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Laughing toddler?

1817 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  CountryMom2e
I'm at a loss here - DS has always been a pretty good listener when I ask him not to do something. He's now 16 mo and in the past month he's become more difficult and has started to ignore me even more. I explain why I don't want him to do what it is he's doing, I acknowledge his feelings, and then I redirect him to something else. But that doesn't seem to work well anymore.

His latest is that he will continue doing what he's doing and laugh. No matter how sternly or earnestly I speak to him, he has the same response. Case in point - he's been going after our dog lately, grabbing him, laughing and giggling. We have a rule that if the dog's on his bed he's to be left alone. But Ethan will continue to go after him after I ask him not to (face to face). So I will stop him again, explain the same thing, and he'll laugh at me. And over and over again. Finally I get so frustrated I will just put the dog in another room, close the door, and let Ethan have a hissy fit for a minute before he goes on to something else that he shouldn't be in.

My brother suggests a mild time-out, but isn't he too young? What do you do when your child laughs at you as you try to discipline?

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First, your child is TOTALLY....NORMAL.

There isn't a toddler out there who doesn't laugh at the stern face of a parent, lol. It's just what they do. It isn't disrespect or anything else. Your child is only just discovering that he doesn't HAVE to do things just because you tell him to. He's a separate entity. And he is also discovering that he can do something and cause you to react. Much like pushing the green button on his toy makes Oscar the Grouch pop up - it's cool, it's fun, and they'll do it over and over again because their whole being is programmed to learn, learn, learn.

At his age, even if he COULD understand all the "rules" there is no way he could follow them on his own. The part of his brain involved in impulse control is woefully immature and unable to overrride his deeper instincts to Explore, Investigate, Discover, etc....So at this age it becomes all about you being his guide.

Yes, sad to say the days of armchair parenting are over for a while.
You can no longer expect him to do anything just becuase you say so, and in fact suggesting it is almost certain to make him go do exactly what you just said not to. need to physically guide him.

example, when he goes for the dog, you must be there to intervene. GENTLY restrain him from bugging the dog, show him a 'gentle touch", guide his hand and do it saying "gentle touch".

the words won't sink in for a while, but when you say it while guiding him you are teaching him.

forget about timeouts. they are useless, will teach him nothing. they're totally unfair at that age b/c he can't stop himself even if he wanted to. using your love/closeness/attachment as a weapon is a poor strategy.

baby's crying, gotta go.....stick around this forum though - you'll get lots of great advice.
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I think you might be doing too much explaining and expecting him to control his behavior at an age where that isn't really going to work. Distraction and redirection are your best tools at this age... really at any age. Expecting him to be able to understand that the dog might not like his "affection" is not age appropriate. The laughing is just about how powerful he feels being able to do what he wants to do. It is wonderful. He is not only messing with the dog, he is messing with mommy. Wow! That is amazing power. You don't want to take that out of him. That is what GD is all about. You want him to be fully who he is. Being respectful to the dog's needs will come but for now, I would give the dog a time out. If he is bothering the dog, put the dog somewhere to protect him. The you can show him that playing rough leads to the dog going away. Not a punishment, just everyone including the dog, being treated respectfully. 17 months is very young for time outs although I don't believe in them for children...just for parents.
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Thanks ladies - just what I needed to hear. I also think he's been particularly testy lately because of the heat wave, we've been inside a lot.

I agree that my expectations of him are too high - need to dial that back a bit and remember that he is still very much a baby
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