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Disciplining an 8-month old?

  1. #1
    BJMing is offline Registered User
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    Disciplining an 8-month old?

    I'm wondering whether 8-month old babies are too young to be taught discipline.

    My little boy has developed quite a temper in the past month. He has a huge bellowing voice and can scream and squeal the house down when he's not pleased. He does this while he gets his nappy changed, when he's hungry, when he doesn't want to be fed, when he wants to go to sleep, when he wants to be held, and when he doesn't want to be somewhere or with somebody. Sometimes he can scream and cry for 45 minutes, after which I have to give in since its either his feed time or bath time.

    Added to this, he also has stranger anxiety. I've been taking him to baby playgroups and invite other mums & babies to our house but all he ever does in front of them is scream, grunt and yell. And when he eventually warms up to them and they interact with him, he just grunts and screams. He has no interest in playing with other babies and when the other babies grab the toy he's touching, he will just cry and yell. Basically, he's very anti-social. I'm sure sooner or later the other mums will stop including us in the playgroup because of his behaviour.

    When he's happy he's a great little boy. He beams huge smiles to me and my husband and my helper. But we're the only ones who ever get to see this side of him. Sometimes I don't know whether I should be happy with this exclusive privilege or not.

    Does anyone have any ideas? Can I start to discipline him at this age?

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    please DO NOT discipline an 8 month old.
    crying/screaming is the ONLY form of communication open to a child this age and it is perfectly normal for him to voice his displeasure.

    it would be like asking you to stop talking...

    distraction is the best tool to use. if he doesn't like nappy changing, give him a special toy that he only gets when it's nappy time.

    sing a song while changing the nappy...

    use your imagination, not discipline!

    as for playgroups... it is perfectly normal for an 8 month old to scream when someone takes his toy.

    stranger anxiety is also perfectly normal.

    it sounds to me like you have a "perfectly normal" child in most respects.

    enjoy him!
    Last edited by carang; 04-02-2008 at 08:18 PM.

  3. #3
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
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    The best way to discipline a baby or young child is by communicating with them. Cara is right when she says that screaming is his way of telling you all is not right with his world. So try to make it right for him.

    Nappy change – my sons also hated changing nappies at around this age – they would yell and try to crawl away. My way of dealing with it was to try to be a quick as possible and put up with the noise.

    Hunger – try to anticipate when he will be hungry and give him something to eat first. Prevention is better than cure in this case.

    Doesn't want to be fed – then feed him later – listen to his wants and you will find that dealing with him is much easier

    When he wants to go to sleep – this is a harder one because over tired babies are unreasonable

    When he wants to be held – hold him

    When he doesn't want to be somewhere or with somebody – if this happens often rethink about where you are going and with whom.

    Stranger anxiety – this usually starts around seven months and gets worse as they approach one year. It is a normal stage. I know it can be annoying and give you the feeling that you are never able to be away – but the quickest and easiest way to get over it is constant reassurance that if he wants to be with you he can. Expect it to take at aleast two to three times as long as you want for him to get use to others.

    "He has no interest in playing with other babies and when the other babies grab the toy he's touching, he will just cry and yell." – this is normal for an eight month old – expect it to carry on for at least another 12 months. Children don’t really start playing WITH each other until they are about three years old. They tend to play along side each other for months and months, if not years.

    It may be that your son is a “high needs child”. If so you might find Dr. William Sears’ book, The Fussy Baby Book helpful
    http://www.shopinhk.com/the-fussy-ba...--pr-1276.html
    another good book is Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen
    http://www.shopinhk.com/positive-dis...-pr-42822.html
    Last edited by barbwong_130; 04-02-2008 at 09:01 PM.

  4. #4
    capital is offline Banned
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    I haven't read the other responses yet, so sorry if I am just repeating:

    As far as discpline, try to keep in mind an 8 month old has NO ability to control their behavior, let alone likely realize what they have done wrong. A2 year old will know that hitting is not good, but even then they still cannot control their behavior very well, and are just learning to do this. I found a big change in my child's ability to stop himself from doing something he shouldn't between 2 and 3, but it is a long process and takes years. At 8 months it is far to early to be worrying about this.

    I think the main reason that he sreams and cries is that you said after a long screaming bout then you feel you have to get in. Even young children learn quickly that if I keep doing X then eventually I'll get what I want. I think if you ignore this, then eventually he will learn that it is just the way it is going to be, For example, around that age both boys also hated to be changed, dressed and would try to roll away and make it difficult. I didn't do anythins, say anything, or get upset in anyway, I just got them dressed, eventually they learned that when mommy dressed you you are going to be dressed, no matter how much you scream.

    Quite normal for your child to tell you when he is hungry this way, afterall he can't talk yet. If he was screaming at the table because he is not hungry, I would just let him go. I give the boys(now and when they were babies) their food, if they eat it great, if not, then they are down form the table until the next snack or meal, and I don't give them anything if they whine an hour later that they are hungry. At 8 months, part of the feeding difficulty may be that he want to feed him himself to try that, use lots of soft fingerfoods. Both my children hated anything pureed and would refuse to eat it, so they pretty much started out on regular table foods, He may be bored of purees and bland baby food,

    Holding, I used a mei tai carrier for time like these. Both my children really like to be held quite a lot. It was a relief when they finally walked and were more interesed in that than being carried. this is very normal behavior.

    Stranger Anxiety is very normal too, I would just let him do what he is comfortable with. If the playgroup is really too much for now, maybe drop it for awhile, or go for only a short itme and let him sit on your lap. I think if people push too much in this area it ony makes for more anxiety. It is very normal and just a phase, don't worry, your child will not be antisocial when he grows up. Most babies and toddlers do side by side play, they watch each other play, but don't really interact with each other yet. They don't interact a whole lot until they start to pretend play significantly (around 3 years) my 2 year old will play with his 4 year old brother, but mostly he is just going along with what the 4 year old wants, if at a play group, he mostly watches, occasionally gives a toy to another child or hit another child (as all 2 year old do!)

    it sounds like your child is normal, try not to worry so much.

  5. #5
    Neha is offline Banned
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    U should watch or read the The Happiest Toddler. Very helpful way of teaching kids with tantrums
    Last edited by rani; 04-07-2008 at 09:45 AM. Reason: link added

  6. #6
    BJMing is offline Registered User
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    Thank you all for your reassurances. Many of my friends have also told me that I have a perfectly normal baby - until they meet him!

    I know all babies cry and they cry for a reason since crying is the only form of communication for them. But my little one seems to cry, scream, squeal, yell and grunt for the smallest things. Sometimes he would scream and yell for a minute and then laugh and smile the other.

    When he's at playgroups he would just cling on to me or yell if he has to face other children. All the other babies of his age seem to be fine playing with toys if not with each other. They also seem ok touching or exploring each other. But my little boy just wants to turn away and scream. He won't even play with his own toys in his own home if other kids are around. He will just scream and cry, and all the other kids will just look at him bewildered. If another kid cries, it will trigger him to scream and cry too. I have to give in each time just to maintain a peaceful environment for the other babies, but he's now learnt that screaming can get me to hold him.

    Some mums at the playgroups have even asked me what's wrong with my child. I know some have wanted to ask me to calm him down but were too polite to do so.

    I'm just very tired and distraught by his behaviour. Whenever I look at another baby and they beam me a smile, I wonder why my baby can't do the same.

    Anyway, I will read up on the Dr. Sears book. Neha, can I ask what is the "Happiest Kid and Toddler". I have "The Happiest Kid on the Block" on DVD. But that's about swaddling and sleeping. Thanks again all.

  7. #7
    kashismum is offline Registered User
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    Sounds tough. Happy to say that both my kids are normal in that they scream sometimes, but I feel that if your son is screaming more than he's not, there may be an underlying problem.

    If you can tough it out, any problem may correct itself, but if you feel inclined to do so, why not check with a professional.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i was just going to suggest the same thing... if you don't think that it is normal behaviour, then i would suggest going to see a professional.

    good luck!

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