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Is it possible to discipline a 1 year old?

We are trying to teach my 13 month old son the meaning of the word "no." So far, it isn't working very well, lol. We try not to overuse the word but stick to that and discipline when he goes after a serious "no-no", ie. the trash can, outlets (which all have covers on them) and one certain area of the house that has a lot of electrical cords. A firm "no" doesn't work. A loud "no" with a hand clap just seems to excite him. A "no" and tap on the back of the hand has no effect. And the most recent one, placing him in the corner until a count of ten was actually working (after two or three times) until this weekend when we had a lot of guests that encouraged him to throw away trash and yesterday when I commited a fatal parenting error, got tickled at his hardheadedness and laughed at him. Now "no" and the corner are just a game to him and he smiles as he's "testing" me. Cont'd....


Asked by WindyTheWidow at 6:34 PM on Nov. 3, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (14)
  • I have a 2.5 year old and a 13 month old. I discipline very intentionally, and with a lot of thought. It's hard, don't get me wrong. But the payoff is great. I have kids that I can discipline anywhere in any situation without fear of being looked down on. My kids definitely misbehave. I expect it. I have always said that I expect childish behavior from children, so it helps me keep my cool when they pull a stupid. And I'm far from perfect, I do a lot of stupid, too. I just try to respect my kids, and make it easy for them to follow my direction and rules. Sometimes a 30 second thought investment will lead to me AND my kids being happy with the outcome of discipline.

    Answer by apexmommy at 11:08 PM on Nov. 3, 2009

  • Should I just remove all of the "no-no's" until he is older and can better comprehend it? Or should I continue trying to teach him that it means to leave something alone? Any other ideas that worked for you?

    Answer by WindyTheWidow at 6:36 PM on Nov. 3, 2009

  • My kids all understood "no" by 12 months. It is like anything else - you use it often enough and they will learn the meaning. my 2nd born is, well I am not sure what to call him!, he laughed when we disciplined him. He is hardheaded and still loves to push it as far as he possibly can. He knows, he just doesn't care! Keep it up and over time you will notice change in his behavior. Just be SUPER consistent. That means discipline if he doesn't respond to the very first NO!! It will keep you running, but he will learn to stop immediately. Granted it may be 4 months and all of a sudden you will realize you are not shouting and running as much! :-)

    Answer by micheledo at 6:42 PM on Nov. 3, 2009

  • Instead of saying no, try distracting him from what he shouldn't be playing with, and cover the outlets, they lose a lot of interest then. With my two we started time out about 18 months, sit for 1 min. Then say sorry and a hug. Save time out for serious crimes, ie hitting, biting I would say tell him why it is a no no instead of just saying no, it will take awhile for it to sink in, maybe a few weeks or months. But be persistent and he will get it. My two know there boundaries but it did take my oldest I think about a month to learn them. My youngest just copies her so she has them down. Also with the garbage, get a covered garbage can, that will reduce throwing everything away, but not totally, we lost a lot of things that way. And baby proofing well refuses the need for no, and redirecting. And then they learn what they are not suppose to play with, by not having access to it.


    Answer by DevilInPigtails at 6:48 PM on Nov. 3, 2009

  • Yes it is possible to discipline a 1 year old. Especially if it started when they started moving around and they've grown up with learning it. Keep at it. IT's just going to take longer.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:58 PM on Nov. 3, 2009

  • I would say it's not only possible but Necessary!

    Answer by Adelicious at 7:51 PM on Nov. 3, 2009

  • Distraction is still your best ally so use it to your advantage whenever possible. If there is a part of the house you don't want him in, gate it off or shut the door. If you can't put a gate up, then a calm but firm "no" combined with putting your hands on his shoulders, turning him, and redirecting him to another room will help.

    Be sure he has plenty of safe, interesting places/things to explore and if need be, remove items you've found to be too tempting for now.

    Save time out for serious offenses like biting, hitting, kicking, etc. You can do a holding time out for this age. Say to him "No biting" then hold him in your lap facing away from you for one minute then repeat "No biting" give him a kiss, and move on.

    Answer by twinclubmom at 9:05 PM on Nov. 3, 2009

  • Do you hold him firm no matter how much he struggles, TwinCM?

    Answer by WindyTheWidow at 9:25 PM on Nov. 3, 2009

  • Yup, possible. For us, no is not a great word. I'm not one of those moms that's afraid to tell my kid no. It's just that no doesn't really help. Playing with the cat dish? Say no. You kid will think no what? No water? No bowl? We use the word that best describes what we need. Typically, it's stop or freeze. We use stop when it's something that will remain out, such as the cat bowl. We use freeze when we want her to stop all movement until we can remove whatever it is. No is pretty generic for this age.

    We also, whenever disciplining, show the yes that goes with the no. So, she can't play with the cat bowl. We show her a bowl in her play kitchen she can play with. We make sure to replace the no with a yes so that instead of staring at the cat bowl, she'll think oh, I'll just go play with my own bowl instead.

    Answer by apexmommy at 9:33 PM on Nov. 3, 2009

  • For the trash, make sure he knows the trash can is for throwing trash. So, I'd be saying no touching, throw trash only. For the electrical cords, put some tape on the floor, and when he goes near it, say this side for baby. When he crosses it, say stop or danger or whatever fits best. We say for danger areas not for baby. She knows her body stays away. It takes time, don't think it's magical. We have to remove the kids for a while, but eventually it sinks in.

    Answer by apexmommy at 9:36 PM on Nov. 3, 2009