View Full Version : TV, Discipline, and Tantrums (xposted from Toddler Bargains)

02-20-2006, 12:32 AM
Originally posted in Toddler Bargains, but this is probably where I should have started to begin with -->

I've always been a very strict NO TV parent, and we've been fairly consistent with this. However, a few weeks ago, my 17-month-old son had pneumonia and had breathing treatments. We had to actively monitor his activity level so that his breathing didn't become labored through heightened activity. I tried crayons and realized just in time that he was too young for play doh, and we tried books and books and books. He loves books, but there are only so many of those he can stand in an entire day. Couldn't take him out of the house for about 4 or 5 days, we could play but he couldn't get too excited, and the cabin fever was more than he could stand. So, I relented and upped his 30-minutes a day (on a very liberal day) of Sesame Street to a few hours. I'd do it again, thank god it kept him calm and his wheezing was under control.

Well, he's better now, but he a) figured out how to turn the TV on without the remote, b) wants that TV ALL THE TIME, c) throws a non-stop crying jag if he doesn't get it, and d) has a tantrum if he sees that his crying jag is not having an effect. This happens a few times a day now for the last week that he's been recovered and we no longer let him watch all the Ernie & Bert that he wants. We've set the TV on the XM music stations that DirecTV offers so that when he turns it on, he gets music and no picture -- which is boring for him, so that works. But we don't want him to turn it on at all, and he's being completely defiant and does it even tho we say no TV. Am I shocked? No. Time for discipline to curb this, but I've realized that I have no idea where to begin in disciplining a tot that's not yet a true toddler but no longer a baby.

He's 17 months old, I don't believe in spanking, and I don't know how to enforce a time out at 17-months-old. Does anyone have any recommendations on discipline that will address this?

Thanks so much.

02-26-2006, 07:23 PM
I don't have much advice but boy can I commiserate! My DS is just about 18 months and his stubbornness and tantrums are a sight to behold! Far worse than DD who is 3 has ever thrown.
If he doesnt get what he wants- usually something that belongs to his sister- it is quite a scene. If you get any good ideas do let me know. Also he is turning into a hitter when he doesn't get what he wants. He will raise his hand up high and just whack whoever is near or offending him. Ugh. I recall the doc saying that time outs really don't do much at this age. I find removing him from the scene and trying a differnt activity in a different room helps most of the time. But boy it it exhausting!

On the TV front- my DD is a tv freak- would happily watch all day long. We restrict it to 1 hour a day (unless sick or the like) and she has gotten used to the 2 shows rule. This would not work with a 17mo old tho I am sure. I guess you could always unplug it so that it doesnt go on or even remove the tv for a couple of weeks. (I have always thought about this but I need some couch potato time in the evening so could never follow through)

I think discipline is super hard at this point. I would say keep working on it and just hope this phase goes quickly. The defiance is just a phase and he is just testing and willl keep testing (ugh) so I guess my advice is hang in there and just unplug the tv so nothing happens when he turns it on. A few tries and he ought to give up.

sorry for the long reply.
Hope it helps or at least know you are in good company! LOL!

03-01-2006, 03:40 PM
Hello! Thank you for your comments. I have no experience in the hitting department, as we're not there yet; but, alas, my time will come, I'm sure. One thing you might try is that if your DS acts out with hitting (or biting or other unacceptable ways), take away whatever it is he's wanting at that moment or playing with at that moment for a period of time. Of course, if the acting out is due to his not having something in the first place, that might be a problem.

For us, the TV thing has become a real issue. We can't remove the TV cuz it's too big and heavy -- and we need it for us (selfish, I know)! However, we've considered throwing a blanket over it during the day, and we think that's going to help, because he knows which button turns it on. We've also started using some strategies given by others on this board in my cross-posts.

1. When he turns it on, we turn it off immediately and don't communicate that his actions are cute. We used to make him turn it back off, but he enjoyed that; big game.

2. We redirect his energy on this every time, and by the time we get where we're going, he's stopped crying and having fun doing the new thing.

3. When they become all out tantrums, we acknowledge him by saying, yes, you're upset because you want the TV. We're going to play with this instead.

4. We cuddle him when he's crying. But we never give in to the TV

5. We used to watch TV in the morning and evening when he had his milk. Today show for weather in the AM, and something on Tivo in the evening, or sesame street for him. No longer. In the AM we do no TV, period. In the PM, we'll turn it on and let him have his 30 mintues of Sesame Street.

Hope some of this works for you. Slow for us, but we're trying. Good luck!