Toddler Discipline?

E is almost 19 months and her current favourite thing is pulling my hair, really really hard! And she won't let go! 

I've tried telling her no in a low firm voice but she just laughs at me and pulls harder - little madam! Also, if I'm holding her I put her down. 

I know it's a cry for my attention but I need to nip it in the bud before she starts doing it to her sister and other children. Any suggestions on how to deal with this

Also, she's started climbing on the dining chair and table when I've got my back turned and its scaring the hell out of me in case she falls off. Any ideas for this? At the moment I'm just telling her no and putting her off it but its having no effect!

thanks for any advice x


  • It's a frustrating age as they're (IMO) too little for timeout, but you're right it's an attention seeking action, so have you tried saying nothing or just a simple no, putting her down/away and turning your back on her? It will only work if she gets lots of attention for good things.

    It will get easier, I found 18m - 2 years really tough.

  • Thank you! I definitely think she's too young for time out as I see it, you're meant to explain to them and have them understand why you're putting them in a time out which she wouldn't comprehend yet. And also (and I'm not making excuses for her) I can see she gets frustrated as she can't tell me or have me understand what she's trying to say. I'm trying to up the positive praise and attention when she's being good and will try ignoring her (once she's Off the table of course!) when she's naughty. I feel so sorry for her sometimes as her sister takes up quite a lot of my time and I know that's all she wants but at the same time she can't get away with being naughty. Why is being a mum so hard?!!!

  • If she pulls your hair take her hand and firmly say no. I then say "gentle" and stroke my head with her hand (i have to do this regularly with the cat...). Re climbing, S climbs constantly and by removing her she thinks it's a game and goes back, so i find the best thing to do is remove her and distract her with something else. I'm not a fan of time out at any age and it def won't work with a child that young. When she's a bit older you can start offering rewards etc. x

  • Hi L is the same age and I am finding him very challenging too. He pulls hair and hits too. He does other things for attention like go to the plugs in wall...throws things. I say a sharp no and remove him from situation. I notice he is worse if he is tired. He is getting frustrated because of speech too which does not help either. Its really frustrating. I suppose me being 33 weeks pg does not help really worrying about when baby comes...sorry cant help but just wanted you to know your not alone x
  • ABC, congrats on you imminent arrival! You must be shattered being very pregnant and looking after you little one too! (There's only 2 weeks between our two!) Just wanted to say I know it's hard but try not to worry about how you'll cope. I bought 2 books to read about coping with two and ironically didn't have time to read them!!! I've literally just been winging it day to day for the past 5 months and they're both still alive! My best advice would be don't sweat the small stuff! There may be days when not all 3 of you get out of your pj's but that's ok! x

  • Thanks mama d...its nice to hear. Your comment about book made me giggle. I think as well that we both need to remind ourselves that they go through phases of doing certain behaviour and it will pass soon enough...x x
  • Oh and my other piece of of advice would be get used to the phrase "oooo, you've got your hands full" cus you'll hear it a lot! From totally random strangers! So practise your smiling and nodding (through gritted teeth!!!!)

  • MamaD, I've no advice on how to stop bad toddler bahavior as my 19month old is a little tinker at times, and just laughs when I tell him not to do something, then goes right on ahead, so just sympathy from me! I also don't feel that a time out is appropriate at this age, so just try to remove him from dangerous situations, and try to distract from other ones. It's not often sucessful though, and I frequently feel like tearing my hair out. If you get round to reading the coping with 2 books and they seem useful let me know, as I'll have another by May and I'm slightly terrified. Also if anyone has any suggestions as to how to stop a toddler throwing every meal on the floor I'd be very interested to hear them, as I'm thoroughly sick of being pelted with food!

  • Having already been through this once whilst some things get easier, others get harder, particularly when you have two to contend with. As I put earlier, a sharp NO, removal and distraction is the best technique I've found at that age, but there will be a battle of wills; one that you need to win for safety's sake, so if you have to remove them 10 times from a place, then that's what you have to do. They do cotton on eventually. Don't even try to explain why you're moving them at that age. Changing a negative into a positive does work as both of mine used to grab the cat, but by saying no, taking their hands and making them stroke while saying gentle worked, as they soon realised that he liked that and would stop there instead of hissing at them and running off. It takes a while for cause and effect to sink in, but it does eventually. As for food throwing, we're going through that at the moment. As soon as there is something on her plate she doesn't want, or when she's had enough, it's thrown. She never gets back anything she's thrown and she quite often protests at that, but she needs to understand that when it's gone, it's gone and throwing her food mean exactly that. I do try to pre-empt the food flinging, as I can tell when she's had enough and is getting ready to throw, so try to remove the plate etc. first. (I'm not always successful - a plate of spaghetti was frisbeed last night). Having already been through it once, I'm not as bothered this time as I know they do grow out of it, exactly when I can't remember though!

    Don't try to worry about managing with 2 until you have to. Kids will react in different ways to a sibling and what you think will be difficult may not and visa versa. Coping with the newborn and toddler was much easier than coping with the 2 toddlers I currently have. Literally, don't sweat the small stuff. If you're late somewhere - be thankful you got out of the house. I joked to a friend the other day, as I was yet again cleaning up after my 2, that I couldn't afford a cleaner as I'd need one full time. My biggest recommendation for coping with 2 is to buy a sling or carrier. Baby is happy being close to you, safe away from the grasp of a toddler and you have your hands free. Don't know how I'd have managed without mine. x

  • Thanks LWO - that's good advice, particularly the not stressing until you have to, there's no need for me to be getting worried at the moment, and stressing myself out when it may all be fine. I have 3 carriers, and they'll all be getting good use come May!

  • No advice on having two, but definitely develop a sharp 'No' with a hard tone of voice. And a cross look. If you say 'no' in a gentle way they think its funny and carry on. Say 'no' in a sharp voice helps.

    I also found just putting her in her cot and leaving her to it when she carried on doing something that I didn't like helped. Eventually she cottoned on that doing the thing she wasn't supposed to was the cause of being put in her cot.

    Over praise the good behaviour as well. So my daughter used to love going limp half way when crossing the road because she didn't want me to hold her hand which is not only annoying but also dangerous. So I used to start off praising her before we started crossing and praised her the whole way across the road and finish off with a 'what wonderful crossing. Well done' I must have sounded like an idiot but it did work in the long run.

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