17.5 months old
Nessness is starting to show her temper. If she’s being corrected about something, she won’t like it and will grab the nearest thing to her and throw it. All while looking you straight in the eyes. What you gonna do about it?
Well, this Mommy’s not going to have any of that. I grab the wrist of the offending hand and hold it firmly while putting on scary mommy eyes and say, “Nessness, look at mommy.” She will avoid eye contact. And I will repeat until she looks at me. “Nessness, you do not throw things on the ground. You did something wrong and Mommy was correcting you. Throwing something on the ground isn’t right and isn’t nice. You will have to pick it up. Now say ‘Mommy I’m sorry and won’t do it again’.” I know she can’t say it but I look at her eyes and wait for her face to soften. If she does then I stroke her head and give her a kiss. If she doesn’t and tries to flip her plate or throw something else or smack my hand (which happens most of the time), then we go through the process again. Or she’ll scream in my face and then I have to address that as well in the same process.
Sometimes she be so displeased with my correction she’ll put on the saddest face and then proceed to mini tantrum in her high chair. Everything has to be removed from the reach of her angry arms. I ask her to look at me but sometimes I think she’s feeling like I disapprove of HER instead of her actions so then I tell her that Mommy is here and loves her but doesn’t like this or that action. Or doesn’t like her screaming back at Mommy. I might stroke her head and sometimes that calms her but usually she’ll throw her head back and kick and shake her arms and head and cry. I’ll distract her with a toy she likes and that usually calms her enough that I can feed her the rest of dinner. But I feel like the distraction gets in the way of what I’m trying to correct/communicate to her. She’s also now playing while I feed her which is a habit I do not want building. I want her to learn:
- This type of behavior (throwing, hitting, screaming) isn’t acceptable.
- Dinner is dinner time and not play time.
- Mommy/Daddy has authority and she must respect that.
- Tantrums don’t get rewarded.
So how to do all that in one go? I asked Ms PR what she’s done and she suggested that at this age, consequences must be an immediate thing since they don’t understand the loss of a privilege or toy “later”, so in a tantrum at the table, turn her highchair away from the table. Preferably facing a wall. Continue to communicate that Mommy and Daddy are here but she can’t be in a tantrum if we’re going to eat dinner together. Then just give her time to work the tantrum out. When calmed then turn her around, soothe while asking if she’s sorry and ready to have dinner with everyone.
I haven’t tried this yet and I have a feeling the first time won’t go over very well, but I know I have to be consistent and follow all the way through. Manage her or be managed by her. Will let you know how it goes!
How do you deal with defiance?