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14mths - discipline, boundaries... help!

(17 Posts)
blackcurrants Mon 26-Sep-11 14:03:01

So DS is walking well now, and has never met a boundary he doesn't want to push at. NO DS, no eating dogfood. NO!
NO! DS! No pressing the buttons on the washing machine. NO!
NO! DS! No pulling books off the shelves! NO!

I work ft and so does DH and he's in a lovely nursery that he knows well and likes. He's home by 4pm every day, and we have a (relatively) relaxed hour or so to play and then dinner bath bed. I just feel like I'm spending ALL my time telling him off, and that he's bored and/or frustrated by it.

Oh, and sometimes he shrieks, right at the top of his lungs, for no reason.

I have no desire to smack. Well, okay, I often have a fairly strong desire to smack, but I'm not planning on it. But what the hell?

Any toddler-whisperers out there? I've suddenly realised he's not a baby and I'm going to have to learn how to 'parent' him rather than just meet his needs and cuddle him, and I'm bloody knackered and hate it all! Help!

ILoveDolly Mon 26-Sep-11 14:14:15

They can be a little bit of a handful at this age eh!? My dd2 is a little older but also pretty much tries to do whatever she pleases. So much naughtier than my first dd!

So, my opinions: you can't do 'discipline' yet because they don't really understand consequences enough. Leave the naughty step approach for another few years. Try not to smack (!! we've all been there and soooo tempted to do it but again it's pointless unless you just want to upset him and yourself) With a child this age you need to try to remain positive (grit teeth and smile through the annoyance) and avoid saying No all the time - otherwise you just will hear it repeated back in a few months ALL the time.

Your key techniques are:
distraction ('what's mummy got oooooh look at this toy etc')
displacement (ie 'let's leave the washing machine alone now and go over here' - use gentle leading away if poss or maybe at his age just pick up and remove from situation)
and redirection ('wow you are good at taking out the books - can you help mummy put them back in??' then let him help you tidy up)

There will still be plenty of screaming and baby tantrums but I find this approach can take the edge off the tiresome repetition of 'don't do that'.

I am not claiming to be any kind of a childcare expert but I do get compliments about my children's behaviour (sometimes!!) grin Best of luck xx

TheCountessOlenska Mon 26-Sep-11 14:26:27

Oh my dd (17 months) is exactly the same and has been unable to leave anything alone since she crawled at 7 months - it's exhausting! She understands NO but it usually makes her chuckle. Then I remove her from whatever it is - cue much screaming. I guess they don't have any concept of why a box of toys is ok to explore and the washing machine is not!

ILoveDolly Mon 26-Sep-11 14:30:19

our washing machine has lovely backlit buttons as well which makes it soooooo attractive

Elk Mon 26-Sep-11 14:37:03

14 months is still really little. He still needs lots of hugs My nearly 6 year old cried at a restuarant on Fri night because she was so tired. After a day at nursery he is probably really tired and so are you so neither of you are at your best.

See what you can do to avoid the behaviours that annoy you.

We used stair gates on doors at this age to stop the children coming into the kitchen. If they came in with me and touched something after I'd told them not to then they went out of the kitchen, but could still see me.

It is great fun taking books of bookcases dd2 did it for ages. I found that either putting the books behind doors or giving her a shelf that she can take the books on and off helped.

Screaming - dd2 could scream for England, when anything didn't go her way you knew. Unfortunately the only thing that worked was ignoring the screaming and her growing up. If I reacted in any way she would repeat her behaviour.

At 14 months distraction and bribery (has to be immediate) are your best weapons, along with a lot of patience and a glass of wine after bedtime.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Mon 26-Sep-11 14:40:58

pick the dog food up (ours has to wait till ds goes to sleep to eat)..
Move the books (we now use storage on his level for his books and toys.)
Turn the washing machine off at the plug, check before turning it on and run it at night (or when you are out).

I agree with a lot of ilovedolly's points. Really you are just setting yourself up for arguments and resentment if you are expecting impulse control in a 14mo. smile

ChunkyPickle Mon 26-Sep-11 14:49:19

Mine is 13.5 months, and does everything you just said.

I want to know who's bright idea it was to have everything flash and beep on the washing machine when he presses the button if it's child-locked smile

I've taken the approach that unless it's dangerous I'm not going to bother with 'No' and as a result, my bookshelves are re-arranged, but a look and tone of voice stops him touching the wine bottles.

If you say 'no' too much they just start ignoring it, so it's all about distraction and physically moving them away from things they shouldn't be touching.

Rogers1 Mon 26-Sep-11 14:59:18

I have had the same situation with my 14 month old son for a few weeks now. Some great advice from you ladies..! I have tried most of the advice listed & most works... Happy days!

ILoveDolly Mon 26-Sep-11 15:00:32

hmmm chunkypickle your washing machine has a child lock? wish mine did - it took me ages to work out why it was only getting through half a cycle - the children were turning it off! (yes that's me with my 'well-behaved' children)

stairgates - very useful.

I find the bookcase/cupboard of their own rather a double edged sword. I always struggled to get them to understand there was one rule for that place and another for all the others.

I find a wall-mounted wine rack essential. And those safety things that anchor a book shelf to the wall grin

blackcurrants Mon 26-Sep-11 15:46:59

oh, you are all lovely! this is helpful stuff, thanks. Distraction works best for us, it's just hard when you're actually having to stay in one place and do something, like cooking. I set him up on the floor with some fun noisy things like a whisk and pan lids, but things I offer are now way less interesting than things I am actually using!

I think possibly I've just had too much time lone-parenting tbis weekend, as DH has been away. I went to bed last night feeling like such a crap mum because I'm just not enjoying this stage very much, and of course that makes me feel guilty, and rinse and repeat. . . Perhaps we need to do more out of the house activities at the weekend, but we barely keep our selves on top of buying food, cooking, doing washing and a bit of cleaning and then it is sunday night again. . . How does everyone do it?
That said, DS and I went to the park four times this weekend so he's not locked up or anything.

I am not expecting impulse control so much as looking for ways to avoid having to say no all the time. You have given me some good ones, and it is so reassurring to know I am not alone!

MamaChocoholic Mon 26-Sep-11 19:00:36

we get outside at least once, often twice, sometimes more, even if it's only to the park. somewhere the dts can crawl/toddle where there's nothing breakable. somewhere I can talk to another adult. they are nearly a year; don't know what we'll do when they're 14mo and winter has set in. they (and I) already go stir crazy indoors for too long.

I tend to just leave them to stuff if not dangerous (dt1 will make anything dangerous, gave her a saucepan and spoon to bang so she climbed on the saucepan). dp has a litany of no's. my way is quieter, but more stuff gets damaged...

happygilmore Mon 26-Sep-11 20:28:02

I think just lower your expectations. I thought I'd never let DD do those sort of things, but all she does is:

1) play with the tv remotes
2) play with the washing machine
3) get everything out of the kitchen cupboards
4) chase the cats
5) try to get out the cat flap
6) eat the cat food if she can (why?? WHY?)

Not saying my way is right but it's less stress. I have got a long-term illness though and just don't have the stomach for the constant saying "NO", although I do for certain things that are dangerous.

Noomininoo Wed 28-Sep-11 00:01:40

You could be describing my DD2 there (16mo) smile. Her particular favourite at the moment is grabbing whatever DD1 (4.3yo) is playing with & running off cackling her head off grin. Luckily DD1 is very patient with her.

Other things she particularly enjoys include:
1) splashing about in the dog's water bowl
2) emptying kitchen cupboards of their contents
3) turning the dishwasher on (washing machine has child lock thank goodness or she'd be turning that on as well)
4) emptying bookcases of their contents
5) 'Eating' the gravel from our back garden
6) Sticking her hands down the toilet should DD1 leave the toilet seat up
7) Turning the TV off/over when DD1 is watching 'Dora'

Amongst many other things too numerous to mention. I agree, this age is exhausting & I was completely unprepared for it as DD1 was pretty laid back & not nearly so 'full on' at the same age.

Distraction & displacement works to a certain extent but if your DS is anything like my DD2 once they've set their mind to something they can be pretty determined & single minded. The way I'm dealing with it is to move anything I really don't want her to get to (no precious books in her reach, cleaning products behind a child-locked door, dog food out of reach etc), baby proof as much as I can then & just let her get on with it. As long as she's not doing anything dangerous (or annoying her big sis!) it makes for a much quieter & easier life.

Yes children need to learn boundaries but at this age you're just fighting a losing battle. Save your strength for the real battle of wills you'll get into when they hit the 'terrible twos' wink

piprabbit Wed 28-Sep-11 00:10:14

Small children don't hear the word "don't" - they just hear and act on the rest of the sentence.

You say "Don't run"
They hear "Run".
So try and use positive statements e.g. "Let's walk" instead of the negative ones.

Also, if you do need to say "No", forget about the long explanations as they will go over the child's head entirely.

Oh, and make sure you notice and tell them when you like something they do - it will make you both feel better to realise that it's not all bad.

EBDteacher Fri 30-Sep-11 06:41:39

I have gaffertaped tupperware pots or their lids over buttons I really don't want touched. Particularly useful for the TV buttons and the buttons on the Sky box as the remote controls work through the lids. It's not pretty but I reckon each one saves me about 10 'no's a day. wink

Most other things that are really, truly out of bounds I've just moved.

However, DH and I have a strategy of two gentle but firm 'no's (including exaggeratedly dissapointed head shaking- no other verbal communication besides the 'no') then remove to another area (without communication) and direct to alternative activity. Obv not for dangerous stuff- that's just an instant remove. As a result of this I have seen DS shaking his head to himself and then not doing something he had been about to do (eg touch the telephone jack).

We've also done 'no, no, gently prevent' for food throwing. DS will now hold food over the edge of the table, shake his head and put it back on the table!

He's 13.5months btw.

I think the key is consistency and doing something that is very clear and predictable to the child.

I'm not saying it's making DS an angel and he still finds new things to try that I'd rather he didn't do every day- was just tring to demonstrate that you can do some teaching with them even at this early stage.

blackcurrants Fri 30-Sep-11 12:11:11

Ah yes, DS will shake his head while about to do something he knows is a 'no' - and sometimes he backs off, still shaking, and othertimes he looks around and, if he can't see us, does it anyway... it's like watching a morality play in action!

Some good tips here, thank you. I've decided to work out what I absolutely must fix (I really need him to sit in the high chair rather than eat on the run, for example, as the latter option takes over an hour and bedtime is getting too late) - and what I will remove/prevent/ignore. It's all about strategic deployment of resources (eg my energy!) I think!

kirriemummy Fri 14-Oct-11 22:11:16

sorry I'm a bit late on this one, but mine is 22 months and all of these things sound very familiar grin I was just wanting to add that with our washing machine i found that it really helped to let her help me - i.e. put the washing in and out, supervised button pressing when it's required, and huge praise when she does actually has stopped her from unsanctioned use of the machine on other occasions! The same thing with books - getting her to help me put them back really does work too. However, I have used the naughty room as well for serious infractions, and that does work, but that is another story!

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