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Discipline Lock Rss


I thought at 15 months that it might be a bit young to discipline a child for them to really understand what they are doing is wrong anyway. Of course I tell my son no when he is not suppose to be touching something and while is seems like he sort of understands that what he is doing he shouldn't be he still continues to do it!

I get the feeling that my mother in law thinks he should stop doing things right away when you say no the first time (she has raised 4 boys)

for example he loves touching the television and she says no to him but he keeps doing it then she starts to get a bit agitated with him

when do they really understand what they are doing they shouldn't be?

thanks everyone



melissa, vic, Patrick 2.5 & Laura 15 months

Hi melly,

I am not an expert on this subject at all, but, when my little girl was 9 months old, I got some new curtains. She, of course, thought that was fantastic, and promptly began swinging off them and playing with them. I said to her very firmly no! and after she had repeated to do it a number of times I gave her a little smack on the hand, as well as saying no again. From then on, I would say no everytime, but on the third no, I would give her a little smack. After two days she never touched the curtains again and it has never since been an issue.
With all things now that she should not be touching, I give her two warnings - I tell her no, then if I have to say no a second time I then tell her that next time mummy will smack. I now very rarely get to the third no with the smack - she has learnt what no means, and if I end up saying "will get a smack next time" she understands and rarely pushes the limit after that.
But, she never gets smacked unless she knows she is doing wrong and I have told her no several times before hand. I don't smack her for her doing something that has never been an issue before (where I have not had to ever tell her no) She is now 18 months old and I think that she is fairly well behaved. But then again, all kids are different so different approaches are sometimes necessary.

Hope this helps and good luck with it all.

Linda (Jessica 3/4/03, Caleb 11/4/05)

I agree with you that at this age (my daughter is 15mths) they don't understand right from wrong. I tell her when she can't touch something and say eg; 'Oh no, we don't touch the bin, that's yucky, dirty!' with a face expression to match. Then I move her away and distract her. If she bungs it on and cracks up, I just carry on as though it's not happening, show her a toy or story book, but definately don't over-react or let her touch the bin.

I know what you mean about others (especially mother in law) telling you , or letting you know without words, that they don't approve. If figure they had their turn and raised their children, now it's my turn and I'll live with the consequences of my discipline techniques, not them.
I find "Your Baby and Child" by Penelope Leach is an excellent guide of where they're at mentally at certain ages.
Hi Melly,

I use the same techinque as Linda, and now my son will stop when I warn him on the third time he will get a smack.


I distract my 12month old instead of saying no. By not making a big deal out of it she often forgets about the tv buttons. She used to wait for a reaction at first, but cause I don't give her one she isn't interested anymore.

There are so happy when you play with them anyway........

I hope this helps!



For other excellent reads on discipline you could try:

The Discipline Book - William and Martha Sears
The secret of happy children - Steve Biddulph
My child - Pinky Mckay
How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk - was it Adele Faber?

All these (and a heap more I can't pull outta my brain just now) deal with discipline in a gentle, respectful and loving way.

Our actions and the words we use have long term and lasting affects on our kids - we need to be really careful how we use them.

I think it's important to remember discipline means "to teach" (not to smack, punish or degrade in any way) and my personal belief (which incidentally is shared by most mental health and child experts the world over) is that smacking is not an appropraite response (a sometimes seemingly natural one in reaction to one's own frustration mind you) at all. Smacking may be "the last resprt", may be "effective" for the short term and people may feel there is no other way - but that does not make it right or ideal. I believe that smacking really only teaches a child to smack/hit, that big people have physical power over little ones....or at best to fear you. It does not help them to understand why the behavior is wrong - and if they are too young to understand WHY the behaviour is wrong then they are also too young to understand that you smacked them to teach them not to do it. Ideally you want a child to understand why the world works as it does - why things are wrong/dangerous that when faced with those (or similar) choices when you are not around they can confidently make them for themselves.

Fear is a great motivator but a terrible teacher.

I think parents need to find the tools to deal with situations better which is why I recommended the above books (and the below links) becaus ethey provide a host of practical and doable ideas that really do work.

At such a young age I personally think the very best course of action is diversion, but always talk about the "why" as well. It's suprising what they will actually understand. My 16 month old stopped a little friend from touching a hot oven front the other day (grabbed her by the arm and said "ot!" accompanied by a look that said "don't even think about it" LOL!)...amazing!

Here is a list of links I have on my PC on Discipline if you want to check some of them out...


Lou - mama to 2 gorgeous kiddos (5/99 and 6/03)

hey melly, forgot to mention too - you could also try and offer things your toddler CAN do as opposed to just harping on what they can't. Ie if they go for the remote (and yes - sucking on the end of them does stuff some of them up for life LOL!) you can try something like "not the remote, you can have this toy phone" or somethign like that anyhow. Being able to give them an alternative is a positive thing I think.


Lou - mama to 2 gorgeous kiddos (5/99 and 6/03)

Hi Lou

Thanks for all the info! I watched my step mum bring up my half brother and sister this way, ie distraction and diverson. I can only remember one time Sarah actually had to be told "No" and that was because she was about to touch a hot cup of tea. The sharp "no" frightened her but it was better than the alternative.

I will be interested to freshen up and also gain new ideas.



Hi all. It is so hard to know the right thing to do and I always worry that while I am trying things out, bad habits are setting in.
I have found that raising my voice or smacking is very ineffective for my son. Different things definitely work for different children and I think you have to find what works in your house.
A good reference is the Kaz Cooke book Kidwrangling. Not only does she have a good sense of humour, what she says tends to make sense.
It is great to hear what other people have found is working with their children. There should be no reason to reinvent the wheel and the more help and ideas, the better.

Kate, NSW, Hamish's Mum

A great book is Peaceful Parenting by Nancy Buck - she's an American mother of twin boys and I recently saw her speak at a seminar. She talks about giving children power and responsibility as a behaviour management strategy. Really great book and makes sense!
Hi everyone
Hope all of you are well & your family.
It's such a complexed issue when to discipline & at what age. But heaps of good ideas & food for thought I have found to mill over, thanks to everyone.
I'm new to this site but I am finding it really helpful with the little problems that arise with children.
Just a quick note to say thanks for the heads up on the book twinsarein.
I come from a family with twins in the gentic line, haven't had the plesure of that as of yet but hoping in the future to.
Take care to all. smile
Regards elliot.


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