Too young to say "no"? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-11-2007, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is 6 months old. Lately he has been showing me that he has a very strong will If that's possible. If he wants something and I don't let him have it (like the remote control, cell phone, dog's toy) he will scream and cry. My husband took his rubber ducky to put away last night so we could nurse & get ready for sleep, and he was FURIOUS! I can distract him but it still takes a good 60 seconds of SCREAMING when he can't get the item he wants. Sometimes I don't want him to cry so I just give it back to him.

I try to keep things he can't have out of his sight, but that's not always possible. He has plenty of appropriate toys and items he can play with as he wishes. My concern is that while I don't want him to be upset, is he old enough that it is appropriate for me to accept him crying? I don't want him to learn that crying will get him what he wants, especially when I don't want him to have it (usually it's something dirty I don't want in his mouth!)

I know that young babies don't have wants and needs, EVERYTHING is a need. But he is surely past that stage now at 6 months, right? My in-laws have said he is spoiled since he was born, and "manipulating" because I always picked him up as soon as he cried. At what age is it appropriate to not react to crying in these situations?

I hope my question makes sense.

Amanda , mama to my two boys: N (10/06) and : A (7/09)
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:43 AM
 
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I'm curious to see what others have to say :
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:46 AM
 
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I am really wondering too.. because this is happening all the time in our house.. esp. with paper!
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:46 AM
 
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Me too.

My DS is just over 5 months, and he will scream for things he can't have too (like solids, for instance!) He also gets very upset if the cat moves too far away from him. Fun fun!

lemurmommies, loving wife to ruvalokiteshvara, proud moms to our intact son E (12/06), and mourning the loss of our daughter Noelle (stillborn 12/08).
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Old 05-11-2007, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well I'm glad I'm not the only one with a baby like this My friend's baby (same age) is so laid back, Nathan will take a toy from his hand and he won't even care. But the minute I take it to give back to Henry, Nathan screams like his heart is broken.

Amanda , mama to my two boys: N (10/06) and : A (7/09)
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Old 05-11-2007, 11:29 AM
 
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I think some babies are more easily distracted/redirected than others. My ds will cry for a few seconds when I take something away, or move him away from something, but he is easily distracted usually by some other toy or object (which I try to have handy for such situations ). I know other babies though who are not as easily distracted, it's like they're fixated on that one thing and they won't except a substitute.
I think you have to let them have their moment of frustration and let it pass. Crying is the only way they know how to voice it after all. I always say 'no' as I'm redirecting ds, he is just starting to look to me and wait for the okay or the 'no' when exploring new things recently. Your ds might be a little young to fully get it now, but he will soon.

sarah, mama to e & j 8/08, and big brother 8/06
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Old 05-11-2007, 12:07 PM
 
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We follow grace based parenting --

"My concern is that while I don't want him to be upset, is he old enough that it is appropriate for me to accept him crying? I don't want him to learn that crying will get him what he wants, especially when I don't want him to have it"

Here's the deal.... young ones are overwhelmed by their emotions. They may indeed be heartbroken that they can't have the remote control. That does not mean you need to give him the remote control. He may cry because he is mad that he can't have the remove control, but you are not teaching him that crying gives him what he wants unless you *give* him the remote control, kwim? He's awful young, so this part is more applicable for toddlers, but you can just say "you are mad because I will not give you the remote control, but it is not for you" -- you name the feelings (mad... or sad...) because then when he is older he can, instead of rolling around on the floor, say "mom, I'm mad because you said I couldn't play outside" I don't think there is an age where you don't "accept" his crying. What would be good about teaching him to bottle emotions? It takes many years of practice to learn how to control those emotions, but control is better than bottling from fear of someone spanking you or other negative punitive measures. My son, 2 1/2, will still cry when we leave the park... but this is not some kind of "rebellion" against me, he is just really sad that we left the park!! Hope that helps

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Old 05-11-2007, 12:07 PM
 
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oh and definitely redirect.... "the remote is not for you.... look at this fluffy bunny!"

It never worked with my son.... but it works for many babies... lol...

Homeschooling SAHM to 3 children under 5 + one on the way.
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Old 05-11-2007, 12:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandaleigh37 View Post
I know that young babies don't have wants and needs, EVERYTHING is a need. But he is surely past that stage now at 6 months, right? My in-laws have said he is spoiled since he was born, and "manipulating" because I always picked him up as soon as he cried. At what age is it appropriate to not react to crying in these situations?
He's not past that age at all. And you can't spoil babies.

Just redirect.

BUT- think carefully- I often found myself saying no and taking things away that if I watched carefully were really safe for dd to explore. *Think* before you say no and take away. I found that most things could be explored in some form or fashion.

-Angela
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Old 05-11-2007, 01:16 PM
 
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I have a ten month old. A very strong-willed 10 month old. She completely understands "no" and has for a couple of months...All I have to do is say "no" and she almost always stops what she's doing.

That said, I use it sparingly. About the only time I say "NO!" is when she tries to pull the plug covers out of the sockets or pulls up on the garbage (which will then lead to her pulling stuff out...not good). Also now if she's hitting the puppy, since she's shown she knows the difference between petting and hitting. She knows that when Mama says "no", Mama means business.

And she DOES throw temper tantrums...mostly when she has to go into her car seat or if I pick her up to move her away from something she's not supposed to be into. I'm talking arched back, limbs a-flailing, screeching, etc. I just calm her down, and talk calmly while I explain why I have to do what I'm doing, or why she can't have that object, or what to do instead, whatever. "No hitting! Puppy doesn't like hitting! Pet puppy nice, like this."

Pick the battles....don't overuse "no"...my opinion is to use it ONLY for dangerous/hurting/health reasons, and I still explain (in baby terms) why I'm saying no ("No, Katie! Yucky food! Katie get sick!") and offer another option, "No garbage...Yucky! Let's empty this box!" (I keep a box filled with random stuff for her to pull out, sort, etc.).

And, I agree, think about whether he can explore it/play with it, even if it means you have to be there while he does it, or show a different way.
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Old 05-11-2007, 01:51 PM
 
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Yup mine's like that too. Distraction works wonders.

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Old 05-11-2007, 01:59 PM
 
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My DD is almost 6 mos and is starting to have mini-tantrums, for lack of a better term. I usually say something like, "I know you want ____, but right now we have to get ready for bed. You can play with ______tomorrow." Or something along those lines. I use, "This is for mama, but you can have this." I know she has no idea what I'm saying, but I figure it's a good habit to be in, especially when it comes to those toddler years! :

BTW, I don't think manipulation is going on at all. Babies don't manipulate, period!
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Old 05-11-2007, 02:26 PM
 
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are you replacing the items you're taking away, or just taking them out of his hand? in my experience you need to replace it with something equally as interesting.
also, most things can be safely explored, dog toys, remotes, etc.
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Old 05-11-2007, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is almost 6 mos and is starting to have mini-tantrums, for lack of a better term. I usually say something like, "I know you want ____, but right now we have to get ready for bed. You can play with ______tomorrow." Or something along those lines. I use, "This is for mama, but you can have this." I know she has no idea what I'm saying, but I figure it's a good habit to be in, especially when it comes to those toddler years!

BTW, I don't think manipulation is going on at all. Babies don't manipulate, period!
That is a good idea, and you're right, a good habit to get in!

I don't really say "no!" but it breaks my heart when he cries for something and I wasn't sure if I was doing him more harm by simply removing the object and moving on... (even if he cries) or if by giving it back to him (sometimes it's not a big deal) would somehow teach him to throw tantrums?

But thanks to everyone for all the advice so far

Amanda , mama to my two boys: N (10/06) and : A (7/09)
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Old 05-11-2007, 02:43 PM
 
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I agree with many things already posted, so I'm sorry if my post is redundant.

I don't think there is any harm at all in redirecting him to something else when he gets his hands on something he can't have. You're teaching him how to handle situations like these (for an adult, it may be "I wanted to play golf but it's raining, so I'll go to the movies instead.")

I also agree with alegna; I let my daughter handle almost everything not extremely fragile or inherently dangerous, even if I'd prefer she not have it. When she gets her hands on the television remote or the phone or the roll of toilet paper, I will let her play with it until she's finished and make a mental note to put it out of sight and reach the next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandaleigh37 View Post

I don't really say "no!" but it breaks my heart when he cries for something and I wasn't sure if I was doing him more harm by simply removing the object and moving on... (even if he cries) or if by giving it back to him (sometimes it's not a big deal) would somehow teach him to throw tantrums?

I also don't think that by giving back an object when he cries that you are teaching him to tantrum. Crying in objection is the only communication he has right now, so by giving it back you are just listening him say "hey, I really liked playing with that." Similar to earthgirl's advice, you can say "oh, I didn't realize you were enjoying that so much!" to model the verbal exchange that you'll have later on when he is old enough.
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Old 05-11-2007, 02:52 PM
 
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The cases you're describing...can't he just hold the rubber ducky while you nurse him? My DD does that a lot and as soon as she realizes there's boobs to be had, the toy gets dropped like a bad habit.

Other things, I definitely think you can redirect and say no too. And not in a mean way. BOTH of my girls liked to pull up on the tv stand when the tv is on, which since we have a low stand, puts their little faces like an inch from the screen. That is absolutely not good for them I'm sure some would say we should just quit watching tv...but, I have so little entertainment left in my life, I say that's not an option. Anyway with both of them we just tell them no, pull them away and get them interested in something else fun. It takes like a million times of doing this but eventually they stop because they know they're going to get dragged off again. I'm still waiting for it to kick in with my youngest, btw.

You don't have to be mean about it and it can involve few tears...but there are some things babies don't need to do and it's ok to keep them from doing it, especially if it's something that could hurt them (like solids...don't even get me started...my 8 month old barely eats anything other than cheerios but if her big sister is eating a popsicle...look out...full on stalk mode)

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Old 05-11-2007, 03:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
BUT- think carefully- I often found myself saying no and taking things away that if I watched carefully were really safe for dd to explore. *Think* before you say no and take away. I found that most things could be explored in some form or fashion.

-Angela
Here Here!
Bad Mom here - I let my son have the remote, cell phone, paper and anything else. I am right there, I give him a while with it, and then try to distract, esp with paper once it becomes mushy. I also let him explore grass, leaves, ect. I am not a big "no" Mom unless it is dangerous.
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Old 05-11-2007, 05:18 PM
 
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My son does the same--my MIL has had 2 cell phones ruined by baby drool so I'm not risking ours to the same fate. I will redirect and give him other stuff. And if he cries, I'll respond by holding, cuddling, distracting. Eventually he'll learn that he can't have everything, but I don't feel like I need to make a lesson out of it at this age. He's just innocently trying to explore his environment.
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