Un-wanted behavior from a 10 month old?

Jessica - posted on 07/21/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )

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So here is my problem. Lately my 10 month old throws fits whenever he doesn't get his way. He screams every time I put him in his high chair to eat, lay him on his changing pad or in general he just cant have his way.

I have read all the Dr. Sears Books and have practiced AP since birth but now I feel like I'm doing something wrong? Am I creating a brat? How can I help change this behavior?

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Brenda - posted on 07/22/2010

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Yes, yes, talk, talk talk! Explain things to him, tell him you understand he's frustrated, etc. Forgot that part. A lot of people will try to tell you he's just having a tantrum or throwing a fit...the fact is that can't happen at this age. I mean, I can't imagine, just trying to learn how to communicate alone has to be so hard, add on top of that teething pain which is nearly constant at this age, and growing pains which have got to be painful... I'd be mad now and then sometimes too! :)

Karen - posted on 07/21/2010

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I agree with everything above. A good resource is "Unconditional Parenting" by Alfie Kohn. Something I learned from his book is that all those things we do to teach our children (distract, redirect, communicate about feelings) are "discipline". Discpline just means teaching and doesn't need to have anything to do with punishment or reward. Pick up the book (or the DVD) it's been really helpful for me.
Oh yeah, and don't worry - he's totally normal!

Jessica - posted on 07/21/2010

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Thanks Brenda...that makes me feel much better!! I wasnt sure if angry was normal.....I never saw an angry baby! I thought I was turning him into this angry little monster or something!!

Geralyn - posted on 07/21/2010

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I totally agree with what has been said. I haven't read that book. But what he is doing is completely normal, and you will most likely see him go through phases where he is resistant to certain things - so even if he moves past not wanting to be on the changing table, that may become an issue again....

With our 27 month old, now that he has language developing, it kinda gave me insight as to how he was feeling when he couldn't tell me.... I think that, even at 10 months, he understands more than you think, and even if he doesn't understand, talk him through his frustrations.... In other words, give him the words to describe what he is feeling. We did this a lot, and as his receptive language increased, he would respond positively and it helped him understand that we understood him. There were times that we couldn't figure out why he was upset, but honestly when that happened, we would just talk with him about it, saying that we'd like to help him and we'd soothe him. Communication is the key! Not discipline in these situations... I don't think its appropriate to discipline a child when they are frustrated, not able to fully communicate it, and are acting out the frustration. Help shape them to be able to communicate and learn to deal with their feelings.

Brenda - posted on 07/21/2010

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Honestly until he's almost 24 months, he is going to be unable to express himself well, and when he tries, he will get frustrated. Honesly, we rarely use a high chair, only for messy food, otherwise, Nick (14 months) eats standing up or running all over the house. Discipline doesn't really do much at this age. Redirect and retry. Just be sensetive to what he's going through. Imagine what it is like for him? He can't tell you what he wants, doesn't understand what is going on. It is a very important stage in learning that their feelings are important to their caregivers. Responding in positive ways helps them learn from them. :) Just know that "angry" is normal right now.

Jessica - posted on 07/21/2010

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Thanks ladies....I will pick up that book. I have tried several things for diaper changes including letting him choose a toy from a special bin to bring with him. With the high chair he screams for a.minute then as soon as I give him his first bite of food he is fine. I really haven't started any disciplining yet because he is so young. I mostly just try to redirect him when he is touching something dangerous. I am just worried about how angry he gets. I liked your tips though and will try them. Thanks!!

Minnie - posted on 07/21/2010

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I agree with Breanne- it is fantastic, like she said, that your son is expressing his feelings. He's his own person, after all!

At ten months he can't be expected to express displeasure in a socially acceptable way. That will come with time and maturity through example and gentle guidance.

The Happiest Baby on the Block is good- basically it's the same method of communication that LLL uses- reflecting feelings in a manner that shows you care and that his feelings matter to you.

For your specific examples, like the high chair, I basically would not use it. How about a booster seat on one of the regular chairs? For changing diapers I ask politely if I can- it's my daughter's body- and then talk about what I'm doing. Maybe sing, make funny faces, go to a different area where you change him?

Breanne - posted on 07/21/2010

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No you're not. He's expression his feeling and even though it's not what you want it's fantastic he lets you know how he feels. Eventually he'll have to learn control and how to express his anger/ dis like for something in a controlled manner but for now in their cave man stage, they act like cave them.
Go buy the book: Happiest Toddler on the Block, it changed they way I discipline my son and he did the same thing your son is doing.
With changing my son we do it standing up and he loves that.
With his chair I make it fun, and I give him toys and on the days he really doesn't want to be up there we have a picnic in the living room or outside.
Just go get the book it's amazing.

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