How to discipline a 19 month old son

Rachel - posted on 03/07/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Okay, recently my little guy has been screaming really loud when he is upset about something. I try to figure out what may be bothering him, so i try food, rest, playing with him. It will sometimes make him feel better which i good. What i want to know that i am having a problem with is when he is sitting in his highchair and has food on there and is throwing it off and i tell him no, dont do that! He will look at me and then throw some more off. I get so frustrated with this behavior and i dont know if he knows that there are consequences with his bad actions yet. He seems to give me a look when I come over to him when he is doing something i dont like. I have spanked his hand before to let him know that what he is doing is wrong if he keeps doing it on purpose. I am just wanting to know if he would have an understanding of this whole disipline concept. He does not talk yet only except a couple words and babbles and makes all kinds of sounds. I dont want to be spanking him yet if he cant connect the bad behavior to the spanking cause i dont want him to not know why he is getting spanked. I dont want to emotionally damage him. I dont know, its so confusing! Can you help with some good advice?

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Laura - posted on 03/21/2010

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Hi Rachel! I can totally sympathize with you. My son went through a phase like that a little while ago. I've also dealt wih my two-year old in preschool settings. I have some advice that is a little different from the other posts. I mean no disrespect to the other posters, but I'd like to share my opinion. First, it is natural and normal behavior for a toddler. He is testing his limits and learning what is socially appropriate behavior. It shouldn't be allowed, but it shouldn't be viewed as "manipulative" either. Second, while spanking is sometimes appropriate for older kids, it is NOT helpful for this age group! You can still enforce appropriate behavior and, yes, discipline him. Let the punishment fit the crime. If he throws food, calmly make him clean it up and state the rule: Food doesn't belong on the floor, it belongs in the bowl. If he screams turn your back to him and don't give him the coveted attention he wants. If he kicks and screams, continue to ignore him (as long as he is SAFE) until he calms himself down. You could say, "We don't scream, we ask nicely." It may sound like more work han a smack on the tush, but it works! If you spank him, he may learn to hit when he is frustrated, and the problem could get worse. He is old enough to institute a time out. Just be sure to enforce, "We don't X, we Y." Dr James Dobson has good advice on when it is appropriate to start spanking. Use hand smacks sparingly, such as when he reaches for a hot stove, and never spank until he can understand why he's getting the spanking. The idea that babies need spanking started with a ridiculous Puritan idea that babies are born evil. They aren't, by the way, they're just human :) I hope this gives you some other options. God luck and God Bless.

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Cindy - posted on 03/11/2010

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I so agree with what has been written. THe thing I would stress is consistancy. You cannot let your child something today and punish them for it the next day. Don;t let your moods define what is ok to do or not. I seen that many times that when you are having a good day things don;t bother you, but on another day it will so make sure that you are consistant. And set a good example for your children. If you want them to hang up their coat is a certain spot make sure you always hang up your coat in a certain spot. If you want them to pick up their toys when they are done playing, make sure you pick up the newspaper (just an example) and put it away. Kids learn by example so teach them by yours. The 2 grandbabies that live near us do that so well. There coat has a special hook and it has to go there when they come over and toys need to go back to there place and it is the same at there house. We started this by doing this everyday with them and now they do it, sometimes with a remender and help but that is ok. They are learning just like we do. They are 3 yrs old and 22 months.

So try consistancy with LOADS of patience.

Shelley - posted on 03/08/2010

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Carla,
i run a playgroup and we have anywhere up to about 15 mums and lots of kids we often spend time discussing different child raising topics one of which is discipline in Australia where we are there are different thoughts going around in relation to the government bringing in penalties for parents who smack their children as christians this is difficult as we believe in disciplining our kids. Many of us were encouraged to finally hear a voice that made sence and really put into perspective that we are not just dealing with the issues we are teaching our children to also be obedient to god
thanks so much all the playgroup mums :)

Carla - posted on 03/08/2010

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Michelle, feel free to use anything I have written, I am glad to find a woman who is willing to listen to advice that has been gotten through years of trial and error. Solomon wrote that a wise person listens to council. Nothing new happens, just variations on old themes. The ones who have raised their children and aren't insane (;)) are worth listening to! Thanks, sweetie, good luck with your two. God bless

Shelley - posted on 03/08/2010

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Hi Rachel,
I'm a 25 year old mother of a 21/2 year old and 10 month old and totally agree with everything Carla has written and have used this with both my children the only thing i would add is when you tell them not to do something you should give a possitive instruction eg leave your food on the tray. Rather than the chair i have my daughter stand facing the wall with her hands on her head same concept.
Carla I really like your second paragraph on Child abuse i hope you don't mind but i'm going to print it and put it up at our church playgroup

Carla - posted on 03/07/2010

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At 19 months, he is challenging you! Welcome to motherhood! In just 17 short years, you will have him in college ;) Children learn at a very young age that screaming gets them what they want, and at that age they are totally self-centered. It is our job to teach them that the world isn't an instant gratification. As a person who was spanked and, in turn, spanked my children and, at times, my grandchildren, I can guarantee you that if you do it as discipline, and not in anger, you will not damage his little psyche. A gentle slap on the hand if he's throwing food or a smack on the bottom when he's throwing a temper tantrum usually does the trick, while telling him no in a firm tone. I am, however, of a firm belief of using the naughty chair which is very effective, but only you will be able to know when he is old enough to understand the sitting in a chair for 2 minutes (1 min per age of child). I have used this method on my 3 and 2 year-old grandchildren with wonderful results. They receive a warning first: 'Honey, if you don't stop doing that, you will sit in the naught chair.' If they continue with their actions, I take them by the hand, tell them 'Grammy told you not to do that, you didn't listen, so now we have to sit in the naughty chair.' The chair is on a corner with no distractions, set the timer, and get out of eye contact. If they get off the chair, put them back on. They stay til the timer goes off, then you go and say 'Honey, I told you not to do that, you didn't listen to me, so you had to sit in the naughty chair. Now tell me you're sorry you didn't listen. Okay, now give Grammy big hug and kiss.' End of matter. I was utterly amazed at how easily they get this concept! At first you will have to stay close so you can put them back on, and it may be a little hair-raising at first (for you), but stay consistent, and he will be minding in no time. He looks like a bright little boy, so I don't think he will have a problem getting the correlation between bad behavior-naughty chair. Whatever discipline you use, the secret ingredient is consistency! It takes a little time, but it will be well worth it, for you, in defusing situations and helping you keep your cool, and for him, as it sets boundaries for him.



Child abuse comes, mostly, from frustrated parents. If you start your children early, and I am talking about at six months I was slapping my childrens' hands for touching things they shouldn't and saying 'no-no'. They got it. The problem comes when we would rather sit in our chair and yell 'no!'. If it easier for that particular moment, but there are no consequences to the child, other than to hear you scream--and they quickly figure the number of decibels your voice gets to before you are going to get up and do something to them. Unfortunately, by the time you get there, you are angry! We have to remember we are Christians, and we are to raise our children in the nuture and admonition of the Lord. Would the Father scream at us? Has He ever? No, He teaches us, tells us, but if we don't listen, we are disciplined. Same rule applies. God never sleeps, so He is always watching over us (kinda like Santa, to see if we are bad or good ;) ). We are always being taught, trained, etc., and we are to do the same with our children. Some of our lessons have had to be hard ones, but that's because we haven't learned to listen to Him. I would like to think that if we train our children to listen for our voices and mind, that that will somehow translate into listening to the Father as well.



Good luck, sweetie, motherhood is one of the toughest jobs there are, but the rewards are immeasurable!

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