What am I doing wrong?

Rosie - posted on 12/28/2010 ( 48 moms have responded )

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My son (our only) is going on 17 months old. He is so destructive. The house is baby proof but you cant leave anything on the end table or anywhere else. He doesnt listen to NO. I have tried to distract him. When we play with his toys he just tears them apart or throws them. I have tried everything.

This isnt the only problem. He doesnt eat. He will not try any new foods. His only foods consist of chicken nuggets, fries, yogurt, cheerios, applesauce, waffles and milk. He is at his required weight but I am afraid he is not getting his proper nutrients. Most of that food is not healthy.

I joined this website becuase I dont know what else to do. My husband and I feel as if we are doing something wrong. I hate spending the day running after my son telling him no.

Please dont be too harsh, I am on the verge of tears as it is.

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Renee - posted on 12/30/2010

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Don't be so hard on yourself, it's hard work being a mommy! It sounds like your son is pretty normal. Kids this age don't have any self-control and won't for a year or so still, so even if he understands 'no', if he wants something, he can't stop himself. A few things that have worked in my house are that we have a 'two throw' rule. If she throws it once, I explain that she shouldn't throw it and if she does it again, I'll take it away. Then, when she inevitably throws it again, I explain why, like it's breakable, and take it away. Then, I give her a toy that she can throw, like a ball. I'm not sure what to do about things on the table, we just really try to keep an eye on my daughter. The other thing is that kids this age really like to do things mommy and daddy do, so I've been including her more in my work, like taking the clothes from the washer and putting them in the dryer, for some reason she's obsessed with the garbage so now she gets to throw out all of mommy's garbage which has cut down on her throwing other stuff away, helping me sweep, etc.

With the food, I wouldn't worry too much. Kids at this age live on air and love. It takes something like fifteen times of playing with a food before they'll try it - just throw a plastic bag underneath his chair while you and your husband eat, give your son a bowl and let him play all he wants. It's supposed to help if the kid feels like they're part of the process of making the food. I've just started giving my daughter a bowl with a very little bit of water while I cook, and, explaining what 'we're' making, as I add things I'll give her a bit as well - rice, carrots, etc - so that she can 'cook' her own too. It seems to work a bit.

Mostly, I think the trick is to realize that you're doing a good job and babies are just babies.

Emilee - posted on 01/04/2011

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I have a nearly 17 month old and am experiencing some of the same things. Some things that I do, you may not agree with and that is fine; but I will share anyway. I am raising my son in a similar fashion to the way that I was raised, while I don't remember toddlerhood I do remember my childhood and the lessons that my parents taught me. I also am lucky enough for my mom to be a phone call away with all of the advice possible (she was a pre-k teacher).

We do not spank, but when my son is being destructive and terrorizing the house more than any normal 17 month old should be I tell him no. But before telling him no, I either snap my fingers or make a loud noise to get his attention. I call him by his full name and tell him no; if he continues his behavior, he goes into the pack and play (which he hates) for timeout. This gives me time to clean and put toys back together while he expresses is unhappiness with me. He stays in timeout for 2 minutes the first time and if he does the same thing again then he goes in for 4 minutes. If he does it a third time then he goes to his bed and I tell him that if he can't play nicely and not act bad then he has to stay in his bed. Usually with him if he is being a holy terror then he is tired and needs a nap, however I like to give him the benefit of the doubt to an extent.

As far as the food, we make our son eat what we give him. I hate to sound mean but we even tell him "There are starving kids in this world, you can't be wasteful and you need to eat what you are given." If he is screaming while you feed him and turning away just wait it out, eventually he will realize that what you are offering is all that he will get and he needs to suck it up. If he smacks the eating utensil or knocks over the bowl, to timeout he goes.

Don't give in, its tough. It drives me crazy when my little one refuses to eat at the table but I sit through it because I know that if I don't then when he gets older it will be even worse. Better to correct the behavior now than try to correct it then.

Joy - posted on 01/04/2011

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1) Pediasure. I have a two year old who goes days without eating anything, so I eventually broke down and got him some. I just avoid the chocolate flavor, cause then he wouldn't eat on purpose. But that doesn't mean you have to give in for the bad stuff.... just keep offering the good stuff. If they get hungry enough they'll eat.

As for destructo.... throw out the broken toys and don't replace them. It might sound cruel, but they do get the hint. (I will replace if a sibling destroys, because that promotes better sharing.)

Renee - posted on 01/01/2011

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I thought of another thing you can do to help your son eat a bit more. Control is a big thing at this age, since they have so little of it, so try giving him a choice. It has to be a really easy choice though, since they can get overwhelmed really quickly, so try something like "would you like apple or pear for a snack" and hold out both to him. My daughter is a really picky eater, but if I do that, she'll usually get a few bites down :)

Good luck!

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Nicole - posted on 02/25/2011

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I honestly think it is just the age. I have a 18 month old too along with two older sons. My house is never clean. The 18 month does more damage than the 3 put together. I call him my terror on 2 legs.lol As for the eating part, I go through the same thing. Is he teething? That could play a HUGE role. I read somewhere that your child could survive all day on a hand full of cereal. I would just make sure he always drinking. and when my 18 month is really fussy I will just give him baby food.

MELISSA - posted on 02/24/2011

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don't feel bad rosie my son is fixing to be 2 and he does everything your son does and probably then some cause he is almost 4ft tall. it drives me and his daddy bonkers! buti think it's the life of having a boy. don't worry rosie, don't knock yourself up, i go thru this everyday right now, i started giving him those little milks from that commercial about the little girl who was missing foods out of her diet, they are called pedisure. your not suppose to give them till they are old but i give him a litlle or every other day when his food hasn't been to healthy, plus he's going to the dr soon. you'll figure it out it takes some getting mad, crying, wanting to spit nails but mine doesn't even talk so try that:). i wish i could ask him what he wanted to eat. it will be all ok, you'll see.

Kathleen - posted on 02/22/2011

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I agree, I wouldn't worry about the food too much. They go through phases, my son went through the french fry phase, the grilled cheese, the mac and cheese. Since yours is at the average weight I wouldn't worry about it. He's not starving. As for the destroying this, my son is 2 and still gets into things. I got irked as well at trying to deal with it. I didn't want to "punish" him. After awhile it was the last straw and he has a naughty corner/step/seat. He realizes now the behavior is not acceptable. Takes effort and I gave a lot of hair pulling tears. Just be consistent. Keep your chin up, you are doing fine.

Tracy - posted on 02/05/2011

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My daughter is a picky eater too. She loves to drink milk but food sometimes is a battle. I give her a multivitamin though every day to make sure she is getting her nutrients. You could ask your pediatrician about those or maybe the pediasure drinks. As for being destructive, truthfully it is a boy thing. My first born son he used to tear apart everything and get into everything. But my daughters hardly ever did that. Just keep doing what your doing and try to be calm and patient. It will get better. Hang in there.

Michelle - posted on 02/05/2011

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I feel your pain! My son is so different from my daughter. I feel like he is a "tornado of distruction" :)...he usually just laughs at me when I try to get him to stop..he also has become a picky eater...I would say to just keep trying different combinations of food...EX: my son used to like certain foods & I just keep trying and now he has started to like them again. I read some of the other comments & they all seemed to have good advice...however I would discourage letting your child eat, play, and then come back for bites of food...this will create more problems in the future. Keep trying new foods along with things they like...my son will not eat cooked carrots or broccoli but he will eat Garden Burgers (found in the frozen food section of the vegetarian food) which have both carrots & broccoli..also I found that kids love condiments...give them something to "dip" their food in and they will eat most anything! good luck! PS~I would also give them a daily vitamin. We use a liquid vit that I put in his water everyday

Jessica - posted on 02/01/2011

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First you need to take a deep breath and calm down lol...The reason he does these things is to get a reaction and get your full attention. If he does something and you chase after him saying no, he isn't listening to what you are saying but he is watching what you do, so he thinks this is a fun game I like it when mommy and daddy chase me so I'm going to go do that again! Then it turns into what can I do to make them chase me or jump up off the couch or say oh no! It's funny to them. So when he does something calmly say no, and keep doing it, I read somewhere that it takes you saying no about 20+ times before they actually listen, When he does something say no and take it from him or move him from the object and everytime he does it give him the SAME reaction and keep doing it, he will get bored and try something else...just keep doing the same thing. As for him eating, boys are horrible eaters at this age and until they are 4, boys have so much energy that it is hard for them to sit still for too long, also they think there is so much to play with and learn they don't have time to eat lol...don't make him sit at the table and eat for a while let him come take a bite and play, also about what he eats, give him options, put his food (not on a plate because those can be used as toys) on his highchair tray and let him eat what he wants, he knows that those are things he likes and doesn't want to try new things because he doesn't know if he likes it, but if you give him some chicken nuggets (something he likes) on his tray and something he doesn't usually eat on there too then he will try it, it will take a lot of times of giving it to him before he decides if he likes it or not

Felisha - posted on 01/17/2011

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You poor thing! I am sorry to hear that you are hurting, even though I don't know you. It is so hard when all you want to do is the right thing and its not yielding the results you are hoping for. Rest assured, most kids go through the destructive phase. That is super normal and I have a friend that works with kids and their behaviors and she has reassured me of this. One thing we have tried is to say "red light" when he goes after something he is not supposed to. "Hey bud, that's a red light remote. Please put it back." If he continues, we take it from him. We try not to say "no" too often and use "red light" as much as we can. Food wise, just guessing, perhaps you can try to "trick" him into eating other things. Like my son does not dig on carrots. But I will grab a fork of chicken and then put the carrot behind it so he only sees the chicken. That works. Otherwise, I have no idea on that piece. My only guess would be to ask your dr what their recommendation is. I hope you feel better soon. :)

Mrs. - posted on 01/12/2011

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I'm not going to say much behaviourally because there have been so many other comments that seemed to have covered a ton of options.

The food though....I'm a no processed foods, sugars, gluten all that kind of girl but I don't expect every mom/kid to be into that. However, I do know a lot of little tricks to take some of the foods you mentioned and make them a bit more varied but still be enough like some of the foods he likes that he might still eat them.

I see someone already mentioned the using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes-that's an excellent idea. You can also try making "fries" out of polenta (corn meal) or out of a great falafel recipe (then roll them into a fry shape/bake or swallow fry..you can also add some pureed pea into the mix for some veg). Now, if your little boy likes ketchup with his fries, you can always make a nice marinara sauce with ground up veg in it, put it in a squeeze bottle and he'll probably not even know the difference.

As well, my fiance always gives my daughter a "smoothie" in the morning, he puts some sort of grain cereal or even just brown rice, banana, milk or yogourt, some sort of berry and blitzes in the blender. He then warms it up (cause she likes that it's like a big warm bottle) and puts it in her sippy cup. The smoothie is an excellent way to sneak in that fruit, grain and milk combo that will keep him nice and full.

As well, just for variation, I don't know if you make your own chicken nuggets but if you do, you could try using fish instead. It's the same process with a piece of white fish or even salmon. You can use something like quinoa cereal or brown rice cereal...a bit of egg and dunk those little fish pieces in...then bake or shallow fry. Just another option to keep him trying new things and adding a variety of foods/nutrients you might think he's missing.

Heather - posted on 01/11/2011

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My son is 16 months as well, but I totally agree you are not doing anything wrong. Parker loves to eat and will try anything. I don't think i haven't found anything but chili that he doesn't like. But keeping trying different foods even if it's leftovers, with him he'll eventually try new stuff. My friends son is 15 months old and still eats baby food. he wont eat anything normal except fries, and I have mentioned it to her and she doesnt do anything about it and i have given up her, so honestly dont feel bad.
As for destruction my worry Parker does it too, he will climb on the couch, coffee table whatever to get what he wants. when i tell him no, he says no and my response is always that's right no no. he's just starting to walk too, which i know is kinda late, and i consulted the doctor and was trying to get him help when he just started walking.

Prestina - posted on 01/11/2011

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My daughter is 16 months and doesn't have a lot of teeth but she is getting 4 in at once and I still give her stage 3 baby food on days that she doesn't have much of an appetite. Especially fruits and vegetables because I don't feel as though she is getting enough. I usually mix in cheerios and let her put some in to give it texture. I also put cheerios in her yogurt and she loves it.
As for the tantrums I would do what one of the other moms suggest and start with "time outs" in his pack and play. Start at one minute and then go to 3 then 5 and if he does it again keep going up

Kristy - posted on 01/11/2011

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tell him no and if you have to spank him on the butt or smack his hands when he does something that is wrong. You have to let him know who is the adult and right now he thinks that he runs the house. As long as the dr says he is good don't worry about his diet. You can always ask the dr to braw some blood and test it if you are worried about it. You guys are not doing anything wrong he just needs to be reprogrammed a little bit to know that it's not his house and that he needs to be nice and respectful to you and Daddy and his toys. he also needs to know what he can and cannot touch. Sometimes you may have to sit next to him and something on the end table and smack his hands everytime he goes to reach for it, eventually he will get the message that he can't have it and will go onto something else. It's time consuming I know but it will work as long as you stick to it and have hubby on board too.

Kim - posted on 01/11/2011

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Hi, I know how you feel so you are not alone...I have a set of fraternal twin boys who are also 17 months old...They are both destructive at times and they don't listen when I say no...They have broken my blinds in my living room and in their bedroom...My son Kai has shoved his brother out of the way especially when it comes to feeding time...Just this morning he shoved him and knocked the cereal bowl right out of my hand....I've been told that its normal for them to act this way because they are still babies and can't really express how they feel....You just have to take a deep breath and hopefully soon it will pass...Neither of my boys is really speaking just yet....Kai says a few words but my other son Rylan is still having trouble, I think he may have a speech problem but I won't know until he's a little older....I wish the best for you and your husband...And remember your not alone, there are some parents who have it worst.

Miranda - posted on 01/10/2011

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I would look up on the internet "how to tell my child no without saying no" Also use more "I" statements for example... Your son throws and toy and hits you. You might say "NO! Don't throw the toy." You can say. " Mommy doesn't like it when you throw toys because it hit me and it hurts. We don't throw toys because someone can get hurt. We play with toys quietly and then lay them down in the toy box." It will take time but I think doing time-out and the verbal communication will help you gain control and be the parent.

Noelle - posted on 01/10/2011

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Raising a little boy is a challenge, isn't it! I don't know what all the other moms have said, but I read a couple! I like the whole giving him the nutrition he need in liquid for for starters....I would still make him try something healthy everyday, and keep introducing in to him. He my learn to like it....I did that with my son, and after a while he would eat it without my encouragement. It takes patience and determination and time tho...as does everything worthwhile.

Put him in a playpen everyday twice a day for 10 min. Give him just three types of toys that he can't destroy (blocks, cars, learning toys, etc) set an egg timer, and do not get him out till it goes off. Tell him it is his special play time, and be happy about it...it is not a punishment. Even if he screams the whole ten min and throws all his toys out just leave him in till the timer goes off. You can remind him that he has to wait till he hears the bell. (Then you are not the bad guy....he is waiting for a timer.) Do not give him back toys, as this can turn into a game. When he can play with his toys and be happy for ten min, add 5 min to the time. It took time, but now my 17 month old son can play in his play pen two times a day for 30 min. It builds there focus on one thing at a time. Now my son can play with one toy at a time for 10-20 min...and this is just on his own outside of his playpen! It also gives me a full hour of time each day to keep me sane.

Remember,"this too shall pass".

Karen - posted on 01/09/2011

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COMPLETELY NORMAL!!!! My daughter is destructive, she understands "no" but doesn't always obey - loves food, but is particular about what, when... if he's normal weight & growing well then don't be so hard on yourself. I've been told about my sister-in-law only eating 1/4 of a weet-bix (made of whole grains in a bar) & only if it was covered in sprinkles (3yo) while her little brother (my hubby @1 1/2yo) ate 2 whole ones straight.
Keep going, stay strong in your "no" but very enthusuastically say "yes" when he does something right & it'll be fine - I also suggest getting a little "me time" getting someone to look after him for 1 or 2hrs a week, it does wonders believe me!

Chelynne - posted on 01/08/2011

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Everything will be just fine my son is the same way his crib looks like a beaver has been sleeping in it and he has even gone as far as chewing on the corners of the walls in our house. They are boys with the whole eating thing the best thing to do is sit down with him and have what ever he is having sometimes all they want is attention as far as the whole not listening thing goes my son will not either a have to stop him every time because it is like the word no is the one thing he cant hear lol dont stress to much it is nothing you can change boys will be boys

Lisa - posted on 01/08/2011

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Have you tried time out? You can start by finding a small chair his size. Move him to that area when he does something mean or wrong. Calmly tell him to sit there beacuse ... and walk away. Mine wont sit there long but for some reason... he sits and you can see him wonder why he's there and why I walked away. When he comes back I ask him to give me a hug and then we find something else to play with. But sometimes a change of area helps. Some days when he is on a rampage we go to the park to get the energy out or walk. If the weather is bad we go to the store.

Lisa - posted on 01/08/2011

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If you are worried about nurtrients. Try Enfagrow Formula as a snack it is for Children 10-36 months. My son is a very picky eater and it changes day to day. Doctor said not to worry.

Natalie - posted on 01/07/2011

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try mixing it up use sweet potatoes for fries and as for not getting enough nutrition try using the enfagrow for toddlers that is what i am using for my daughter because she doesnt always eat. she is at her perfect weight for her age but i was like you worried that she wasnt eating enough i buy her the vanilla one and tell her its a vanilla milkshake and she loves it i dont know those are some suggestions for you anyways

Leah - posted on 01/07/2011

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You are definitely not the only one. My almost 17 month old son is much the same way. He is a very active little boy, and the only time he will stay still for more than a minute is during nap time and bedtime. He is also very "destructive" but everyone tells me "it's a boy thing" and from reading many other posts and hearing others tell me about their boys, it seems to be true. If he is getting into things he's not supposed to, just be firm with him and remove him. Eventually he will catch on.

Ethan's eating habits have also changed in the past few weeks. He used to be such a good eater, eating anything and everything. Now it's really hit or miss with him as to what he will eat, and how much. Some days he devours one thing, the next he refuses to eat it at all. I just keep offering him a variety of foods and offer several small meals/snacks a day as a lot of the problem seems to be getting him to stay still long enough to eat a bigger meal. They will eat when they are hungry. If you are concerned about nutrients, it might be an idea to buy a multivit to add to a cup of milk/juice once a day. Whatever vitamins they are lacking they can get from that, and if they are getting enough through their diet they will excrete the excess.

Andrea - posted on 01/05/2011

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Hiya,
As moms we all wonder at one time or another are we doing the right thing or are we causing the problem inadvertently. I think if we are conscientious enough to ask the question then likely we are on the right track. What helps me is finding info on what is 'normal' or what can be expected for each age group as my son moves along... this way I can see that my son's behaviour is indeed 'normal' and that I'm not doing anything wrong and that there is more importantly nothing wrong with my son:)
A websites that I have found to give me comfort and perhaps you as well:

http://www.canadianparents.com/article/o...

The website also has info on feeding and other stuff that concerns us parents...

xoxo

Tiffany - posted on 01/05/2011

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Mommahood is the hardest profession I have ever had as I'm sure most of you would agree! I say this as I currently have a 17month old son and am in my 3rd trimester. Before staying home I worked as a infant/toddler teacher for 10 years and being a Momma is so much more challenging then I ever thought. Thankfully, it is also the biggest blessing! :) This is not to say I don't have my hair pulling days too. I think as most of the other mommas out there have said, I believe this is the hardest stage. We all have doubts, but as Momma we know best! YOU ARE THE BEST MOMMA FOR YOUR SON!! Don't forget that!!
As far as advice, I can only give you what works for my son. I found at about a year he started to assert himself and redirection wasn't working as well. My husband and I discussed a way we could be on the same page to discipline. (which I would recommend for everyone) I am not sure what your belief or stand on physical discipline is, but I can tell you after being against it and then learning and using it correctly for our son, I am a firm believer in using it. Let me tell you how I use it. My husband and I have decided that we tell our son once (we believe in trying to teach him 1st time obedience) specifically what we want him to stop (we also use Stop instead of No) like "Stop, NO TOUCH the TV" if he doesn't we redirect him to something he can touch (a toy). If he goes back, we have started to implement flicking the top of his hand and firmly say "Momma said "No Touch the Tv" or "Momma said No Bang the toy." We also explain to him why we don't want him doing what he was doing and ALWAYS reassure him of our love and remember to praise him when he makes the right choice. I caution you if you decide to start this method to flick very very gently as each child responds differently. My son is very sensitive and it only takes the act of touching his hand lightly for him to know he has disobeyed for others it may need to be a bit strong. Now that we have started this routine, my day goes by a ton easier as I am not stressing about his behavior. I know I need to be consistent and specifically verbalize what I want my son to learn as he continues to grow into a boy and then a man. And I and he knows the consequence that will help him to reach that goal as we are in the process of training him in the right direction. I may not have the best answer but I know belief and confidence in myself helps my son gain a better understanding of what my words mean when I can act immediately and consistently.
Another thing I have done is taught my son sign language. This has helped our communication greatly and has relieved a lot of frustration. Just start slowly teaching a few signs a month at a time (see how quickly he responds) I know there is a lot of controversy out there on this subject. In my experience with several children I have seen it help more then hinder. It may delay verbalization in children (boys more than girls from my experience) BUT it does not delay learning and expressing. We often use the gentle sign throughout the day teaching him how to respect people, our dogs (animals) and our possessions. I just thought I would throw signing out there to give you another option to think about and look into.
As far as food is concerned, my son is and always has been a great eater. I did notice a huge change in his habits around a year or so though. He tends to eat based on his needs and we also decided to give him limited choices as to what he chooses to eat. Such as "Would you like applesauce or yogurt with your cereal this morning?" If I think he hasn't eaten enough for that meal I save it and offer it FIRST to him for the next meal along with something else.
Something else that just came to mind is eating and sleeping tend to link together. If he is sleeping well chances are he will eat better too. This is not the case for a lot of kids I know but maybe assess his sleep routine?? I would trust your Ped. Doctor on this one. It is very common for toddlers to slow down and pick up eating habits. Just keep trying and be consistent. As one momma said, check your mood and energy throughout the day. It does have a great effect on your children's behavior and your sanity.
Good luck on doing one of the hardest, most important, most rewarding things in life - being a mother!

Rachael - posted on 01/05/2011

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I TOTALLY FEEL YOU!!!! i have the same problem with my son. his diet is the same, he climbs on everything just to slide down the other side. i cant take him out bymyself cause im 7 months pregnant again. i worry all the time about what he is eating (or not eatng) cause foods that he liked last month or last time he wont touch now. i only thing that keeps me going is that the dr. told me as long as he is eating something and is gaining weigt he will be fine. i bought him a step 2 jungle gym to climb all over and he has a ball with it. everything will be ok just hang in there.

Sarah - posted on 01/05/2011

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I dont think ur doing anything wrong, i think its a phase children go through and at this age they are still learning, my little girl presses a switch about a hundred times a day, we have a plug socket behind the sofa and it leads to an extension lead which controls the lamp, laptop charger, digital picture frame.....everything, and she flicks it off all day, so now she goes on the step for time out, 9times out of 10 she will stay on the step and cry then after a minite i go over and say no playing with plugs, and she gives me a hug and we continue to play. she also pulls out 'show flowers' apart, throws cushions and anything else off the sofa onto the floor, she chases the cats, smacks sometimes, pulls out her hair bobbles, empties her jigsaw puzzle box, i could go on and on but they are all fairly normal things, i only use the step for the plug thing so she can directly relate flicking the switch to being sat on the step! As for the food, it sounds harsh but im a big believer in if they are hungry they will eat, at this age they of course have likes and dislikes but these likes and dislikes are led by us, for example my mum never gave me or my sister marmite, my mum doesnt like it, neither does my dad or me or ,my sister, however my husband loves marmite as does his mum and family. think back to all the things u like and they will mostly be things u were introduced to as a child, ur likes and dislikes are family led, some things are just personal preference, maybe he doesnt like carrots or green beans but if he does like apple sauce then maybe he could use that as a dip?! my little girl gets nothing else if she doesnt eat what i put in front of her, i know how much dinner she should be eating and if she doesnt eat a good amount she wont get pudding as she obviously isnt hungry.
I agree with the continually saying no thing so iv gone back to my roots being trained as a nursery nurse, we are encouraged to avoid saying no at all costs, for example instead of 'no, stop climbing on the sofa' we say 'can u put ur feet on the floor please? mummy would like u to put ur feet on the floor' and if i have to lift her down we say 'see, feet on the floor now, im happy now'
the only time we really say no is if shes being really naughty and not listening to the nice mummy, lol! when she throws toys we say 'stop, we are not throwing toys' at her level and we take the toy shes holding and gently put it on the floor. now im not saying my way always works but its made our lives a little bit nicer and more positive rather than no no no no no no no no!
Head up hun, we all go through this, thank goodness its a phase and shouldnt last forever xx xx

Megan - posted on 01/04/2011

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Hey...you are doing just fine. My son is just over 16 months and he sounds a lot like yours. Hoyt likes to stand, climb, throw, just about everything. He knows when he's touching something he shouldn't as he looks to see if you're watching. It's all a test! Don't let your son push your buttons...no is appropriate, but I agree that you can't fold and you have to continue to reinforce the word "no" when it's important (dangerous). I haven't tried the playpen time-out method, but it sounds interesting. Hoyt has meltdowns when you really enforce something he wants to do and I just ignore him for a few minutes. If it carries on longer than 1 minute, I will try to distract him with something else. I love the idea of trying to engage him more in the everyday chores as Hoyt does love to "throw out the garbage" as once Mom answered.

As for food, don't be discouraged here either. If your son is a healthy weight and you ask your ped about possible multivitamins, it's par for the course if your little man is picky. Hoyt seems to do very well on most days, but there are times when he'll love peas for 3 days and then refuses them. I am sure not to try by opening just about everything in the kitchen only to find out he's refusing it all. I've also found that he is much more likely to eat, if we're eating with him and he can have some of what we're having. I also discussed this concern with my ped and he stated that now that growth is starting to steady off and decrease in rapidity, we may find that Hoyt doesn't require as much food to keep him properly nurished. We'll know when he's going through some growth spurt as he'll want to eat anything and everything in the house. The fact that your son is eating yogurt, cheerios, and applesauce is great...keep trying the greens off your plate and see what happens.
You're doing GREAT!

Lacey - posted on 01/04/2011

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Believe me, I know how incredibly frustrating that can be. I have two little boys 31 months and 16 months, the older one is very verbal and mouthy lately-"no mommy, not yet" but when the little one starts his mischief the older one forgets the fact that mommy is telling the little one no and then starts misbehaving just like the little one! The little one loves to throw things and bang them together and empty laundry baskets and the diaper bin (so it looks like a box of diapers exploded in their room) and throw huge tantrums if the crayon he's chewing on is taken from him.
The biggest thing that has helped me get through is remembering that he doesn't know it's a "mess". You do, and your heart sinks every time you see yogurt and cheerios thrown across the kitchen and splattered on every available surface, but to him it's art and new and wondrous and amazing. Babies are learning cause and effect at this stage. They are also learning that if they do that thing that they're doing it's going to make you blow a gasket, causing you to be mighty entertaining. Someone gave the advice of starting time out, it does work! The rule of thumb is 1 minute for every year. So my older one gets 2 minutes and the little one gets 1 minute. The biggest thing is that you have to be consistent and your child needs to know clearly what the rules are...don't throw in the house, random stuff from the floor doesn't belong in your mouth, don't hit or feed the dog.....you know, my older child is required to apologize and give a hug and kiss otherwise he's not allowed to leave time out, and the younger one is reminded of the moral/rule and taken out of time out.
By all means, don't think that you won't be chasing a child down all day but it will cut down on that time and maybe give you a little freedom.
Also don't be afraid to let them yell, scream, and throw that tantrum because it's just them protesting to your reaction. If you didn't have the words to express what you felt was necessary you would yell and scream and it would sound like gibberish as well.

I have to remind myself of these things often because I forget that my children are just that sometimes and I hate to hear myself yell, but I tend to yell "no" or "don't do that" a lot and when I find myself getting more and more frustrated and yelling more and more I have to stop and take a time out myself to regroup and realize that I'm falling out of control.
So I throw the kids in the crib for 5 minutes, breathe and relax, then I make the kids a snack and start again.

Eating is a pain, but right now if you're worried about it, make sure he's eating plenty of the stuff he likes plus a vitamin or the juices they make for kids with a veggie serving in them. Don't stress too much about his taste buds or lack thereof. It will develop in time but try to keep and open attitude towards food and he will see that and do the same. Always try new things, if he tries them great, if he doesn't like it, it doesn't mean you can't try again another time. Kids need something like 10 exposures to a new food before they can really determine if they like it or not. Sometimes what we take for dislike is actually surprise. Good luck and I hope it all works out.

Tara - posted on 01/03/2011

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Don't worry! I know how you feel, I'm not replying with a solution but i'm glad I'm not the only one!
My daughter sleeps fine which is great but as you said, she is constantly throwing things (especially tantrums), if I say no or take something off her she will scream. I never really babied her either. Well, I hope we both get a reply now, good luck :)

Aileen - posted on 01/03/2011

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As many have said - first of all give yourself a break. Destruction seems to be part of being a baby boy (my older daughters were NOT like this but my 16 mo old is). As far as food - my son is very picky and has always been. I mix baby veggies (stage 2) in with his yogurt along with baby cereal. It sounds gross to me, but he likes it and I know he is getting good nutrients that way. He has that once a day, every day. Also, remember that toddler meals balance over about a week - don't try to get everything in every day. And keep introducing the "new" foods - even if they are rejected. One day they might not be. Each day pick a meal when you are also eating and give him something you know he likes and something new (that you are eating). That way you know he will eat something and you are still giving him the "new" thing.
Good luck! It will get easier!

Cindy - posted on 01/03/2011

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I think the destructive part is normal for the age. My daughter is the same way. She really pushes the limit with us, and I think it's just her way of learning how things work around here. We take toys away for a long time if she continues to destroy them, until she's ready to play with them nicely. We tell her no and if she does it again, we do a "time out". We sit her at the bottom of our steps and she has to sit for 1 minute. Half the time we sit right next to her because she keeps getting up. Every time she gets up, we start he minute over. It took a while for her to get it, but now she understands and actually sits there for the minute.

As for the eating issue, we also had the same problem with her. (or should I say...are having) Some days she'll eat well, and others no way! I have 3 teenagers and I can tell you from past experience that it's completely normal. What I would do is start off by offering him only something that is nutritious. If you want to give him something he's never had before, give it to him first. (don't even let him see anything else). Some days my daughter will eat only green beans for lunch, but then she will usually make up for it along the line and refuse green beans at some point.

Try not to feel as though you're doing anything wrong. We'll probably be telling them no constantly for the next year or two.

Jennifer - posted on 01/02/2011

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Just breathe. :) That's all you can do at this point. My son is 16 months old and loves throwing things and tearing things in half, bending books backward... When he wants us to read him a story (of the books that aren't already torn in half) he throws the book at our head! And, like you, nothing can be left within his reach. End tables are cleared off. The tv stand and some bookcases are gated off. Its very normal. I even have a friend who's son, at 20 months, took a cap gun and banged it on their brand new big screen plasma...the plasma tv did not survive. It's just a stage. Breathe through it and know that. And, in my house, "no" equals a tantrum. Even when we're actually talking to the animals, he hears it and starts screaming, crying, kicking... Just a stage, breathe through it and keep repeating that to yourself.

As for the eating, unlike most mom's who don't relate much, I can take you a step further--my son doesn't eat. As in, not just a picky eater, but nothing more substantial than stage three baby food or yogurt. Nothing. So, yes, I understand you there. But again, it's nothing you (or I) am doing wrong. They will get where they are going in their own time and nothing we can do will hurry that along. He's in "therapy" for his eating and has been for four months now--and there's nothing they can do either but wait on him. Stress less, breathe, and know you aren't alone.

Julie - posted on 01/02/2011

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my daughter only likes to eat rice and natural yogourt.... she also loves bananas and all kinds of fruit yogourts..... she does not like bread or meat or chicken.... she just spits it out..i am not that worried.... cuz she drinks a lot of milk.... and all the vitamins and nutrients that she needs are in the milk... she does not like to eat things that are not pureed....... like apples.... i put them in a blender with bananas.... she likes that..... she also likes cake... she does not eat a lot though..... when she really eats well she eats like 15 spoons..... she likes to put everything in her mouth....toys..... and anything else that she can find...... she also climbs on the tables and sofas.... but when i tell her no... she comes down right away..... or when she knows that she should not be playing with something on the table... she looks at me.. and i will be looking at her in a mean way and she knows that she should not be touching that..... she is totally different from my first daughter.... my first daughter was so calm and did not give me any trouble at all.....

Crystal - posted on 01/02/2011

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my 17 month old daughter is basicly the same way except the eating she eats pretty much everything but she also climbs on the table if anythings on it she will throw it off yanked almost all ornaments off the tree and does not respond to know at all i aswell spend most of my day chasing her and keeping her out of things i don't think theresmuch we ca do they're to young to understand a time out or taking things away from them but i feel your frustrations it's not you doing anythingwrong he's just an active toddleras is mine good luck to you

Michelle - posted on 01/02/2011

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Michelle,
Just thought you should know that General mills cereals are NOT good for babies. If you look at the basic ingredients the first of them are High fructose corn syrup and giving your baby this can be the first road to obesity...especially Cinnamon toast crunch...That has a TON of sugar in it...natural sugars are fine (fruits) but otherwise its best to stay away from even as adults.

Tanya - posted on 01/01/2011

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Like others have said, your son sounds pretty normal. Most of their suggestions are good. I've found that the time out strategy is great but I don't like to use it a lot, so it is effective. For example, I use it when my son hits. Other times, I just make sure I am in reach if there is something he isn;t supposed to touch nearby and if no doesn't work, reaching for his hand before it reaches the item does. He still might go for it later, but the message is clear.

As for the food, my son sometimes wants what I give him and sometimes doesn't. I try to make sure to offer something I know he likes most of the time, but mostly, I give him what we are eating. He is more likely to want what I am eating than something different, even if he likes the something different. If he doesn't eat the dinner, then I know he'll eat the dessert (usually fruit and/or yogurt).

Sometimes the issue is that he wants the food, but only if he can feed himself, so I try to offer him a lot of finger foods, or is it must be spoon fed, he has a spoon and so do I. He'll take my spoonfuls in between his attempts, though sometimes then wants both spoons. Also, he will often use his other hand just to grab and stuff. I let it slide sometimes, but encourage him to use the spoon.

Good luck, Mama! If all else fails (or even if it doesn't) you may want to invest in a gate for your son's room so that you can have some downtime when you don;t have to worry. He'll cry for a little when you put him in there, but will eventually go off to play.

HTH! Good Luck!

Amanda - posted on 01/01/2011

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my son is the same way he does not listen either.. do you put him in a chair and strap him down like i do my son.. and just introduce him to a new food every 5 days like i do he may not like it at first but keep giving it to him eventually he will eat it.. my son likes grapefruit,peaches,pineapple maybe you can try thoughs

Ramona - posted on 12/31/2010

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I thnkt hebest thing you can do is consult with your doctor. Most of the things you mentioned are not really that bad. My son is 16 months and i have a hard time getting him to try something but I find if I put it on my plate and feed him he will eat it vs feeding him from his plate. Also if you think your child is not getting enough nutrients try talking to your doctor or a nutritionist. My son loves sweet potatoe fries so i give him those instead of reg fries.

When it comes to the fact that he is distructive my son is too. he throws everything, sometimes even his food but i just get down to his level and tel him NO and i do that 3 times and after that he will either get a spanking or timeout. Sometimes he is just playing so unless he is actually hurting himself or others I do not discipline him.

I hope this helps.

Blackwood - posted on 12/30/2010

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My son is the same age, He likes to stand on everything, books, toys, his play cars, anything. When I use the word "no" he has a melt down. From my understanding, the need to discover things on their own is sooo strong, that when they are not allowed to do something, it feels horrible, my advise would be to pick and choose your battles. As far as eating goes, your son actually eats more things then mine and like your son my son is at a very healthy weight, but I too worry about nutrients. When I asked my doctor about this, he didn't seem to worried. My son eats peas, strawberries, yogurt, cheerios and formula, I sometime still feed him babyfood, just so I can get some more fruit in his diet. He won't drink milk or even juice. Only water and formula. Us as mom's put so much pressure on ourselves, we are always of course trying to make the right decisions for our little ones. As far as the temper or rough issue maybe speaking with a behaviour coach, (if you're really worried about it, personally I wouldn't be but I understand if you are). As far as the food goes, I try to give my son new things and most of the time we return to his usualls, I did read up on this and it's not that uncommon as long as they are hitting milestones. Take care and I hope my ranting has helped. Best wishes

Sarah - posted on 12/30/2010

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You are not doing anything wrong!!! This is such an exasperating age. He isn't trying to destroy things, he's just discovering what he can and can't do. You just have to continue to try to distract and say no when you have to. Continue to offer new foods along with the ones that he likes, eventually he'll try new things. Try to expand on what he likes, by breading some pork, adding fresh fruit to the yogurt, or cooking sweet potato fries. Good luck! I tell myself everyday, that this too, shall pass. Don't be so hard on yourself :)

Michelle - posted on 12/30/2010

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Did your doctor prescribe you Vitamins? I give my 17 month old Vitamins in his milk. Try strawberry Oatmeal! It is so good, you can get it from Quaker and its sweet but really healthy! He should like it! Get Pediasure as well, my Doctor said that it is safe to give him that. Honey, do not worry, you are not doing anything wrong!!!! My son is destructive too, that's what we get for having boys :) Babies are naturally inclined to love chicken nuggets and french fries. Also I give my son Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Its from General Mills and they do not put any sugar or preservatives or Hydrogenated stuff in the food. Kicks are also good, and checks. Ummm... Get him the Motts juice that has Vegetables in it too... bananas and sugar snap peas my son likes. Mmm I cant think of anything else, if I do ill update my post! Good luck and relax

Jenny - posted on 12/30/2010

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You're not doing anything wrong. Just believe that first! As a mom, I know at times I think I can't possibly be doing any of this right. Try telling yourself that at this age, this is a phase. Your son is only going to get older and start learning what no means. I can tell my daughter no as many times as I please, but usually she'll do whatever it is she wants to anyways. I don't think it means that they're deliberately disobeying us, I just think that they cannot grasp the meaning at this early of an age. I will not stop telling her no, because I know that she'll eventually learn what it really means. Recently I was wrapping a present for my husband and my daughter was in the room with me. She kept stepping on the present and ripping the wrapping paper and I was going crazy. I must have said no 100 times. Those are times that I realize she doesn't understand me and is only trying to play with mommy. Don't give up. This too shall pass. Try to keep things out of reach at this point. It won't last forever.

As for the eating, I've noticed my daughter is very picking at this age (she's 16 months). She eat her fav food one day and the next HATE it! Or one day she'll eat anything and everything, the next hardly anything. I give my daughter a shake in the mornings that has a little apple juice, bananas, strawberries and yogurt. She drinks it up and I know it is nutricious. Try disguising some good foods into something fun, like make a silly face on a rice cake with some peanut butter and fruit.

You're doing great. Just hang in there!! You're son in cared for and loved by you and your husband and that is what is most important!

Ashley - posted on 12/30/2010

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I agree with what everyone else said- but the only thing I would add is pay attention to your energy (what you are giving off- are you anxious that he is about to do something before he does? Are you constantly frustrated?) He may be feeding into what you (and your husband) are putting out. It seems from the subject of your post that you are really upset/frustrated, but dont get down on yourself! Children are sensitive to that and can sense that. Remain confident that you are doing the best you can- he will eat what he wants when he is ready. I agree about the multivitamin, but maybe feed him what you know he likes then let him have some of what yall eat so he can try new things that way.



For behavior, try just playing with him and talking in a soft voice and singing to him a couple of times a day to show him being gentle and calm can be fun too and a good way to get mommy's attention. My son (16 months) LOVES to throw everything- his new thing is throwing balls (soft and HARD ONES) at me... I was working with him on throwing the ball a few weeks ago so I cant really get on to him for doing what I told him just a few weeks ago was a "GOOD JOB!". He is not at the age to determine how to play "nice" and he doesnt understand that can hurt me.

Also remember children LOVE and live for reactions from their parents. It is how they learn and feel assured and learn to respect their environment- so model good behavior.



Dr. Sears has a great website you can look into these issues- also you can check out Attachment Parenting International.

Nichole - posted on 12/30/2010

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It's nothing that you're doing wrong. At this stage in their life their going to throw things. I'm going through the same thing with my son who just turned sixteen months. He eats when he feels like it. I don't worry too much About how much because I know that I'm not hungry all the time and he's a minuture person. Like someone else said. If they don't eat what you give them try again later. Of they Sti don't eat then send them to bed. The next morning my son will eat what ever he gets and eat it all. He doesn't like going to bed hungry. He's tending to eat now. Sometimes it's not a lot sometimes it's three or four servings. It depends on their mood.

Sally - posted on 12/29/2010

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Maybe you could find a more "firm" way of telling him no. For example, if he is repeatedly doing something he shouldn't and doesn't listen to "No, please don't do that", on the "third strike" put him in the playpen and ignore him as much as possible for a full minute, and before you take him out say "I'm letting you out, but if you don't listen to me, you'll go back in", and if you have to tell him "no" again, put him in the playpen for 5 minutes. He should be old enough to get the lesson.
My daughter doesn't do much actual playing it seems either though, so I don't know what to say about that exactly. She's torn up many books, sending them to the trash.

Not sure what to say about the food either. My daughter eats almost everything. You could try saying "this is what you're getting" and if he doesn't want it, he won't eat. Obviously you'll have to give in at some point because he does need to eat, but you could try once in a while. Like every night at dinner for at least a week you could give him peas. If he won't eat them, he won't get anything. I'd say, if you put him off for an hour and he still won't take the peas, give in. And remember, kids have to try food an average of 10 times before they decide they like it.


Good luck!

[deleted account]

well, as for the destroying things, all you really can do is keep saying no and trying to distract him. my son is 16 months and grabs everything within reach and loves to bang and throw things, so i think it is just a phase.
in terms of food, give him a multivitamin every day, they come in liquid form, so that you know he is getting the required nutrients and then don't worry too much about his diet. you could maybe try feeding him right off your plate because he might eat more like that

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