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advise/thoughts/tips needed on 'disciplining' a 16mo..

(35 Posts)
HappyJoyful Wed 18-Apr-12 13:22:26

16mo dd is a live wire.. she's feisty, strong willed and know's what she wants! She's very mobile, into climbing, rolling, bashing things and throwing things (including herself!) on the floor, on the table on everything..

Don't get me wrong (most of the time) I adore all these characteristics in her but I have a strong feeling we're going to have to fight some 'battle's' soon as trying to get her to do things she doesn't want / or shouldn't be doing is already turning into a bit of struggle.

I want to nip this in the bud - without being constantly shouting no, grabbing her or things off her etc, etc.

I'm clearly aware of 'picking the battle's' discussions but there are certain things I know I want to install in her - eg: holding hands when crossing road - given she's only just out and about walking, I'm a big fan of allowing her to do this but as I say, wish her to have a good sense of this installed into her - my recent attempts to hold her hands get greeted with a very firm and grumpy 'NO, mine' and hands thrown across her chest, resulting in me having to just grab her and then if road quiet she has walked but thrown herself in tears into middle of road, with me hanging on - not good as you can imagine!!

She's great at grabbing things I know she shouldn't have and certain items I do just grab back - eg: glasses, scissors, knives - mainly things of danger - other things I'm not fussed about, as I say, I don't want to constantly be saying no or doing this.

Anyway, as always I waffle - but I did read about someone before and 'cooling off spot' or something similar they were already using on a 12mo - I wondered about that? And as I say, in title just wondering what I can start doing...

Goldenbear Sat 26-May-12 13:29:26

I think you can only distract at 16 months and as has been suggested on here already, some reins or a backpack would allow her to walk near roads without the worry.

I have a 13 month old who is already a bolter but even at her tender age, is learning to walk in the right direction on pavements. I don't like reins but don't want to keep her in the pushchair until the park as this would make her very unhappy, so I'm resigned to buying her a backpack thing.

I have to say I think you have quite high expectations with regards to what you can teach a baby. My 13 month old does the pinching, even biting but she's not trying to harm any of us when she does it, she's doing it to show affection, she thinks she's kissing us. I have a 5 year old DS and we all just treat her as the baby of the family, that has no malice in her actions. My DS is very protective of her and laughs off the physical experimentation on her part that kind hurt a bit. We've shown her how to touch people nicely and to her credit the pinching has stopped and she has stopped nipping me. Still bites her Dad on occasion but he never shows her how to touch him softly so she probably thinks he doesn't mind!

I also think you are being a bit mean about the 'bad' parenting of your friend. As children get older they understand more but that also means that they have independent thoughts that don't always match your own!. My baby, with all her bolting and physical demands is a lot easier than my 5 year old (5 this month) as he knows what he wants, will negotiate for something, knows that there are more than 2 choices for an outcome in a given scenario, identify and explain the one he wants and will be a bit relentless in trying to achieve the outcome he wants. He will accept what I say but if it's not want he wants to hear, the acceptance can be delayed. He is fairly intelligent so is quite sophisticated in his reasoning. Sometimes we are convinced by him and we will be won around on things we initially said no to. Youay think that's bad parenting when you have a baby that won't answer back but we want him to develop his own character and think for himself, if you do that style of parenting sometimes that means they won't always remember to say please or thanks and sometimes even at 5 we have to prompt him but this does not mean we are bad parents. At school he is apparently very polite and he is very compassionate and kind.

Pochemuchka Sat 26-May-12 11:06:51

You've been given some great advice on here so not much to add really. Redirection and distraction are two of my favourite tools when dealing with my 15 m old DS.

I couldn't help but notice that this is the second thread where you've spoken really unkindly about your friend's 3 year old DD. To say you dislike a child of this age is really uncharitable and I would hate to think any of my friends judged my 3 year old DD and my parenting the way you do.
Most parents do the very best job they can and each developmental stage throws up its own different challenges. FWIW my DD is very polite and aged two never needed a reminder to say thankyou or please, however, she does sometimes now. The problem is, at 3 they seem so mature and grown up because they can speak fluently and even express ideas and opinions but the bottom line is, they are still tiny and have a lot to learn. I have certainly found the 3 year old stage far harder than any of the others and my DD doesn't tantrum at all. The hardest part has been managing my own expectations.

I think you will look back at your judginess when your DD is 3 and feel a bit embarrassed about it.

Timandra Sat 26-May-12 09:20:55

A time out step or naughty corner is a way of moving a child out of a situation and giving everyone a chance to calm down. When it is used positively it can work but you don't have to have a specific place with a special name.

You can leave the room with the child, pick her up, show her something out of the window, produce a different toy, offer a drink, etc. These things will be just as successful and probably a lot more pleasant at this age. If she really loses it you probably automatically give her time out by reducing your communication and waiting until she is over it.

Time out as a punishment will not work at this age - I'm not an advocate of it at any age really. I'd rather children learned from the natural consequences of their behaviour wherever possible.

She does need to learn that there are times when she has to hold your hand, put dangerous objects down, etc. By always distracting her you can avoid conflicts but you won't actually teach her an important lesson.

Yes use reins, a backpack or whatever works for you to reduce that conflict but at the same time she is not too young to learn that you are in charge. She needs this to help her feel safe. So if you need to hold her hand to cross the road ask her to cooperate. If she refuses tell her firmly that she needs to do it. If she still refuses you have a choice. If you have time and it is safe you can wait until she is ready to do as you asked and refuse to move on until she does. Alternatively you can take her hand or pick her up, quickly cross the road and deal with the aftermath on the other side. Either way she will then learn that there are times when she has to do as she is told. That will keep her happier and safer in the long run regardless of how cross she is at the time.

You're right to pick your battles. Fighting over every little thing makes everyone miserable. Just make sure that you give clear signals when you have decided that she must comply with a request and deal with it calmly and swiftly.

Mayamama Sat 26-May-12 09:04:26

Mixedberry and Kt1991, of course it is not naughty - saying someone is naughty implies they fully understand what they are doing, how annoying it is etc, yet continue doing it on purpose just for the sake of it. Thinking that of a baby, even a young child is rather unhelpful and is not going to do anything useful to live at peace with your child or yourself in the long run. To "discipline" and use a "naughty step" for children of any age is also rather doubtful practice. WHat will you do with your 5 year old who refuses to stay there? Raze their self worth to the ground? Beat them up? Or with your 10 year old whom you have disciplined this way?
Actually, from my experience I can say as soon as I am assuming the naughtiness, the child will realise that their innocent act was something worse and will start doing annoying things much more on purpose - so if you will act this way, you set yourself up for problems rather soon.
I suggest you read "THe aware baby" or "The baby book" which both recognise children for what they are rather than for what parents unaware of developmental stages read into their children.

Psychopsilocybin Sat 26-May-12 07:50:40

Kt1991 - my DS is 14m old and pinches, hits and bites. Mainly me though, he does occasionally with DP. When he does it I say 'Ahhh' and gently stroke the area (normally my chest) he is hitting or pinching. It works, it stops him but he isn't aware what he is doing hurts me IYKWIM? It's a phase that will pass, just have patience.

And no mixedberry, I don't think it is naughty behaviour. I've worked with children this age for many years and many have gone through this phase. It passes and it doesn't mean a child is naughty. I don't like that word anyway, it's such a negative label. (That's just my opinion though)

HappyJoyful - perseverance is your friend! Stick to tactic and it will soon sink in. And I would definitely recommend reigns!

Adventure, what is a zombie thread?!

mixedberrymilkshake Sat 26-May-12 07:23:24

sparklyboots ....erm, hitting, pulling hair and pinching isn't naughty?

Sparklyboots Sun 20-May-12 21:33:21

My 16mo has done all the things you describe, but I wouldn't call him 'naughty'.

Kt1991 Sun 20-May-12 20:31:47

My son will be 16months next month, just recently he has become really naughty. He has started hitting, pulling hair and pinching people. Thankfully I have only seen him do it to family members or close friends, but it is quite embarassing and I feel ashamed he is acting like this at such a young age! I find it a struggle too if I am with him on my own and he starts to hurt me, because he is very strong, and will just laugh while he's doing it. My partner and I thought we would try the naughty corner now, some may think this is too soon as he is quite young still, but we thought the sooner we bring it in, he should hopefully start to understand, he is very advanced and clever for his age! So far 2-3 attempts he has stayed in the corner until we have told him he can come and "say sorry" by giving us a kiss, and it has worked both times. I am hoping he is not going to get worse the older he gets. Been browsing through the comments, and I think we are going to invest in some reins too, as he's been walking for about a month now, but also he can also start to throw a strop if he cant have his own way, and try and run away from us. Is/was everyone elses 15/16month old as naughty as this at that age?

AdventuresWithVoles Sun 20-May-12 19:41:48


VillaEphrussi Sun 20-May-12 19:24:44

I absolutely second Unconditional Parenting. It's brilliant and a great antidote to the behavioural conditioning methods which are so prevalent. It advocates being a loving and reasonable parent and not an automatron.

I use the Littlelife sack too, and wouldn't be without it for city walking toddlers.

sc2987 Sun 20-May-12 19:15:38

I suggest reading Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. It's about how conventional carrot (including verbal praise) and/or stick methods might work (in the sense of getting the desired behaviour immediately) but aren't helpful in producing well-rounded motivated children (backed up by plenty of scientific research). He does explain alternative methods.

HappyJoyful Thu 19-Apr-12 15:39:34

brilliant beela, you made me chuckle, yes how to get them to sit still in highchair in restaurant would be a good one!
yes, I'm thinking prior warnings like you say, and we've been doing some car noises, driving actions too - only thing I suddenly (naively) sussed was use of 'later' obviously completely goes over her head so eg; when she see's her trike - which I must say - recommend that to everyone as away of being able to combine walking / riding instead of always having a pushchair. If she wants to go in it and one says 'later' then of course we get a minor screaming session! so must remember to only refer to things if they are to happen 'in a minute'

cory, just for clarification - I could 'rant' / 'debate' this subject all day and don't want to bore you with the minute details and 'style' of parenting that friend is using - but it's quite frankly left a very sullen, antisocial and timid child who whilst is developed in speech (I do admit that) and is fine on road safety etc she lacks in things I find I would be a stickler for eg; basic please's and thank you's or any form of routine / discipline and embarrassingly demanding as it's something her Mum doesn't wish to insist on or adopt as what child wants child does or gets. And honestly, I'm not alone in my view that is it totally down to ''bad'' parenting.. bad obviously been a loosely interpreted word perhaps ''unusual'' would be a better term.

beela Thu 19-Apr-12 12:54:03

DS is 18 months and I have been strict on the holding hands to cross the road rule. We are lucky that we live in a village with quiet roads to practice on, but he is getting to understand that if he is on the road he must hold my hand until we reach the other side. If he refuses then I pick him up and carry him and hope my neighbours are out and can't hear the squeals of protest. He does now hold my hand all the way across (usually), and then snatches it away when we get onto the pavement again, so that suggests to me that he understands the rule.

I totally understand where you are coming from re scissors, knives etc - DS has just realised that if he drags a chair across and climbs onto it then he can reach pretty much anything in the whole kitchen. So we are becoming much tidier than ever before and installing more child locks!

The prior warning thing has worked for us too - e.g. 'when we get to x then you need to go into the buggy' or prior warning plus distraction 'we're going in the car in a minute, look there it is, can you help me drive?' (cue car noises and driving actions, instead of huge tantrum).

Now if I could work out a way of getting him to stay in a high chair in a restaurant for longer than 5 minutes then I'd be laughing....

cory Thu 19-Apr-12 08:59:21

HappyJoyful Wed 18-Apr-12 14:20:16
"loveisadaisy.. that's it installing a sense of right and wrong.. I've seriously spent too long hanging out / watching a friend and her dd who is now 3 who seems to have no sense of this"

I'd say if a 3yo has no road sense or is very demanding this is not necessarily a sense of poor parenting- it may just be developmental and that you are expecting too much of this little girl because she is so much older than your own.

I wouldn't trust any 3yo to have reliable road sense: though some are better than others, they all need careful watching ime.

In many ways the age of 3 is far more demanding than that of 16 months: I found dd totally unpredictable, had to be watched like a hawk even though she seemed so mature because she could hold a proper conversation; also, both mine were more whiny and demanding at that age than they have ever been before or since. It wasn't that I was a better parent at any other stage of their lives: it was just the way their development worked.

So don't judge your friend too much.

HappyJoyful Wed 18-Apr-12 16:02:03

Loving that harness.. think that's for us! Thank you. I don't want to limit her walking - she absolutely love's it (and personally I'm all for it as we're also into country walks etc) but as everyone says safety does need to be a feature if we're not in the countryside etc

loveisagirlnameddaisy. Thank you for the much needed reassurance - learning curves and experience!. As you say, what I'm trying to achieve is this approach - firm, but gentle, guidance and clear boundaries to me are important (and am also as stickler for specifics like manners). Lol, I hate to admit it but I can't bear my friends little girl which is awful thing to say (don't flame me others please) and being with them/her is rather hard because it makes me cringe and flinch as it's all about what the child wants so you can't actually ever do much or have a conversation due to a highly strung, demanding child slapping mum in the face at every opportunity to get her attention or a long winded negotiation process of making her do something.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Wed 18-Apr-12 15:16:20

I also have a friend who thinks being a laidback parent - which she is always telling me she is - also means letting your toddler control every situation. I can't actually bear her little boy which is awful because he's only 3, but he's just rather unlikeable.

I've always considered this age to be a huge learning curve for children which needs gentle but firm guidance, clear boundaries and tolerance. I don't fight every battle presented to me because life's too short and I want her to have her own spirit/personality etc, but I am a stickler for certain things and these are the battles I fight.

Experience is a wonderful teacher and in the past year (DD is 2.5) I've learned so much about how to get the results I want. E.g. my DP will 'negotiate' with DD because he thinks that works when in reality she doesn't have a clue what's going on and it just leads to a tantrum. I give her 2 choices in any situation and if she doesn't choose, I decide for her. But at 16 months, I wouldn't have known that this was the best way to behave.

Every parent is different and you'll decide along the way how you want to raise her and what sort of parent you want to be.

angelpuss Wed 18-Apr-12 14:48:51

Little Life do some reins

We got ours from Amazon and they are good because the parent strap is detachable so you can leave the harness on while you put them in the pushchair, and then just hook the strap back on again. Invaluable when we were walking around Chester Zoo!!

HappyJoyful Wed 18-Apr-12 14:20:16

loveisadaisy.. that's it installing a sense of right and wrong.. I've seriously spent too long hanging out / watching a friend and her dd who is now 3 who seems to have no sense of this and it's stressed me out and made me doubt myself - she has a 'style' of parenting that doesn't appear to work - not using word 'no' at all.. anyway, asides. Thank you for wise words.

Iggly, haha, I agree - don't really care what other's think when it comes to reins/bacbacks - will be trying both seeing what suits.

bertieBotts.. yes, I do try and not grab - and like you say ask for these things.. as in soon as I want it of course she wants it more !

prior warnings is something I must remember too.. I know the childminder does that..

BertieBotts Wed 18-Apr-12 14:12:59

I had a rule with DS - hold hands when crossing roads or you get carried or have to go in pushchair. I also found that giving him prior warning helped, such as "we're going to get to a big road in a minute, and I'll need you to sit in the pushchair then. Okay? " - when we got to the road, he'd happily get in because he was expecting it,despite having a raging tantrum at the very idea before then.

Also I found with knives and scissors etc it was better to say "can I have that please? " rather than panicking and grabbing them, seemed to make them seem less exciting. Also let him know they were sharp and let him touch the edge of a fairly blunt knife to feel for himself. Obviously under close supervision and would remove immediately of he looked like he might hurt himself or run off with them.

Iggly Wed 18-Apr-12 14:11:08

Your method of parenting will change as they get older I think?

I found the backpacks useless. Reims are much better - who cares what others think grin

HappyJoyful Wed 18-Apr-12 14:05:52

Goodness, a few poster thinking I'm into leaving knives etc around ! not quite how I intended it to read - I'm not stupid honest !

And yes totally agree that they don't understand consequences etc and perhaps discipline was wrong word..

Was just thinking out loud really about how I want to do start these things and what to do in the future really and what I can do at what age as it's first child wet behind the ears..

ChunkyMonkeyMother Wed 18-Apr-12 14:01:34

Rucksacks are great I got mine from Argos for less than £15 and it's great - although a bit of a pita if she is in and out buggy as they're quite bulky

HappyJoyful Wed 18-Apr-12 13:58:20

Brilliant stuff, great tips already !!! Many thanks.

Yes need to keep on encouraging the positives
Am liking the stop too and will try and pick up on using distraction technique more

FirstLastEverything, no need for horrified look and calls for more supervision and am well aware she's not being naughty - I don't deliberately, (I would have thought kind of obvious) keep knives in reach - apologies for not being clearer but was referring really to her grabbing them when we're having dinner in restaurant or something. Though I am 'against' total fussing and baby proofing things to the extent toddlers are wrapped in cotton wool - but clearly that's another thread!

Reins for sure - though do know many anti them ?! I guess again a whole other subject and I'm with those suggesting them - off to google little life.. I like those rucksac type thing's

loveisagirlnameddaisy Wed 18-Apr-12 13:58:17

To qualify what I wrote, I don't mean that you shouldn't be instilling a sense of right and wrong in her through your actions - that's a given. So if she's being very rough at home, you can distract her or gently remove something from her. But out and about, you can't expect her to understand road safety and modify her behaviour at 16 months - too soon IMO.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Wed 18-Apr-12 13:56:04

I think this age is too young to start using discipline/consequences etc. They just don't get it. It's hard enough at 2.5 but at 16 months...? No way!

I also have a very feisty daughter but I just didn't put her in situations that required her to be a grown up at that age - it didn't work and was stressful and pointless for us both. If she wants to walk, let her do it somewhere safe but on the roads she should be in a pram or on reins (and only on reins if she's willing to walk beside you).

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