I need your book recs, fast! - Mothering Forums
Gentle Discipline > I need your book recs, fast!
Adaline'sMama's Avatar Adaline'sMama 07:24 PM 05-22-2011
Ugh. My 14 month old is a full blown toddler these days. She's "no"ing me to death, arching her back, going limp when she's mad, hitting me and everything in her way, screaming like a hothead when shes mad, and the worst: BITING my sore sore nipples.greensad.gif

I just found out that we are expecting #2 and I feel really overwhelmed with her behavior. I know that she is just a baby, but I have to do something about it, or at least have something to tell people.

Im starting to get dirty looks when I go places, and I have family members that are starting to look at me like they are about to suggest some form of discipline. (but then they dont, because they are probably afraid of what I would say to them).

What do I need to read?
Are there any online sources that are geared towards very little ones?


dejagerw's Avatar dejagerw 08:32 PM 05-22-2011

Here's a bunch of good articles about gentle discipline:





LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 09:38 PM 05-22-2011

My favorite book for this age is Parenting with Purpose by Lynda Madison. It's out of print, but it's available cheap as a used book. I like it because it distinguishes between 1 year olds, 2 year olds, 3 year olds and 4 year olds. It does talk about using time outs and rewards for 4 year olds, which some people who do GD don't like. However, I think you can still get a lot of out of it, especially for the younger ages. A lot of discipline books seem to be written for the 3+ age group, and there aren't many that focus on discipline for such a young age.


I also like it because it talks about two important things: Figuring out what your parenting philosophy or purpose is, before you do any discipline. She makes the point that you can do all the techniques in the world (time out, rewards, making amends, etc), but if you don't know why you're doing these things and have a clear purpose, they won't be effective.


For example: Thinking about why I was doing time out helped me to get a grip on what I was doing, and apply it more effectively. What I discovered by doing this was that I wanted to use time-outs as a cooling off period. In reality though, I was sending our son to his room for pretty arbitrary things. So, by thinking about what I wanted, I was able to think before I sent him off to his room "do we need to cool off?", if so, we took a time out. Usually though, we didn't, or maybe mom did, and he didn't. So, then I'd take myself off for a timeout. This reduced the amount of times I was using it, and increased it's effectiveness. It wasn't time out as punishment anymore, it was "we need a break to regroup". Both my kids will now stomp off to their rooms when they're mad and need a break. I don't mind the stomping and the door slamming because despite those, they're demonstrating that they've learned to take a break when they need it.


The second important thing the author talks about is what's developmentally appropriate. She gently reminds us that 1 year olds aren't doing these things to be defiant, they're doing them because that's how they learn.


Both of these are good things to think about, even if you don't read this book.


another good book (that is in print) is: Becoming the Parent You Want to Be: A Sourcebook for the First Five Years. Again, I like it because it talks about toddlers as well as older kids.

hildare's Avatar hildare 12:29 PM 05-24-2011

unconditional parenting...


that age is the worst, but it's the darkness before the dawn, mama.  it will get better (at least it did for us) from here on out.  it's a frustrating thing to be itty-bitty and not be able to articulate your wishes and have giant human beings make all those decisions for you! 

though, the biting bit we never ever let happen.  dd only tried that once or twice and the nursing stopped immediately and she was put down.  if you're preggers she might be reacting to a decrease in supply though.  that i would address with the quickness.  the tantrums are just kind of par for the course (hey!  i used two cliches in one post.. do i win a prize?  ;)  )

kaypea's Avatar kaypea 02:40 PM 05-25-2011

I found it hard at that stage too, and there is so little out there about working with the emotions of one-year-olds. And while there was lots about the book that I did not agree with, the main message of The Happiest Toddler on the Block worked well for us, though I found it hard to hit that "sweet spot." The premise is basically that you use simple, repetitive language to mirror your child's emotion to them, to show that you understand them, and to validate them. Then when they are calmer, DISTRACT! My child is extremely persistent, so distraction has never worked much (unless it is really something amazing, like TV or sweets, both of which are rare around here) but the emotional validation seemed to work then, and works even better now that she's two. 


I also read Unconditional Parenting, Raising Our Children Raising Ourselves and Playful Parenting, which was actually the most helpful of them all. Being goofy and silly and bumbling and singing songs and doing funny voices is a real game changer. Happiest Toddler actually touches on this too. 


What helped us the most at that age though was making sure all the basic needs were met, which I know sounds basic, but is actually harder than it seems. My spirited girl had a hard time with sleep, so making sure she had naps in the right places and for the right length of time was extremely important (especially as she was transitioning to one nap). She also ate practically nothing at this stage, and so making sure she had enough nutrients was very important. 


Oh! I also read Raising Your Spirited Child, which was really great. It was especially helpful to nudge me to change the way I looked at my daughter'e behaviour, and seeing it with a positive eye made all the difference. It also made me realize that my daughter was extroverted, and did so much better when I made an effort for us to be social every single day.


Good luck!  Look forward to two, it gets so much better!



Bird Girl's Avatar Bird Girl 09:13 PM 05-25-2011

Ugh! 14 months! I would SO MUCH rather deal with two-year-olds than kids from 12-18 months of age--they're quick, they have absolutely NO judgement of their own, and no self-control, either.  Two things I found in dealing with my own two at that age--first, understand that discipline at this age does not mean talking. Talking to a child this age is fun, it's diverting, but when you are trying to get a discipline point across, it quickly becomes "Blah blah blah." Think of training a dog--they have just about the same capacity for reasoned debate that your pet does. So when you get bitten, a quick, stern "NO!," and immediate removal from your lap onto the floor. No more cuddles, no more nursing, no sympathy from Mama at all. If they dart into the street, grab them, bring them quickly up to your face for a horrified, "NO! Dangerous!" then very tight hand-holding or a quick strap into the stroller. Second, provide control of the environment rather than control of the child. Kids this age cannot stop themselves from doing something, no matter how painful, dangerous or ill-conceived. You must prevent them from pulling the stunt, rather than relying on any kind of judgement on their part. I found my crib invaluable for this age--even if they don't sleep in it--because it provides a place where they are safe and contained when you need a second to yourself. A pack-and-play might work for this, or your stroller, as long as they can't unstrap themselves.


Hang in there--and don't pay too much attention to anyone elses' opinion of your childrearing. This age is tough, tough, tough to discipline--honestly, two years old is much better.

Adaline'sMama's Avatar Adaline'sMama 07:30 AM 05-26-2011
Thanks everyone!

I have ordered unconditional parenting and playful parenting. SInce dd is already strapped into her highchair for three hours a day ( I WOH for three hours cooking at someone's house 5 days a week, divided into two 1.5 hour sections) I feel pretty bad confining her at all when we are at home. My back porch is attached to my kitchen and I sometimes use it as a big playpen, since I can open the door and let her play outside with her blocks and she is safe and near. The biting has been going on for a while, but now I am way more sensitive to it. I have always said "no" and stopped nursing, but I dont want it to happen in the first place! I guess there is no real way to make her stop other than doing the same thing over and over so that she knows she cant get attention that way. We do a lot of redirection, but lately it has gone kind of like this:

DD is yanking on the dogs tail
Ill say "NO! Be gentle." and show her once again how to pet the dog sweetly.
She will say "nonononono" and pull his hair.
I say "No! Okay? Come on, lets play with your blocks."
I hold her hand and walk her over to where the toys are and she sees the toys
Throws herself on the floor
Screams loudly and says "NO NO NO!!!"
When I try to pick her up to comfort her (because she is now upset that she hurt herself)
She arches her back and begins flailing arms and legs

So I just leave her there on the floor to cry:(
Saying ,"Its okay honey, you are gonna be okay. Im here, calm down."

This goes on for 2-3 minutes and then she stops, gets up, walks over to me, and wants to nurse.

Im glad to know it gets better, not worse. Maybe they should call it the "ornery ones" instead of the " terrible twos."
Bird Girl's Avatar Bird Girl 01:36 PM 05-26-2011

Yes, that's what a day with someone that age sounds like. Honestly, though, I wouldn't worry about "confining" her outside of your work hours--we are talking about five minutes or less (use a timer at first). At my house, though, pulling the dog's tail would earn two minutes in the crib with a stern, "That HURTS the doggy." The whole "pet gently" concept is OK for a first offense, but after a while, it becomes clear that the baby is trying to hurt the doggy, just to see what will happen. It doesn't mean the baby is naughty, but the fact is that every baby will be mischevious, just to experiment what what happens next. It's scientific, in a way, but at our house, hurting someone is not OK.

Adaline'sMama's Avatar Adaline'sMama 05:59 PM 05-26-2011
I dont see how that is really any different than time out.
Bird Girl's Avatar Bird Girl 07:48 PM 05-26-2011

Well, to my mind, "time out" means that you stick the kid in a spot, like the naughty chair or something, and don't interact with them until a certain amount of time has passed. What I'm suggesting is a break in the activity pattern--she hurt the doggy, so rather than you saying "OK" and presenting a toy to play with, she has to be taken to her bedroom and interrupted in her reign of terror. You stay with her, letting her know on the way in to the crib that her behavior is not acceptable, and using your disapproving voice and posture to indicate that she's being removed from the situation. Once two minutes are up, you let her down and she finds the next activity. It's a way of extending the break between her misbehavior and the next activity. I found with both my kids that being dropped in their crib for a breather after an egrigious misbehavior helped keep them from going straight back to the original misbehavior.


The reason that I find yanking on the dog to be so serious is that, over time, it can make the dog react to protect herself. If the dog decides to punish your daughter, you will then have to decide what to do about a dog who's bitten a kid. And if you want to get rid of the dog after that bite, then the dog won't be adoptable and could be destroyed. It's "just" your daughter experimenting with yanking and whacking, but it could cost the dog it's life.


I don't know you in real life, so I don't know if this could happen in your family. But I worked in animal rescue for several years, and I know that it happens in other families. Please don't take my comment personally--just because I've seen that scenario play out doesn't mean that YOU would do those things. But some people do.

Adaline'sMama's Avatar Adaline'sMama 05:24 AM 05-27-2011
That is most definitely what would happen in my family. Our dog is very old, and has never snipped at her, but I can see your point. The cat has scratched the crap out of her, and she know better than to mess with him.

I guess it is different than time out if you are staying there with them. I was envisioning just putting them in the pack n play and walking away. We live in a very small space, so she will do it over and over again if I dont pick her up. Its not like I can just take us into a different room.