Tuesday, November 18, 2008


From TODAY, Voices

Thursday November 13, 2008


By Dr James Dobson


Let’s talk today about how to discipline a one-year-old child who may be beginning to test the limits of authority.


My own daughter, for example, challenged her mother for the first time when she was just nine months old. My wife was waxing the kitchen floor when Danae crawled to the edge of the linoleum. Shirley said: “No, Danae,” gesturing to the child not to enter the kitchen. Our daughter understood the meaning of the word “no”. Nevertheless, she crawled straight onto the sticky wax. Shirley picked her up and set her down in the hallway, saying, “No,” more strongly as she put her down.


Seven times this process was repeated until Danae finally yielded and crawled away in tears. That was my daughter’s first little confrontation with her mother. There were many more to follow, I assure you.


Now, how does a parent discipline a one-year-old? Very carefully and gently. A child at

this age is easy to distract and divert. Rather than jerking a wristwatch from his or her hands, dangle a brightly-coloured alternative and be prepared to catch the watch when it falls.


When unavoidable confrontations do occur as with Danae, we should win them by firm persistence, not by punishment. Compared to the months that are to follow, the period around one year of age is usually a tranquil, fun time in a child’s life. Enjoy it to the fullest.

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