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Old 12-06-2009, 04:53 PM   #1
Liddle1
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what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

Is my child behind or am I just setting my expectations too low or something? He's 14 months old and still has not been able to grasp rules. It's a constant reminder every day. Don't pinch me or slap me, don't pull my hair while you nurse, don't hit the dog, don't throw toys at people, don't eat your books, don't throw your food, don't throw your sippy cup......

I get after him every single time, I've even tapped his hand out of frustration and then felt like the worst mommy in the world because he rubbed his hand and pouted his lip and started crying like "mommy, why did you hurt me?" I was smacked around as a child so I REALLY do not want to be a parent that hits, ever. But it's like he truly does not understand WHY I get upset with him.

The milestones for this age say that what he is doing is normal. Not able to understand rules, knows what no means but does not always listen, gets into things out of curiosity not being "bad" etc. I'm really trying to be a good mom but I feel like my kid is completely out of control. Mine is the one throwing food and smacking other kids at play school when kids his same age are sitting nicely and will actually play with toys instead of just throwing them.

I don't know, I'm starting to wonder if there is something wrong with him

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Old 12-06-2009, 04:55 PM   #2
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

It depends on the child, I think they understand around 12-15 months but really start to understand between 18 months and 2 years old.
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:37 PM   #3
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

IME they understand the rules, but don't understand the reasons behind them (when I hit Mommy it hurts her-I don't like hurt, so I shouldn't hurt Mommy) nor can they control their impulses. Also, you have to get to the underlying reason for the behavior.
My DS2 was my food thrower at 14 months. It's his signal that he is either finished eating or that you gave him the wrong thing to eat. Now that he's older and better able to communicate, he can epress his wants better. We have also compromised. He hands me the unwanted food instead of screaming and throwing it on the floor. Instead of biting his sister when he is angry, he finds something inanimate to take it out on (I've seen him bite the bed and even a protruding corner of a wall). We are still working on hitting and throwing, but he will often (repeatedly, so I get the point) throw a toy to express his anger or hit an inanimate object.
Both of my boys are/were this way. They get upset easily and it comes out as intense anger. I think it's their way of crying. My DD just cries and will tell me she needs to cry but my sons both get ANGRY. My dad is the same way. His stomping around and hollaring is his way of crying. DH doesn't act that way and I cry, so I am guessing it's a bit of a boy thing? At least for my boys.
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:43 PM   #4
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

My son is just starting to understand "stay there - I'll
be right back" now at 18 months. Defintely wasn't at 14.
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:46 PM   #5
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

I think 14mo is quite young to really understand and follow the rules. They may understand that they shouldn't do something, but at this stage they're still testing the boundaries. I find it easier to deal with the 'naughty' things my daughter does now than when she was less than 18 months. She really will listen to me now if I speak in a stern voice, and we don't have many behavior issues at all. She is generally a really well-behaved kid and i haven't really felt the need to resort to any discipline.
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:48 PM   #6
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

I don't think they understand the rules or the reasons behind them at 14 months. I think your expectations are too high and that is why you are getting frustrated. Yes, it's annoying to have to tell them the same thing 454,398 times, but they don't keep doing it to tick you off. They have only been on this earth for 14 short months and they have to learn so much about how everything works. As annoying as it is, just keep telling him no or redirecting him. Show/tell him what he should do instead. If he hits you while he's playing, say "be soft" and show him how to touch softly. If he keeps hitting, say "ouch" and put him down and walk away for a minute. Or if he hits out of anger put him down and walk away the first time. Teach him you won't let him treat you that way. He's still really, really young. Keep teaching him what TO DO and redirect or use some gentle discipline when you need to. But he's really just still a baby. He'll learn over time.

As far as hitting other kids at playgroups and such...you might just have to stand right behind him to prevent those kinds of things for a while. Or maybe get down and play with him to show him how the toys work. I babysit my 2 year old niece and somedays I can't be more than two feet away from the babies because they will hurt each other all day long. I dont' get anything done those days!!
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:56 PM   #7
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyfrog View Post
I don't think they understand the rules or the reasons behind them at 14 months. I think your expectations are too high and that is why you are getting frustrated. Yes, it's annoying to have to tell them the same thing 454,398 times, but they don't keep doing it to tick you off. They have only been on this earth for 14 short months and they have to learn so much about how everything works. As annoying as it is, just keep telling him no or redirecting him. Show/tell him what he should do instead. If he hits you while he's playing, say "be soft" and show him how to touch softly. If he keeps hitting, say "ouch" and put him down and walk away for a minute. Or if he hits out of anger put him down and walk away the first time. Teach him you won't let him treat you that way. He's still really, really young. Keep teaching him what TO DO and redirect or use some gentle discipline when you need to. But he's really just still a baby. He'll learn over time.
I agree.
My son is 3.5, and some days I still have to remind him of the rules many, many times a day. And he is a great kid.

Try and stay calm.
When they are getting into trouble, or not listening, just redirect them to something else.
If you tell him mutiple times, then remove him from the situation completely.
We try and model the behavior we want out of our kids.
Your son sounds totally normal for his age. Don't beat yourself up.
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:01 PM   #8
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liddle1 View Post
Is my child behind or am I just setting my expectations too low or something? He's 14 months old and still has not been able to grasp rules. It's a constant reminder every day. Don't pinch me or slap me, don't pull my hair while you nurse, don't hit the dog, don't throw toys at people, don't eat your books, don't throw your food, don't throw your sippy cup......
Imagine this...

You wake up one day in the middle of Afghanistan. You don't understand the culture, the dress, the language. Nothing. Little by little, you start to understand bits and pieces. However, it's difficult. People speak so fast, use so many words, that you're only able to focus on the last word said.

Now, imagine you're on Mars. Nothing is the same as on Earth. Gravity works one way on the ship, but differently on the planet. Things are the same..but different. You are a research scientist. Your job is to understand and learn about this planet to be able to tell others.


Both of these are your son. He is a scientist. It is his job to try things over and over. He doesn't have the impulse control yet because that's not part of the job description. He'll get there, slowly, as he figures out different aspects. Do the cheerios fall from the stroller the same way they fall from the high chair? This hurts me, does it hurt you? As he grows and learns that reactions are consistent, he'll develop the impulse control. At the moment, this is where he needs to be.

He's also a foreigner. He's got the equivalent of your two years of high school Spanish. He's catching the gist, but to him you're more of Charlie Brown's teacher: "whah whah whah..BALL!" He really needs a tour guide here. He needs you to give him usable information and consistent responses so that he can figure things out. He doesn't need to be told what NOT to do, but instead needs to know what TO DO. He needs your aide in exploring and helping him to learn from his mistakes. He needs ways to 'do experiments' in a safe, guided way. Like, directing him to a ball and basket to throw it in rather than a truck across the room or teaching him a gentle touch when he wants to feel the dog.


I wouldn't spend any time comparing him to other children. 1. they're all at different ages. 2. They're all at different stages. No child works on something at the same time as everyone else, nor goes about it the same way.
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:13 PM   #9
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

Its pretty normal to not follow rules, they are barely understanding language at this age. But if he seems a lot different than other kids his age and you are worried, I'd have a development check by early intervention, just in case.

In the meantime, you can try a few things. When talking to toddlers always phrase it in the positive, they don't hear the "don't" so, say "Pet the kitty nicely" or "Hands off the kitty" instead of don't hit the kitty. Here's a few others, "Feet on the floor" instead of don't climb, "Sit on the couch" instead of don't jump...you get the idea.

Learning is all about imitation at this age, so show him what you want him to do. Rotate toys and books often to keep the novelty high. Give simple quick natural consequences in a matter of fact way without anger. If he throws toys, they get put away for a while. Same with books. If he throws food, lunch is over. If he pulls your hair while nursing, put him down for a few minutes and try again later.

You may want to check out the Love and Logic series. The authors have a tape on Early Childhood that I got from the library. I tend to be a little more AP oriented than they are, but I got some good ideas and the techniques are really great for taking parental anger out of the equation.
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:21 PM   #10
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

my DDs 3 and still doesnt seem to get it... although she could just know that i am a pushover!
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