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WWYD? 18 month old behaviour

14 replies

AuntVictoria · 16/12/2019 18:33

DH and I have disagreed twice tonight on how tough to be with DS (18 months). The first was when we got in, before DS had had his tea. I was eating a slice of bread and DS wanted some - we share all a lot of our food so not unreasonable. He reached up and made a shrieking noise to ask for some. He can only say a few works so can't ask for it nicely. DH thought I shouldn't have given it to him but DS has no other way of asking?

DS was tired after a long day of nursery and is teething, so I could see he was on the edge. Later, he started pouring water out of the bath, which he definitely knows not to do - DS's understanding is fairly good and he is naughty intentionally sometimes. I said no and he then started pouring the water in the bath. When he poured the water out again DH took the cup away - cue a total meltdown from DS. I would have kept saying no and would have praised him when he listened to me.

So, Mumsnet, am I raising a hopelessly spoiled child? DS was early and we had a stay in hospital when he was born, followed by numerous hospital visits since. He was a high needs silent reflux baby and I think my default is to comfort him, but I do wonder if DH is right and I'm too soft.on the other hand, he's so little, I'm not sure how much he understands punishment. If he wants to do something and I've said no ie climb the stairs, eat a third slice of melon I do say no and stay firm but I cuddle DS during the inevitable crying.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

32 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
DownWhichOfLate · 16/12/2019 18:37

He’s 18 months. He can’t really be naughty. Firm but gentle boundaries as you are doing is the way.

Praiseyou · 16/12/2019 18:39

I agree with you on the food and with your dh on the bath.

Tonz · 16/12/2019 18:39

I agree with you about the bread babies can’t ask nicely so I would have given it.
I agree with your husband about pouring the water out the bath he was told no did it again and as a consequence lost the cup.

You can’t really be too strict on a baby he still is really little

NotExactlyHappyToHelp · 16/12/2019 18:40

He’s only little. I really don’t think you can actively discipline an 18 month old in a way that they understand.

Praise the good and ignore/remove/distract from the unwanted behaviour.

lotsofstripes · 16/12/2019 18:40

With the cup one I would’ve taken it away and then just distracted him. No point letting him have something in his hands that just tempts him to throw water when he will quickly forget about it if distracted. Not to ‘stop him being naughty’ but rather just to eliminate the temptation.

I think your DH was being very wrong with the food though. As you said, he has nowhere near enough speech to ask properly yet

delineateddelinquent · 16/12/2019 18:41

I have an 18 month old and last week I picked him up from his child minders and she was kind of passive aggressively pissed off that Ds had a tantrum because he was upset when another child ‘s parents showed up to collect them and DS must’ve thought it was me.

She was all raised eyebrows and eye rolls. I said her that at 18 months he’s still very much a baby as well as a toddler and while I was sorry he acted like that what would she like me to do?

Honestly don’t be too hard

(I do agree though that they do sometimes do things they know they’re not allowed to do! They’re not daft!)

BertieBotts · 16/12/2019 18:41

He's only little but to be honest, I can't see any problem with either approach. It wouldn't be really awful to ask him to try and ask nicely for some bread, especially if you know he can. If he can't then fair enough. And for tipping water out of the bath both praising when he gets it right and taking the cup away are valid approaches. He definitely won't understand punishment yet so you shouldn't be punishing him but that isn't a punishment as I see it - it's reasonable control of the environment. Preventing him from the behaviour you want to discourage by making it impossible.

I would not worry too much about always having exactly the same approach towards everything. It can be good for a child to see that mum and dad both handle things in different ways and that nothing terrible happens. You should back each other up in front of DS, but if you are concerned about something or you wonder about it, definitely have the conversation later. It helps if you're open to each other's approach in my experience and show curiosity about it rather than criticism - hi instead of telling DH you felt he was too harsh and he should have handled it your way, try making a suggestion (have you tried X/I've found X works well) or asking him about something (you think I'm being too soft with the bread - how would you deal with it?) I have found you can learn a lot this way and get a different perspective.

purplemunkey · 16/12/2019 18:42

I think you both probably need to adjust your expectations of what an 18month old is capable of doing and understanding. No need to be ‘tough’ at all.

Shmithecat2 · 16/12/2019 18:44

He might know what's 'naughty', but at 18mo, he possesses no impulse control at all. Your DH is being really mean. I would've given the cup back but emphasised that water stays inside the bath and supervised closely enough that it couldn't happen again. He's a baby. A BABY.

Shmithecat2 · 16/12/2019 18:46

And with the food thing, of course he can't bloody ask properly - again, he's a baby! I'd have responded to the shriek by saying something like 'would you like some? Ok then!' and handed it over.

Sofast · 16/12/2019 18:50

I have an 18m old to and honestly I think it's the worst age. They're just grasping understanding and pushing boundaries and learning so much without being able to communicate. I cant wait until my dd turns 2, or at least hopefully around then, that's when dd1 suddenly could speak really well and her understanding changed almost overnight. 18m is too young to expect politeness over the bread but like your DH I would have taken the cup away and distracted her with something else

Teachermaths · 16/12/2019 18:50

I agree with you on the bread and dh with the bath.

You could have returned the cup and reinforced the water staying in the bath. However I would have taken the cup as an immediate consequence.

pooboobsleeprepeat · 16/12/2019 19:09

What are you gaining by not giving a 3rd slice of melon or comforting? If you say no to something then it’s quite good to ask yourself why.
Your child is still a baby and comforting a child should never be questioned.
Remember at this age everything is controlled by parents- what to eat, when to eat, what to wear, where to go. It’s frustrating for them!
Comforting a child will not spoil them!

Pipstelle · 16/12/2019 19:48

Maybe teach him the sign for please? But with an over tired 18 month old I'd do the talking/signing for them and say"please" show him the sign and hand over the food. The whole point isn't to punish but to teach and hungry tired children aren't teachable so it's about showing them briefly and moving on until they are older. And it should all be about positive reinforcement at that age. Lost of clapping and cheering when he tries to sign/say please. Ignore the shriek and do it for him when he's over tired. As for the cup I'd have taken it too and simply said oh dear mummy will need to keep the cup until you're ready to keep the water in the bath. And then distracted with something else. I think DH needs to learn a bit about brain development and stages of development. He just sounds like he doesn't really know what's appropriate when.

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