What can I expect my 13 mo to understand? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 05-15-2003, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
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My DS is a spirited little guy. I can usually figure out why he's upset so it hasn't been too hard to endure his whining/crying episodes. But as far as things like doing stuff he knows he shouldn't be doing how much does he understand? I know he understands that I don't want him to touch certain things because he either stops or watches for my reaction while doing it when I ask him not to, but does he understand when I explain to him that something is dirty/dangerous or that when he hits it hurts...stuff like that?

I generally say something like "this is dirty so don't touch it" or "be careful, don't hurt yourself". Is this appropriate for his age? I've had a lot of success at just removing things to avoid temptation but now that he's starting to climb everything it's getting harder and harder. I don't want to be constantly saying "don't" but I feel like I am. :

He also likes to hit me and DH (and other playmates) with not only his hands but holding objects. It's really quite painful sometimes! Thus far I've just thought of it as something he was learning to do but when is it something that I should try to stop him from doing?

I could definitely use any advice! Disciplining is tough!

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#2 of 2 Old 05-15-2003, 11:15 AM
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Brilliant brilliant!

You are not too late to do things really well!

Teaching children to be gentle to others is as easy as getting them to say please and thankyou when they mean it, and that is really easy.

All you have to do is remember one golden rule on how children learn, and that is that they are copy-cats.

Now I want to be very clear here. Some people think that the way children copy is that copy the behavior of how they themselves are treated. While this is partly true of course, one is missing the mother lode.

Children learn very effectively by watching how others treat each other.

For example, if a mother and father are sweet to a child, but kick the cat, the child will kick the cat too. It's no use wondering how a child could behave like that after you have been so sweet to it!

Similarly, if you want a child to say please and thankyou, the best way is NOT to make the child say please and thankyou when dealing with it directly (such as holding an item until they say thankyou). That is most definately the worst way to do it because while you think you are training the child to say these things, in reality you are programming the kid to look for certain cues from you and it parrots out a meaningless (to him) phrase. Children trained like this rarely say Pls and Tnx when alone or out of earshot of an authority figure adult.


The way to do it well, really well, is for you and DH to play the "Here you are / thankyou" game round the breakfast table every morning. All smiles with kisses too, and your child will be frantic to join in.

Similarly, practice stroking the teddy, or DH and DH back, teddies round a "camp fire", one falls down, all the others kiss it better etc.

DONT GET ANGRY when your kid does something really unpleasent. All the kid learns from that is that he can get a rise out of you. He'll save that memory for later.

Once the correct model of behavior is routinly demonstrated, more overt meathods then have meaning in the child's mind:

Conflict situation:

1) restrain flailing arms.
2) firmly make hands do the right thing while softly entoneing the mantra that was established with DH or Teddies.
3) loosen grip and praise
4) apple slices.

If at any stage the child can't manage, then remove from group and cuddle.


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