Friday, November 19, 2010


How do you discipline a 15 month old?

James is starting to get to that "temper tantrum" stage at the moment. Anything from not wanting to eat his breakfast, to getting his nappy changed, taking something off him, putting the cat outside can start a tantrum. How do I deal with this?

This morning James needed his nappy changed as I could detect a whiff of number 2's inside. After searching the house for the elusive box of homemade wet wipes that always manages to disappear when you need it, I took James into his bedroom to change him. We have always changed James either on the floor or bed as we didn't feel the need to go to the extra expense of a change table. After struggling to lie him down I proceeded to attempt to take off his nappy. James put on an award winning performance of a victim of the "Jaws" movie getting eaten by a shark, thrashing from side to side, screaming as if in agony, pellets of poop flying. I tried in vain to calm him down and stop the mess until finally I did what I have never wanted to do. I smacked him on the thigh. Shock. Horror. I can't believe I just did that.

I am not against smacking as a discipline method but personally have wanted to avoid it. From my experience with other children who have been smacked they tend to then smack others when things don't go their way or they get frustrated. I wanted to try and avoid this scenario.

Although I didn't smack very hard, soon little pink finger marks showed on his little thigh. James had stopped thrashing about and was just lying still crying. I quickly finished changing him and then picked him up and comforted him, apologizing and feeling wretched. Within moments he was his happy, giggly self again and ran off to play with his tractor. I was left sitting there feeling like the worst mother in the world.

And so I am left with the problem. How do you discipline a child who is barely speaking (other than Mummy, Daddy, Kitty, Cat, Star, Car, Cup and Ta) and expect them to understand you? A friend suggested a time out. This may just work for James. My new project is to make a 'time-out' mat. I will use this mat to place him on for a minute per age (e.g. 1 min at the moment). It will be a mat that can be easily transported so that when we visit Nana and Poppa we can bring it with us.

Stay tuned for the tutorial including photos! Wish me luck!