Parenting 2.0

I Told Him “No”

Posted on: April 8, 2010

Eventually the time will come when disciplining your little darling is necessary. It teaches him/her about limitations and the difference between right and wrong. I don’t think good behaviour is necessarily inherent: it needs to be taught. But when is the right time to start? Is six months too young? In my opinion, no. I guess it just depends on what type of discipline is used. For example, at this stage in the game grounding him might be a little over the top. You may be wondering what reason there could possibly be to discipline a six month old? But maybe discipline is too harsh a word: perhaps redirecting fits the bill better.

Here’s the situation: Niko has taken to chewing his bib, A LOT. Picture waterfalls of food onto the floor, onto his clothes, etc. – not a pretty site. At first I was just telling him in a sweet voice, “Put your little bib down. Please put your bib down little angel.” But this hasn’t worked at all. So last night I resorted to the “No” word. However, I want to be conscious of how I use this word – I don’t want to say “no” all the time, or it becomes meaningless. I would rather tell him a better option for his behaviour as opposed to just saying “no”, or “stop doing that”; giving him an option, shows him the correct way to behave while curbing the unwanted behaviour.  But at six months, when his understanding of language is so limited, the sweet redirection of “Put your little bib down.”, didn’t seem to be doing the trick.

And let me just clarify, that it is not so much the mess that I am trying to prevent – I mean every time he eats it’s a disaster: he basically gives himself a face mask of cereal, rubbing it in to his cheeks, his temples, his eyebrows, you name it. And when he reaches for the spoon I encourage him to feed himself, which creates even more of a mess – on the floor, on his clothes, etc. But these behaviours are all experimental and positive: he’s learning about food and the experience of eating. The difference with dumping his bib is that it’s not something I want him practice or learn. So, my solution?  A somewhat severe “No”, followed by a shake of my head and a (mini) teacher eye. He looked at me as if to say, “Oh my goodness. What’s going on?” And he sort of froze, stopped the bib business, and went back to eating without his bib in his mouth. So I praised him for his good habits, with lots of smiles and kisses.

But it seems Niko’s sort of like a goldfish at this point – he continued to put the lip of his bib to his mouth countless more times, but each time I stood firm with my “No” and pulled his bib away. I guess time will tell if my little rebel responds to this redirection or not.

Update: Tonight during supper Niko continued to eat his bib whenever he could (basically every five seconds or so). Borys’ response? “Shouldn’t we just let the little guy express himself as he pleases?”

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4 Responses to "I Told Him “No”"

You make a good point – Niko is just learning language. Between that and the fact that communication is 90% non-verbal, what if you tried a simple message in the same tone and facial expression that you’re using to say “No”? Something like “Bib down”? That way you avoid saying “No”, help him hear the positive action you’d like to see, AND he knows you’re serious 😀 Then just give it time. He’ll get the message 😀 I found this approach worked well with my little one.

i think time IS the key here. we tried “bib down” today – but to no avail (yet). So, I resorted to spoon feeding him with my right hand, while holding his bib down with my left, with his cereal bowl on the dining table (not his high chair table – I’ve made that mistake a few times before… 😉 )

Thanks for the comment!

[…] Just last week Little Niko Man was testing my patience by chewing the lip of his bib every time he sat down to eat. Now. that habit seems to have completely disappeared. It’s […]

[…] it in his open mouth without swallowing, letting the saliva collect, until it all just naturally sloshes into his bib, or onto his clothes, or onto the floor. And during all these mishaps he continually wipes his tiny […]

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