I don't think 12 months is too young to guide a child's behavior. I agree that sometimes something unpleasant is going to have to happen to kiddo. The car, for example: Little Miss, 11 mos., hates getting in the car if she's already been out several times that day. Stiff body, crying, the whole nine. I always empathize ("I'm sorry! I know, riding in your car seat sucks, and we've already done is so much today!), explain that this has to happen ("We can't leave Papa at work. We have to go get Papa."), strap her in, give her a kiss and then blast the AC and play her favorite music for her. (She likes to be cold, and T. Rex, so that's what she gets.) Her tantrum is short-lived with this method. I mean, the way I see it, approaching things in this manner does work for both of us. Sure, we're both pretty unhappy for about 3 minutes; she's mad because she's back in her car seat, and I'm not delighted to be stuck in a sub-compact with a tiny, angry opera singer, but in the end we get done what needs to get done, and when she gets home, she goes on her swing. I feel like I'm teaching her to be reasonable (Look, I'm sorry, but not going somewhere because she doesn't want to doesn't work for us, and with mine, maybe not yours, but with mine this would result in an unreasonable little tyrant.) and that her feelings are important too, and eventually, something less sucky will happen in her day.
Gentle Discipline with a 12 month old - Page 2
I like the 'that's a no let's find a yes'. I don't say that but I act it out. Generally I use "ah-ah" followed by a redirect to something. It's the sound I use for my dog training (a behavioral interrupt) so I sort of use it without thinking of it as a 'dog training thing'. "No" I do try to reserve for the more dangerous things and I use a firm tone. I did the disapproving look but DD thinks my facial expressions are all hillarious :-P I don't see time-outs as bad, but again I'm coming from a different perspective here. Time outs mean 'you are too worked up, you need to pause and think before you do something bad'. It's all in how you do it - just like crating a dog. You don't yell bad dog and grab them by the collar admonishing the whole way to the crate only to slam the door and then proceed to lecture them when they come out. DD is 10mos, and let me tell you, much like DH she has a temper. DH was belted as a kid, and clearly it did nothing to improve his behavior as an adult and he is pro-punishment and it's becoming a parenting battle as DD gets older. I haven't had nipple biting yet, but she has thrown some epic tantrums if she goes to nurse and things aren't flowing as fast as she wants them to be (especially if she's tired). She arches, flails, kicks, screams. I don't talk to her, I don't touch her, I generally let the wave of emotion pass, try to get her to latch on again, and if she's really bad, the shirt goes down, we get up and we walk until calm. Then I talk to her calmly and we try again.
I do always make a big deal about the good behaviors, like currently she's learning how to share, generally it's food she pulls from her mouth and tries to feed me, and I smile and tell her thank you and how nice she is to share. I stress the words I want her to pick up on: share, thank you, please, etc. She now smiles ear to ear when I say thank you and tries to give me even more things!
Not sure that I agree with this. My 11 month old is quite interested in the box fan we have in our hallway and wants to stick his fingers in it while it's moving. To my surprise, after only 3 or 4 times of saying, "We don't touch the fan" or something to that effect and removing him or the fan, the other day he was reaching for it and I said "Don't touch" and he stopped, thought about reaching for it again and thought better of it, sat up a few feet from it and looked at it, making no more attempts. We are making similar progress with biting, sippy-cup throwing, and eyeglasses swiping. I know he's not going to stop himself every time or understand all my instructions (like "wait for mama before you climb the stairs), but the things we take the time to work on with him he is picking up on. I know we need to have patience and keep their developmental stage in mind, but to a certain degree children will live up to our expectations of them. I've recently heard it said by child development experts, teachers and even parents that many children flourish in their abilities when they go to school because teachers often expect more from them than their parents do. One reason being that a teacher cannot zip 20 coats every time or wash everyone's hands for them or foster learning without expecting cooperative behavior. Sometimes parents hold back on teaching and discipline because it's easier to do things themselves or not address a behavior consistently or just think of their "little baby" as more dependent than they are because they grow up too fast.
I agree about expectations, all within the parameters of that particular child's developmental stage, like you said. The note about school is interesting - I recently read about parents setting up a cycle of incompetence by doings things for their kids because they don't want to see them fail/struggle. Parents jump in too soon to "help," but end up sending the message that, "You can't do it right, I'll do it," and they continue to believe it long after they've mastered the skill, leading to an 8 year old whining for you to tie his shoes and zip his coat.