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to be doubting my parenting skills? Too much discipline/going soft?

(56 Posts)
newmummytobe79 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:29:07

Sorry this is long and rambling! But I’m doubting myself after this morning sad

Since day one we’ve been pretty rigid but loving. Set bed times, routine etc and discipline is something we discussed before little one arrived. Baby is 14 months and does try it on quite often – throwing things, little tantrums, grabbing at faces etc and is pulled up firmly but fairly when these occasions occur.

DH usually gets home when I’m getting tired and cranky – and same for baby! I do shout a little and teach baby to pick up items that have been thrown in anger etc – so he mainly sees me disciplining, and sticks by my decisions. When he comes in baby turns back into angel child and just wants cuddles with daddy – rarely with me.

This morning DH was in a bad mood. Baby was playing up and he shouted when there was the usual highchair tantrum (doesn’t want to go in and pushes legs on the top so you have to struggle to push in!) – I said he didn’t need to shout so loud, baby has just woken up etc etc to which he shouts at me that it’s not my place to stop his disciplining as he sticks up for mine. I just thought he was taking his bad mood out on baby ... but I also know what a pain it is trying to cram baby into the highchair for breakfast!

I’m just wondering if I’m being too hard ... and if DH seeing my disciplining makes him think that’s what we should do all the time? He doesn’t get to see the daft games we play in the daytime when baby is giggling and the nice times we have reading books together.

Don’t get me wrong – he’s a fantastic dad, and is great at being the ‘fun’ one, but I’ve seen both sets of Grandparents roll their eyes slightly when I tell baby off for doing something I think is wrong/dangerous.

I just believe if I set rules now, it will pay off in the long run.

I struggled to bond at first and the rule setting/routines were easy for me as I felt slightly detached – but now I’m head over heels ... and wondering if my reaction to stick up for baby over DH’s discipline means I’m going a bit soft without realising it?

Is 14 months too young to discipline so much or is it a good thing?

And yes ... 1st baby! smile

Journey Fri 23-Nov-12 10:49:24

When your baby scratches your face you should look at him in the eyes and say "no" firmly. Put a sad face on when you do this. Your baby will notice your expression has changed and may look a little confused. Over time he will learn that scratching makes you sad.

When your baby has a tantrum or doesn't want to go in his high chair distraction is the best way to deal with this. Kissing his tummy or lifting him in the air usually works for mine. He'll start to laugh which will also make you feel better.

Throwing toys about is just part of being a baby.

When your baby is doing things you don't like try and remember the good things about the baby stages. I appreciate that this might be a bit hard for you since it is your first baby but each stage brings it positives and negatives. The scratching isn't nice and constantly having to pick up the stuff they drop from their high chair is tedious but watching them explore the world at that stage is great and the little funny things they do without realising it can be very sweet.

AlienRefluxLooksLikeSnow Fri 23-Nov-12 10:50:06

Yes, that's the top and bottom, but we have also read the bits in between, listen, don't get defensive, you are a first time Mum, and no one gives you a manual, just please re read the advice (esp by oxford and learn from it, do you have any toddler taming books? if not, maybe go to the library, I'm not doubting you love your baby, but please don't expect too much from him, he is still a baby

newmummytobe79 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:53:52

I have to say I feel quite attacked here. If I'd have used the word 'guide' instead of discipline maybe it wouldn't have promoted such disaproval of me.

House is child-proofed thank you. GP's not yet.

I have friends with kids that have been 'guided' from an early age and they are polite, caring and a joy to be around. I have others that have had no discipline that now punch kids at school.

My baby shares, loves, pats animals gently, smiles and laughs a lot! Generally loves life and is very happy. Maybe I shouldn't raise my voice - and I will take the points on board. But some of the replies have made me feel like I'm a dreadful parent, I know I'm very doubting of myself - but I'll tell you the replies have angered me and made me realise just how much my baby does love me and that I am a good parent.

bringmeroses Fri 23-Nov-12 10:56:19

BTW you sound stressed out; please don't take my advice as criticism but rather the voice of experience. I was a strict mum to DC1 and expected too much too soon, trust me it leads to headaches all round and now much older she's exasperating in the same way she was at 14 mo's but has countless positive qualities, is incredibly loving etc. We look at her obstinacy as determination and self belief, her occasional belligerence as confidence!
Give yourself some time out next time baby is stressing you out - stick on a DVD, surround baby with toys and have some mindless time on the computer to get yourself in a different frame of mind next time you feel frazzled.

OxfordBags Fri 23-Nov-12 10:56:37

OP, in the fetching things case, he probably thinks it's a game, because he is incapable at his age of understanding he's getting the things as a punishment. In fact, the very fact that he is smiley proves that he doesn't get any part of the discipline involved and just thinks it's fun. So why not turn some of this stuff into fun and games? My DS always wanted to shut doors and drawers, and we have very old,heavy doors in our house, so not exactly supersafe, so I taught him how to open and shut them safely by turning it into an instructive game.

I forgot my 3rd bit of advice that really works: focus on the positive. Do like above and focus on the good things he does and try to teach positive habits through positive actions. Help him learn desirable skills and manners through games and positive reinforcement. Think about yourself - would you learn a skill better on a course where things were really fun, appropriately challenging, rewarding and there was no pressure to get it right straighaway or would you learn better if you were constantly and randomly reprimanded but you didn't really ever understand why or what part of what you were doing was making the tutor mad? It's like that for tots.

Let him be a baby!

AlienRefluxLooksLikeSnow Fri 23-Nov-12 10:59:05

Yes,f and discipline is fine at the right age, your baby is too young to be shouted at, told off for throwing things (he is learning motor skills) and tantrums are necessary toddler behaviour, nobody is attacking you, just trying to point out you are doing this too soon

akaemmafrost Fri 23-Nov-12 11:00:36

Why are you having to say "No!" so often confused? Distracting is the way at this age. I'll be honest I think you souls completely OTT and obsessed with discipline. Babies are NOT naughty. It's impossible. I would say children can not be classed as "naughty" in that they are making a considered and rational decision to enact bad behaviour until at least 4 and actually in many cases not till well past that age. There is always a reason. Tired, hungry, poorly or just pushing boundaries and exploring which they are supposed to be doing.

I also agree that yes as main carer your dh is following your lead.

Asinine Fri 23-Nov-12 11:00:40

Op, you were clearly asking for advice on whether you are being too strict or too soft. Unsurprisingly you have got a range of opinions and advice; that is the nature of a forum. Many parents on here have had many babies, and have a perspective which may be useful. This is your first baby, and it is normal to worry about whether you're doing it right or wrong. Don't be too hard on yourself, you are trying to do your best.

Having said that, try not to take it all so seriously, enjoy your baby and remember to look after yourself. If you are tired when dh comes in, go and relax in the bath with the door locked, or go out for a walk. Get out with some friends and have fun. (maybe you are doing some of these?). Let him deal with dd in his own way, you will never have the same parenting style, you are two different people. Have some time out at the weekend if you need it.

Tantrums are a normal part of toddlerhood, as long as the dc never gets a result, they will fade away as they mature.

HELPMyPooIsStuck Fri 23-Nov-12 11:05:28

Good luck trying to discipline a 14 month old, you won't get very far.

AutumnMadness Fri 23-Nov-12 11:09:29

OP, just because you are not doing something quite right and somebody points it out does not mean you are a horrible person/parent. We all do things that are not quite right. We are only human. No point stressing about not being perfect even as you try doing things better.

You just sound rather stressed and worried. And people here are simply point out that you are stressed about things that are not worth getting stressed about.

NoisyDay Fri 23-Nov-12 11:10:23

OP, you have nothing to worry about. Ppl are being complete bastards to you here for no reason other than the turn of phrase you have used. To me you sound like a loving and caring mum,and yes it is necessary to "discipline" at that age.anyone that says otherwise has probably raised a little brat.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Fri 23-Nov-12 11:13:18

I don't think shouting works either, at 14 months use 'no' and a lot of distraction. But I wonder if its the same as in my house, when my oh tells my ds off I cry a bit inside and always think he's being harsh. He's probably not its just me being protective.

Asinine Fri 23-Nov-12 11:19:03


Some people subconsciously copy their parents parenting style by default, especially until they find their own confidence. Sometimes it's interesting to reflect together on how you were brought up, what was good and what wasn't so good.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 23-Nov-12 11:20:07

I think it's fair enough to start trying to teach a 14mo what's ok and what's not, but you shouldn't expect many results at that age.

I am fairly strict but I don't really think shouting is a legitimate discipline technique, except in dangerous situations or perhaps if they are violent (I'm talking about an older child though). That's not to say we never shout, of course we do, but I don't think it really teaches anything. Like smacking really.

WorraLiberty Fri 23-Nov-12 11:21:59

OP I don't think you're a bad parent at all.

I just think you're pissing in the wind with the discipline/guiding your baby in this way.

It's clearly frustrating for all of you and that's because the baby is too young for it.

whatsforyou Fri 23-Nov-12 11:22:15

Op, I can understand that you are feeling a bit attacked here and I think perhaps your choice of words was unfortunate. I have a 13 month old and when I read 'disciplining' I did go a bit shock

Saying no and removing them from danger/unwanted behaviours is fine but don't expect them to understand why or to remember. Behaviour management at this age is all about keeping them safe and yourself sane!

I am a trained childcare professional and I know it helps me to remember that all the behaviours you describe are normal parts of child development.
Being firmer, raising your voice, expecting them to understand consequences are all important but at the right stage of development. It does sound like you and your dp have differing views on what's ok. Maybe you could get a good book on child development or behaviour management and decide on an approach together because one sure fire thing that creates monster children is when they can play mum off against dad!

I do sympathise, my ds is sleeping just now after having thrown his toys around the living room and having the screaming heebee jeebees on the floor! I just tell myself I have a very strong minded independent little boy who will grow into a successful and determined adult and add another bottle of wine to the shopping list

And anyone who says their baby responded to rules at that age is up a gum tree, they just got lucky with a placid baby personally I prefer a bit of spirit

Good luck smile

Asinine Fri 23-Nov-12 11:27:41

Worra says it all in a tweetsized post...

TantrumsAndBalloons Fri 23-Nov-12 11:32:25

noisyday i didnt discipline any of my 3 at that age

sorry to disappoint you but they are not little brats

OP just think about what is age appropriate.

StrawWars Fri 23-Nov-12 11:39:40

"So how do I deal with face scratching/throwing toys/stamping feet/tantrums if baby can't have something eg cake/magazines to rip up etc

No just doesn't cut it!"

I think "No" does, actually. Learning is a process, you have to repeat yourself over and over and they will get it. I think you need to remember that your child is a 14 month old baby, they don't "try it on", they test their world. Am I allowed to throw cake? No? What about porridge? Still no? Does mummy mean it, or if I do this again will she change her mind? It's not done to wind you up, so try not to take it that way. I know it can be hard, especially when they find something really annoying funny. It's a long-term process, not a quick fix.

If it helps, I was having a moan at my DH last night about 24 month old DC2 repeatedly pestering the cat - roaring at her, trying to hit her, even after I've repeatedly removed him from the situation, told him a firm no, showed him how to stroke gently etc - and wondering where I was going wrong. His older sister adores animals, is so gentle and patient with them... And he smiled and said "You've completely forgotten that DC1 had this phase too, haven't you?" blush This too will pass...

ChestnutsRoastingonaWitchesTit Fri 23-Nov-12 11:55:42

Babies learn by repetitive actions. Removing your baby's hand from your face if he tries to scratch, over and over either with a "no" or without, will eventually get the desired result.

Agree on what others have said, a 14 month old baby cannot be manipulative, or "try it on". You are perhaps putting too much of your own personality onto your baby.

Babies are like mirrors, they only reflect back what they are shown. Smiles and encouragement and patience, or frowns, scowls and "tellings off" - its up to you how you want your baby to be.

AlienRefluxLooksLikeSnow Fri 23-Nov-12 13:46:17

noisyday you're a real charmer aren't you?

bringmeroses Fri 23-Nov-12 14:53:40

OP asks
Is 14 months too young to discipline so much or is it a good thing?
Consensus seems to be, yes it is too young to discipline so much.

OP, hope you have a better night tonight.
One other point, you might think that your DC seems v grown up compared to how he was 6 months ago but he is still verrrrry small and will still be a 'baby' in a lot of ways at 8 or more. It's hard to believe till it happens.

AlienRefluxLooksLikeSnow Fri 23-Nov-12 14:57:29

can'tbelieve me too!! I always think ' oh no, don't shout at him(he's 5 and is a bit of a handfull!)

Bumpsadaisie Fri 23-Nov-12 17:44:07

My DC2 is 13 months old. I have just started to tell him "no" or "gently" but I don't discipline him as such, he is a baby.

As baby gets older it'll become obvious to you when you need to start being firmer - because s/he will start being defiant/naughty rather than just being a baby. Your 14 month old might "throw things in anger" - my son does too if he's cranky - but they live so much in the present at this young age that there's not much you can do apart from say "no" then distract. Your baby is much too young to "obey" you as such.

My DD is 3.5 and I would say that her ability to realise that she must do as she is told and listen to me started at about 2.75 years. From 18 months to 2.5 she would just laugh if told off because she just didn't get it.

She is pretty obedient now though!

Rudolphstolemycarrots Fri 23-Nov-12 17:48:49

Routine and set bed times work ever so well for some kids.

I think shouting is completely unnecessary with any aged child never mind a small toddler though. Do you really want to end up with a shouty relationship with your child where you shout at them and they shout back at you?

You can discipline in a calm, fair and positive manner. Explain things.

With the scratching just walk off. He want a response/asttention so don't give it to him.

With throwing things. Calmly remove the item for the rest of the day. Making him pick things up, makes it into more of an issue. He is therefor getting attention for bad behavior.

Look up a book called toddler taming or a different book called the secrets of happy children for more ideas.

Also think about getting your child to do things through having fun and giving positive attention. Make getting into the chair something silly - fly them there and try/fail to land in the seat. Pretend the food is fuel.

Another technique is distraction. Works well.

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