Disciplining a young toddler(17 Posts)
I've heard a few parents have great success with the naughty step for discipling. However my DS is only 14months old and although can understand and carry out basic requests ('pick up your drink', 'where's so'n'so', 'put it on the table' etc.) to tell him to sit on a chair for set amount of time when naughty is beyond him.
We have told him off in the past by way of a strong 'NO!' and removing him from whatever he's doing, he's cried in anger so this has works and he knows he's done wrong.
He's just started hitting me and DH in the face - not maliciously, he does it as if it's a game or funny. Concerns me as he goes to nursery and I don't want him doing it to other children. My parents told me a quick tap on the hand worked for us - to shock not to harm - but wouldn't this reinforce that "hitting" (I do not hit my child) is ok?
It needs to be addressed because he's been doing it to my in-laws dog too and that's NOT ok - if anything happened....
Just not sure why he's doing it, he's normally so affectionate. Affection taken too far? Tiredness too might be a factor.
I think at that age they get excited by your reactions, so if he gets a big fuss over hitting he's interested to do it again to see what will happen. Any attention is good attention.
I would just ignore the behaviour until he's old enough to understand why it's wrong.
Distraction is a good one, as soon as he does it, no reaction, just move his attention onto something else.
I'm not sure crying in anger is a measure of success! A change in the unwanted behaviour is success.
At this age, when hitting I would be saying 'gentle' and showing/demonstrating to him what gentle means
Absolutely do NOT tap on the hand. That's madness. You're essentially hitting back. 'Hitting is bad so I'm going to hit you back'? That makes no sense does it? Hold/intercept his hand and say 'no, we don't hit' and distract with something else. Until he becomes more verbal, it may take a while to extinguish, but he will grow out of it. Don't worry about nursery - they understand this, are MORE than used to dealing with it and will not judge you for it.
I'm also not one for the naughty step at any age, but especially not 14mo. Excluding from your presence equals exclusion from your love at that age (from the child's point of view) and that is an outrageously extreme punishment. A firm no and extracting from the undesirable behaviour will do the trick just as effectively. Children want to be good - they're not pre-programmed to be sociopaths, requiring our strict intervention to put them on the straight and narrow. A consistent response is all that is needed so that they learn what the parameters are.
I would use distraction and/or putting him down on the ground and walking away from him - so withdrawing attention.
There is no need whatsoever to hit a child. If you "tap" his hand he will think it's part of the game.
Disclipline = teaching a new more appropriate behaviour.
Punishment = taking something away
Punishment doesn't involving any teaching
I agree with elphaba. A book I've found useful which follows this kind of approach is Gentle Parenting. It explains that using a naughty step or any kind of punishment has the effect of getting children to behave through exclusion or fear which is not effective in the long term. It's better to encourage good behaviour by setting good examples which may take longer but is more effective.
It's not easy though as DD1 went through a phase of hitting us and it was soooo tiring to keep explaining that we only use gentle hands and stroking her on the head. She has now stopped (although now she's hitting the newborn...)
Thank you all for your responses - i agree totally with you in regards to hand tapping, it was advice (for his age) I'd been told but didn't make sense. (A bit like when you hear someone shout 'Stop shouting'!!)
He's a good child most of the time. My reaction when he first did it - surprise and pain, so I definately didn't laugh with him.
Walking away and removing myself from him is a good idea. (Elphaba - removing DS from his object of attention I agree, but I am that object of attention hence me moving away).
Most kids go through the hitting stage, each time he does it just put is harm down gently, stop movement and say in a firm calm voice " No.we don't hit people, it's not nice" then quickly distract with a game/something to do .Keep repeating each time, always remaining firm and calm.
He's only very little, I don't believe in punishment as such.
He isn't hitting you to hurt you, honestly he isn't. At that age he won't even see it as 'wrong' in the way we'd expect an older child to. He loves you, he wants to interact with you, hitting you causes an interesting reaction, so he hits.
What worked for us was "no - be gentle", then physically showing her what 'gentle' was (taking her hand and patting/stroking my skin with it instead of hitting).
I would not let him within hitting distance of the dog until you know for sure he's past this phase.
Perfect, Iateallthepies - I'm going to do that. Gentle but clear enough for little one to understand.
Thanks all for your advices and please note I am NOT a mean mummy and would NEVER hurt my baby, I know can be too soft (maybe why i'm the first one he hit..!) but that's not going to help him or nursery in the long run!
Don't worry it's clear from your first post that you're not mean - you were questioning the advice to tap him on the hand!
A good tip I was given is to explain what's wrong with the behaviour 'hitting hurts mummy and makes her sad' and offering a fun alternative 'but you can hit your drum!'. This is meant to teach what's appropriate and what is not.
Sounds like you are a bit impatient and want immediate results. Toddlers aren't like that unfortunately! He will do the same thing you are telling him not to do over and over again, and you will need to explain over and over again why it's not right, you don't want him to do that because..., etc. Etc.
At 14 months, he is too young for any kind of discipline, he doesn't know what's right or wrong, he needs to learn that by observing other people's reactions to his behaviour. And by having things explained to him of course, but generally speaking, non-verbal messages are much more effective than words. So your shocked face when he hit you is going to send out a much stronger message than anything you could have said.
Removing him from the situation is another possibility - when he hits the dog for example.
In any case, most children go through a phase of hitting, so I wouldn't worry too much.
I'd start teaching him about emotions and feelings. Do it in a very basic way, try to find some feeling flash cards and explain when he hits it makes people sad(show him the sad face), when he shares it makes people very happy(show him a happy face and make a big fuss about that one).
When he does something nice make a huge fuss about it and have a big smile. When he hits just ignore him and remove yourself from the room for a few minutes.
Oh and don't use the flash cards for back up when you tell him off. Use them as a game with him when his in a happy mood instead
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