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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ive never read any info about gentle discipline, but my husband try to do this according to what we think is common sense gentle descipline, but I dont really know how to deal with what we are starting to encounter. DS is 19 mo and has just starte experimenting with open defiance. It ranges from running away with a dirty spoon when we say "put that in the sink" (which he understands, and used to love putting away dirty dishes), to... when we say "come here" (in an airport) he looks at us with a sneaky grin and takes a couple steps forward, while looking at us, just to see what we'll do... we tell him again and he runs off.
I dont want him to get the impression that it's ok to just run off because we'll chase him, but that seems to be what's happening. And Im 7 mo pregnant, so my way of dealing with that is just to stay home unless my husbands coming with us... but I dont really like that solution either...
How do you guys deal with this?
 

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I think at this age, it isn't really the type of defiance you need to be concerned about. He is really just testing out his environment and the reactions he gets from people when he does things. In other words, he is learning cause and effect. He doesn't have an understanding that his actions effect others. At this age, all you can do is prevent certain behaviors that are troublesome, redirect, distract, and so on.

Now when you are talking about a 6 year old who was told not to do something, and why, and they still do it... that is a whole different situation!
 

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It sounds like he is starting to realize he is a person with his own desires and he is starting to experiment with meeting his wants for exploration and play. I don't think that is defiance, it is just a stage that babies get to as they move into toddlerhood and become more aware of their desires. At this age he may do some things and realize that he can't do other things but it is very unlikely that he is thinking about the rules and your desires while he is also thinking about his desires. Kids don't start thinking about other people's needs and wants consistently until they are much older. Defiance takes the ability to know and understand very deeply the desires of another person. Wanting to do your own thing is not defiance.
I found that I could help dd cooperate with what I needed or wanted her to do by making things a game worked really well in some situations and preventing things that I didn't want to happen worked well in others, when the games didn't work I gently helped her do what I asked her to do. The spoon situation is one you could make a game out of by flying him to the sink or trading him spoons so he can explore with a clean spoon. You can prevent running away from you by teaching him that he has the option to hold hands, be carried, or ride in a stroller/carrier. This is also the time to start thinking about whether something you will say is really so important that you will follow through with and deciding which rules are really necessary and which ones you can discard.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
It sounds like he is starting to realize he is a person with his own desires and he is starting to experiment with meeting his wants for exploration and play. I don't think that is defiance, it is just a stage that babies get to as they move into toddlerhood and become more aware of their desires. At this age he may do some things and realize that he can't do other things but it is very unlikely that he is thinking about the rules and your desires while he is also thinking about his desires. Kids don't start thinking about other people's needs and wants consistently until they are much older. Defiance takes the ability to know and understand very deeply the desires of another person. Wanting to do your own thing is not defiance.
I found that I could help dd cooperate with what I needed or wanted her to do by making things a game worked really well in some situations and preventing things that I didn't want to happen worked well in others, when the games didn't work I gently helped her do what I asked her to do. The spoon situation is one you could make a game out of by flying him to the sink or trading him spoons so he can explore with a clean spoon. You can prevent running away from you by teaching him that he has the option to hold hands, be carried, or ride in a stroller/carrier. This is also the time to start thinking about whether something you will say is really so important that you will follow through with and deciding which rules are really necessary and which ones you can discard.
What she said.

It is challenging when the little baby who used to be so happy just to be with you suddenly starts all of these new behaviors. It is definitely a developmental stage (and a healthy one!) and requires some major adjustment on the part of the parents.

I found the book Playful Parenting by Cohen extremely helpful during this phase.
 

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I also really liked Playful Parenting.

Another thing that helps me is to reframe my reaction to the behavior. If I am looking at it as my DD is "defying" me or "purposely ignoring" me or "acting naughty" or whatever, it puts me in a confrontational frame of mind and makes it more difficult to deal with. If I reframe it as she is being a 2 year old and exploring or testing or whatever (which is what she is doing) then I can more easily get her to cooperate with me and I can be more calm and happy.

I cannot imagine being pregnant and dealing with a toddler so I totally get your frustration. THe running away thing is an issue for everyone (and I think it is for a long time!!). I do try to be as nonchalant as possible with that one as the less reaction the better. Though it is difficult to calmly chase a toddler. I do a lot of "hand or sling"? I think that one, especially, just takes a long time to sink in.
 

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It's not defiance. It's just a fun game. Really, who doesn't like to play chase?

So, we did lots of things. At home, I would say, "Okay, after you give me the spoon, we'll play chase." My kids got to play chase, and I didn't have a yogurt covered spoon flying around the house. In public, I NEVER had a child run away from me. I know it must have been a blessing from God, but just in case it was my unbelievably good parenting
I'll tell you what I did. I carried my children in a sling until I flat out couldn't, then I used a stroller any time we would be in a store with a child under three or even four. I worked in retail and it made me crazy to see children acting perfectly normal (running, pulling stuff down, hiding, etc.) in an environment not appropriate for playing. So, I just restrained my children in stores for the most part. At the bookstore (or in an airport) I was MUCH more lenient, but I ASSUMED we would play chase at some point. So, we played chase when we wanted to, but because I expected it and assumed it would happen, it did not seem like misbehavior.
 

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Sling, stroller, whatever. Toddlers run. They're babies that walk. And run. And have lots of energy. LOL. But they're still babies. If it's a big problem, I'd even get a harness. They look worse than they are, IMO. They give little kids the freedom they want and they still keep them safe.
 

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My thoughts on defiance in general...

There always seem to be two viewpoints on this kind of thing. One would be to change how you view your child's behaviour (not viewing "defiance" as a bad behaviour, just as a difficult one in his development)- and do the best you can with some progressive parenting to meet his needs in the belief that he will eventually grow out of it. The other category (which I fall into, for better or worse) is to have "more concrete" standards and work compassionately and age appropriately, to uphold them... I think these oft-repeated stances reflect the personality, worldview and life experiences of each individual family and each parent has to decide which they are more comfortable with to have peace in their home.

From 6 mos or so on, DS2 always listened to no- til about two months ago- 15/16 mos-when he really started to become his own separate identity in his mind, and he was practicing/experimenting with using his free will. It seemed like for a few months he was on hiatus with following any of my directions ("Come here, close the door, all done nursing, etc) that he previously accepted without question. Kind of reminds me of the way he practices any new skill repetetively- like throwing/chasing a ball, climbing up and down the two steps to our family room over and over.

Now, he is again cooperating *almost* all the time. What worked for me was, if he didn't listen, going down to his level and making sure that my instructions were very clear. For him, the mere suggestion of a way besides the way he wanted to go actually provoked mini tantrums, and since he would not want to be touched when he was upset, I set him in his playpen to calm down (30-60 seconds) safely. Then, before I picked him up I would ask him "Are you ready to such-and-such"? Sometimes he would say no, get mad again, and turn away to stay in the play pen. A minute later he'd be ready... usually the first time I asked he was ready. I felt like, with this particular child, this was what worked best for me to honor his free will and nurture the independence he was seeking to employ in that, I was patient with him *to help him reach the point where he could willingly cooperate* with those things that, in our house, are absolute. He is very happy now, happier than he was those stormy months of questioning everything, because I believe he was essentially trying to understand what the limits were- and now he is content with them. (Although I realize there will be many more stages of testing the limits/exerting independence). PLEASE NOTE- if he had not had fits of anger at the idea of doing something other than what he wanted, I would have chosen a different strategy. If he had fits of anger but would receive an embrace, I would have sat with him and held him til he calmed down in my lap and was ready to cooperate. I did not choose the playpen as a punitive "time out"... it was just a place he felt safe coming to terms with cooperating.

I believe that if you wait to introduce or enforce a family standard on something, you are essentially reinforcing its opposite. I like to hold the standard out there whether or not my child is fully ready to reach it, remaining compassionate of their age and stage and the fact that they are still learning, rather than not trying and by default, setting them up for a rude awakening that all of a sudden we are changing to some new standard on a day when I deem them ready to comprehend. I guess I believe that innately they understand most of what I am trying to communicate, and it is simply a matter of them incarnating their powers to meet my intentions (when they are reasonable and meaningful- whenever I have been arbitrary or non-compassionate they have countered with obstinacy).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Now that I read over your replies and my own post I think I was for the most part really tired from travelling. Normally I can handle the small things that happen around the house, and I do have to use the play pen too, because DS will hurt himself sometimes when he's angry. The real problem is the running around in public, which has been one of my worst fears until now, when it's actually happening
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I havent been using a sling because it was just too much for me when I was 105 lbs and 4 mos pregnant, and DS is huge... not fat, just big. And now that I feel I can handle a sling again he says, no way! And we've never used a stroller because our car is so small that it's always been easier to just carry him. I'll def try a stroller at this point but Im going to bet it'll be a no go.
 

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what has worked for us out in public (with 26 month old dd) is explaining to her ahead of time that she must stay with mama and/or daddy. every now and then she'll run ahead a little and turn to see if we're looking, and we always are, and she runs back to us.

In parking lots, when she's standing next to me, while I get the baby out, or get other stuff together, I have a rule that she must hold onto my pants or touch my leg at all times (while we're standing next to the car). This way I don't have to keep my eyes glued to her, but I can feel her touch and know she hasn't run off. It works great 99% of the time.
 

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My son went through this stage and I got a tether/harness. A random stranger once said to me, "Do you put him in a dog house at night?" And I said, "I actually put him in a cage like most parents do. That's what a crib is." I have rarely been prouder of myself for a comeback line.
 
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