My One Year Old Just Wont Listen Unless I

Updated on January 23, 2009
C.W. asks from Gillette, WY
8 answers

My 14 month old little boy gets into everything constantly!! I tell him more than 20 times in a day to stay out of, get off of, and don't touch. I say please at first then I just tell him sternly. If he still won't listen I then yell loudly. I usually end up haveing to remove him from the situation of what he is doing wrong and distract his attention elsewhere. I am so frustrated and don't like to yell at him. I have used time out and been persistent with it and it just doesn't seem to have enough of an effect to be working. Please help with any advice you can offer!

I already know that yelling at him isn't the way it should be done...there is no need to remind me by giving me a lecture. Thanks to those who are considering that I am actually asking for advice on what a better way is to deal with the situation!

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answers from Casper on

As parents we do tend to say the word no often. So, I have found that I save the word no for important things that will hurt the child if they continue to do it. I will use uh-ohs for other things that I just don't want them to play with. For example, playing the piano---not really something that will hurt him, but I don't want sticky fingers on the keys---so a uh-oh's and push the hands away and redirect to something else. If it is something that they are constantly into and you don't want them to be, if you can move it, put it somewhere where they can't get to it and be tempted. Something else is to find a room where there is appropriate things to play with and be into, and get a gate---when you really need a few minutes uninterrupted like when fixing dinner---and lock him in there. Then you know there isn't anything that will hurt him, everything is safe to explore and you can finish dinner. A friend of mine also has one drawer in the kitchen that has safe things in it that the children can play in without being told no. She has filled it with all the little toys you can get in the kids meals at fast food places. This gives them one spot to explore in the kitchen. Hope that this helps.
J.--SAHM of 6

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Yelling becomes a habit for moms (I AM GUILTY) and kids learn to shut us off and ignore it. The very best thing you can do at his age is pick him up and remove him immediately! Do not expect much at this age, cause and effect are learned, Please do not climb on the couch AS YOU ARE TAKING HIM OFF OF IT! Then if he does it again, put him in his playpen, highchair or try a corner and tell him he is to stay put for a minute.
It will take a million times maybe, but if you yell he will just shut off. I am guilty, learning very quickly, silent discipline is amazing! I can ask once, if they ignore me the toy is taken, they are turned around and pointed to the corner, I check off bedtime is moved up 15 minutes, without saying a word and it is SO EFFECTIVE.

ALSO get on his level and make eye contact when giving out directions, then you know he heard you. When he is older have him repeat it back.

Your son is young too, but my kids at 4 and 7 I set up very clear rules, what the consequences were and am working hard on not yelling. I will not repeat my request, I will ask nicely once then there are consequences.

When I am quiet, walk where they are and follow through with the consequence it freaks them out and believe me they listen!! :) Sounds odd but I was spending my days repeating myself, yelling and it only made things worse.

At 14 mos, pick him up and move him away, while you are saying do not touch or whatever you want to reenforce.
He will get it, he will test you but just try not to raise your voice but be firm as you are removing him in tone.
He will get it.



answers from Denver on

I can understand your frustration. We've all been there. It may be time to reset however before your kids totally tune you out.

To a toddler, everything is new and they don't have any rules. You have to teach him HOW to play with things, not how "not to do things". Its not, don't jump on the couch; its we sit on couches and jump on carpet. Its not, don't hit, its touch gently. Its not don't yell, its use a quiet voice inside. You have to tell them what is OK rather than reinforce the negatives.

Try speaking in the positive and get though an hour, an afternoon, a day without saying NO!...its doable :-) GL!



answers from Colorado Springs on

My son is also a year old so I feel your frustrations! At this age though, they are just too young to really understand what they should and should not do fully. Right now they are all about exploring and discovering new things. Its not until 18 months or so that a child really begins to undertand boundries. For now, we just need to put them in environments that are safe and have very few things that we don't want them to get into. That way, they can explore without wondering why they are being yelled at. Not that we shouldn't try to teach them boundries... afterall how else would they learn?... if he is really doing something that is potentially harmful, just simply say "no, we don't ____" and direct his attention elsewhere. Unless he is redirected he will continue to be curious about whatever it is that he was doing. You said you usually "end up" redirecting him. I would suggest you redirect him first rather than using it as a last resort. I would suggest putting away the stuff that he shouldn't touch (such as plants and fragile decorations) If you just remove these things completely you won't have to worry about him getting into them.



answers from Boise on

Woah, your little boy is only 14 months old. He's still a baby! Babies get into stuff, touch stuff, climb on stuff...that's just what they do to test their bounderies. Really, you yell at him for this? What the? Of course you have to tell him 20 times a day to stay out of, get off of, don't touch whatever it is. His attention span is the size of a pea, and he will have to be reminded of everything constantly for at least 2 or 3 more years. Your expectations are way too high for him. Again, he is a baby! And time out? He's 14 months! Ok, if he is getting into something or trying to climb onto something to where he will get hurt, pick him up and play with him. Take him away from whatever it is you don't want him doing. Engage him, don't yell at him from across the room to stop what he's doing. He will not understand that. I'm sorry, I am just flabbergasted that you treat a 14 month old this way. In your description of yourself you say your goal in life is to teach your kids everything you can at this precious stage in life. Well, in my opinion, you really aren't teaching you little one anything but that he will more than likely get yelled at today. Look, I don't mean to sound harsh(sort of)and I know parenting is hard work, but you are being too hard on your baby. All I can say is be loving and consistent. Just keep removing him and diverting his attention elsewhere. You can tell him "NO" in a deep low voice if he touches something dangerous, but physically remove him yourself....DON'T YELL AT YOUR BABY!



answers from Boise on

Hi C.,
:) I've been there (in fact, I'm THERE- I have a 19 mo along with 6 and 4 yo's).
Time outs DO NOT WORK with a 14 mo. You're just going to have to be following him around for awhile. You won't get A LOT done while he's awake, but you'll be training him, which is soooo important.
Re-direction, slap on the hand, firm no's, help him find things that he CAN do, play with him if possible, I have actually started spankings with things he's particularly diligent about doing (throwing cat food down the air vent).
Hang in there! This too shall pass! Then, it's on to the next challenge! :)



answers from Salt Lake City on

Hi C.!

I can't help but think that 14 months is too young to expect a child to listen. I do agree asking nicely first then sternly second. But I don't think yelling would do the trick. Instead of that, go straight to distracting him. I have a 2 yr old that still doesn't listen and doesn't understand time out (or at least he pretends not to). I'm just now feeling like it's time for him to understand and he is starting to listen now. But I never would have expected it at age 14 months.

Hang in there! It will get better!

Freedom United Team



answers from Denver on

Your expectations of what a 1 year old can do are very unrealistic. I understand that with a new baby and a 3 yr old you don't have enough hands to go around, but you don't have much of a choice. Your one yr old is just as much of a baby as your 3 yr old in many ways and is not capable of logical reasoning and remembering the rules, not like your 3 yr old, who is only capable of remembering things short-term only. A 1 yr old needs 24/7 supervision. If alone in a room, it must be child-proofed, gated so they cannot wander off, and only age-appropriate toys available. Other moms have already given you excellent advice about your tone of voice, about distracting a child, and about how to give positive instructions instead of always saying no. I agree with all of that as a child psychologist and a mom.

take care, S.

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