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So if we accept that having a 'good ' or 'easy' baby is down to luck of the draw, at what age do we start to influence our children's behaviour?

(60 Posts)
Jojay Fri 18-Jul-08 21:54:47

Another thread got me thinking - many people say that having a good sleeper, or a 'contented' baby is purely down to luck, so when do the parents actions start to impact on behaviour?

Any thoughts?

Jas Fri 18-Jul-08 22:11:30

Looking at my dc, I think of it as a sliding scale.

I don't influence their behaviour as such, but my responses affect them.

For example, I still can't make them go to sleep, but they have learnt that I am not open to chats and cuddles after bedtime, so they will stay upstairs quietly if not sleepy.

I also can't make them happy, but hopefully can teach them how to cope with the things life throws at them.

DontlookatmeImshy Fri 18-Jul-08 22:17:09

I don't think it's entirely down to luck. Yes, some babies are definately easier than others but I also think how we respond to them can make a difference.

zazen Fri 18-Jul-08 22:23:20

We influence our child's behaviour??? shock

Jojay Fri 18-Jul-08 22:27:50

When you read books like 'The Baby whisperer' and the like, it implies that you can influence things like sleeping from an early age.

Yet many many people believe that you just have to 'go with it', and let the baby set the agenda.

I don't know really.

juuule Fri 18-Jul-08 22:31:09

Baby's temperament - luck of the draw. Parent's actions impact on baby's behaviour right from the start.

tori32 Fri 18-Jul-08 22:43:17

I believe in the nuture more than nature theory. I feel that children are the product of their upbringing. I think parents influence their children from birth, especially with development. i.e. a child not exposed to many different things has a more limited medium to learn from. Likewise if parents don't invest time playing with their children and leave them to play alone most of the time, the child will learn to play well alone/ use imagination but may miss out on the interaction and speech from the adult and limit vocabulary. Lots to take into account. However, certain inherent characteristics such as inquisitiveness may mean that the child seeks out more things to learn, where as a laid back child might not, iyswim hmm

cory Sat 19-Jul-08 09:27:52

We influence but eventually our children will get to the stage where they have to decide what choices they are going to make. Or do we think of ourselves as passive products of our own parents' parenting? In that case, there wouldn't be much point in us trying to make decisions about how to parent our children.

Always amuses me when I come across parents who regard their children as passive pieces of clay which they will be able to mould into any shape desired- yet they clearly think of themselves as individual intelligent entities with the ability to make active choices.

cory Sat 19-Jul-08 09:28:44

Not meaning that anyone posting on this thread is guilty of this. But I did have a friend...

MrsJamin Sat 19-Jul-08 09:31:49

Have been wondering the same thing, Jojay. I have an 'easy' 6 MO baby, but it seems like we can't take any credit for his laid-backness and good natured personality!

constancereader Sat 19-Jul-08 09:52:08

I think they start out with predispositions to certain behaviors which you can influence to some extent. It is a sliding scale though, as someone else said. For instance, my baby is not a good sleeper. I have done many of the things with him that have helped other people with their baby's sleep, but he still doesn't sleep through the night.

I would be more inclined to take pleasure in your 'easy' baby MrsJamin, than to take credit for it!

TheFallenMadonna Sat 19-Jul-08 09:59:16

It's a two way street though isn'it? I mean, how they are influences us, and how we are influences them, and so on. The innate and the environmental interact so closely that I certainly couldn't tease them apart.

MrsJamin Sat 19-Jul-08 14:44:15

Yes don't worry, I never take credit, I just say that the second one will probably be a nightmare and I'd rather their personalities were the other way round!

Oblomov Sat 19-Jul-08 15:00:49

I am one of the people that Op is refering to.
EASY baby.
I am not sure when ds's real personality and preferences started to come through. But I def noticed that by the age of 2, if he didn't want to do something.... and I struggled with how to encourage him/ get him to DO WHAT I WANTED wink - you , i am sure, know what I mean. He never had tantrums as such.
But his personality and my parenting and his reactions were definitely coming into play at this stage.
So, I would say, atleast at the age of 2.

Oblomov Sat 19-Jul-08 15:02:12

Actually, I am not entirely sure I have actually influenced his behaviour. Or his personality. I doubt it.

MaloryTowersUrbaniteLady Sat 19-Jul-08 15:02:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsTittleMouse Sat 19-Jul-08 15:09:35

I think that there are lots of ways to do it right, but that there are a couple of ways to completely screw it up. grin Like going in and picking up the baby every time there's the slightest snuffle.

In terms of age, I can inform you that it is definitely before the age of two. DD is only 20 months and was ill recently. So we let her eat and drink whatever she wanted (to keep her hydrated and out of hospital) and pandered to her as she wasn't feeling at all good. This weekend she is well on the mend and is expecting the treats to keep rolling in. It has been really hard on all of us trying to re-establish normality. So I think that consitency and informing the child that there are things that they're just going to have to do starts pretty early (I'd say easily by the age of one).

Oblomov Sat 19-Jul-08 15:22:13

Yes MrsTittleMouse, I agree. I suppose the way I acted, right from day 1, lets ds know what I consider to be o.k. and not o.k.
Some people never say no, some people let things go that are not important to them, but are to others.

sarah293 Sat 19-Jul-08 15:23:50

Message withdrawn

FeelingDeviant Sat 19-Jul-08 18:53:30

With only the experience of one child. DD was a great sleeper, very contented, etc. and i had it down to being luck of the draw ... that is, until she started nursery which has turned her into monster whinger; so much so I hardly recognise her because she is so UNcontent. sad

On weekends, she's back to contented baby.

Makes me think that how babies behave has a lot to do with how their carers treat them.

violetsmile Sat 19-Jul-08 19:03:05

I really think that no one can influence how a baby acts.

My ds was high needs from day one. He cried from the minute he was born and nearly 12 months later he's still a miserable, whingey and all round high needs little boy.

I am hoping I can influence his behaviour as he grows older or else he will be the glummest human being on the planet sad.

I think it's unfair to say carers can influence babies bahaviour, it makes those of us wit hdifficult babies feel like we are failing somehow.

I fail to see how you can change the behaviour or personality of a baby, just channel it in different directions as they become children.

As a baby the world is far too abstract for them to understand what is correct behaviour or good behaviour.

cory Sat 19-Jul-08 19:10:14

FeelingDeviant on Sat 19-Jul-08 18:53:30
"With only the experience of one child. DD was a great sleeper, very contented, etc. and i had it down to being luck of the draw ... that is, until she started nursery which has turned her into monster whinger; so much so I hardly recognise her because she is so UNcontent.

On weekends, she's back to contented baby.

Makes me think that how babies behave has a lot to do with how their carers treat them."

You don't think it could be something to do with her getting tired from adapting to nursery?

IME many children go through these phases when they start school, move up to junior school, travel, make a new best friend, have a growth spurt etc. It would be a shame if you blamed other people every time.

Jojay Sat 19-Jul-08 21:30:44

I think I believe that from about (and this is a very rough guesstimate) the age of 18 months, different parenting styles may have an effect.

I know a few children who react differently to the same situation, depending on who they are with. I've heard of children who will lie down on their little mat and go to sleep like a dream at nursery, while running circles round their parents at home, for example.

That's not to say that the parents are doing anything wrong, more that children can learn what is allowed and what is not in certain situations.

This implies to me that nurture does have an impact at around this time, and behaviour can be learned.

Whether it can before this sort of age, I'm not sure.

nooka Sat 19-Jul-08 21:37:53

I think that parents influence their children from the get go, indeed during pregnancy too. But they fight back from the start too, with their own unique personalities grin

ProfessorGrammaticus Sat 19-Jul-08 21:40:01

Riven - I know what you mean, I think: that your views and strategies stayed the same for all your children. But can you ever really parent different children in exactly the same way? Surely what you do changes because your circumstances are different (you now have more than one child, if nothing else) and because your children react differently to what you do?

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