STRONG WILLED BABY

Ana C - posted on 11/22/2008 ( 10 moms have responded )

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How do I discipline a very strong willed 6 1/2 months old baby? If he doesn't want to do something he screams (very LOUD!) and kicks his legs, all upset! And he is only a baby... My husband and I are very loving but we are firm with him and have him in a consistent routine. He knows boundaries! Can anyone help me?

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Beth - posted on 11/23/2008

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Ana, sounds like you have a very good grasp on your little guys abilities. You said it yourself he is smart. Gentle, loving, consistency WILL work. Just like Angel posted you will wish you started earlier if he is 2 and still doing the same thing. How people can expect their dogs to learn what they don't think their babies can, is beyond me. People teach their dogs not to bark.



With my son, we again used the playpen at home, and the MUD when out and about. MUD = Mobile Uh-oh Device - AKA: Stroller



He has a screaming tantrum and we say pleasantly, Uh Oh and place him in the playpen until he calms down. Then immediately reinforce the calm behavior. Pick him up, cuddles etc. Never leave him totally alone, and always make sure he is not in any actual pain. After a week or two the “Uh-oh” may be enough distraction to head off the tantrum.



When out and about do the same. We "drop" him in the MUD and endure the stares. He DID learn that screaming would not get him what he wants. He still got upset but his spells didn't last as long. That's fine because he's a baby. That's fine when he's 3, 4 or 5 years old too. Emotionally they will melt down, but the goal is to teach them that it won't get them what they want, shorten the show, and teach them there are other ways to get what you want. Always immediately reinforce calm behavior.



I Know you will get through this. You might want to check out the Moms of the Gifted Community. Post your question there and see what answers you get. Smart babies are just as challenging as smart big kids. Hope you find encouragement there.

Camille - posted on 11/22/2008

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My 4-year-old daughter does not want to eat and only wants to drink chocolate milk. I have tried not to give her that but she goes to sleep without eating. I am frustrated. The doctor says to keep doing that but I can't let her go hungry and going to bed without drinking or eating something. I don't know what to do!

Dawn - posted on 11/22/2008

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I think he is WAY too young to be disciplined. He is only a baby. A 6month old can't possibly know boundaries!!!!! Keep him on a regular schedule and everything will turn out o.k.

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Stacy - posted on 11/23/2008

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My youngest didn't cry either . . . still doesn't at 2 years old. :) He went from happy or doing ok to wailing and screaming . . . high pitched at that. Of course I didn't really "discipline" until he around a year old but thats just how he expresses the upset/crying/sad emotion. There has never been an in between noise for unhappy emotions. It really does grate but just take heart . . . they are not babies forever . . .actually for a very short time!

Melissa - posted on 11/22/2008

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Much as you may try, you just can't discipline a 6 1/2 month old baby. They simply don't have the development yet. We all want to think we have the most advanced, brilliant babies on the planet, but cognitive development only advances so far. Don't force it -- just try to go with the flow. You simply have a live wire on your hands! :) Personality, I find, is often strong very early on. With my kids I swear it was in utero! Just know that with this one you are always going to be reminding him about his "volume switch" and that perhaps having a time out stool ready for the terrible 2's is not such a bad idea! :) In the meantime, diversion is probably your best defense combined with a set of earplugs.

Ana C - posted on 11/22/2008

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Hi moms! Thank you so much for your help. Ben is a sweet sweet little guy, extermely intelligent, very independent to play, he sat down by only 4 months and always seemed to be ahead of his "friends". But the problem is that Bejamin doesn't cry like a baby normally cries, he screams!! And very very very loud!! So if he wants something or doesn't want something he will scream to the top of his lungs and kicks his legs trowing a fit! Whoever hears him screaming thinks I'm torturing him! Besides this fits he is happy and content, always smiling and cooing. He takes great naps during the days, so it's not because he is overtired... he is very social and loves to play with other babies - but the whole screaming thing is horrible and I don't know how to stop him from screaming. I had pre term labor and had to take steroids to mature his lungs faster and boy he was born screaming so loud!! What a lung!

Angel - posted on 11/22/2008

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My oldest didn't understand until she was about 9 months old and that was when I started wth discipline becuase that was the 1st time she ever willingly and purposely refused to listen to me. And even that was mostly just removing her from the situation and distracting her with other things. My youngest is VERY strong willed and will even now, as a two year old, constantly go back to things that are bad even after correcting her or moving her to another area. I waited with my discipline with her until she was about one and now I wish I had started earlier because then maybe she would listen better now if she knew she couldn't walk all over me....

Beth - posted on 11/22/2008

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Sounds like you have a smart, strong willed child like my oldest was. Routine is very good and part of the key to success as is consistency. My Lucas was crawling to push a button on the neurosmith blocks by 4 months. He started walking by 7.5 months (video to proove it) and full out walking by 8 months. He was VERY strong willed. This baby had 4 teeth by 4 months and was a biter. He wasn't easily distracted from what he wanted and ignoring his tantrums as some suggested to me didn't work.



I would ignore the tantrum and he would escalate. By 6 months he would crawl over to the floor lamp and shake it against the wall until I had to pay attention to him. We DID begin discipline by 6 months and he did understand.



Look into "Love and Logic" It is logical consequences done lovingly. No matter what kind of child you have this is a great program that believes in letting your kids make mistakes while they are young and the price tag is small compared to when they are big and a mistake could mean loosing your house.



Okay, we are talking 6 months old. so an example for my son would be: He bit momma. In a firm voice: "no bite momma." I give him an appropriate toy and move away or try to play appropriately with him. He would do it again and I would say in a sing song voice " uh Ooohh" and place him in a playpen for a short time.



It is best if he can calm himself down, but sometimes I would find a way to calm him after a while and bring him out to play again. If he bit me again I would repeat the "Uhh Oohh" very pleasantly and place him back to remove him from me and any danger if I wanted to ignore his tantrum. The next day or after a nap if he bit me again I started with "no bite momma" and offer a toy or play with him. If continues move to "uhh Ooohh" and the play pen ever time after that.



Keep a routine, be consistent, show lots of love but realize he is smarter than you think. You will be a much happier parent and he will be a happier more secure baby / child. Seriously, Love and Logic. I've taken the class through the preschool 3 times and would take it again if it were offered for free anywhere. You will get through this! I wish you much joy and happiness with your little one!

Lisa - posted on 11/22/2008

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What ever you want her to do let her think it's her idea. Let her help. Sounds like she is very independant.

Elizabeth - posted on 11/22/2008

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You can't discipline a 6-1/2 month old baby. You can do exactly what you have been doing by giving him a routine and that is the best discipline at his age. I have a 11 month old that won't let me change his diaper. You would think I had a knife and was trying to kill him with it by the way that he acts.

It can be very frustrating, but diversion is one of the best tactics that I have found works. Give him a toy or sing him a song or make a silly face or have someone else jump up and down while singing a song and making a silly face while giving him a toy...

It may just give you one moment of silence where you can actually gather yourself together to continue onward...

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