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How can I teach my 14 month old that it's not okay to...

Take toys away from people? I'm sure this is normal, but I want it to stop. When she sees my 4 yr old playing with a toy, she hits and screams because she wants it. I try distracting her with other toys and telling her "no-no" but her fits get even bigger. I've considered putting her in time out, but my MIL says that she is too young to understand what that means. I don't want her to think that screaming and hitting is a method of getting her way, but I also understand that she still has a communication barrier. What should I do?

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Asked by nicolemstacy at 11:39 AM on Jul. 20, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 19 (7,807 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • She is not too young to understand time out. My thoughts...she can scream all she wants but it won't get her what she wants. She is learning that not everything is hers and it frustrates her. The sooner you get her to realize this, the easier it will be on you. I would start time outs or removing her from the area until she calms down.

    She is not hurt, so screaming will not hurt her.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 11:43 AM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • Time-outs don't work and saying no doesn't work. Here is a famous article about why saying no to toddlers is ineffective.

    It sounds like you may need to learn a whole new way of interacting with your kids. Authoritative parenting style is the most effective and allows parents to enjoy their kids. You have well behaved kids you can take anywhere. You don't need to punish because you know how to parent in effective ways. Go to google and type in authoritative parenting. A good first book is Love & Limits by Elizabeth Crary. It's a problem avoiding/solving oriented book for toddlers and young children.


    Answer by Gailll at 11:45 AM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • The minute she does it, you get on her level, take the toy and hand it back to her sibling, tell her that sister was playing with that toy and she has to wait for her turn. Then, hand her another toy. Walk away. Repeat these steps everytime. If she immediately does it again, you repeat the step and you warn her that she will go in time out if she takes her toy again. If she does it again quickly after, you put her in time out and explain why. She should be old enough to grasp the concept after a time or two.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 11:45 AM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • Its something that is learned with consistency and over time. I would take the toy that she took out of her hands..give it back to whomever she took it from then remover her from the situation. You don't have to call it a time out..but thats basically what it is,lol. As long as she's screaming and throwing a fit, put her in a playpen or strapped in a highchair and walk away from her. Until she calms down. By this time, she should have forgotten about the toy that she wanted. When you take her out, give her something that she CAN play with at the moment, trying to keep her distracted from wanting what someone else has again.
    My daughter went through it and from time to time she STILL does it..and I STILL don't let her have something she took from someone.Shes 17 months.Were working on it, gets better, gets easier! really! it does! lol Good Luck :)

    Answer by kimberlyinberea at 11:45 AM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • I stated putting my son in time out when he was about 15 months old. If you do this, just remember that we very young children you should only do one minute for every year your child is. So 14 months would just be one minute(2 years= 2 minutes, 3 years= 3 minutes, etc). I believe time out gets the point across. My son does not like time out at all. I'm sure that minute feels like forever to someone so little. Now when he's in time out he doesn't try to get up. But when I first started he would just get up from the chair or the rug I would put him on and start crying. Every time he got up I would start the time out count down over again. Now he just sits there and cries. But once the time out is over he stops crying and goes back to what he was doing but doesn't do whatever it was that earned him a time out.

    Answer by crazedaffe at 11:46 AM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • She is NOT too young for time out. she has to know that it unacceptable.

    Answer by SabrenaLeigh at 11:50 AM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • Kids learn quickly what buttons to push. be consistent and don't let screaming fit win out. No appeasement.

    Yes, at 14-months she lacks the emotional vocabulary to communicate what she wants or, more importantly what she's feeling. It's a good time to start teaching her though. At that age, I'd say to my kids, "I know you're mad because you want that toy. It's ok to be sad, but it is not ok to scream about it." Use short concise statements. Take the toy and say very clearly "No. We do not take toys from other people." Also, though, model the RIGHT behavior for her. Talk to your 4 yr old first about 'helping' to teach her sibling. Then say "DD, may I have a turn with the doll?" Let your toddler see you ask nicely and see that sometimes DD shares. When she does, say thank you. When she doesn't, say "That's ok. Maybe next time." And then you pick up another toy and play with that one.


    Answer by ldmrmom at 1:08 PM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • Btw, I also disagree that a time-out is inappropriate. It's not a long time out but it is taking her out of the situation to help her calm down. remember, though, that at this age, your daughter lacks the impulse control to NOT reach out and just grab what appeals to her. She's not wired with a pause button yet. It's going to take consistency for you to help her make that connection.

    I disagree that you don't need discipline. My kids get a lot of say in what goes on in their day. They also have plenty of very clear parameters to what we consider acceptable. Sometimes we're more lax their their peers parents. Sometimes we're more strict. My kids also, however, know that their are consequences to not following the family rules. There's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes those are natural consequences and sometimes it's a matter of a time-out or a loss of privilege. It works well for us.


    Answer by ldmrmom at 1:13 PM on Jul. 20, 2010

  • imo, if she is old enough to do the crime, she is old enough to be punished for it. If she understands that she can hit and take away toys, she knows what she's doing and can understand it's wrong.

    Answer by EveMomToThree at 11:28 PM on Jul. 20, 2010

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