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Ask Amy- Can You Discipline a One-Year-Old?

by What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood
November 30th 2020
This week Lindsay asks: How do you discipline a 1-year-old? Specifically, with pulling my hair and dropping his food on the ground. I say “no" in a firm way and he laughs at me. Any advice you could p... More
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to ask Amy from what fresh hell laughing in the face of motherhood, solving your parenting dilemmas. One question at a time. This'll weeks question came over email from Lindsay, she says. How do you discipline a one year old specifically with pulling my hair and dropping his food on the ground? I say no in a firm way, and he laughs at me. Any advice you could provide would be much appreciated. PS Love your podcast. Thanks, Lindsay. Okay, the short answer is no. You can't really discipline on one year old, not inthe e sense that we understand that it's more about redirection. Toddlers do not yet have what's called theory of mind, which is the idea that somebody can hold a feeling or emotion or thought in their head That's different from their own. Your son is throwing things on the floor because he can. He's interested in things that he can control. He's interested in cause and effect, those air things that he's just starting to understand

. And if you do absolutely nothing that food throwing is going to end, usually around 18 months, even if you did nothing, it will get boring to him long before he understands why you don't want him to do it. In the meantime, it's making a mess. OK, so you could make it easier for yourself by putting old newspaper or a mat underneath the chair high chair to make clean up easier. But if we're going to try to get him not to do it instead, you have to get a little more creative saying no to him like he's starting to understand what know is, But basically you're saying no is part of the reward. He presses the button and it lights up. He winds up the jack in the box and it pops up. He throws food on the floor and he gets Mom's attention and Mom says no. So you have to change what your son is getting in return for throwing food on the floor to make it less interesting than keeping the food on the tray. In times like this, it's important to think about what you can add or what

you can take a way to solve the problem, to make it something he can no longer dio. He can't throw food on the floor if you put less food on his try to begin with, okay, he can't throw food on the floor. If you put a plastic cup on his tray and say food that we don't want goes in here, we say no thank you and model putting the food in the cup Instead, he might be interested in that he might throw the cup on the floor with the food in it. You know you have to wait and see. But adding, or taking away is the way to approach this. It's the same thing with the hair pulling. He's doing it to get a reaction. Even if you're saying no, even if it's a stern voice, it's still a reaction, so you need to kind of blank face it. Take away your reaction. What can you add? Maybe you can hand him a toy that he really likes before you pick him up. If he's holding hot wheels in his little fists, then he can't pull your hair again, thinking about what you can add or take away. It's all about creating what's called incompatible

behaviors incompatible behaviors. It's something you set up that can't happen along with the undesirable behavior. This is something that started in the animal kingdom and a human behavior. A study it as well. It's very useful for little kids. Something else you might want to add, try for the meal time thing is to play music your son really likes. Maybe his favorite. I don't know his favorite kids album during dinner. And then if you did throw food on the floor, you might say, Oh, no, now the music has to go off because we don't have music when we throw food on the floor and then otherwise blank face it. So the next time he goes to throw food on the floor Elephant K. This doesn't make the music stop. And I like that music. It's important to remember that your son is not doing these things to test you, even though it feels that way. He's doing these things to explore his world. He's doing these things to explore cause and effect, So you need to change the effect and make it a little bit less successful for him in order to

get the behavior that you want. I hope that helps Lindsay. Let us know how it goes. Send us your parenting questions and we might answer yours Next. Email US questions at what fresh hell podcast dot com Thanks for listening

Ask Amy- Can You Discipline a One-Year-Old?
Ask Amy- Can You Discipline a One-Year-Old?
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