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Old 12-06-2009, 06:21 PM   #11
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

Well it is an important age so I would not give up being consistent with your rules. He WILL get it eventually. Kids personalities are SO different so it is not fair to him to compare him to other kids. I don't think kids at that age can understand rules but I also don't believe that they need to understand everything in order to obey the rules. He may not understand that hitting the dog is hurting the dog and not nice BUT he can be taught that hitting is not appropriate. Don't beat yourself over it, just keep working with him and remain patient. One day things will just start clicking for him.

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Old 12-06-2009, 06:24 PM   #12
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

My DD at 4 yo is still testing out rules. She knows my expectations and is (once again) going through a stage of "what will happen if I....?" stand on the chair, take more chocolate that I'm allowed, don't put my shoes on when asked, etc. It's not new. It's like she has to learn different aspects of it at different times. Before she had to learn that her feet would get cold if she went around without shoes. Now she's trying to figure out when mommy will let her take her time, when she will take her out with no shoes on, when mommy will explain, when she'll get annoyed, when she'll laugh. It is very trying. I feel two steps behind and struggle to achieve some consistency.

What I mean to say is that you should expect issues with rules and expectations to come in waves. He will be learning about what is wanted of him and how the world works throughout childhood. Someday it won't be hitting, but coming home before curfew and talking back. I wonder from what you said whether you were treated as if there was something wrong with you when you were a child testing the boundaries. If you feel scared he's not normal, it seems to me that maybe you wish for more control over him than is possible or desirable at his age.

I hope that's helpful and not too personal! Seems like totally typical 14 mo behavior you're describing!
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:25 PM   #13
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

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Originally Posted by elsieme View Post
I wonder from what you said whether you were treated as if there was something wrong with you when you were a child testing the boundaries. If you feel scared he's not normal, it seems to me that maybe you wish for more control over him than is possible or desirable at his age.

I hope that's helpful and not too personal! Seems like totally typical 14 mo behavior you're describing!
wow very insightful. i never even considered this. yes, a big fat yes. i was not a bad child, but i was stubborn and a tad lippy. i was told that i was a bad child, that i was just like my aunt (who has certifiable mental disorders...), that i was being controlled by demons by my parents who are honeslty out of touch with reality and a little bit insane (literally) and other things. I was constantly spanked or slapped when i was older, grounded all the time for very minor offenses (my parents grounded me for a month because i left the house during a fight one time when I was a teenager because they were just screaming at me and I needed to get away). I was constantly getting threats that they were going to send me to foster care etc. now were my parents BAD parents? no not really, there were other things they were great at, like sacrificing everything they had to give us the best. but in some areas, not so great

ANYWAYS. thank you for pointing that out. i'm going to be VERY careful not to label my child as i was labelled. i was not even aware that i was doing this.

as far as comparing him, I really try not to but it's hard to endure the judgemental mommy glares from other moms when i'm running around from activity to activity (he never stays still!) hovering over him so he doesn't hurt anyone, and they're sitting there sipping coffee while their kids the same age stand painting at an easel or playing in the sand for 10 minutes. or on facebook when i say im not getting a christmas tree because DS won't stay away from it and it will just frustrate him and another mom chimes in with a snotty comment that she's just going to teach her child to stay away from their tree (i don't remember the exact wording but it made me feel like i was just a bad lazy parent). anyways i try not to worry when there are minor differences but it seems like a big glaring difference in the way the other kids act. he has been followed by developmental people (long story but he's fine) so no worries there, I just worry i'm doing something wrong.

i will focus on telling him what TO do from now on. i have tried a lot of the above mentioned strategies and some work and some don't (and some only work once lol...). i'll just keep at it and maybe one day the lightbulb will go on. that's how it was with a lot of things with him, just when i was about to get really frustrated he would clue in.
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Old 12-13-2009, 09:42 PM   #14
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

I remember DD1 going after a particular outlet at 14 months over... and over... and over... It didn't matter what I did. And she was a really obedient toddler in general, astounding people at how well she'd usually behave.

DD2 is now 17 months and starting some deliberate disobedience, like grabbing an open water cup and running away giggling. It amused me, because she clearly knew she was doing something wrong. In other cases the action is just too enticing. CDs get pulled out of the shelves multiple times a day. I wouldn't expect obedience out of most kids at 14 months, no.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:36 AM   #15
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

I think "understanding the rules" evolves with age, my DD is 14 months and she understands certain things, no, come here, be gentle to the dog, however, at this age, impulse control is basically non-existent, self-managementt is a skill that develops over time. I have just introduced very brief timeouts of my daughter for particularily important rules - just 2, don't hurt the dog, and don't hurt people (intentionally), so if she rips on the dogs face I immediately pick her up and put her in the designated time out space, I stay right there with her but only look at her out of my peripheral vision, she stays for about 30 seconds, after that I pick her up explain gentle hands with Newton (the dog) give her a hug and a kiss and send her on her way. I also do this if she intentionally hurts someone (bites mainly) but not if she bangs her head while playing, or steps on my foot with shoes or any other accident. I never raise my voice or a hand to my child. Just one other strategy that you may want to try. Best of luck, this is an interesting age!
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:58 AM   #16
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

We strated time out at 13 months when rules were broken or unacceptable behavior occured. She understood that she was not allowed to get up from her timeout(if she did, she got put back down....she picked up quick). We timed her for a minute, when her time was up she stood up DH or I squatted down on her level, told her what she done wrong and why it was wrong. Ex: you hit mommy, that's a no-no, hitting hurts mommy." Then we give her a hug and a kiss and tell her we love her and that she's a good girl. Now that she's older she's in for 2 minutes, we do the same thing except we make her say sorry before she gets out.
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:19 AM   #17
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

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I was constantly getting threats that they were going to send me to foster care etc...
Eeek! This makes me sad.

My Grandma once said to my brother in frustration that if he kept on being loud, DSS was going to think they were killing him and come take him away. This was completely unhelpful, as he then sobbed quietly for the next three hours. I can only imagine the trauma of a semi-serious threat to be deliberately gotten rid of. I frankly think that's appalling - significantly worse than spanking.

Anyway, just wanted to weigh in that your kid sounds completely normal. DS is 10 months, so I expect to be going through the same thing in another couple months. (He's the last of a local baby wave, so I've been lucky enough to see the other parents hit these stages first.) I hope it isn't too long for you before your DS has some impulse-control kick in - it will happen eventually!
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:40 AM   #18
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Re: what age was your child able to understand rules/obedience?

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Originally Posted by doodle19 View Post
We strated time out at 13 months when rules were broken or unacceptable behavior occured. She understood that she was not allowed to get up from her timeout(if she did, she got put back down....she picked up quick). We timed her for a minute, when her time was up she stood up DH or I squatted down on her level, told her what she done wrong and why it was wrong. Ex: you hit mommy, that's a no-no, hitting hurts mommy." Then we give her a hug and a kiss and tell her we love her and that she's a good girl. Now that she's older she's in for 2 minutes, we do the same thing except we make her say sorry before she gets out.
Us too.

At 14 months, they are definitely not going to be able to follow the rules or obey all the time. But, it's not too young to start teaching them. All 3 of mine understood what "no" meant before they were a year old and often (not always) obeyed. At 14 months, they don't have to know why they shouldn't hit mom or the dog, they just need to not do it. Stay consistent in teaching him and he will learn the reason behind it later. You can't make a 14 month old understand why they shouldn't touch the hot oven. They have never been burned (hopefully!), but that doesn't mean they won't get hurt if they do it, so you start teaching them right away before they can understand why. To me, right now, it's about teaching them right behavior and to obey. The understanding will come later.

The key to teaching them is whatever method you use (saying "no" firmly and redirecting, short time out, whatever) be consistent and you should start to slowly see results. Kids will never obey 100%, especially at 14 months, so keep that in mind. It's about teaching them.

Of course, as always...this is just my opinion.
Good luck!

Oh and I wanted to add, I think it's normal to get frustrated sometimes, even if you know they aren't going to listen all the time. It still gets tiring sometimes, especially if they are hitting and hurting you.
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