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Unread 05-02-2013, 09:32 AM   #1
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Territorial Toddler?

My 16-month-old son is normally very good with other kids his age, but not when they're at our house. He has a problem hitting and getting into their business. Our discipline up to this point has been an in-your-face verbal "No" and redirection, but that does not stop him from going right back to it in this case.

Is it normal for toddlers to be territorial? How can we stop him from doing this? His little brother is coming in July and we don't want any problems.

On a related topic, what are some appropriate disciplinary consequences for a kid his age? We do the "No" and redirection, and sometimes a light slap on the top of the hand if he's getting into something he shouldn't, but he's really starting to test us and we want to nip it in the bud. Can he comprehend a 90-second time-out?

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Unread 05-02-2013, 09:42 AM   #2
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At that age one of their favorite words is MINE!!!!

I would say that is typical behavior. I would also say that your approach is fine. I think they can comprehend more than people think.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 09:50 AM   #3
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60-90 second time out is appropriate. Make sure you explain why he is getting time out when the timeout is over.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 10:36 AM   #4
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If I were a cartoonist I would have a field day with this title. A "territorial Toddler" rawr. But on a serious note I agree wit RM. He's at the age where he wants control and ownership of a few things. Jealousy is also a big factor at this age. When guest are over is he feeling left out or ignored? Since he's your first child he's used to having all the attention from mom and dad at home. When we had our second child the doctor warned us to watch for signs of hostility from the older child so obviously it's not unheard of.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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Something I know is done and could be helpful is to set aside a few special toys as "non-sharing" and the rest as "sharing". For example, maybe when you have other kids over they can all share the blocks, but only your son gets to play with a certain stuffed animal.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 10:55 AM   #6
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Something I know is done and could be helpful is to set aside a few special toys as "non-sharing" and the rest as "sharing". For example, maybe when you have other kids over they can all share the blocks, but only your son gets to play with a certain stuffed animal.
Do you have the non sharing toy out when other kids are over? This could cause a whole new set of problems. Just curious.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 11:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jthomas1600 View Post
Do you have the non sharing toy out when other kids are over? This could cause a whole new set of problems. Just curious.
No idea. I've never actually run into this problem.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 09:45 PM   #8
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His little brother is coming in July and we don't want any problems.
BAHAHAHAHAHA!!

I know you didn't mean it the way it reads, but just taken by itself, that's truly funny. Okay, now to the real bit.

Camille will be 2 in 2 weeks. We don't usually have to do a lot of discipline with her, but when we do, I usually spank her. I think 12 months to 3 years is the best time for spankings. A firm "No!" is often good, but of course the kid learns it, too. The day I was making something for lunch and Camille stamped her foot and said, "NO! I want hot dog NOW!" I laughed too hard to tell her not to speak to me that way.

The hard thing with a toddler is that while they understand tons of words, they don't always understand the direction or intent behind them. So they know "No," "hit," and "your sister," but they don't understand, "I am your father and you are commanded not to hit your sister." So you have to teach them with words plus consequences.

I would say a time-out up to 2 minutes is appropriate at this time, but I've never had much success with time-outs with either of the kids. The most successful disciplinary tool with Camille has been, "If you hit her again, I will spank you." I also use counting to 3 (this way, they learn counting, too!) in conjunction with warnings of consequences.

If your little one has no sleeping problems, you can always use the crib as an isolation area for time outs if necessary. I'm not a believer that the crib can only be a place for sleep unless there are other indications that it needs to be. After all, I sit and read in bed, watch Netflix in bed, fold laundry on the bed, etc. Camille likes to play on Big Sister's bed, often plays in her crib when she wakes up early, and stands or sits in her crib when we're vacuuming the kids' bedroom. So there's a potential for that if time outs are difficult when other kids are in the home.

I also encourage you not to worry too much about him comprehending the punishment. First, kids are brighter than we give them credit for. Second, they don't have to understand something completely to understand an appropriate measure of it for their age. Think of it like language itself - you don't have a philosophical discourse with your kid, but you also don't speak to them only in words they already understand. They learn articles because we use them all the time even though they don't. Likewise for prepositions and conjunctions. Camille has recently begun identifying pairs of objects as "two papers" or "two balls" even though I've not intentionally taught it to her. Discipline can work like that, too. Don't ground him from XBox for a week, obviously, but don't worry too much about how much he comprehends, either, if the discipline feels appropriate.
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Unread 06-14-2014, 08:32 AM   #9
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Years ago, readers digest relayed a story of a young couple with a toddler and baby on the way. They were interested in a smooth transition after the new one was born, so they hired a nanny to help for a couple weeks. When the new one arrived, they watched closely for signs of jealousy from the toddler. After several days, they finally dismissed the nanny and considered the issue a moot point.
As the nanny was heading down the steps, the toddler rushed to the front door and hollered, 'Lady, you forgot your baby!'


Raising children is a challenge. On the job training. Things that work one day, may not work the next. I've found that young children are typically egocentric through much of their younger years. (Many of us seem to never outgrow that stage)
To appeal to a sentiment that they have not acquired, is wasted effort. They seldom appreciate the effect their behaviour has on others.

All the best,
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