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Can you spoil a 15 month old?

  1. #1
    sherwes is offline Registered User
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    Can you spoil a 15 month old?

    My 15 month old is just entering toddlerhood and exhibiting all of the behavioural quirks that come with it. He is a very active boy and sits still the least of any of his other baby friends. By 8am every morning he is standing by the front door, holding his shoes and grizzling to go out! At playgroup he is pretty much the only toddler who won't sit and listen to the stories and songs (he just wants to be running around).

    I am a working mum and my helper is a lovely, gentle lady who adores my son. However, I am worried that she is a bit "soft" on him. She runs to him at the slightest grizzle. I think that this is appropriate for a baby under the age of 1 but should we be encouraging a 15 month old to be more independant/resilient etc? He basically points and he gets what he wants.

    My husband is also a big softie and thinks our son should never want for anything. I think that he should never "need" for anything but that sometimes it is good for them not get their own way or to have to work for something that he wants. For instance, should we "make" him sit during story time at playgroup?

    Am I too tough?? Do 15 month olds need discipline?? Should I just be going with the flow and waiting until he is older to worry about these things??

    I should add that myhelper, husband and I all agree that a firmer hand is needed for issues of physical safety and health so my question isn't related to those issues.

    I would really appreciate the help or more experienced mums. I am really torn between my fear of raising an "expat brat" who thinks that the world revolves around them and my fear of crushing the spirit of my charming beautiful boy with needless discipline.

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i'm with you sherwes! children WANT & NEED boundaries. they are happier with them they know what is expected of them.

    instead of saying "no" to things, try "later" or something like that.

    you need to choose your battles, though. you can't expect behaviour to change overnight. i DO expect 15 month olds to wander at playgroup (as you know i teach playgroups) when they are new... however, i ALWAYS encourage them to follow what is expected. i allow some wandering around, but when it starts to distract the others, then i gently guide them back to what the group is doing. i don't force them to sit, i encourage it.

    i also encourage all the children to tidy up their own toys. we play a special "tidy up" song. it is amazing that a group of 15-18 month old babies hear the song and start tidying up on their own! it's because they know what is coming, and what is expected.

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    carang is offline Registered User
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    ps> it is very cute when a 15 month old does something that they shouldn't necessarily do... but not so cute when that child is 3 and running the house expecting everything to be dropped for them and to be entertained 100% of the time.

  4. #4
    Buckeroo is offline Registered User
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    It is really hard for a 15-month old to sit still. They are just beginning to discover their "independence." My girl is now 22 months and just this morning didn't want to sit during Story Time at playgroup. That said, she is much better at sitting down than her brother was at the same age.

    Personally, as long as she isn't disturbing others or wreaking havoc during Story Time or Circle Time, I will not "make" her sit down. I would still talk to her, though, about why I need her to sit down. With mine, I find that if I force her to do anything, she will NOT do it, but when I "get down to her level" and look her in the eye and talk to her in a kind but firm voice, explaining to her why I want her to do something, she will do it --95% of the time.

    "This, too, shall pass." Take heart. :) I always say, better a spirited child than a too-docile one.

  5. #5
    MLBW Guest
    My son does not really sit still and he also 15-months-old. That's why I hesitate to enroll him in any "formal" learning environments unless I know that the leaders/instructors are laid-back or not too aggressive about making him sit still. And instead of thinking that he is not doing what he is supposed to be doing--I really see it as this is part of his personality and the stage he is in so I don't make it an issue. The truth is that soon enough in life he'll have to "color inside the lines" and follow the crowd and do all those things to get along in society but right now he just needs to be a little toddler exploring the world.

    But, I do tell my son "no" and I have since he was probably 6-months-old. I received a bit of good advice from a man with two very well-behaved daughters. He said that if you start early with discipline and be clear, consistent and fair then you basically do yourself a huge favor by setting the stage to not have to establish good behavior patterns later on. He said that even the "twos" which are supposed to be so "terrible" were better just because they started early.

    Of course, I don't tell my son "no" on everything but some things are "no" and will remain "no" or at some times, some things are "no" and at other times they are okay. He understands "no" and although he might whine and even cry sometimes, I have no problem letting him hear "no" from me. I am not afraid of his crying or whining--because in life, no one gets everything they want all the time. That's one thing that motherhood has really instilled in me so far--a type of steeliness that really can endure a lot--even the whining.

    I am kind and fair about how I approach these things so it is never harsh or mean-spirited. And when he starts to cry I simply say, "Yes, honey, I know that you want me to give you your pacifier right now but that is for when you are sleeping." Then, I distract him and he soon forgets what he was so upset about. I also often tell him when he wants to get into something I don't want him playing with, "No, these are for mommies and daddies but not for babies."

  6. #6
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    At 15 months you need to pick your fights as Carang says.

    So what if he won't sit still like or as long as other kids. My two boys were the same. Then one day they just got a bit older and now listen really well and follow instructions. (they are 20 months and 3). At 15 months your little one will still be coming to terms with the fact that he can run around and explore on his own. He won't want to be stopped.

    I'm not sure a 15 month old should be sitting still (other than to eat) to be honest. Is it in their nature? Wanting to go outside so soon after waking is also very normal and I see it in both my children but especially the youngest. At 3 my eldest is now happy to play make believe with his toys for hours at a time but until a little while ago it was all about getting outside and exploring. And really, who wants to stay inside small apartments? Hell, I don't! Give him time, he'll be fine.

    Of course, being naughty is something else but I certainly wouldn't categorise being curious and active as being naughty. If you pick your battles, i.e. when you're out shopping is not a time for him to run around like a clown but he can go for it in the playground etc then you can start to teach him that there are certain rules that govern our behaviour. At his age this should definitely be done.

    I really recommend you read Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph if you haven't already. At your son's age you are the most important person to him. It's ok if your husband is a bit of a soft touch as long as he becomes stricter when he's a bit older and in need of a male role model. (say from the age of 4-5). Biddulph is also a big believer in letting boys be boys. He even argues that boys should start school a year later than girls as they are generally more restless and in need of more physical outlets than girls.

  7. #7
    aussiegal is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckeroo View Post
    I always say, better a spirited child than a too-docile one.
    I completely agree with this. I want my children to become go getters in life rather than men who will just sit back and let life happen to them.

  8. #8
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    "He said that if you start early with discipline and be clear, consistent and fair then you basically do yourself a huge favor by setting the stage to not have to establish good behavior patterns later on."

    this was the point i was trying to make, i just wasn't doing a very good job of it! LOL!

    a child's natural inclination is to explore. i explain that to every parent that walks through my playgroup door. i do NOT expect the children to sit docilely (is that a word?). i ask the parents to let the children wander. HOWEVER, the more often the children come, the more the are exposed to the routine of playgroup, the faster they usually want to participate. i still gently say, "oops, mummy's over there.... can you walk to mummy?" or something along those lines when the children become a distraction for the others in the class.

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