical with another.  That is all bets off and immedate punishment.  You'd use this for things that are real dangers.  But honestly, I've never had to do more than either use a harsh tone of voice or pick one of the kids up and physically remove them to their rooms (or the car when we are out.)  Amazingly, with two boys 15 months apart, they are rarely physical with one another (boys are known for being rough with one another--------  mine keep their hands to their selves.)  

By 2, I could take a treasured and valued item.  I went for the jugular on this-------- for my oldest, it was his blankie.  I'd give him a warning and say once more and I'll take the blankie.  Then I'd do it.  It took one time for him to understand that he would lose his favorite thing if he disobeyed me.  For my younger son it was his pillow.  Yep, I'm mean.  Those were the things they needed to sleep, to feel safe and comfy, etc.  And they were terrific bargaining chips!  (ugh-------- now it is the wii).  

I did always look at it during those early years as testing the boundaries.  So if I just kept the boundary long enough, they'd wear down and give up.  Well, until they entered the next phase of testing (brief periods of compliance are mixed in there. . . :)).  So, hang in there.  I don't know if this was helpful and I've written a small book-------  but I do wish you luck!
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973741_tn?1342346373
OMG----------  I just saw how much I wrote!  Sorry.

Wanted to say I agree with Rockrose.  My youngest use to stick his hand in his food and wipe his head/hair with it.  He'd do it really fast and it meant he was full.  So, while it was annoying (like how many baths in a day can you give a kid to clean their hair?)-------  he was communicating with me.  My goal was to notice if he was getting full and predict when he'd go for the hand in the food and smear technique.  I also started saying "you must be full" so as soon as he could say it, he could tell me rather than show me.  

Okay, I better quit writing.  I guess the reality is I miss having a one year old around.  They are great fun--------  and while at times they are frustrating, enjoy these early years!  
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377493_tn?1356505749
Another person who's opinion I always value.  Yes, very helpful.  I have been trying to sort out my feelings around this issue.  DH and I both agree that discipline is very important.  It's part of raising a confident, secure and well rounded child.  It's just hard to imagine that at this point Ryder understands WHY there is a consequence, know what I mean?  He is a huge chatterbox, but you can't really understand him at this point with the exception of a few words.  So I guess I mistake that for him not understanding me, although he has shown me on many occasions that he does.  He still just seems so little..lol.  I do find myself giving in when I know I shouldn't.  Especially on these days when I have to work from home..it's hard to do both, and I know I am less patient. But he shouldn't pay for my lack of patience.  So I find myself questioning myself...is this something I should legitimately deal with, or is it a normal behaviour for his age, and I am the one with the issue.  That's why it helps so much to talk it through here with other women I respect.  I so appreciate the input, I truly do!!
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973741_tn?1342346373
He probably understands more than you think!  However, that impulse control issue is huge developmentally for a 14 month old.  They also do things that seem wacky and might upset us just because it feels fun.  Slamming a door----------- whew!  Makes a big sound, looks cool AND makes mom come a running.  Ha!  Let's do it again!!  My older son would throw things over his head and kind of behind him (like up and over)-------- pretty dangerous to anyone standing behind him.  Sometimes in that case, I'd just say "oh rats!  Now we can't play." and I'd clean up the blocks or whatever it is he threw.  He might cry.  But I just stayed calm and cleaned it up.  But he wasn't really trying to be bad for throwing the toy.  He just thought it was fun.  

And sometimes, things go on that we don't see or understand.  My oldest has sensory integration disorder. He crashes (still will)------ plays intensly.  Would mess up someone's block structure with great zeal.  Did some wacky things.  Well, I could discipline until the cows came home (and probably tried) but it was a nervous system impulse.  

My point of telling you that is not that your boy has sensory but just to say that sometimes a one year old seems like they are ignoring us or being stubborn, etc.  But what they are doing may not have anything to do with us at all.  They are enjoying the action or feeding some need to do it---------  and we just have to guide them through to learn what they can and can't do.  

I've second guessed myself a million times.  And on days in which I'm tired, stressed, sick or whatever, I've done the wrong thing.  But I am human.  You are human.  We just have to do our best.  I think being firm and consistent is the way to go.  Not harsh and demanding.  Not getting mad when he tests his boundary is an art.  Being able to see it as a process and that his testing is just part of it is a good way of looking at it.  You'll be fine!  He'll be fine!  Don't worry.
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377493_tn?1356505749
I swear, I am going to print this whole thread off and keep it handy.  Same thing with my journal.  I have received some really great advice!  It's also really helpful to talk to others that have the same goals with discipline I do.  I'll tell you, today I lost my cool a bit and for the first time raised my voice. Not yelling exactly, but he was throwing his food at lunch and I put my finger in front of his face and said "Stop" very very firmly (and probably louder then I should of).  His little face..oh my gosh.  I think I scared him.  It broke my heart..I do not want him to be afraid, but I do want him to know I mean it.  It's such a tough balance.  Thanks so much again to both of you.  
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