Gentle instruction/discipline

Melissa - posted on 01/07/2010 ( 7 moms have responded )

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Yesterday, I took my 15 month old little guy to Mother Goose for the first time. He was so excited and was running around shouting "BABY! BABY". Unfortunately, he went up to one little guy and started waving his arms in the other little guy's face...almost like hitting. The mother of that little guy was definitely offended by my little guy's overtures of greeting. I am torn between wanting my son to be his spirited and adventurous self and holding onto him so he won't hit or touch other children.

How do I teach my son to be gentle with other kids and respect their space?
How can I stop him from running around so much?

I can only hope that next week, he'll be more interested in the songs and rhymes. His first day was exhausting for me, since I had to apologize endlessly for him being himself. He is still breastfed and cosleeps. We have a great bond and my son is somewhat unusual for his age because he wishes for social contact and interactive play. I have noticed that most toddlers his age prefer parallel play where there is little interaction between toddlers as they each attend to their play with different toys. My little guy plays well with older kids, but he hasn't had much interaction with other young toddlers.

I know that as he gets older, it will be easier to teach him, but it would be great to have tips now. Thank you!

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Minnie - posted on 01/07/2010

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15 months is barely out of infancy- I put no restrictions and no expectations on my own 15 month old's ability to control her body and actions.



He was excited to have other little people his size! Excited over the activity!



Really, at your son's (and my daughter's) age, the most respectful method of disciplining is distraction, repetition, redirection, and of course, if you're still nursing, nurse away for when his face falls because he can't do something/have something.

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My daughter is not shy at all and LOVES meeting other babies and children. She isn't exposed to children her own age often and she does get excited. Fortunately, most parents haven't been offended. We gently tell her it is ok to be excited and to make friends but she needs to be gentle. She wants to hug every single baby and child she meets. Often times she meets kids that are a lot shyer than she is and she just doesn't get it. Your little one is quite little, but she was the same way at his age. The only difference was that she couldn't walk at 15 months. LOL

Just keep reminding him to be gentle and things should be fine. He sounds quite normal to me.

He feels comfortable being around other people and that should make you feel good. You've done a great job of making him feel secure and protected.

Katherine - posted on 01/07/2010

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Quoting Melissa:

Gentle instruction/discipline

Yesterday, I took my 15 month old little guy to Mother Goose for the first time. He was so excited and was running around shouting "BABY! BABY". Unfortunately, he went up to one little guy and started waving his arms in the other little guy's face...almost like hitting. The mother of that little guy was definitely offended by my little guy's overtures of greeting. I am torn between wanting my son to be his spirited and adventurous self and holding onto him so he won't hit or touch other children.

How do I teach my son to be gentle with other kids and respect their space?
How can I stop him from running around so much?

I can only hope that next week, he'll be more interested in the songs and rhymes. His first day was exhausting for me, since I had to apologize endlessly for him being himself. He is still breastfed and cosleeps. We have a great bond and my son is somewhat unusual for his age because he wishes for social contact and interactive play. I have noticed that most toddlers his age prefer parallel play where there is little interaction between toddlers as they each attend to their play with different toys. My little guy plays well with older kids, but he hasn't had much interaction with other young toddlers.

I know that as he gets older, it will be easier to teach him, but it would be great to have tips now. Thank you!


I do a little ASL with my 9mo right now.  She is slapping and scratching.  I just rub her arm and make sure she's attending and say 'gentle'.  I swear it works!  Of course I have to do it many, many times but your son is 15months he will probably be much more responsive.

Brenda - posted on 01/07/2010

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I hate it when babies are expected to act like adults. I've been in your place mostly because my kids are big (I've been accused of lying over my four year olds age, I think he was two, and acting like a two year old and a lady told me he wasn't two he had to be three and a half at least and I needed to control him. I wanted to smack her).

I'd practice, but to be honest my four year old randomly hugs people even still. He's just an affectionate and excited child. And that's the way he is. I just smile and give the "Boy I wish I had that much energy" and if they don't like it, well, that's their problem. But once he's around other kids more he'll figure out what they do and what he is supposed to do. :)

Minnie - posted on 01/07/2010

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How about teaching him to wave with one hand and say hi? Or offer the other child a toy?



Obviously it would take many many times of repetition, but eventually he'd get it, or just mature to the point where he would be able to control his impulse to excitedly bat about the face of a peer.



Ahh, you don't have to apologize for him being a 15 month old- it was the other mother's issue for not being able to recognize age-appropriate behaviour. Take hm to greet the other children and when he starts flapping just move his hands gently down and show him what he CAN do.

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Melissa - posted on 01/07/2010

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You're right. It's sad that I lost my ability to see that I still have a baby, just because he doesn't conform to the standards of behavior at Mother Goose.

I still would like to know what to do when he goes up to other children. How do I direct his actions when he is old enough to start to respond?

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