Punishing my 1 year old ...

Ashley - posted on 02/16/2010 ( 7 moms have responded )




My son Dominic just turned 1 on February 5th. When he was about 10 months old he started kind of hitting people like playfully and pulling hair. In the beginning a simple but very stern "NO!" was enough to get him to stop, but lately the behavior has been getting worse and my threatening "NO!"'s just aren't doing it anymore. When he gets really worked up when we're playing around, he will hit me in the face and pull my hair really hard. He does not only do it to me either, he does it to others and he's getting worse and worse about it as he gets older. He also has recently developed a quite annoying habit of yelling VERY loud whenever anyone else is having a conversation, like he's trying to get our attention.

I've tried everything that I feel is age appropriate such as, the stern NO, removing him from the situation and setting him down to play with other toys along with the NO, and even the "evil eye" (which at one point did work) My mom suggested smacking his hand along with the NO, but I feel like smacking his hand after he hits me will just make him think hitting is okay?

When I do yell at him, or try to punish him he laughs at me, he does not take me serious in anyway. Which I find very frustrating because I have always tried to enforce punishment for behavior that may result in bad habits and I certainly never allow it to become a game. But that's what it is to him when I try to punish, it's a big game.

The only person who he listens to is his father, when Josh sternly say's NO, Dominic immediately stops and his little chin actually quivers. I am concerned that if I do not put an end to this behavior now, it will only progress to a completely uncontrollable level, and even though he is only one, I still think about when he has to go to preschool and things like that.

Does anybody have any ideas for a good way to punish him that will actually be effective? I feel that he is too young for a naughty seat (he won't stay in it), and I do not want to put him in time out in his crib because I do not want him to associate his crib with something bad. Any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated, I am completely lost as to what to do :(


Bethany - posted on 02/16/2010




one year old's brains can not comprehend "punishment".

They can only be effectively reminded every time not to do something, by our tone of voice, and removal from that thing. For example, Charlotte will kick into me when I am changing her, it's almost a reflex. I step back and say VERY gruffly and loudly "NO KICK, NO KICK" and I will hold her ankles. She needs reminding every time. So every time it is the same reaction, I do not escalate, or change my routine. She understands now the first time if she does it at all.

If she pinches my face (also because she just hasn't the fine motor skills to control how hard she 'touches' things) I hold her wrist and say very loudly "NO PINCH, NO PINCH"

I would highly recommend taking the time to read about infant and child discipline in Margot Sunderland's "The Science of Parenting" or at least Googleing it. It is well worth it. It really makes sense.

Remember, these littlies are brand new here. They don't know the rules yet. We need to teach them at their level of comprehension, which at the moment is like a puppy, that's where their brains are at right now, they havn't developed the cognition, the higher brain function, so can't be treated as such.

Melinda - posted on 02/17/2010




my son just turned one on the 11th// i asked his doctor what i should do for fits and stuff and he said the best thing to do is set him down and walk away.. i said the hardest part is he throws the Bigest of all his fits when i'm changing his diaper... his doc said again all you can do is just talk him through it as calmly as possible... this is and age you really can't "really punish" a one year old.. like one of your respondants said they have no idea what is wrong...or that they've done anything wronge.. they dont uderstand right from wrong yet.. you may explaine in simple matter... but no "actual understanding is going on in their heads yet." i was frowned apon by some of my peers due to i wont just let my son cry in his crib and not go in and get him in the middle of the night... some of my peers started letting em cry for hours at a time as early as a few weeks old.. they say "if you don't now they may never learn to sleep through the night." i strongly disagree.. between birth and 6 months is trust time and i was abbandond by his father and i was not about to allow him to feel that way from me... he took no soothers.. no binkie. no blanky.. not bottle.. so i finally got him a puppy stuffy and just learned his gotta have momma cries...

so sorry for the detour! haha again i was concerned couz bad attitudes and terrible fits runs on both sides of the family and his daddy has a terrible temper... but doc says no punisheing yet.. they should not be scared o you at one.. you want them to tust you at this age....

if you feel like your up to your wits end call someone to help and you take a breather.. if your home alone and don"t have anyone to call who is close or willing... set them down and walk away.... take a breath of fresh air. i'm a single mom i know you can do this... most families just have to find what works for them couse our babbies are all diff.

good luck!


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Melinda - posted on 02/24/2010




i agree with Jacqui as well... I did foget to mention i say "no" sternly but not mean cuz Brian tends to get his feeling s hurts easy... i tryied the sad face... haha lol poor baby started crying.... must be like i was when i was little and just way sensative... i always say "no need for this fit" or "be gentil" and i sometimes have to put him down and walk away. but like she said... it does tend to happen more during tired or hungry or diaper times

Bethany - posted on 02/18/2010




Also remember to keep the food and milk up to them. Their blood-glucose levels can go down quickly, and they need to be kept well fed to keep an even keel. It's the same with me, I am really crotchety if I don't eat regularly.

If I am late getting Charlotte her dinner, she melts down quite easily, she sits on the floor with her little legs out in front and puts her arms out and her head on the floor and wails, for the littlest thing. Then I look at the time and think uh-oh, running late. She's happy once she's eating. (She's 8kgs at 1year, so I have no issue with keeping regular meals up to her, the more the better)

So if your child is having little melt downs, maybe try a carb snack like a cracker and peanut paste or something. Could just be a blood sugar thing. Often works for me. I always have some cookies and water with me at the shops or if I'm out, to give her to tide her over if she gets ratty.

Jacqui - posted on 02/17/2010




I've had very similar experiences with my son. He has just started having mini tantrums when his needs are not met quick enough or he is told "no" to something he wants. He can also get worked up and hit out or pinch. I've been sternly saying "no" when he lashes out and saying "poor mummy" and "gentle." I usually put on a sad face and gently rub the spot that he has hurt me. He responds really well by hugging me and rubbing the same spot, almost like he understands that it hurt and he's saying sorry! The tantrum thing is another story but you can't give in to every whim, I just keep my cool and when possible set him down and ignore him until he stops. Most of the time these tantrums are made worse by tiredness or before meals. The setting aside and saying "no" with a behaviour you don't like, I think, is the most effective at this stage.

Ez - posted on 02/17/2010




You can not 'punish' a one year old. The reason you feel your efforts to do so are falling on deaf ears is because your son simply isn't old enough to understand. I really think this age is one of the most difficult for expectations of behaviours, because while they are old enough to wreak havoc (believe me when I say my daughter is WILD) they are too young for time outs or removal of toys.

My daughter is a lil menace, and I quite literally feel like I'm spending all day saying no and removing and redirecting sometimes. She touches things she's not supposed to. She climbs on things she's not supposed to. Nappy changes are a nightmare. And yes she will hit sometimes out of frustration and temper. This is normal toddler behaviour, and I've found the best, and only, way to deal with it is to correct immediately then ignore. For example, my daughter hit me in the face the other day while I was talking to my mum. I can only assume it was to get a reaction and therefore my attention. I simply said a loud 'No Milla', put her down on the floor and turned away to continue my conversation. I guess it's like a mini-baby-version of time out. If a child is doing something to get a reaction, and they don't get it, the behaviour will stop. Or at least it does with my daughter. It's as far down the road of 'punishment' I'm willing to go with a child this age. It sends an immediate message that if they behave in an unacceptable manner (hitting/biting/hair pulling) they will lose your attention. Because really, that's what motivates most children this age.

Karrington - posted on 02/16/2010




I tell my son "You do not hit in the face" or "You do not hit". I do smack his hand and I recently started time out (in his pack n play). He hates it but I explain what he has done to go in there and I give him a warning ("Trenton, if you do not stop.........then Mommy will put you in time out). If he has to go to time out I tell him again that because he did not stop doing the action that he has to go to time out. It has seemed to work thus far (one day at a time).

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