Is my 1 year old understanding me?

Traci Lee - posted on 08/16/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My son, who just turned one, is often pushing the physical limits of his balance and safety. When he is doing something he shouldn't, my husband or I tell him no, remove him from the activity, and explain why he can't do said activity. But it seems that five minutes later he is back to doing the said activity. Is he just pushing his limits and testing us or does he just not have the capacity to understand yet? I don't want to raise a child that does t listen, but at this point I don't know what to think. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

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Jenni - posted on 08/17/2012

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A one year old lacks impulse control. Even if he can understand he shouldn't do something he can't really stop himself from it (most of the time) because he's running purely on impulse. It will be another 1-2 years before he begins to show the ability of restraint. But keep correcting him, you'll find yourself repeating yourself like a broken record for the next few years but use patience, kindness and consistency.

I suggest for now using redirection as your most powerful discipline tool. Not to be confused with distraction, show him what he *can do* instead of the negative behaviour. Some examples would be:

"We can't jump on the couch we might fall down and get hurt. Let's jump on the floor instead"

"Let's dig in this part of the garden instead. We don't want to tear up mommy's flowers"

"Pulling mommy's hair hurts! Why don't you brush mommy's hair instead."

Elfrieda - posted on 08/17/2012

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Children are different, it's hard to know how much they understand. I taught my son the words "careful" and "edge", not for him to say, but to understand them. (I started teaching him when he started crawling at 9 months) I would let him get in slightly dangerous situations (like on a drop of one step), then say, "Careful" right before he falls in a warning way, then when he falls and bumps his head, take him over to the scene of the accident and show him what happened. "You fell off the edge. (move my hand along the edge) Bump! And you hit your head on the floor." (hand acts out falling off the edge and hitting the floor) "Oh, now you have an owie. When you're by the edge, you need to be careful." And just kept doing variations on that, for bumping his head on the corners of tables, or burning his finger on a coffee mug, or leaning on a rolling toy. Soon me saying, "Careful!" made my son stop in his tracks and look around to see where the danger was. Very convenient for parking lots and really dangerous places. Totally worth all the small bruises and tears.



It worked for my son because he hates getting hurt, but my nephew is more of a daredevil and just runs without thinking. I don't think his parents have tried my method, they seem to just try to save him from everything, but I don't think it would work as well for him anyway. But it's still worth a try, in my opinion.

Bethany - posted on 08/17/2012

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my now 2.6 yr old was crawling at 7mths and pulling himself up and walking a10mths but he also climbed even at crawling stage he wanted up on everything like the lounge but wobbled so much that he would fall off! (happend only 2 times and no serious injuries) i had to barricade everything and remove all objects like toys he would use to climb and even now he doesnt listen and he pushes it so many times, we have a turtle tank that the top of is 4.5 foot off the ground and i have found him standing IN it! i have let him fall of the lounge and from small distances and he has realised it hurts but still insists on doing it, i think ur kid probably understands but likes the thrill of it and all you can do is keep reinforcing the rules ie no climbing etc until they grow up abit, good luck it is very hard when they are determined to do something and wont give up :)

Chaya - posted on 08/17/2012

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Let him fall a few times, not from great heights, but if he falls on his backside a few times, he'll learn his lesson.
He understands you far more than you realize he does.

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User - posted on 03/28/2013

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For you parents out there who are letting their babies fall to "teach them a lesson", are you crazy?
I have had epilepsy since the age of 4, at least that is when I was diagnosed, and I had to begin taking medication for this.
Please don't think you can teach a 1 year old a lesson from letting him/her fall. They can't analyze like we can as adults and don't realize their safety limitations yet, some never learn if they are of that type personality that's why there are daredevils that will try anything.
My son used to do scary things at a very young age, but he finally learned he couldn't ask me to watch him do those things, so he did them behind my back.
I guess it's the 1 yr old part that bothers me the most...things can happen fast then its too late and you can't go back and kiss those boo boos.
You see when I was a baby there weren't car seats, I'm 59, my mother was driving and slammed on the brakes and I landed on the floor of the car. Nuff said.

Doreen - posted on 08/18/2012

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He should understand you.
You could have him sit in time out for one minute, when he returns to an activity you just removed him from. Make sure you are constant with your time out rules and enforce it promptly so he knows which activity the punishment is for.
Re-direction seems to work well; try to get him interested in another activity so he doesn't want to come back to the dangerous one.

Torri - posted on 08/17/2012

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I would try the cause and effect method. One thing I also did that worked really well with my daughter is at 1 year old I put her in "time out" for about 10 seconds then I would give her a hug and tell her what she did could hurt her. Now she is a little older than 2 and when I say "go sit down" she knows exactly where to go and she knows exactly why she is there. She will sit there until I tell her to get up which most people can't believe she does but I thank the fact that I started her so young. The only difference now is she is required to tell me sorry and give me a hug and then she can go on her way.

Traci Lee - posted on 08/17/2012

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Thank you all so much! I'm going to try the cause and effect method and the redirection method!

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