or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › Is this an age thing (19 months) or a strong spirited child pushing buttons or both?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Is this an age thing (19 months) or a strong spirited child pushing buttons or both?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 



I'm trying to use everything I've read in Connection Parenting, Playful Parenting, The Emotional Life of a Toddler. . .to gently guide my 19 month old daughter. I know these concepts and connections take time but I'm wondering if gentle discipline just doesn't work for the more strong willed child.


For example: yesterday we went to the zoo, and rode the train. Getting her off the train at the end of the ride was a struggle. Hey, the train is fun! I get that, but I always explain to her that we can ride the train again if we wait in line again. I speak to her at her level. I let her know what to expect when the train is pulling into the station. She understands me. She just chooses to not want to get off the train.


We finally make it out of the station, and there are a zillion strollers lined up. She wants to check out everyone of them, try to move them, look in them, take sippy cups, snacks, whatever out of them. I get down on her level, make eye contact, explain these aren't our stroller nor our belongs, but she can help me push our stroller on the way to the elephants. Nope. She would rather turn hide and run back to the strollers that aren't ours and start the process of looking in them all over again, feeling things, picking things up. I explain, again, these aren't ours, but let's push our stroller, or would she like to get in our stroller and have a snack or some water? Nope. She'd rather run away from me, wander around without me, and then run faster if I actually walk towards her.


I don't want to be the 99% of parents that would just pick up their child and thus cause a tantrum because her needs  aren't being met, but what about my needs? Connection Parenting makes it sound like if you are meeting your child's needs then they won't misbehave or act out. Their needs are being met so they are perfectly pleasant and life is peachy. I don't want to get pushed around by my toddler. I'm afraid that I'm doing us a disservice by allowing her needs to be met over mine even if it causes a meltdown.


I wasn't in a hurry to get us somewhere yesterday so I wasn't rushing her but there are guidelines to respecting people's property, right? Boundaries have to be taught, right? I'm at a loss. I don't want her toddlerhood to be my big experiment failure.


She's always had a HUGE personality. I'm used to her personality, but I'm not used to trying to discipline her and NOT knowing if this is going to work for her personality type.



post #2 of 26

I could have written this post myself--so glad I found it! I haven't read the book you referred to, but your philosophy sounds similar to what I've been trying with my son (he's 15 months old.) My son has been very willful and *spirited* since birth, but now we're come up against really difficult issues of control and boundaries, and more often than not, it ends in tantrums, screaming, and tears. I try to take things at toddler speed, talk to my son at his level, and explain why he's not allowed to do certain things, but so far it just hasn't worked. My little guy is very firm about what he wants and when he doesn't get it, he gets very angry and frustrated (screaming, clenched fists, red face, etc.) even if I've done my best to meet his needs. It's definitely a trying time for us---I feel like my whole day is spent trying to avoid tantrums while also teaching my son healthy boundaries (no climbing on the dining room table, no fingers in electrical sockets, no exploring other people's diaper bags at the park, etc.) I can't offer any advice, just commiseration! I think that parenting books can make these issues sound relatively easy to deal with, when in reality, they are incredibly challenging (I feel the same way about sleep training books.)

I think you're right about making sure your own needs are getting met. Hang in there---it sounds like you're a wonderful, compassionate mama!

post #3 of 26

I'm not sure how much I can contribute, but I'll try. 


At the zoo, I would have just picked her up and moved her out of the situation.  My kids at that age wouldn't either understand what I was saying or were too persistent to give it up when it was still there being a temptation.   I think even if picking them up causes a tantrum, you can still be gentle about it.  You can pick them up nicely (rather than grabbing,) commiserate with them ("you really wanted that") instead of voicing your own frustration, and be excited about the next fun thing.


Would it help to distinguish between needs and wants?  Going through someone else's stroller isn't a need, so I wouldn't think of that as a need not being met. 


My 4yo is and always has been spirited and intense.  At 4, I'm trying to teach her appropriate ways to deal with disappointment and other emotions.  At 19 months, they don't have many tools. 


I think you're doing a lot of things right -- speaking at her level, making sure she understands...  Would it help to offer a closed choice?   Like "When the train stops, we have to get off.  Do you want to walk or carry" or the choice could be "Do you want to ride again or see the elephants", then focus on what she chose so she's thinking about that instead of the strollers. 


Tantrums are unpleasant, but kids do learn from them.  While you can try to prevent them, I don't think it should be at all costs.  It's ok for them to be upset.  Not getting what you want is life. 


I think everything she did as described in your post was age appropriate.


The only book you mentioned that I've read was Playful Parenting.  I also really like Raising Your Spirited Child and The Happiest Toddler on the Block.


I'll be interested to see your advice!

post #4 of 26

My lil guy was a late bloomer (didn't walk until 18 months, so issues like your daughters didn't come around until maybe closer to 2) and she is being normal. I agree with pp, perhaps physically removing her from the situation/temptation would help. If it is still in their sight, it is still in their mind! Taking it out of sight/action and redirection worked best at that age for my son. Playing in cat litter? eww...but if I just said stop, or no no, and didn't leave the room, he'd be right back there. By removing/redirecting him, he learned that if he was doing or being someplace he shouldn't he would be asked to stop/leave (and helped to leave physically by an adult) and eventually with the cat box, he learned not to touch it, and now says, kitty potty dirty, not a toy (or something like that) Closer to 2 1/2 he began grasping better the cause/effect and action/consequence concepts and now at almost 3,  there is a lot less physical redirecting (unless life endangering of course) and more verbal exchanges and compliance.


Yours being a girl, perhaps that could develop sooner. But it sounds like she is right where she should be developmentally. It's a stage, just find your strategies and be consistant and she will mature into them, hopefully.

post #5 of 26

It sounds age appropriate. I have 2 spirited kiddo's as well, and gd works great here! Here are some suggestions specific to the situation you mentioned:


*Zoo: Did she HAVE to get off the train after only 1 ride? Would anyone have minded if she had more rides? I would let her ride until she got sick of it and then  move on. If you had to go I would give her warning, have her say goodbye to train, explain why she has to get off, and then empathsize with how mad/sad she feels.


*Strollers: Really the only thing I would do here is tell her she can't touch stuff that's not hers without permission, and then empathsize with her about how mad/sad she is. Also, re-direction is amazing at this age.


Have you looked into nvc? I really love this book:



post #6 of 26

Is that behaviour considered spirited?  I don't know... I would just call it normal for the age.  My kids were like that and I always just thought it was part of toddlerhood.  Toddlers want to do what they want to do.  And they have no impulse control (esp at the tender age of 19 months). 


Here's my take on it: it's ok if things don't always go my kids' way.  That's just life, and while I can try to say "yes" as much as possible it just isn't possible 100%.  And that's ok.  In the case of the train I would have a) started talking about something else cool that we were about to do, b) distracted with one of the many snacks or toys I keep in my bag, c) whatever else that came to mind to distract and get her off the train peaceably.  If she did end up losing it I'd empathize in v. simple terms that she'd understand ("dd is sad.  dd wants more train." etc.), and I'd help her get off the train - probably picking her up as I think that would be more gentle and comforting than holding her by the hand if she was fighting me.


Re. the strollers I'd probably do pretty much the same thing.  Distract/re-direct as best as possible.  Remove from the situation (it's not really ok to let her go through other peoples' stuff and if she wasn't stopping after I explained and asked her, then I would gently remove her).  Empathize.


I guess, reading through what I wrote, that the only thing I'd do differently from what you did is that I *would* pick her up to remove her from situations if I felt it was necessary.


Also, I totally second the Playful Parenting recommendation. 


And honestly, there are places I avoided at certain ages if I didn't think my kids (and I!) could deal with it for whatever reason.  For us, that included places like the zoo when they were really little, because they just could. not. understand. why they couldn't keep doing the train ride (or equivalent) over and over and over without waiting in line again.  Any place that provoked serious melt-downs I would consider better left till a slightly older age.  (Just my take on it... what I need to do for my own survival, lol!)

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi Mamas. I'm so appreciative of your responses that I wanted to respond back individually. Feel free to add to anything I'm missing or having thought of!


LLWR - I guess I didn't think at all about picking her up GENTLY. I see picking her up and removing her as such a power play on my end. Like what if someone was doing that to me, would I like it or would I feel demeaned? But honestly if there is a gentle way of doing it, and obviously there is, I will try that as a choice next time. Thanks for reminding me about closed choices. I always, always, always tell her what's coming up next so she knows, but maybe I'm not communicating how she understands best? For instance I'll say, "DD, we are pulling into the train station. At the train station we have to get off train with all the other people." I leave it at that to see how she'll deal with exiting the train after being told what to expect. I'll start adding on the fun next step like elephants.


FLIGHTGODDESS - Still in sight, still in mind. So simple, why didn't I think of that? Remove, and it is out of her mind. . .most of the time!


MITTSY - They make everyone get off the train. It is a huge draw at the zoo, so there are no exceptions about getting off and standing in the long, hot line with no shade all over again. :-) If I could let her stay on I'd gladly comply because it's easier on me! Empathy. . .I need to get better at that. I'm so busy thinking about how hot I am, how hard it is going to be to get her off the train, how much time it takes to help her understand getting off the train that I might not be as empathic as I should be.


PIANOJAZZGIRL - I take her everywhere I took her before we had a newborn six weeks ago. I strap on her brother, and off we go. A huge pain in the backside when things like this come up, and I feel like I'm being judged by all the other parents watching me struggle with my two under two but life for my outgoing 19 month old didn't slow down because we had a baby. :-) Sink or swim, right? So glad I have all  you mamas to offer expertise and remind me of things I might be missing so I can get those skills in check. Playful Parenting is another book I've read, and I like the ideas. So many of these books are geared towards older, more verbal kids.


DD has been talking in 2-3 words sentences for about a month now so I know what she wants. ..thank you for helping me see wants and needs differently. Trying so hard to get this right that I feel like I'm nearly always wrong.


Gitanamama - hope this thread helped you a little bit too!

post #8 of 26
Originally Posted by lellian View Post

PIANOJAZZGIRL - I take her everywhere I took her before we had a newborn six weeks ago. I strap on her brother, and off we go. A huge pain in the backside when things like this come up, and I feel like I'm being judged by all the other parents watching me struggle with my two under two but life for my outgoing 19 month old didn't slow down because we had a baby. :-) Sink or swim, right? So glad I have all  you mamas to offer expertise and remind me of things I might be missing so I can get those skills in check. Playful Parenting is another book I've read, and I like the


Oh wow mama, don't worry - if I saw you out and about with a young toddler and 6wk old I'd just think "what a super-mama!" - no judgement here!  I think it's awesome that you are still doing all the stuff you used to do even though you have a new babe.  What I posted was, I guess, less a suggestion, than an admission of how *I* have made my life easier in the past.  ;) 



post #9 of 26

All of the things you mentioned from the zoo sound like totally normal behavior for someone her age. Of course, normal exploration sometimes has to stop so that you can go on to the next thing. When she wasn't able to go with you on her own, it would have been okay for you to pick her up and explain why you were moving her.                                                                  

post #10 of 26

Somebody else mentioned Happiest Toddler on the Block, but I wanted to say that it REALLY helped me with DD at that age. The basic idea in it is to validate their feelings when you have to set boundaries. So carry her away from the strollers, but validate her feelings while you do it. What I like about HTTOTB is that it gave me a way to validate feelings that worked really well for DD (I don't know if it works for every toddler). Basically he says you have to speak in "cave man" type simple sentences and match the child's level of emotion. So if you tell DD, "No, you can't look at the strollers; come this way," and she resists or won't let you redirect her, you can pick her up and carry her away from the strollers. If that upsets her, then you use the HTTOTB method and say, "Mad! You're mad! You want strollers! You love strollers! You want to touch those strollers!"--and keep saying stuff like that, trying to verbalize her emotions but also using a tone of voice and facial expressions that match how she feels, so she'll feel like you really are mirroring what she's feeling (because for toddlers just the words alone don't mean much; the tone of voice and the facial expressions help them feel like you're validating their feelings more). It sounds pretty hokey...and it feels pretty hokey when you're doing it somewhere public...but man, it was like magic for DD. She would calm down within seconds every time I did it. Seriously, the girl never had a real tantrum in her life till she was like 2.5, because every time she started I would use this method and she would calm right down. 


But it can be hokey, and I don't think it works for everybody! My friend's daughter, who's a lot less verbal than my DD was at that age, just looked at her mom like she was crazy when she tried it. But it's definitely worth a read. It can come across as kind of method-y (I even referred to it as a method, and I HATE parenting "methods!"), but really the philosophy behind it is great: understanding and validating your toddler's feelings in a way they understand. 

post #11 of 26

You sound like you are doing amazing, mama.  I hope you are going easy on yourself.  You actually sound like you have a LOT of empathy for your daughter, the way you are so conscious of how things might feel to her.  That is beautiful.


I really liked Connection Parenting too and I feel like  I went through a crisis of learning how to balance respect for DDs needs and setting firm and safe boundaries for her.  I have been learning as DD gets older is that... of course I want to build a strong connection to her.  I believe I'm responsible to be kind to DD.  I'm responsible to look out for her interests.  And also the whole family's.  Sometimes that means I try to change what I can or rethink what I expect or request or have planned.  And sometimes it means that she doesn't get what she wants - but I am kind about it.  I try to think about how I'd want someone to respond to me if I was disappointed about something.  You know, like if DP and I had planned an outing and then suddenly something came up and we couldn't go.  I would have my feelings hurt if he was like, "Just get over it" but if he said, "Yeah, I really wish we could have done that too, it's too bad we can't" or "I'm sorry honey, I know I could say no to this overtime but I really shouldn't" ... I feel better.  DP says no to me, and it doesn't ruin our relationship.  In fact many times, it has strengthened it.  For instance, I come from a yelling family but I am working to change.  I will yell and DP will say, "Hey don't yell at me.  Let's talk instead."  That has strengthened our connection immensely to hear him set that boundary.  I will check myself and my tone of voice and I might not be ready to talk right away but I remember my goals of wanting to speak with respect.


How does this translate to my parenting?  I work to speak with respect to her.  And, I work to remember that I am not responsible for how DD feels about things.  That might sound kind of cold, but I don't mean it that way.  I mean that she's allowed to not like a decision I've made or a situation I can't or won't change.  It's okay for her to cry about something.  I try to take that as a moment to reflect:  Have I spoken with respect and kindness?  But also to remember: She can have feelings that are separate from mine.  How can I offer her support and love?


I've heard people say - tantrums are about confronting futility.  As she gets older, we have also talked about how she can feel better when she can't do somethign she wants.  We talk about finding ways to occupy ourselves when we have to wait, ways to move on to the next thing, ways to be patient.  We sing songs and think about nice things and breathe deeply.  Skills.  :) She doesn't like how tantrums feel any more than I like witnessing them.   It doesn't mean she never cries.  She has always cried alot, and some days she cries alot... runs off crying in fact and comes back on her own a few minutes later or I ask her if she wants me to pick her up and hold her.

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thank you, mamas, for sharing your experiences. Tomorrow, we are going back to the zoo. There will be strollers there! Ha! We'll see how we do this time around. I'm actually looking forward to whatever learning experience life has in store for me tomorrow, and will be taking your suggestions with me so I can "take a moment to reflect" before I (re)act. . love.gif



post #13 of 26

This may sound silly but I think you are overthinking these situations.  I am NOT saying that I know "more" because I have older children-- no way-- but I can almost always guess from these posts about young toddlers (technically, your daughter has only been a toddler since 18 months) when it is someone's first child. 


At 19 months, your tool is not talking.  If you DO choose to talk, DO NOT (and I mean DO NOT) try to explain anything about why you/she/they can't blah, blah, blah.  I have very verbal children, but at 19 months, this is not what you want to be doing.



(1) Prevent.  I can't overstate this enough.  If I'm correct in that you only have one child, do not feel like you have to be out doing something exciting all the time.  Set up situations that are easy for both of you.  I know I am much more relaxed at home, because the house is set up so that there is not much I have to limit in terms of behavior.  (House is set up so that prevention is in place.)


(2) Redirect.  Again, focus on the next thing/event, not what she can't do.  (This is part of why focusing on what she can't do is not a good idea, even when she is older.  Then the child feels even worse-- sort of like rubbing it in.)


(3) Don't worry that what she does now is what she'll do forever if you don't say/do something about it. While she wants to touch other people's things at 19 months, this does not mean she'll do it when she's 19!  


(4) Don't worry too much about tantrums.  They are no fun, but they are normal.  In case this helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel, let me give you a brief story.  My toddler is now about 22 months.  When she was 21 months, we went to an amusement park.  When we'd get out of a truck ride (like your train), she'd have a fit.  We just took her off, let her cry, but then got back on.  She'd have a tantrum and try not to get out. We returned this month.   She was able to go on more rides.  She still protested getting off, though not as much.   By the end of the trip-- no more tantrums.  She is getting older/more experienced to understand that even though one ride ends, we can go on another.  Again, it wasn't our verbal convincing that did it (sort of hard to talk during a tantrum anyway!), but again, her own development and experience.


post #14 of 26

The only people that judge a mother dealing with a toddler mid-tantrum while they have a baby strapped to their chest are the sort of people whose opinions on parenting don't count.


I have a 19moth old and I assure you what she is doing is normal.  Her need was to explore, and experiment, not touch other people's things, so perhaps picking her up and taking her to the children's section of a zoo or the playground would have been a better thing.


I have not read the book you talk about, but I can tell you this...kids at 19 mo do not know what their needs are.  Kids at 19 YEARS frequently have a hard time identifying what their needs are.  And if they get their needs met unreasonable wants typically are MINIMIZED, but this doesn't mean they go away altogether.  Immediate satisfaction is the key word for almost every under 5 yo, so as parents we do the best we can to find suitable solutions to immediate needs as fast as we can...sometimes that means prying the sharp scissors out of their hands despite the fact that they would like to see what sharp scissors do to mommy's silk dress or baby brother's hair.  Sometimes it means  we have the perfect snack at the perfect minute to raise that blood sugar and make a happy kid.  Sometimes it means we sit in a dark room with a toddler who would rather be watching cartoons while we stroke their back and sing them songs because we know they are tired. Sometimes it means we we sit in a car with a screaming child for what feels like hours while they freak out and you drive as fast as you legally can to get them to the nearest source of bed, food, water, warmth, cool, or whatever it is they need.  Just because a child is sad doesn't mean you haven't done your job as a mom that day.   Sometimes people, not just kids, but most often toddlers, lose their minds with impulse and they simply cannot control the anger they feel when those impulses are thwarted by life.  The only thing you can do as a mom is be there to let them know you understand the anger and sadness associated with frustrated impulse and get their minds moving forward to the next thing.   


FWIW, I don't think most kids have much fun at the zoo, to be honest.  It's not that interactive and most of the exhibits require you to be quite tall or on someone's shoulders to see anything worth while.  I think zoos are best for older kids...kids who can walk long distances and see over the railings.  Part of her desire to get into other people's strollers probably had to do with her desire to touch and play and see new things up close.  Zoos typically are rotten places for that.


I would, if I were you, in the next few years take it easy on yourself.  Take them to more kid friendly places.  Take them to wide open spaces, soft play areas, children's activity centers, and don't try to push the boundaries of the already limited patience of your growing children.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, KWIM?

post #15 of 26

The more kids I have, the more I realize how little the little ones are.  People used to keep their kids home and treat them like babies until they were 5 or more.  I see the wisdom in that now.  I also now understand why 5 is the age children start school.  They are bright and ready for big experiences then.  The little ones...not so much.


My kids are on the early end of things.  They walk around 9 months, and my 11 month old is talking in couplets and asking questions.  It's bizarre to be able to argue verbally with a baby about whether or not they can nurse.  I digress...but, just because they can talk, does NOT mean that they can understand.  My others have talked and talked and talked, in full sentences, by about 18 months.  I'm telling you...they don't get it.  Even if they can SAY it...they don't GET it. 


The HBOTB is a great "method."  My ds, especially was helped by it.  I didn't do it quite like the pp.  I would just get down at eye level and say, "Ds wants x.  Mama said y.  Ds is mad (or whatever).  Mama will help ds.  Mama will z."  And then I would do it.  And he would just do it with me.  I don't know why for sure.  If he lacked the words to say what he needed, so he was pleased that I understood?  Or that my soothing tone distracted him enough to move on?  Dunno. But, it did work.  I, usually, would do that after I scooped him up and was walking away.  I would just pick him up and start whispering in his ear on my way to do something else.


I, too, vote for keeping things at a level she can accomplish.  I'm really, really big on being careful to control the environment of my little ones to set them up for success.  So many "bad behaviors" older children have are just a result of habit.  They have learned to relate to the world in a certain way, and they will continue to do so.  Everything you do with you dd is teaching her how the world works.  Children see in black and white...the abstract takes much longer for them to understand.


So, sure, be reasonable, but also consider that how you respond to her, and how you set her up to respond to you is setting up YEARS of communication. 


For example, my 11 month old is throwing herself on the floor and screaming when she doesn't get what she wants.  I gently pick her back up and say, "May I have it please?"  and then I make it easiery, "Have?  Please?"  By then she is interested.  And, I give her what she wants.  Already, I can see her starting to get worked up and can say, "Please?" and she repeats me, and I hand it over.  If she really can't have whatever, I say, cheerfully, "Yes, Ma'am" (controversial here) and she does her baby version (and we continue on our way to something more interesting...I've already scooped her up at the point I was telling her no, btw.)


Or, today in the cart, ds was squishing her.  She squealed, and I said, "No, thank you." in the same cheerful voice.  She repeated me, with the same tone.  And ds got off (I would have seen to it if he didn't). 


The point is, she is learning that I respect her needs and wants and that words work.  All of my children (as long as I have kept them from being too uncomfortable in some way) have communicated in this way, and have not needed tantrums.  (Yes, we've had a few).


The train situation...if I knew that she was going to have trouble getting off, I wouldn't have done the train.  I'd give it a month or two, and work on it in other ways.  When she was able to handle it, then I'd try again.  Like, maybe I'd not replace the cookie she dropped on the floor.  Or other ways of helping her handle disappointment in smaller increments.


I don't know if I'm making any sense.  My point is just to remember that she's a baby, and make it easy on her.  And to remember that how you interact now, is how she will expect you to interact when she is bigger.  If you say 48 times, "It's time to leave", then she's learning that you say something that many times before you mean it.  It's not bad behavior, then, when your 6 year old makes you say it over and over.  It's just habit.  So, if you say, "It's time to go," then scoop her up and make it happen. 



post #16 of 26

gitanamama-I try to keep our house baby safe.  And I view things like climbing on the table as a need, and don't stop them for quite a while.  If I don't want them to do it, then I just pull the chairs back so that they can't.  So many of those things (like obsessive climbing) are developmental.  Babies do over and over whatever it is they are trying to learn.  So, I make it impossible for them to do it where I don't want them to, and be sure there are other options available.  He's not going to stop until he has it mastered. 


As far as getting into everything...he's recently figured out that "there's more where that came from", and he wants to know what else is in there.  I'd pack up a lot of bags and boxes and stuff around the house for him to dig through and explore.  And remember: he's just trying to figure out how to be big, so he just wants to do what you are doing.  Pick up a fake but real looking cell phone and drop it in a box with a few of your shoes, a necklace or two, a wrench, a wooden spoon, the remote, a (lidded!) marker, etc, and watch him be so happy!  Include some wadded up paper, a cup and a spoon, and any other kid friendly versions (but still realistic looking) stuff that the people in his world use. 



post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for the fabulous feedback. I plan on parenting how I've been parenting which includes a lot of communication with her. I have never baby talked to her, and don't wish to start now. We do get on her level and talk, talk, talk, and she gets it. She doesn't have control over her actions, but she understands when I say "Jumping is something you do on the floor, not the couch. Please show me how you jump high on the floor!" Doesn't mean that I don't remind her every time she starts to jump on the couch to please jump on the floor instead. I'm not sure that is creating a habit, or if that isn't just a good practice with a 19 month old. She sometimes will jump once and look at me to see my reaction. Sometimes I don't need to say anything to cease the jumping.


The zoo. . .well, we aren't going to stop going to the zoo. She loves animals. Loves going to the zoo. Asks for the elephants, train, rhino, fish. She comes home and tells DH how the elephants pick up food with their noses and what they eat. We spend a good amount of time at each animal, and rarely see more than a quarter of the zoo at a time. No need to rush when we can watch elephants dip their trunks into the water and drink! The train experience was awesome this week. We rode it two times in a row due to short lines, and moved on to the monkeys. Easy peasy. She walked by the strollers, this time, uninterested. Next time could be a master meltdown, but this week it wasn't. One trip at a time.


After reading some of your replies I understand you'd rather stay home with your young ones, whether because it is best for you and/or best for them. For us, we need to get out of the house. She is one huge ball of energy. When we stay inside to play everything is harder to handle because she needs more space to run, and NEEDS to experience different things. We do indoor playrooms and parks as well. Staying inside with two babies is not an option unless DD's cues are telling me differently. If she's under the weather and I ask her if she'd like to go to the zoo she'll say no. I don't strap her in car seat and force an activity. My point: all babies are created differently, and this one needs to be on the move and stimulated. It helps with nap time, bedtime, dinnertime, every time for her to be busy during the day with appropriate activities. Her brother is so mellow, sooooooooooooooo mellow compared to her. The difference between their personalities is evident even at this stage.


I've read every book there is on communication, babies, toddlers, brain development and stages, gentle discipline, playful parenting. . .blah, blah, blah. The challenge is picking a school of thought and going with it, sticking with it while questioning it's usefulness on your perfectly particular toddler. That is why I come here looking for feedback, and am appreciative of your replies.



post #18 of 26

FTR, The methods described in the HTOTB is NOT baby talk.  It is differentiated speech for children at different levels of communication abilities and with differing levels of stress. ETA:  when stress is increased, the affective filter raises in the mind and makes it very hard to communicate and comprehend in any language.  In languages you are still acquiring this can mean a set back equivalent to starting at zero.  This is not a baby talk thing it is a clear communication with a language learner thing.


She is learning a new language. You can continue to struggle with a level of communication that is beyond her physical ability, or you can choose to gradiate your expectations thereby giving her the skills and tools she needs to communicate her needs over time.  She may understand everything you say and be a super communicative little gal herself, but she is less than TWO years old.  She has studied your language for less than TWO years.  That's nothing in terms of language acquisition.  Even a child with the highest of linguistic ability at that age cannot process the subtleties of tone and connotation and grammar confusion that that age.


All this is to stress to you that when we put our principles before the needs of our children, we often find ourselves having moments that lead us to post questions such as "Is she just pushing my buttons?"  No.  She is not.  She is 1 and 1/2.  It would behoove us to treat her like she is 1 and 1/2.  Trust me...I had to learn this lesson the hard way.  I was an avid "no baby talk" mom way back when. But I then I realized that talking to them SIMPLY isn't baby talk.  I'm not emmulating poor pronunciation or speaking poorly...just simply and basically and using super basic communication.  It's fundamental linguistics when you think about it.


If you are fine with the power struggles you should keep taking her out to places like the zoo, but as I said before, zoos are not particularly little kid friendly places.  My 19 mo old is a bundle of energy too, and we take her out a ton...but a zoo would be a nightmare to control her (the crowds, the high walls, the curvy paths, and many many gift shops, snack bars, and strollers etc)...much like what you described above in your OP.  That would be exhausting for me.  If you're okay with that sort of power struggle that may or may not happen, than go for it.  It sounded like you weren't.  Glad to hear things went better last time. I for one wouldn't expect anything different unless I had her fully rested, well fed and a back up supply of candies in my pocket to keep her quiet. and even then we're talking 30 minutes top before she winds up driving me nuts (my DD that is).


Anyway, you are quite right, all kids are built differently.  But here is one thing they ALL have in common.  None of them come out of the womb speaking fluent human.  They need to learn it, and throwing them in at the deep end, ESPECIALLY when they are stressed because they are upset or mid tantrum or merely mid-impulse, is not fair.  Limiting the opportunities to have to fight impulses and limiting complex language when they are stressed are two really good ways to ease them into our world, and keep our expectations age appropriate.  She's not even 2.  You may have another baby, which makes her seem like not such a baby...but she is still a baby.  Let her be one for a while longer.


Edited by hakeber - 9/13/11 at 5:09pm
post #19 of 26
I have a spirited 19 month old DD as well. Since she was 3 months old we have to get out of the house at least once a day or her behavior spirals out of control. We live in a 4 seasons climate, but I've learned that the more fresh air she gets (I.e. A trip to the grocery store isn't an outing for DD, but a trip to the farm where we buy our milk is) the better. So I understand NEEDING to get her out.

It sounds like you're handling things similarly to how I do. Get on her level. Reflect her feelings. State your feelings. We too would have had to ride the train 100x before getting off. We would have had to touch all the strollers. We would have noticed all the cracks in the sidewalk and insisted on running through the aquarium and hanging on the railings. You use redirection well with your jumping example, maybe if redirecting with her stroller wasn't working try "Look! Flowers! pretty pink flowers! Would you like to smell them? Let's go smell them together!" or "Wow! A hippo! Hiiiiiiipppppooo (in a super silly voice that gets her attention). Can you walk like a hippo (mimic big exaggerated hippo steps with stomping noises)? Let's walk like a hippo together!". Etc, etc. Just try things out in silly voices and with grossly exaggerated movements that grab her attention. If you've read Playful parenting then you're as ready as i am to make a fool of yourself! You'll find something that is more interesting than whatever behavior you're wanting to stop. That being said, we don't touch things that aren't ours. I often repeat "not ours! Claire touch this one please."in a cheerful upbeat voice as I hand DD a fidget or a snack from the diaper bag...I keep lots of fidgets and bites handy so there's always something that is ours that we can touch available. You know your DD best.

Hang in there. You're doing a great job at a difficult age with a strong personality!
post #20 of 26
I have an 18 month old and that sounds like totally normal toddler behavior to me. I try to let her explore as long as its not interferring with other people's stuff, and when we are in public I pick her up and take her away from other people if she needs to calm down.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Gentle Discipline
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › Is this an age thing (19 months) or a strong spirited child pushing buttons or both?