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18 Month old, discipline

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
So, some of you may think, he's still a baby, don't discipline, well, you don't know my 18 mo. He's not a hellian like some kids I know, he's really a great kid. He's EXTREMELY smart, and right now, he is at the stage where he is testing us on how far his boundaries are. Let's skip back about 5 mo or so, he used to pick up ALL his toys, put them where they go, etc, and never throw any fits about anything. Now, when we ask him to pick up his blocks, or help us pick up his blocks, he just kinda laughs and thinks it's funny, but not in the way, of "oh, this is a game, let's pick up the blocks to win" More in the "oh I don't have to do what you ask" kind of way. I know he understands me, I know he does. We are not spankers, and our Ped recommended time out, 1 min per year of age. Yes, I think this will work, it will take time, and a few time outs under our belt, but he'll get it.

My question is, where do I put him? In the corner? On a chair? on a rug/mat? Have any of you had to discipline a younger toddler?

It's really important to us that we are consistent and teach him responsibility, yes, even at this age, if he learns it now, it's more likely to become a way of life and i don't plan on reteaching this at age 5, 10, 15, etc. If he gets it now, it will be habit by then.

Thoughts?
post #2 of 42
Moved to Gentle Discipline
post #3 of 42
Or it could become a huge fight to get him to go to the time out and you end up with more conflicts because of using time outs than you would've dealt with by other means.

My take on it is, sure they'll sometimes do what you want, but you can't require that they will.

Personally, I just start cleaning up. Anything that I don't want to clean up alone, goes away. We have a set of 100 blocks, about 20 are actually on her toy shelf.

Really, though unless the toy would be a tripping hazard, I'll just chase her around the apartment for a minute or two (or do so after the toy's clean enough to be safe). Frequently that makes her agreeable to a suggestion to go back and clean up, and I can generally move out of place things to their correct room as we lap around. On occasion, it results in her stopping running and starting to put toys away without me mentioning it.

I've only seen time outs used on older toddlers, and it looks like a huge PITA and would be worse with a younger toddler who was set on experimenting with running away.
post #4 of 42
If I were to do this I would put him where ever I could comfortably and safely hold him there because he is not going to sit there any more than he is going to put up his blocks at 18 months old.

I understand that you want to start young and instill values and good habits. I feel the same. Model, model, model. If he is going through a stage of not wanting to pick up toys then you model it for him.
You can say oh we always pick up our blocks when we are through because it hurts to step on block. Show him what would happen if you stepped on a block and hurt your foot and cried. Act it out, fall down, clutching your foot crying. Then start singing the clean up song. Hand him a block and say can you throw it into the bucket? I bet you can! Or you could help him do it by using the hand over hand method. He will still be involved even if he isn't choosing to do it himself.
Talk about your emotions, too. Something like Oh, when you help mommy it makes me so happy. Or when he doesn't help it makes you sad because you have to do it all by yourself.
I just think that this is more effective than a time out at this age even if he is a clever little guy. How is he going to connect having to sit somewhere for a minute, to not picking up his blocks? The way they learn is by seeing others doing it, whatever "it" is. My dd 27 months and she is copying every thing she sees us do. Don't worry. He will imitate you more and more. Not trying to be harsh, just another perspective you can consider it or not. I hope you find what works for you both.
post #5 of 42
Thread Starter 
Ok, so I'm so glad that I tried the time out before I read y'all responses. Let me clarify, the way he learned to pick up is by us modeling, making it a game, helping him, using emotions, reasoning, habit, etc. He got that at around 12 mo. And he did it every time with no fuss, and no telling him a thousand times. I feel that most of the "teaching" we do as parents, like potty training, eating veggies, picking up toys, etc should go without discipline. It's when they don't do those things after they have learned them, that we do bring out discipline, and never in a harsh way.

He get's what he is supposed to do, he knows it, and doesn't do it anyway. That to me, needs to be the habit broken as soon as it starts.

Anyway, I did the time out, and yes, he sat in the spot (for a whole min or so). When we got up, I told him, it's time to pick up your blocks together now. When he didn't do it, he went back to time out for a min. It took about 4 tries (a total of 4 min or so in time out) and he got it. The last time, I said it again, "okay, it's time to pick up your blocks now" And he did. I absolutely think he correlated the two. If I don't pick up the blocks, I have to go sit in this boring spot.

I don't think he is too young, everyone told me that with potty training too, but trust me, he gets it. I think that the younger they are (as long as they can understand what you are saying) the more wanting to please they are.

It worked for me.
post #6 of 42
Time out usually does work, but are you sure this is the method you want to use?

I'm a FIRM believer that at 18 months, unless you've been hard on control parenting (do as I say, or else), your child isn't testing you. He's merely doing things because he finds them amusing.

Something else I want to comment on, is that discipline does not mean punishment. There are many ways to discipline your child without using punishment. 18 months is a common age where children start to develop their independence, and this means not always following orders.

Have you read any books on gentle discipline? Some of my favorites are "The Science of Parenting" (ALL parents should read this book, whatever your style), "Unconditional Parenting" and "Punished by Rewards" (both by Alfie Kohn), "Playful Parenting" (might be a good one for you), "Happiest Toddler on the Block", and "The Natural Child" (one of my personal favorites).

They're never too young to learn (and speaking of potty training, my daughter has been using her potty since 4 months old), but I just want to caution you about the difference between teaching to find the reward within the task, or teaching to do something because they want to please you.

You might also be interested to google "time-in vs time-out". There's been a lot of talk (and a lot of eye opening) on this forum about it lately.
post #7 of 42
the fact that one of the signs of potty readiness is a desire to please parents really creeps me out.

y'know the real reason the general recommendation is to wait on potty training? To avoid abuse cases. Get the people who'd yell and shame to hold off until the kid does it alone.


anyway, huge to sgmom.
post #8 of 42
What is your ultimate goal? There are many ways to help a person learn. Punishment teaches one thing - the person administering the punishment has the power. It doesn't help the child learn to do something differently.
post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
the fact that one of the signs of potty readiness is a desire to please parents really creeps me out.

y'know the real reason the general recommendation is to wait on potty training? To avoid abuse cases. Get the people who'd yell and shame to hold off until the kid does it alone.
Off topic again (sorry, but I wanted to add to this)...

Waiting until your child shows signs of readiness, also gives the child a responsibility that it's not ready for. 1. Asking if they need to go or not (the answer is almost always a no, followed by wet pants), then giving them the option (or in most cases, the demand) of choosing to do it in a toilet (which is often quite scary for a kid who's been conditioned to use diapers it's whole life).

The other reason why it's recommended to wait, is because it's HIGHLY endorsed by Pampers. Diaper companies make a CRAZY amount of money if we wait until our children are "ready". And by this time, we usually have to spend even more money on rewards (musical potties, sticker charts, candy, etc) to encourage them to go. And when they do go, we fill them with praise like it was some massive accomplishment that they pee'd in a potty.
post #10 of 42
Behaviorism works in the moment. And generally works quite quickly. That's part of why spanking and reward systems are both so popular. They aren't really discipline though.

Some times you do have to do what works in the moment (not hitting, obviously!, but things like just carrying the kid to the car when you have to get home) but it shouldn't be the default option.
post #11 of 42
The OP's original question was where should I put my ds for time-outs. She had already decided that this is the route she wants to take.
OP have you read many of the threads on the Gentle Discipline forum? I lurk here quite a bit and I can't remember any threads in support of time-outs for young toddlers. In fact, it seems like most on here view it as a punishment that is not a logical consequence for unwanted behaviors, even for older toddlers. I'm just sayin', you may not get the support you are looking for here. Maybe on the toddler forum you may find more who implement time-outs.
I just started taking my dd to her room when she hits me out of anger. I tell her that she cannot be around me if she's going to hurt me. I escort her to her bed and tell her that when she's ready to be gentle with mama she can come out. I don't make her stay for any certain time. She usually comes out within a minute saying sorry mama. I say that I forgive her and we move on. She is 27 months now, and some may say this isn't gentle, but I'm at a loss for what to do. Not to get off topic, but I'm just sayin' I haven't posted that question here because I don't think most mom's do this on this forum.
Oh I forgot, I did do some time outs in her pack and play when she was about 19 months for pinching me constantly. I was so desperate to try something. It didn't work. She would get time outs and pinch me immediately afterward. One day she got 15 time outs. I did it for one week, and gave up. I even tried spanking. It didn't work and I felt like an abusive mother.
In the end, they just go through these phases that require some maturity to grow out of, along with some loving redirection and explanation and modeling.
post #12 of 42
op just bc he helped you pick up before and listened etc without issue doesn't mean he always will or that it would be good for him to.

he has to negotiate a sense of himself as an autonomous agent right now, at least to some extent--that is a task of life.

he'll probably shift back and forth between cooperative and not so much many times in the course of his development.

this is not a life threatening issue or an issue where someone's emotional or physical well being is at issue...so i might be much more flexible. i would try to negotiate or use choices or talk about why I am picking up the blocks (for safety, etc) before more playtime rather than doing time out. i agree with you that once he learns to pick up of his own accord etc he won't need to relearn it, but i think developmentally that does come later, way way later.
post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by junipermoon View Post
op just bc he helped you pick up before and listened etc without issue doesn't mean he always will or that it would be good for him to.

he has to negotiate a sense of himself as an autonomous agent right now, at least to some extent--that is a task of life.

he'll probably shift back and forth between cooperative and not so much many times in the course of his development.

this is not a life threatening issue or an issue where someone's emotional or physical well being is at issue...so i might be much more flexible. i would try to negotiate or use choices or talk about why I am picking up the blocks (for safety, etc) before more playtime rather than doing time out. i agree with you that once he learns to pick up of his own accord etc he won't need to relearn it, but i think developmentally that does come later, way way later.
very well said...I couldn't put it into words
My dd is generally very helpful and wants to do things with me, chores and such. Then there are times she yells, NO! It sort of surprises me. I say to her, you can tell mama No, thank you with out yelling. Then she does this. She says No, thank you mama, no wipe mouth. Then I say, you don't want me to wipe your mouth? Anyway, we have this little conversation about it. Then I give her a mirror and show her all the food on her face. Hand her a cloth and she wipes it herself.
What juniper said. This is really a task of life that they begin to learn to be their own person, make their own decisions. I stopped being SO AFRAID that she's defying me! How dare she defy ME!? Her source?! I brought her into this world!... kind of thinking that is ingrained in me.
The reality is that she will mature and eventually use a napkin consistently because that is what we do in our family. We use napkins. She won't be 12 with food from ear to ear because she defied me, and I 'let' her defy me, when I was wiping her mouth.
I have discovered that she responds very well to little conversations helping her to do what is needed for all of our sake. When she is mean to other children I have a quiet talk with her. She immediately goes to make it right with the other kid. Honestly, I am always shocked that she listens and tries to do the right thing. I think the reason is because I don't do time outs. I do a time in with little conversations, unless she's melting down. Then I just wait it out.
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post
The OP's original question was where should I put my ds for time-outs. She had already decided that this is the route she wants to take.
Not necessarily, it was the route suggested by her pediatrician and a route that she addressed in the context of not spanking. There's much more to gentle discipline than merely not hitting. Time outs are sort of an easy out for people who haven't explored other options.

Plus, even if, as seems to be the case from her follow up post, she had settled on the time out route, the thread is still going to be read by more people than just the OP and the people who respond. For instance, other moms of 18 month olds with questions about discipline might be attracted to this thread. Hence why the responses focus on appropriate discipline for an 18 month old.
post #15 of 42
post #16 of 42
Correlation does not imply causation. Just because he decided to pick up the toys after 4 tries in time-out does not mean that it was the time-out that made up his mind. Equally likely is that if you had asked him to pick up, not put him in time-out, but allowed several minutes to pass, he would have picked up anyway.
I believe that kids have to internalize reasons for good behaviors. You don't want a kid who picks up only because he doesn't want a punishment, or because he does want a reward. At 18 months, there's such a drive coming from within for independence. I think that's a good thing, and should be encouraged as much as possible. If you've modeled, etc, etc, then he obviously knows how to clean up. He just wants to do it on his own time, as his way of finding out that he can exert his own will and control his own environment a bit.
Anyway, back to my original point- I would not be confident in saying that the time-out made him pick up. I think just TIME made him pick up.
post #17 of 42
Sometimes I have a love/hate relationship with forums, or should I just say the written word.
It seems what I wrote was misunderstood. I am always in a hurry and leave out some meaning (like now, my dd is demanding my attention).
In my original post, I tried to answer the op's question, but also addressed what I think is better than time outs.
She had already decided to do/try time outs, and I was trying to recognize the op's decision and not undermine it with 'my way', or sound judgmental.

I have tried various things, time outs and spankings, both of which I found to be too harsh for my liking. I realize gentle discipline is really on a spectrum. To some time outs are the most gentle and to others time outs are verging on neglect.
Anyway, I realize that this thread can hopefully help others and I am here because I need help. Sometimes I get frustrated with my dd and raise my hand to swat her bum and stop in mid swing. I still need a lot of help and ideas. So, continue on with the ideas ladies. My point in my last post was to let the op know that we were not trying to gang up on her decision to try time outs, but that she might find more support for this method on another board.
Hope that clears up things.
post #18 of 42
Thread Starter 
Let me clarify again, I am not trying to teach my son to pick up his toys, he has that down. He does that regularly without being asked because he understands through habit and me leading by example, that is what you do. When you are finished with something, you put it back where it goes. What he is doing now is different. He is intentionally not doing something I am asking him to do. I know my kid, and I know that he understand what I am saying, what he needs to do, but he is choosing not to in a way of seeing how far he can go and where his boundaries are. I'm feel I'm simply reinstating where those boundaries are. I'm not trying to be controlling and "make" him do something out of dominance, I'm setting where things are ok, and where they are not. There are plenty of times where I ask him if he wants to do something and he says no, and I say OK, and we move on.

I don't think the time out was traumatizing in any way. And on the note on potty training and abuse, I'm am very much so hoping I am missunderstaning your comment, please please please clarify. I myself am an abuse victim, not from my parents, and I was potty trained on my "lead". I don't think they go hand in hand. And signs of readiness, to me, he presented ALL ALL ALL the signs except for saying "I want to go potty in the potty". I didn't think that was needed. I have NEVER believed that potty training should include discipline. It should be positive and empowering for the child. That's what we did. There was never any yelling, or shaming, or guilt. I think the guiltiest he felt was when he had an accident, and I simply said, (calmly) we go potty in the potty, not in our pants. Our potties belong here (and point to potty).

I would love to hear other ways to reinstate boundaries with kids that don't involve time outs. And no, it wasn't "time" that ended up being the reason he picked up his block, it was a total of 4 MIN before he did it. 4 MIN, not 4 HOURS. I fully believe he understood and does understand.

Any advise on the topic I am looking for would be great, which is not, how do you teach a kid to do something, I got that, he got that, it's HOW DO YOU TEACH A KID WHEN HE IS CROSSING THE LINE. It's not okay, to not listen to me, and it's not okay for him to take things out and leave them out and not help pick them up when he is done. We all have a responsibility in this family.

PS, this post was MOVED TO GENTLE DISCIPLINE, SORRY IF IT'S IN THE WRONG PLACE. Some of the responses kinda struck a nerve with me, and I feel like some of the posters replied without knowing the situation or what it was I was asking, I apologize if I sound harsh or if I was unclear in my OP.
post #19 of 42
I think the problem with disciplining this way is that the child learns to do things on your terms and for your reasons, instead of on their terms for their reasons. Sure, time outs may work in the moment, but the child will learn to do things only because you said so and not because he's learned that its the right thing to do or because it makes HIM feel good for doing it. Time outs tend to work in the beginning and then their effect tapers off, because, among other things, the child learns that he can just not go to the time out spot. And the child doesn't learn that doing certain things, like cleaning up his blocks, can be a pleasurable experience for him, on his own terms. The thing about timeouts is that it makes the motivation to do things external instead of internal, which is not very helpful in the grand scheme of things.

I think what the previous posters have mentioned ARE ways to teach children how to do what is expected of them. Clearly, he knows how to physically put his toys away in the right spots after he's done playing with them. By not cleaning up, he's asserting his will. This shouldn't be punished or disciplined at this age. He does not NEED to do whatever you say, because he is a person in his own right. If you continue to model the behavior, help him clean up, give him a choice about it (clean up now or clean up later) then he will eventually do the cleaning of his own free will and it will make him feel good.
post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinMom View Post
Any advise on the topic I am looking for would be great, which is not, how do you teach a kid to do something, I got that, he got that, it's HOW DO YOU TEACH A KID WHEN HE IS CROSSING THE LINE. It's not okay, to not listen to me, and it's not okay for him to take things out and leave them out and not help pick them up when he is done. We all have a responsibility in this family.
Subbing for ideas...

I agree with you that small people are family members too and so must learn to help out. I think the heart of AP and gentle discipline is to assign children respect and so, personally, I need to see a certain degree of willingness to cooperate and treat me with reciprocal respect.

I think the early responses were accurate, advising to MODEL appropriate behavior. My DD is crazy stubborn and must come to every little thing on her own terms...seeing as how she gets it from me, we've already butted heads a few times! When she was about 18mo, she started running away from me on the street, in the playground, stores, everywhere. I was at the end of my pregnancy and often physically couldn't run after her. This being a huge safety issue demanding immediate resolution, the only thing to do was pack her into stroller or carrier. No amount of yelling, reverse psychology, floor (or pavement) play would keep her from tearing off on her own. In the end, I had to wait it out as a phase and keep her buckled in when all her friends were walking around the neighborhood. Once I was again able to model pedestrian safety and orchestrate run run run stop games, she came around and learned to walk with me. But I still don't fully trust her to stay out of the street and stop at curbs, so she's never out of my reach and usually has to hold my hand.

Sorry for the tangent, but my point is that some things are out of our control with these little ones. If blocks aren't getting picked up and your demonstrating picking up blocks isn't working, then perhaps blocks go on a shelf until he asks for them again. Time out the blocks, not the child?

BTW, I loved historical fiction as a kid. As a mom I have this picture in my head of Laura Ingalls Wilder's little sister being taken to task for whining (like asking for something again after being denied)...a stern "No" stopped her in her tracks, had her hanging her head and the older girls sobered in the face of the toddler being taught to "mind". So what am I missing????!
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