Ok, we have questions. Lately, Gus has been clearly testing the concept of no. For example, he’ll head for the garbage can, hear the no and speed up in order to open and grab something out before I can get there.  I tell him no, calmly, firmly, looking him in the eyes. He reaches up again, watching for a reaction. I repeat. And usually he eventually moves on. But more and more often, he throws a tantrum. I usually distract him and move to another topic or location -but I’m wondering a) is this normal? I mean, we’ve heard of the terrible twos but this is 13 months! and b) are there any other tricks or things we should be doing? Our parenting books are so general and don’t have any solid advice.

(pretending he’s not actually a monster)

21 thoughts on “Discipline

  1. oh yes, i’ve asked this many times over the past couple of months. no answers yet i’m afraid! he is still so v cute though. hard to get annoyed at him even if you wanted to.

  2. Yeah, it’s hard not to laugh about 80% of the time and then only 20% of frustration. But it just would be great to have some sort of strategy. Can’t help but think the answer is in a book somewhere. : )

  3. Well, when my kids (you know who you are) were at the early tantrum age, maybe more like 16-18 months, I told them they were welcome to throw any tantrum they wanted but they had to do it in their room. So, I’d pick the child up, put them in their room. Tantrums are not for the child; they are for the parent and when there’s no audience, they are no longer worth while. So, I suppose this is an early form of time out. But, I never put it that way – I said, go right ahead and really enjoy your tantrum. They didn’t go on for very long because what fun is screaming your head off and rolling and thrashing around if there’s no one to watch. For what it’s worth.

  4. Same thing happening over here. Hmmm, I’m having troubles too.

    I mostly ignore it and walk away (as long as he’s safe) or do what you do, get to his level, say no, praise when he stops the behaviour and then divert him to something else.

    Apparently the terrible twos is mostly from 14-24 months (best book I’ve read is Toddler Taming by Dr Chris Green). So yeah, it starts now and only gets worse for a while.

  5. Having lived in other cultures it seems like they don’t have this issue as much. Maybe they just don’t pay attention to it or try to figure it out. Who knows?

    By the way, only about 6600 days left of tantrums.

  6. We’ve been getting occasional bits of tantrum-like behaviour in the last couple of months when I won’t let him do whatever he’s just set his heart on. At the moment this usually happens when he’s tired so I try to distract and comfort rather than reinforcing ‘no’.

    I’m sure that this will become necessary later when he becomes a bit wiser though…

  7. I recently read something about this somewhere. I’ll try to find the resource because I remember thinking, “Wow, that’s very good, specific advice….” Sigh. Let me wrack my brain.

  8. Another excellent book is Judy Arnall’s Discipline Without Distress. Have only touched the surface so far (as it goes through to 19 years i expect it to get good use!) but i really like her thoughtful and caring approach, and she has a handy table at the back with a quick rundown of problems by age and what’s going on/how to handle. Really do recommend a look! As she puts it this is the time for damage control not moral teaching..I like that she turns time out around to time out for parents (its us who need it if we’re getting frustrated and need to scream) and time in for them, to help teach them calm down tools.

  9. If I take something from John that he is not supposed to have, he throws himself face down on the carpet and beats his feet on the floor. It’s so cliched I laugh at him but he doesn’t appreciate that.

    The word no is met with gales of laughter. And he’s not a kid that smiles or laughs very often.

    I’m sure the Terrible 13 Months is more accurate than “Twos”.

  10. As long as a child is not very mobile, and is easily within arms’ reach, the word “no” seems like a learning exercise. However a time comes, and quickly, when an appropriate response by the child to the parent’s “no” may be lifesaving, or injury preventing. One of my children actually ran into heavy traffic from a busy sidewalk to demonstrate his independence and disregard of anyone’s “no.” He barely missed being killed. He was not quite two but just out of arms’ reach, say six feet from me. That’s all it takes. That was 34 years ago and it still makes my heart pound. This is why voice control is critically important.

  11. Oh, “Terrible Twos” really are an accurate description. And I always said that Three is just “terrible two” with practice. They just have to test their boundaries and see when you are going to give in and how much they have to push to get what they want. So if you say no then mean it. Otherwise “no” doesn’t have much weight to them.

  12. Mom, for the LOVE of God I hope you don’t relate stories about me for the next 17 years on this blog.

  13. I hope she DOES! Besides, there’s one sure fire way to deflect the attention: give the wonderful woman a grandchild. : )

  14. Hey, just wanted to thank everyone for their advice and book suggestions. It’s starting to gel a bit in my head. Think the main thing was just figuring out that I was really wondering about if could teach him already or not. And it sounds like yes and no. That it’s a balance of teaching, comforting, and distracting with no hard rules about when to do what. Ah well. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be as interesting.

  15. Late to the party, but this is what I used to do when my kids had hissy fits.

    I would simply laugh at them and tell them how silly they were being or start fake crying with them. Either way they were distracted

  16. You may be right, Jake. I surely don’t see my kids replicating my parenting style.
    Their kids are lucky.

  17. Aunt Nette’s advise is good. I’ve employed the fake crying tactic and it is quiet effective. I still use it with Grant. He doesn’t like it, but it gets him to stop. And he usually ends up laughing.

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