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17 month old "bad" behaviour

(8 Posts)
beabea81 Fri 28-Sep-12 15:36:20

my 17 month old has always been such an easy going happy little soul, so the toddler stage has come as a bit of a shock to me recently with her change in behaviour! she's started doing all the things she knows she shouldn't like pulling all the books & cd's out, teasing the dog etc, she says no to everything, throws tantrums over the tiniest things, & has started hitting & grabbing our faces when annoyed or we stop her from doing something she shouldn't. she totally ignores our attemps to ask her to stop doing something, so we have to go over & pick her up & move her away, which is when she goes wild screaming & hitting & kicking. she also keeps grabbing dh's glasses off his face & throwing them on the floor shouting nooooo!!

she's always had a good apetite & loved her food, but now she's started rejecting food, pushing it away & saying no. she'll put her hands in things like yoghurt & lob it at me or smear it all over her face & in her hair whilst looking at me & laughing an evil little laugh!!

up til now i've had no reason to tell her off or do anything like time out or whatever with her, but this new stage has got me thinking it might be time to introduce some rules & consequences. i wish i didn't have to, but i've tried all the approaches like playful parenting & distraction & she just ignores me & does what the hell she wants. she's a big girl for her age & v strong, i have health problems so am not v strong physically & it's got to the point where i struggle to restrain her.

she goes to a childminder 2 mornings a week, & she's suggested getting a playpen to put her in for time out when she misbehaves. introducing consequences for when she doesn't listen to warnings etc or physically hurts me.

what would you do? i need some advice!

matana Fri 28-Sep-12 15:52:59

I personally think 17mo is still a bit young for time out. They don't understand consequences at that age, though you can begin to teach them boundaries with a common sense approach: reserve your 'harsh' voice for something that's dangerous or can potentially hurt another person (or animal if you have pets), saying no firmly and explaining why you've said no, help her label her strong emotions so she knows you understand why she's upset and offer compromises ("I know you're angry because i said you can't have chocolate. But how about some raisins instead?") And the food issues are an attempt for control and independence - give her choices as often as you can so she feels in control and completely ignore the bad behaviour. Take her food away, get her down from the table without a word and don't offer an alternative or dessert. It doesn't need to be done in an impatient way - the worst thing you can do is make mealtimes stressful. I usually just say "I can see you're not hungry DS, i'll get you down and we'll go and play instead". Then maybe an hour or so later i'll offer a healthy snack.

glizzle Fri 28-Sep-12 19:55:07

I've just started to do timeouts with my 15 month old for hitting because I was at the end of my tether. It has worked wonders. I had to use them for 2 days now just have to warn him about it once or twice a day. He seems happier generally too. This 'phase' had gone on for months so I'm pretty sure it was the timeouts that helped. I'd tried every more gentle technique to no avail. I guess some children just start earlier, and need boundaries sooner. But I also picked my battles, all the normal toddler stuff - tantrums, food refusal/throwing I just try talking through/ignoring, it was just hitting that I really feel he had to learn was not OK. Good luck

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 28-Sep-12 21:36:55

I used time out at that age too and it did help. Can't do links at the moment but have a look at for the biting and have a look at Dr Tanya Byrons books or Toddler Taming.

ValeriaS Sun 30-Sep-12 21:04:49

It's like I'm reading about my 17mo DS. He's just started doing all the things he's not supposed to and totally doesn't care when I tell him off. He just smiles back at me or walks away. I think he does understand me but that is not reflected in his actions. I really don't know what to do - this cannot go on and I can't put a stop to it. I think he is too young for time out - I don't think he would understand - so what else is there to do? I just walk away from his tantrums but how to stop him from emptying shelves, throwing food, rubbing earth into carpets etc.? Really hope someone will come along with an answer!

33goingon64 Sun 30-Sep-12 22:03:11

My DS started pushing boundaries like this too around the same time - he is only just 19 mo now. I try and reserve telling him off for things I know he knows are wrong - this basically amounts to pinching me when I stop him doing something. The other things he does I don't count as naughty yet, either because I honestly don't think he knows it's wrong (for example tearing the flaps off his pop up book, how is he to know you don't do that when it's ok to tear up newspaper?), or because it's actually not that bad (he persists in opening a cupboard and getting out all the spice jars - I tell myself it's something to remind him he shouldn't do but it's frankly not something I would get angry about).

If he has had enough food he is generally ok until I try and give him more, at which point he throws the food across the table. At this, I say 'we don't thrown food' and get him out to play. He has clearly had enough otherwise he would eat. I let him play with earth outside in the garden but we don't have houseplants at his level so earth doesn't come into his reach inside.

I don't know what approach I would take if he started doing more naughty things, I am not averse to time out in principle but I think they are too young to understand it yet.

LeBFG Mon 01-Oct-12 16:06:12

I'm in a similar position. I'm sure my DS knows and understands when I say no, but as 33goingon64 says, he doesn't really know what he's doing is wrong. It feels good to run out of the shop/pull out stuff from the cupboard/pull the cat's tail - this is all fun for him. Until he can emotionally accept the idea of 'wrongdoing', I'm holding off on any 'discipline' measures. Does this make sense? This, what I would call, emotional readiness must come eventually simply with age - but I'm not sure at what age to expect it and when to start enforcing boundaries a bit more.

totallynaive Mon 01-Oct-12 18:40:56

My 19mo has been behaving like this for a couple of months now and I haven't been too worried about it, as it seems to check out as normal toddler behaviour, and he is actually a lovely boy most of the time. I pick my battles as now is the time when they are supposed to be testing the boundaries. I'd agree with LeBFG - too young for time out, but a couple of times I've spoken to him firmly, and physically lifted him out of the kitchen, telling him he's not allowed in again until mummy's finished x because he's misbehaving. This has done the trick.

Going out is another matter. I find he behaves a lot better when he's not tired/hungry, and when I've let him indulge his need to push the pram, explore a bit while we're out, climb on things, etc. I don't regard his taking all my cds out of their racks as naughty, as I don't think he understands why cds are any different to peppa pig toys, which I encourage him to take out of their box and move about. Ditto stuff on shelves and in kitchen drawers. Hard work, isn't it?

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