First time mama needs discipline advice - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 12-10-2009, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello fellow Mommies,

My DS is 21 months old and I am a first time mom who has no idea how to get him to stop doing something. I have and continue to do all the attachment style parenting and dont want to ever spank my child. But, I need help.

When he is purposely doing something he knows he is not allowed to do I always stop him, crouch down to his level, make him look at me, and say in a stern voice to stop it. Sometimes I set him down on his butt and make him sit there while I am speaking to him. He laughs and thinks this is funny even though I never give in and crack a smile. He waits for my back to be turned and purposely does whatever I told him not to do again.

Last night after almost pulling the tv cables out of the wall for the 5th time I lost my temper. I grabbed him (not hard, but firmly) and yelled at him so loudly that it scared him. He started to cry and I felt awful that I had scared him so. I dont yell at him and I dont usually lose my temper like that, but I did this time.

What are the best discipline techniques for this age? I am at a loss..

Thank you.
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#2 of 4 Old 12-10-2009, 04:23 PM
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I would say that redirection is the best technique at this age. You can say something like "Danger! We leave the cables alone!" firmly yet gently, then take him away from the area and get him involved with another activity. If he returns, do the same thing. If he keeps going back, you can say it a bit firmer, and then explain that you have to take him out of the room/area altogether because he won't leave the cables alone.

Kids at this age really won't understand any kind of "lecture" or long explanation, but they do know what will get your attention. Sounds like it has become game for him. That's annoying but normal for this age. Just be consistent and things will get easier (in a couple of years..., kust kidding)
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#3 of 4 Old 12-10-2009, 08:40 PM
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For us redirection is very complex and usually involves a long explanation, going through the action we find not favourable (as opposed to not safe, which we don't do) with the child and then giving direct and simple phrases as cues that they can use as well as dh and I.

So, pulling out the cables poses minimal risk to safety, if any, usually anyway. It's more annoying than anything else, but it's tiresome to continue to put them back. This particular issue is one we have had with each one of our boys.

What I do in these situations at that age (and earlier and later as needed), is to keep my attention on the next time he's going for the cables, and quickly join him. I crouch down next to him, facing the object of his interest, and begin a running commentary about how interesting the cables are- the colours, textures, how they wind or fall, the holes or electronics the come from, the jacks they go to, the outlet where they are plugged in, everything I can observe about it all. I encourage him to touch and look at each aspect I am expressing- one finger only please.

Then, I tell him why we keep them there and that what happens when he pulls them out- they are now not tidy and we would have to step over them, or maybe even trip on them and pull them out of their jacks, or kink them by suddenly yanking on them and such-and-such only works when the cords are in perfect condition, not yanked, not kinked, etc...

I tell him that I choose to protect our things by making sure they are tidy and out of the way so that we can continue to enjoy them. I ask him if he enjoys listening to the stereo or watching a particular movie, and when he responds that he does, I remind him that the cords have to be kept tidy in their spot for us to listen/watch.

Then I give him a phrase: We keep the cords tidy and put away. I ask him how we keep the cords and he repeats 'tidy and put away' although a less verbal child may not repeat it, I think it's still effective because if I see him going for the cords again, I can repeat just 'the cords are kept tidy and put away, please.'

Then, usually the curiosity has been sated and we do this for the next thing- the blender, for instance, or the contents of the pantry, etc...

I talk a lot, every day, all day long. I am naturally a very quiet person who doesn't like to talk a lot at all, but having so many little people who need information has necessitated this change in my behaviour. The other thing is that when they have all of the same information that I do, I don't need to say as much as often about it as if I had kept quiet and just said, 'no, don't touch.' At every first, it's a huge outlay, but it's far more efficient, imo, than to have to continue to repeat myself ad nauseum for every new curiosity.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#4 of 4 Old 12-10-2009, 09:07 PM
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I agree. Redirect. Then do it gain. And again. Redirect your BUTT off... then redirect some more.

There are two things I do to teach her. One is to simply listen when I ask her not to do something, the other is to STOP when something is dangerous.

My 14 month old has a game where she knows she's not allowed to climb on the coffee table below our tv (it's wall mounted), so she will look at me and say "HEEYY!" to get my attention, then put one foot or leg up when I look up at her and tell her not to do it. She gets down when I tell her to, but only for a second. Then the game starts again. One warning is all she gets. If she gets up a second time, I remove her from the table. And if she goes back, I put her somewhere else and distract her with something new to do. And if I see her heading towards the table (usually laughing), I grab her and redirect her before she gets there.

She loves climbing on a small table (tv tray) by our couch that's not stable, so to teach her it's dangerous (wheras the coffee table is not really dangerous), I hold the table and gently shake it and say "Danger!". If she doesn't back off (which she always does), I move her. At 14 months, she definitely knows not to climb on that table if I'm not there to hold it (because that's her game). Shaky tables are scary!

Both of these activities she does usually only when she's bored or looking for attention. A quick and easy solution to stop it is to get on the floor with her and give her 10 or so minutes of really good interactive play (for us that's me getting under a blanket and letting her "find me then get me", or playing "hide and seek", "gotcha", or "tag".
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