Discipline at 17 months- what should I expect?(25 Posts)
My dd is nearly 18 months and I am genuinely struggling with the idea of discipline. She is starting to show some more rebellious behaviour (I don't want to say naughty!) and I don't want to let it slide and have a nightmare on my hands in a year or two's time! I also don't know what is expected of a child at this age. An example would be throwing books on the floor and ignoring me when I ask her to pick them up- I know she knows what I mean as she will sometimes do it. Today she threw the books on the floor, I eventually managed to get her to 'help' me to pick them up- she then threw them on the floor again! Any tips for this? Or am I expecting too much? Am I imagining the mischievous streak that I am seeing?
Yip sounds normal and yes its probably a bit much to expect an 18 month old to listen and do what you ask in a situation like that. I would just lead by example and say "no we don't the books" tidy them up and if she looks like she is going to do it again maybe try and move on to a different activity? 18 months is too young for discipline I think, distraction is your best bet.
Ahh pixie join me. My dd is 15m going on 3 years old. I was wondering myself, if now is the time to start saying, 'no do not do that' in some feeble attempt to dampen those fiery terrible two flames. The 'mischief' (let's call it this) has begun with throwing toys, swiping things off the table when something's out of reach, screaming blue murder if I take anything away from her, refusing to swallow mouthfuls of food, kicking if I say no, you know the usual satany spawny things.
So like you've asked if anyone has any suggestions; I'm marking my place and eagerly await with my Pimms spiked with vodka.
Praise 'good' behaviour to the hilt; ignore undesirable behaviour. And remember that everything is a phase and drawing attention to poor behaviour will make it worse.
These children are behaving like toddlers The mothers need to lower their expectations and understand that the children are starting to exert their own will - all perfectly normal - distraction distraction and more distraction is the way to go.............
Sycamore your post all sounds a bit too familiar!
Thanks for the advice so far, I am very inexperienced when it comes to small children and so don't know what I'm doing! I don't want to be the mum with the nightmare child...
Also, I found 18 months to 2 years the most tricky stage: not a whole load of expressive language but lots of frustrations! Terrible twos have been a breeze in comparison.
Glad to see I'm not alone! DS is 17 months and doing my head in - he constantly wants to climb onto me and bite and pinch, and spent the best part of today climbing onto the sofa and removing DVDs from the bookshelf next to it. It's exhausting!
Op my dd is a similar age and sounds exactly like your dd. We are using the same sort of technique as you, I believe some may call it natural consequences.
Unless it is dangerous or really bothering me I leave her to do it again and then tell her or help her to put things back, pick up thrown food, wipe drinks she's poured- you get picture.
I saw an image online with words to this effect- we don't teach a child to crawl or talk or walk by disciplining or telling them off, they learn when they reach that natural stage of development with our guidance and this can be applied to them learning to share, negotiate and treat others with respect. Watching with interest for any other tips.
Forgot to say it sounds like you are doing a brilliant job, it is so tough and repeative some days. I don't think it is expecting too much for her to put the books back, as in your example but as you've identified at this age they sometimes need a lot of cajoling to get it done. And her throwing them again may be to see your reaction- almost a how important is it that these books are not thrown, by being consistent I am hoping that it will eventually sink in and not be such a struggle later on. We can live in hope!
I don't think you can discipline an 18 month old really. Well you can try.... but they won't fully understand and don't have the self control anyway. In fact sometimes they will keep doing whatever it is you asked the NOT to do, because they like a reaction/the attention, they think "ooo if I throw these books on the floor mummy looks cross , lets see.... if I do it again will she look cross again? Yes! This is a good game".
That is not to say you shouldn't say "we don't throw books", gently, because eventually it WILL go in. But for now it's about removing the things you don't want them to mess with and distracting them, and maybe turning a blind eye some of the time..because they're just being toddlers doing what toddlers do.
Thank you for all the replies- I am trying to be consistent and help her learn by example, but the issue is when she just blatantly ignores me! I suspect this is not something that will go away based on my experience of teenagers...
Pixie, whilst I agree that 17months is too young for discipline, there is no need to EXPECT that she will ignore you for the rest of her life! I think you can expect her to start listening around 2.5 and have consequences for not doing so. Even then it is better to distract and pick your battles, but, for example, you ask her to put wellies on (at the 2.5 onwards) and she won't, there does need to be some kind of a time out so she starts learning. In the meantime I would just say 'no' and remove the item. So if she is throwing the books, you can put them out of reach, or you can move her to another room if she does it again. Or say, "We don't throw books, but you can throw this" and give her something she could throw inside, a soft ball, a balloon, a teddy.
Thank you, it's good to hear from experienced people! I work full time and so don't spend a lot of time with young children so it can be hard to know what they can and can't do, iyswim, though I don't think I am blind to her behaviour so I guess that is a start.
Before you think of discipline, you need to think of understanding.
How does your DD know that throwing the books on the floor again wasn't acceptable? If you give her a ball and she throws it, you give it back to her and she throws it again and you react with delight. Yet with a book, your response is disapproval.
At 18 months there is a lot to learn about the world. One simple rule she could understand is that there are some things that are taken away if I throw them and others that we can play a game of throwing with. Let that be enough for now. In a similar respect, there are some place I am allowed to climb and others where I get put back on the floor.
If she only looks at books on the floor, throwing them on the floor can't be a problem. If you are trying to look at books with her and she is throwing them on the floor, just put them away and find a different activity.
The day you see her picking something up and putting it away, express your delight and join in.
There are much better ways to manage behaviour than any sort of sanction. Natural consequences will be great when she's older, i.e. "We can't get the train out because there are books all over the floor. You pick them up and then you can have the train." However, she's a bit young for that just now so focus on distraction and trying to set things up so that the behaviour you find difficult matters less or is less likely to happen.
Goldmandra I'd like to hire you as a Supernanny very wise words indeed.
Marking my place Goldmandra can I hire you too?
My DS (1st with one on the way in 9mths) is at a stage where he's exerting his will: and I'm floundering to know how to help him learn rather than just being a reprimand-y mummy.
So, can I ask a question about ignoring the behaviours we'd prefer to see stop? Example, we were out for lunch today and DS was banging his fork on the table (which I usually let slide): he then started hitting Daddy with it on the arm. Is this something to ignore? He doesn't seem to understand 'no' yet: he just looks at you while continuing what he's doing.
Glad to have found this thread xxx.
Hitting isn't something I would ignore but I wouldn't make a huge deal out of it either. I probably would have just said "we don't hit Daddy" and taken the fork away and distracted him with something else.
I'm watching this thread too....
The only other suggestion I have is that I think you said you work OP - would be worth checking in with your childcarer's about how they manage the behaviours, a) so you can learn what works and b) so you can be consistent.
Dd is 18 months and getting some tantrum type behaviour. its particularly cute when she frowns, hangs her head, folds her arms,stamps a foot then tries to peek to make sure someone is watching her.
Tbh, I find acknowledging her feelings nip things in the bud. Sometimes she needs a cuddle to help her through the intense and possibly scary big emotions.
When she hits, I say that it is sore and so I can't let her hit me. I ask her how she can touch me without hurting ( gentle pats, rubbing my face/arm/back etc) and give positive ( but not ott) reinforcement.
At this stage I believe she is testing to make sure the same thing happens. Eg, she drops a spoon, it falls. She drops a fork...oh look it falls too! And it's why she points to the same three things on a page over and over again to make sure I say the same thing each time.
Her favourite thing atm is emptying things out and putting them back in again. Has the potential to be v v annoying but shes learning something from it
and I'm getting 10 minutes to drink my coffee
Ok, thanks True... makes sense to combine the removal/distraction with a verbal instruction he might remember in a year, so I'll give that's try.
Actually, I did a lot of 'distraction' today and it worked well enough... either DS is better-behaved when it's just one parent (yes, I've heard a theory that says they play up with two parents around because they know they have one extra person to give them attention!), or it really does work ;)
My dd is always an angel for the childminder this is part of the reason why I think she knows what's she's doing most of the time! I've been trying the distraction technique along with excessive praise when she does things I've asked her to do (no real telling off or shouting) and I would say I have a 70% success rate...
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