18mo already has a huge will of his own - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 03-20-2010, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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18mo was playing with my booklight & began banging it on the wall, then my 6'x6' Buddha painting. It ended up that I took the booklight away. So, he signed, "mama, follow." He led me to my Buddha painting, which he then yanked on with all his might, looking at me for a reaction. He knows that I react when he messes with the painting because I don't want him to get hurt or damage the painting. Aside from removing the painting, how would you handle this behavior next time (as I'm sure they'll be a repeat)? BTW, I did enjoy how clearly he communicated to me before he showed his displeasure with me.

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#2 of 13 Old 03-20-2010, 05:57 PM
 
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That's kindof hilarious.

Okay, I have a really opinionated 15 month old so I hear where you're coming from. I think that your son probably understands what you say pretty well, despite not being able to speak clearly himself. I would say (in a calm, but displeased tone) "We DO NOT touch the painting." Sometimes I say "That makes mommy MAD." And just pick him up and move him away. Repeat ad naseum. Always pick him up and move him. Don't ever just repeat yourself or say it and not follow through. Make it happen. So he knows that your words MEAN SOMETHING.
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#3 of 13 Old 03-20-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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What's he trying to tell you about the painting? Maybe he's not just trying to make you mad, but maybe he has strong feelings about it one way or another and wants you to acknowledge them... just a thought.

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
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#4 of 13 Old 03-20-2010, 07:02 PM
 
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I'm not trying to be cheeky, but maybe he really doesn't like it. Maybe it scares him? I remember a painting my grandma had of Jesus that really freaked me out. I still have nightmares of that painting *shudder*.

Does he know the sign for scared?

I agree with Lilac Mama, just pick him up and move him as you tell him no and why in the simplest terms/signs possible.

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#5 of 13 Old 03-20-2010, 07:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LilacMama View Post
"We DO NOT touch the painting." Sometimes I say "That makes mommy MAD."
i find "we do not touch the painting" to be really passive aggressive. i prefer the more direct communication of, "i need you to not touch that."

that way you are directly communicating what you need.

also, "that makes mommy mad." makes your 18 mo responsible for your feelings. i think it's better to say, "i feel upset when you hurt my painting. i need you to not do that."

because then you are communicating how you feel and giving him a solution rather than passive-aggressively forcing him to figure out that _he's_ making you mad and if he doesn't want you mad he better not do that.

i think we are socialized not to communicate directly about our feelings and needs and it's really damaging to our children.

also, i second the idea of evaluating the motivations you are ascribing to an 18 mo. i highly doubt he _wants_ to get a reaction from you, i think it's much more likely that he's trying to communicate his needs and desires that he doesn't have words for yet.

eh. who needs a signature?
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#6 of 13 Old 03-21-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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if you were talking to an adult it would be passive-aggressive. we're talking about egocentric babies here, so it's best to make your language as simple as possible.

also, what about "that makes mommy mad" isn't communicating feelings? i'm not a robot. if something makes her mad i would say "you are so MAD!" we're social creatures here. i'm teaching her to name emotions. she doesn't like to make me mad. just because that's how she is. i don't hurt her or shame her about things, we just move on to an activity that we both can agree on. she's allowed to be mad at me. same thing with other emotions (sad, happy, scared, etc)
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#7 of 13 Old 03-21-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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for me simple is direct.

"i feel angry. i need you to stop that." or "mommy feels angry." are very different from "that _makes_ mommy mad."

there is no ownership of the feeling in the second statement. the onus of the feeling is on whatever is _making_ mommy mad rather than mommy having her own emotions.

i think that feeling comfortable telling your dd, "you are MAD" but then not being willing to say, "_i_ am mad," is kind of the crux of the issue. why does something make mommy mad but mommy does not _feel_ angry?

it may seem like semantics but i really feel this is an important issue. it's kind of like asking someone, "would you get that for me?" or "could you get that for me?"

would- you are asking if they will do it and they can say no
could- you are asking if they are capable

even though they are often used interchangably (like "i am mad" and "that makes me mad") they are different.

eh. who needs a signature?
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#8 of 13 Old 03-21-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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I think Playamama explained the feelings well. We are all responsible for our own feelings and actions. I think it's important to take ownership.

As far as the "we do not touch the painting" goes....well, it isn't exactly the truth, is it? Obviously at least one person in that "we" does touch the painting. I would rather say what I want or need in an honest manner than to say something untrue.

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#9 of 13 Old 03-21-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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i want to add that my intention is only to spotlight the implications of that particular language.

i think it was, "how to talk so your kids will listen," that really made me aware of acknowledging emotions and how we are socialized to be polite rather than honest about our feelings. i didn't ALWAYS know this and i don't want to come across like i'm some expert.

there's also the disconnect that boheime mentiond, that occurs when your child realizes you are separate from them. this explained for me why sentences like, "we don't do....." don't work.

your child has suddenly realized that they can do things you don't want them to do. so when you say, "we don't do...." for _my_ kids it was like, "well, _you_ don't do that but i CAN!"

so it actually encouraged the behaviour i did not want as a way of showing themselves to be independent.

eh. who needs a signature?
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#10 of 13 Old 03-22-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
I'm not trying to be cheeky, but maybe he really doesn't like it. Maybe it scares him?
Lina goes back again and again to stuff that scares her. Like we have one DVD with a scene where a dragon puppet says "blah!" and she'll ask for me to play that part again and again and again when we watch the DVD together. But if I forget about that part and play the DVD for her then she comes running to me when the puppet first appears.
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#11 of 13 Old 03-22-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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I'd skip the "I feel's" and the "I need's".

Don't touch. It will break. Or something similiar is what I would say. Two very simple facts, and doesn't require the toddler to sort out feeling or emotions or wants/needs. So, maybe he needs to touch it. You need him to not touch it. Whose need wins?

So, I just say "don't touch."

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#12 of 13 Old 03-22-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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At that age (and even much later) I feel 'doing' is much more powerful than 'talking'.
If I don't want them to touch something and they appear to be greatly attracted by it then I just place it out of their reach.
Why not make it easy for them to do the right thing?
I find rearranging my world a little to make it easier for them to be successful in it much less frustrating than repeating myself over and over.
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#13 of 13 Old 04-05-2010, 02:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all of the replies, mamas. He's definitely not afraid of the painting, but I appreciate where you are coming from with the suggestion. So far, no repeats on this particular event. But, he was continuing other behaviors to see the kind of reaction he'd get. I'm just not reacting strongly to things and he's moving on to other things that interest him more. I noticed that he's exploring reactions and boundaries with his Dad more than me now, and I'm just getting all the affection. teehee

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