How do you discipline an 11 month old, without resorting to violence (ie: smacking and spanking)

Rayne - posted on 01/06/2012 ( 12 moms have responded )




My boyfriend and I have an 11 month old daughter. While my boyfriend and I were growing up we were spoiled brats. Our daughter has started throwing fits when we try to show her things she can and can't do, such as biting, hitting, etc. We don't want our daughter to be out of control like we were, and we know that something needs to be done about it ASAP... Any ideas?


Denikka - posted on 01/06/2012




Redirection works best at that age. She is too young to understand something like time outs. Ignore the tantrums.

For example, my daughter is going to be turning 1 on the 22nd of this month. When she bites, I pull away sharply, tell her *no. Biting is not nice. Biting hurts* and then place her away from me for a few minutes. She will try to crawl back into my lap or whatever (sometimes bawling her little eyes out), so I tell her, firmly *no. You bit mommy. You don't get to sit with me right now* and I will usually get up and walk away from her or I will continue to place her away from me (sometimes just making her sit down when she tries to crawl back up). When a minute or two has elapsed, I'll pick her up, say in a soft voice *biting is not nice, you hurt mommy* and give her a hug.

Tone of voice is a big thing. Don't yell, but be firm. If you say no to something, and she throws a tantrum, ignore it. I will literally walk away from my child when at home. I tell them (I also have a 2.5yr old boy) that when they can be nice, they can talk to me, but I don't listen to screaming (and in my son's case, whining has recently been added to that statement :P) If you need to, pick her up and place her somewhere safe before you walk away (the middle of the kitchen is a favorite tantrum area for my kids. They aren't allowed in there while I'm cooking and they love their mommy too much sometimes XD So I will pick them up and place them in the living room to keep them away from danger)

As your daughter gets a bit older (some say 18mo+, I started at about 2.5) you can start using a naughty spot. It can be a small mat or a chair or something like that. When the child does something inappropriate,give them a warning (do not hit me again or you are going to the naughty spot), if they repeat the behavior, you place them in the chair, give a quick explanation of what they did wrong (you hit mommy and that was not nice-remember tone of voice) then walk away. The kid WILL get up. It takes time and effort for them to understand it. Keep placing them back on the spot. When they stay on the spot for a sufficient amount of time (usually 1 minute per year-a 5yr old would get 5 minutes, etc), go over, re-explain what they did and ask them to say sorry. Once you get a sorry, give a hug and kiss and go off to play.

Consistency is KEY. Whatever parenting method you subscribe to, stay consistent. If a behavior is inappropriate, it is ALWAYS inappropriate. As they get older, they'll understand that certain things are okay in certain places and not okay in others. They don't get that at this age.

Remember also that upwards of the age of even 3 or 4, children have very little impulse control. Even if they KNOW they are not supposed to do something, if they get the inkling to do it, they'll do it. That's part of why consistency is so important. Nothing is more confusing than receiving missed messages about what's okay and what isn't.

I would also be careful about spoiling (you say that's an issue). It's okay to have her do chores that she's capable of. My daughter helps pick up the toys, not all of the time, but sometimes. My son picks up toys with me, helps me with the dishes and laundry and even helps me cook sometimes (he would do ALL of the cooking if he had his way XD kid is fascinated by the kitchen :P)

Don't buy her things to bribe her into being good (if you behave at the store, I'll buy you a chocolate bar/toy when we're done) There's nothing wrong with the occasional reward for good behavior (you were a super good girl today while we were shopping! Let's pick out a special treat!) but good behavior should be expected, not out of the ordinary.

Don't be afraid to make her earn the occasional reward, especially as she gets older. Depending on the child, a rewards chart can do wonders, once they're old enough to understand it (I would say 3-4 and up) Doing chores and good behavior over the course of a week can lead to a fun day. It doesn't have to be materialistic things, even a mommy/daughter fun day or letting her choose a board game to play on family game night can be a reward.

It's a long, tough road. But you'll make it :) Start early, be consistent and model the behaviors that you expect :)

Good luck :)

Krista - posted on 01/07/2012




I echo the other ladies. At 11 months of age, the best way to deal with biting and hitting is to be firm. Don't just tell her what not do do, show her what you DO want her to do.

So if she hits, you frown and say "NO hitting." And turn away. She'll realize that if she hits, Mommy won't play with her. And you can take her hand and make it pat your face gently, and say "gentle touches! Nice! Mommy likes that!" with a great big smile and a hug.

Same with the biting. If she bites, you sternly say, "No biting!" and put her away from you.

The key is to show her what you DO want her to do. A lot of parents forget that step, and then wonder why their kid won't behave...not realizing that modeling appropriate behaviour is a MAJOR key.

There's a community in here about positive behaviour strategies, and there is a LOT of great information and advice there. You should check it out.

Jodi - posted on 01/07/2012




Wow, really? People tell you to *flick her forehead* as in flick her in the facial area? Speechless.

The other ladies have given you great advice. It works :)

Kim - posted on 01/06/2012




In my opinion there really isn't much you can do. At that age if my kids would hit me I would take their hand and put it on my face and tell them gentle and if they kept doing it I would put them down. Same with biting. I would say "ouch, that hurts, no biting" and then put them down and ignore them for a few seconds. If she is getting into things try distracting her. I know they can be persistant but consistancy is key. It may seem like you are repeating yourself a million times a day but she will eventually learn. I don't think she would learn anything from time out and if you hit her I would think that would be confusing to her. Good luck!

[deleted account]

An 11 month old throwing a fit does not mean she will be a spoiled brat. At 9 months old my son once screamed for 20 minutes cuz I took my cell phone out of my purse before letting him play w/ my purse.... He is VERY stubborn (like my ex) and has a temper (like me), but he's 3.75 years old now and while we still have our moments/days... he's definitely not a spoiled brat at all. :)

Distraction, redirection, and firm but gentle guidance are what is best at this age. If you can't distract her from her fit... move her someplace where she won't get hurt and let her be for a bit. She'll learn. She's still a baby right now.


View replies by

Jodi - posted on 01/14/2012




For the record, in some states, it is illegal to even spank a child under the age of 2. I have no idea where you live, but just thought I'd throw that out there. (I know you've said that you don't spank, but other people really shouldn't be telling you do it either!)

I ditto redirection. Children this young need to know what they CAN do so that they have things under their belt to keep them out of trouble. It's totally normal for an 11 month old to throw fits at this age, she hasn't learned yet how to be frustrated or angry in what is a healthy fashion for an adult...she's just a baby! lol I have 11 month old twins, one's a biter, the other's a hitter and redirection works really well. With our hitter, she loves to hit her sister on the head with stuff, so I pick her up and give her a pot, or a pan or a bucket that she can bang on and tell her, "You can hit this, but we don't hit people." When she starts to bang on anything that isn't a person without my help, I give her big praises like "Rora! What a big girl banging on the ball!" For our biter we just say "No bites! Ouch!" and get out a book or give her a different toy or something. She seems to bite out of attention than anything else.

Lastly, these things (hitting, biting, throwing fits, throwing toys etc etc.) are really normal for babies, they're learning. So don't feel like you need to have a perfectly behaved child ASAP, kids misbehave and it's ok as long as you keep reminding them how to behave and don't *let* it become a problem! best of luck!

S. - posted on 01/07/2012




People tell you to flick her forehead? I have never heard of that before either!
My youngest is 14 months and if you could get a gold meddle in having paddies my Kadie would have a cupboard full, we just firmly tell her "no" or "don't touch" ect if she carries on we move her and tell her no we will repeat this till she gets fed up, if she has a paddy she usually slings her head back so I guide her to the floor incase she hurts her self then I pretend to ignore her she soon forgets why she's having a paddy in the first time x

Firebird - posted on 01/07/2012




All I ever did with my daughter at that age was redirect her attention to something she was allowed to do/have.

Shaz - posted on 01/07/2012




redirection but if its dangerous or shes tantruming get yourself a portacot or play pen. put it into a room that you are in because you need to stay in eye sight at this age and give her a time out. it works. she will carry on but once she quiets pull her out dont praise her, redirect her into something positive and then the moment she does something good praise her up. look up positive parenting program ( or tripple P).... it really does work even at this age

Rayne - posted on 01/06/2012




Yeah, that makes sense. And I've never actually smacked her, I just figured I'd clarify that I needed suggestions that dont involve getting physical, as every time I've asked people I know, they suggested I slap her hands or flick her forehead or spank her bum.... So thank you for the advice!! :)

Lady Heather - posted on 01/06/2012




At that age I never did anything but redirect (and verbally explain sometimes knowing she wouldn't fully understand). My daughter doesn't hit or bite. She's a really well-behaved girl or at least as much as a 2.5 year old can be.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms