How to discipline my 18 month old BOY

Heather - posted on 02/27/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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So we have tried EVERYTHING, from time outs in his room, to popping his hand/butt...nothing seems to work. What are other mommies doing with their VERY VERY stubborn little ones. Seems as though he is just unphased by anything/EVERYTHING I try. Im very consistent with him and he has a very structured home, with no evail he is still stubborn as ever...HELP

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Jenna Wade - posted on 09/18/2012

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Please can someone give me advice on how to discipline my 18month old son

he is really getting out of control.

He throws himself on the floor when he wants something or doesnt get his way.

he has a bad temper he bangs his head on the wall or floor it even gets to the point were he heads us and bites us.

I do tap him on the hand or bottom but that doesnt seem to work i think thats making him more stubborn.

Im at work in the day and my mum keeps him he loves to bath but refuses to put on clothes or a diaper my mum must run behind him and if she gets him he starts hitting her.

Please help me DISTURBED MUM

Rachelle - posted on 03/06/2010

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We are having such a tough time with our 18 month old boy too. He is not only stubborn, but extremely sensitive. He will do something that he shouldn't (and knows) be doing and I ask him nicely to please not do it and he listens, but then he gets upset that I asked him not to do it and starts throwing a fit. He was banging his head on the patio door today. We put him in his room to cool off and he was throwing things and banging his head on the floor and ripping his blanket. He is a very sweet little boy, but he has these tantrums that just don't make sense. We are concerned about his aggressive behaviour as we also have 6 month old and he has hit him on more than one occasion. We also have a very structured home and he knows what he can/cannot do. HELP!!

Jessica - posted on 03/07/2010

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I know distraction is supposed to be a distraction, but I think I see it differently. Maybe I'm wrong. But when my 19 mo old will start 'complaining' while we are out, my grandparents rush to give her something 'distracting' or simply to make her happy. They'll whip out snacks or ice or something else they know she loves. To me, that is just going to show her that this unacceptable behavior will get her something she loves. So, if she was throwing a fit and I offered her the chance to go outside or something else awesome or tasty, wouldn't that just teach her to tantrum more? She may forget about this fit she was currently in, but she'll remember what it took to get her outside or that snack or whatever. Am I looking at that wrong? Because I have asked my grandparents numerous times during those fits to NOT give her things. I do a time out and turn her around or whatever and calmly whisper a reminder of what is acceptable and in a minute she's usually good, without those rewards (distractions). Just wondering.

Heather - posted on 03/08/2010

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My son is also 18 months and can be incredibly stubborn. The key is really to realise what they're actually developmentally capable of. An 18 month old is not able to consider your needs and feelings as they believe they are the centre of the universe. As far as I'm concerned, none of my son's behaviour is "bad" behaviour... it's developmentally normal behaviour that reflects how he is feeling at a given time. If he throws a tantrum when I try to strap him in the pushchair/car seat... it's because he doesn't want to be restrained and is upset about it. If he is throwing toys and dragging books of the bookshelf, he is bored or angry about something. So far I haven't put him in time out at all or hit him in any way... sure, I get frustrated but as the adult it is my job to stay as calm as possible and solve the problem. Unwanted behaviour (screaming, hitting, throwing etc) are a sign that a need is not being met (attention, sleep, food, entertainment). I look for what need I am failing to meet at the time and put it right where possible.

Jennifer - posted on 03/06/2010

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First, take a deep breath and just breath. Then remember that consistency is key. Toddlers as a rule have terrible impulse control, and to top it off they are pushing their boundaries to see how far they can go before Mom lays down the law. It may take months before time out seems to do anything, but the key is to keep at it. The big thing you are trying to convey is that a certain action isn't acceptable, and to put a stop to it.

My daughter is one of the most stubborn people I know, and she's a 1 1/2. I was having the same problem, and still do, until my sister reminded me all that I mentioned above. Her and I raised my nephew until he was 4, because his dad cut out, and he and I had some battles of wills and wiles, but I swear that my daughter has the stubborn market cornered!! I've found that time out and the mean voice is the best combo for getting their attention. My nephew will show no reaction at the time of punishment, but when you talk to him later when he's "served his time", most times he can tell you whats going on. (He's 5 now, so it's easier) My daughter has perfected the poker face, and has even gone as far as "reclaiming time-out." She'll go to time out at different times of the day and hang out like it's no big deal, so when you stick her in it, she has no problem being there, and will even stay for awhile when it's all done!! Like I said, I've started to use the mean voice with her now too, and it seems to convey that I'm not happy. The big thing to remember is that time out is for you too, so give your self a second to just breath and remember that you still love your little hoodlum. There have been a couple times that I have had to change time out up a bit, put her in her room and take 10 mins so that I can calm down too, cause like Ingrid says, "they can sense everything!!" If you are putting up limits, you have to be able to be calm about it, and not let them know they are getting under your skin. It's a work in progress, but you'll figure something out that works for you. In the meantime, just keep your cool and do what you can. It helps to know you are not alone. =)

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Carole - posted on 05/28/2012

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And yes, the behaviour is bad..no matter what you say ... you do not want your child to do certain things cause they are unacceptable. CHILDREN THEMSELVES are not BAD, JUST THEIR ACTIONS! ... and they need to know that their actions are bad, they do not start developing a conscience until 3-5 years old I believe.. so... dont expect any bug results yet..

Carole - posted on 05/28/2012

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My son puts everything in his mouth, and wants to touch everything, and when he wants something he WANTS IT!!!! and nothing can get his mind off of it.. For me, I dont want his crib to be time out cause I want his bedroom to be used only as a positive environment, i do not want to do time out in his high chair cause I do from time to time have trouble feeding him so I dont want to make it worse.. So I simply use the playpen. I take out all the toys, and turn off the TV and put him in there, even if it is not a tantrum and I told him more than 1 time NO and he does not listen, in the playpen he goes. And if he pulls a fit once he is in there he stays until he is settled down, and if he is already pulling a fit before he is in there then he stays until he is done. I do not look at him or nothing, I completely ignore him, I want him to know that his behaviour is bad and he wont get my attention that way. And when he is done I hold him and tell him what he did and i kiss him and hug him cause he is being quiet and good. He is only 18 months as of tomorrow and It is my way of time out for him. I do not expect results yet..maybe when he 2 and a half Ill expect results.. not before that... and spanking is a no no cause then he will think it is ok to spank you too and other kids.. just dont do it.. its pointless and is a bad example anyways..

Jenny - posted on 03/08/2010

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Remain in control, you can (and probably will be frustrated) but, don't get that way with him. My son is 19 months not and he is so stubborn! I have found the books by "growing families international" really helpful!! When my son refuses to obey, or tests me, I pick him us and place him in his crib and walk away. I go in and get him when he calms down (usually he cries for about 5 to 10 minutes). Some days I feel like all I do is "punish" him. Those days are awful! But, they are ALWAYS followed by the sweetest boy the next day and for many more after. If the father is present make sure he is doing the SAME things, and is 100% supporting you.

Amberlyn - posted on 03/08/2010

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My daughter has started the tantrum phase too. There are two things that work for me. The first is to just walk away. I stay very calm and don’t raise my voice. I tell her there is not reason to act like that and I go sit on the couch. She will usually stop crying and come in to be with me, at which point I praise her, pick her up and hug her. If that doesn’t work and she stays in the other room screaming or follows me screaming I will pick her up and lightly blow in her face to make her quit screaming. I then ask her if she wants a drink or a specific snack. If she says yes I will tell her to quit crying and I give her the “reward” as soon as she’s stopped for three to four seconds. Positive reinforcement. If all else fails is because she’s tired and wants to go to bed and will say so if I ask her. Whatever works for you, be consistent. Good luck.

Michelle - posted on 03/07/2010

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Heather,

Give him time. Our son seemed life he was in the "terrible two" stage as soon as ne popped out of me! It's been really tough with him, he was a lot like your little boy. He is now 3 years and 5 months, and has just snapped into behaving. Continue to do as you have, being consistent, and doing what YOU and YOUR SPOUSE have agreed on. Take advice like a grain of salt don't try to be like other moms, don't get caught up in what the books say or the anti-spanking movement. A child should not be hit out of anger, but it is NOT wrong to spank a child. I don't know if you're religiuos, but the Bible will help guide you through the tough times, and also talks about punishing children. Just remember every child is different what works on another may not work on yours, you were blessed with him for a reason.

Sarah - posted on 03/07/2010

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I have also tried the smae things you have and my son knows right from wrong and he'll look at me and laugh sometimes because he thinks he's being cute and that I am not being serious. I've found the only thing that works for me it o physically take his hand and find something else to play with/do. I know at times this can be hard to do. But keep trying and remain calm and not stressed out.

Rachelle - posted on 03/07/2010

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I have tried distraction and it generally hasn't worked for him. When he gets into a tantrum, he focuses on it and nothing can get him out of it. This morning he had another one and I had to try to keep him as quiet as possible as my husband and the tenants downstairs were still sleeping (6am!!). I held him tight on my lap until he got somewhat calm and then let him down. He has been quite a bit better the rest of the morning.

Ashley - posted on 03/06/2010

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My favorite is distraction! In the middle of a temper tantrum or fit say "Look!" And show him a snack, toy, video etc. On weather permitting days, go to the door and say, Lets go outside! This will take his mind off of whatever he's upset about. We use this with our stubborn 18 month old son. A few minutes of swinging or running outside with me or dad usually makes him happy. If you can't go out ask if he wants to "help mommy" you can show him how to sweep with you or use a vaccuum hose and get crumbs out of the couch. Not only is it fun for them, but he can help you play cleanup!

If all else fails, ignore him (when your home or out) he will get the hint that your not interested in his tantrum and hopefully give up. Hope this helps!

Sara - posted on 03/05/2010

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First off - know that it's normal behavior at this age... it's where they are in their development. They are learning that they know what they want, and can try to assert their will to get it... but they don't have the impulse control to wait or logic to understand why they can't have it now. And they're always being told what to do!
We liked some of the tips in Dr Harvey Karps "Happiest Toddler On the Block." He generally explains the "why", and gives suggestions on how to head those tantrums off. First: Don't let them get too tired, hungry, over/under-stimulated - because they'll have a harder time controlling themselves. The "kind ignore" is one tactic I like a lot: "Mommy wants to talk to you about what you want, but that screetchy voice hurts my ears. I'll be over here when you're ready to ask me nicely." And walk away! They desperately want your attention, so this helps them learn how to get it the right way (and gives you a second to take a deep breath). I also try to offer choices when I know there is going to be a power struggle. You know he doesn't want to go get in the car and leave, so ask him which shoes he wants to wear... That gives him the feeling of some control (which is what he wants) even though there is something (getting in the car) he's not going to win on. There are lots more ideas... but those are ones that I use a LOT.
Hope that helps a little!

Ingrid - posted on 02/27/2010

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Be patient..remain calm for they sense everything, if you are stressing out about his behavior is obvious he would know. Talk to him I have a 13 year old & 18 months old, I've never spanked either one of them, but I do use a deep mean tone when i discipline them...It's a little tricky but you most let the kids know who the boss is. My 18 month old threw a fit he actually was laying on the kitchen floor screaming and kicking, my husband couldn't make him stop, all I had to do was look him in the eye and laugh at him telling him how ridiculous he look and that he is a good boy but wasn't doing too good...he got up from the floor and went looking for his ball...Reverse psychology works wonders for me...give it a try...

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