16 month old keeps testing me

Laura - posted on 09/21/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )





This is my first post on Circle of Moms!
I have a beautiful 16 month old boy (and am 4 months pregnant with # 2)
I've found over the last few weeks my son has started to test my authority. He will climb on the coffee table no matter how many times I say no, throw his cup off the highchair while looking at me for a reaction etc.. He knows what will get him into trouble and seems to do them to see what way I will react. I'm struggling to decide the best way to deal with it.. and am hoping it's just a phase!! Any ideas??


Joanna - posted on 09/21/2010




This is how they learn! The first few years they need to learn what their boundaries are, and testing mommy/daddy are how they do it. Set boundaries, but be sure not to use too many "no's," which can be disheartening for such a young child and make the word "no" not mean much eventually. Sometimes you have to pick your battles. And make sure to offer other options! If he throws a cup, say "We don't throw our cups, we can throw a ball instead" or "Climbing on the table is dangerous, lets make a cushion fort and climb on that instead."

JuLeah - posted on 09/21/2010




Great!! If he were not acting like this, you'd have a real problem on your hands.
Testing is exactly what healthy smart kids do.
Why will these actions get him into trouble?
He throws his cup off his high chair, it goes in the sink, no words spoken.
Climbing is what kids do and coffee tables are perfect. So, yes he will climb. Make it safe for him to climb on, or remove it until he is older and can understand.
Make sure he has things he can climb on.
He has figure out how to get you attention. But I think maybe you want him to learn something different. Make sure he gets your attention for doing things you want him to do, or he will keep doing things you don't want becuase your attention is something he has to have.
If you keep saying 'no' you are teaching him to ignore 'no' and ignore you.
This is why I don't say 'no' to children of this age. 1) they don't understand. Sometimes 'no' means stop jumping on the sofa, sometimes it means 'hot don't touch' sometimes it means get off the coffee table. How can a person tell at 16 months what this 'no' actually means.
Telling a child what they can do works better in my opinion. "Feet on the floor"
Distract him with another toy or game.
This is not a phase, it is a healthy child and he will test you his whole life :)
So, set the ground rules now for how this will happen - there are many wonderful books on positive parenting/positive discipline and what to expect from kids at different ages. Arm yourself; you're going to need all advantages you can get :)

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Holly - posted on 09/06/2016




JuLeah Wilson, I totally agree with you I have worked with children in childcare and distraction is key, toddlers don't have the ability to understand the word no. They do not understand what they are being told no for no can mean so many things. Also they have a short attention span no doesn't cut it.

I have a 16 month old and he is pushing the boundaries everyday, and being around others
With younger babies can be awkward and embarrassing until it's their time to deal with their little ones tantrums they won't understand and I feel as if they pass judgement. Or maybe that's just my insecurities.

Ardia - posted on 09/23/2010




i think whatever you decide to do, consistency is the key, i have a very spirited 19 month old and a 7 week old.......most of the time my "you'll go to your room" threat works, but i'd be lying if i didn't say i would repeat that phrase 50 times a day(at least) along with a few smacks on the hand as well , im definately no parenting expert and i think do whatever gets you through sanely until the next parenting challenge arises (ha.. oh the joys of motherhood) just remember were all with you!

Michelle - posted on 09/22/2010




Be firm your beloved baby is turning into a toddler and with that comes the terrible two's my daughter is 17 months and she climbs on everything today we caught her climbing the back of the couch to get closer to the big bay window. They don't understand danger so just keep saying no and when they start to understand caution the phase will end. Right now they just get to try our patience and scare us on a regular basis. It will stop eventually. Hang in there.

Kelly - posted on 09/21/2010




Say no and and if he doesn't correct his behavior right away then sit him down in a time out chair. Keep interactions to a min. and do not talk to him while he is in a time out. Do your best too not give him attention for being negative. So be calm and firm and then ignore him. If he gets out of the time out chair then you can restart his time. It only needs to be about 5 mins which seems like an eternity to them.

Laura - posted on 09/21/2010




Thanks for your replies. When I re-read my post I thought it sounded a bit stupid, like I don't know I have to discipline him.. which of course I do! :) It's just some days I get nowhere saying "no" to him and I feel like i'm saying it all day.. Guess I'll just have to be persistent and not back down or I'll be screwed!!
May look into getting rid of the coffee table as I don't fancy dragging two of them off it next year!! ;)

Angie - posted on 09/21/2010




The Terrible Two's do not look at the calendar when they come to visit your family. Consistency is the key. When he's looking for a reaction don't give him one. If he throws his cup, pick it up and put it in the sink and say, "I guess you're done with this so I'll wash it now". When he climbs on the coffee table, take him off, say no and walk away. Every time he starts to do it, pull him down and say no. It's best if you can catch him in the act of climbing and pull him off so all the fun is taken out of it. To be honest, when our children got to that age, we got rid of our coffee tables and haven't gotten another - they're 17, 12, and 9. We haven't missed the coffee table at all and it's one less place for junk and dust to gather. Hang in there Mom, this will pass. Then you will hit the Fabulous Fours (which are the twos with the ability to speak). I haven't hit another rough stage yet, but I'm sure they're coming!

Krista - posted on 09/21/2010




It's because your son is at the "cause and effect" stage of life. He wants to see what you'll do if he does this. It's a normal thing for kids to go through, but this is the time that you have to bring discipline in. Instead of just telling him no, have a consequence along with it. For instance, "Mommy said no. If you do that again, mommy is going to give you a time out/take this toy away/etc"
He may not understand what you're saying to begin with, but he will soon after that.

Vicki - posted on 09/21/2010




Be firm and be consistent! Kids of all ages are constantly testing limits, that's just what they do, it's how they investigate the world around them. Studies have shown that kids with consistent rules almost always grow up to be happier, well-adjusted adults. It gives them a sense of inner security and teaches them that you always try to do what is best for them. Now, they're not going to walk up and give you a hug and thank you for reprimanding them, but it will make all the difference when they are in school, college, or a job and are expected to follow the rules. Remember, everything you teach, each day is a stepping stone to bigger things in the future.

Amanda - posted on 09/21/2010




Best way to deal with it is say no, and be firm. If you think 16 month olds test you, try on a 12 year old girl LOL!!

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