09-19-2006, 02:33 PM
I try to be consistent and explain why he can't do something, tell him that he could get hurt if he stands on the furniture, that we shouldn't hit the dog, etc, but I get so discouraged sometimes, especially lately as he enters the terrible 2's (he's about 21 months). When can they understand these things? I don't know what to do sometimes, when he does something over and over no matter what I say or do.
09-19-2006, 03:19 PM
Remember that understanding the rule, and having the self-control to follow it, are two different things. I understand that I should not eat chocolate. That doesn't mean I actually resist the temptation reliably.
DD could, with assistance, follow simple rules that didn't involve too much temptation, by 12 months. What I mean is, she learned which bookshelf was hers and which wasn't, and if you reminded her when she headed for our bookshelves, she would go to hers instead. She knows somewhat more complicated and tempting rules now at 2.5, but still often needs reminders and boundaries. By now, she also actually understands some of them (initially, she just memorized the rules -- all very well, but you have to word things very carefully or you end up with a not-very-useful rule. Like, we never *told* her not to play the recorder next to her sleeping grandmother; we just told her not to yell. Ooops.) So now she can understand that you are gentle with animals because you don't want to hurt them, and it's important not to damage books, and guess what rules are likely to be based on that understanding.
But she still has the self-control of, well, a 2-year old. So she doesn't always think before she acts, and when she does think first, sometimes she still just can't resist.
At 21 months, what you do is still more important than what you say. What you do is to act to prevent him from doing what he shouldn't be doing. If preventing him annoys him, well, that happens. If it doesn't, well, you weren't trying to annoy him, you were trying to enforce a boundary. So if DD stands on the furniture, I get her down and offer something else to climb on. If she goes back to do it again, I remove her from access to it. Then she screams because she's not in the room with me. Then I talk to her about how she's sad because she wants to be in the room with me, but she was climbing on the chairs and that's not safe. Eventually she either does something else or asks to try again.
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