Training up a 9 month old

My wife is a genius. Really. I love the way she thinks through things, especially how to raise up our son and possible future children.

Howard is now 9 months old, almost 10. He’s now crawling and getting into a lot of stuff. We actually walked into his room this morning and saw his first mess. He opened cupboards and pulled out every book and thing inside those cupboards. I wondered if that was really my son that did that.

Because Howard is so curious about everything, we need to be consistent at how we’re going to control what he gets into. We believe that pain exists for a reason, so we don’t hesitate to use it as a form of discipline or learning. My wife came up with the idea that if we simply don’t want Howard to get into something, we will respond with a “no-no.” If he’s getting into something DANGEROUS, we will give a firm, ‘STOP!’

I think Howard will quickly learn the difference between a ‘no’ and ‘STOP!’ We just have to be consistent in our use of the words now.

3 Replies to “Training up a 9 month old”

  1. After coming across your post, I feel compelled to say something. In the long run, physical punishment is not effective. Slapping or hitting can cause a child (especially a baby) to fear his/her parents and numerous studies have shown that children whose parents use physical punishment are more physically violent and aggressive, less likely to internalize moral values, and more likely to develop mental health problems later in life (citations can be provided, if need be).

    That aside, even prominent psychologists who endorse physical punishment as a form of discipline condemn its use with babies. Dr. James Dobson (founder of the Christian agency Focus on the Family and a child psychologist)recommends that babies under 15 months should not be spanked or slapped. Babies simply do not have the cognitive ability to understand physical punishment.

    One thing, however, that children learn from better than anything else is their parents' actions, and slapping or hitting your child shows them that it is ok to use physical pain to get what you want and that "might makes right" so to speak. When children are treated harshly by their parents, they feel less secure and are less likely to form healthy attachment, which can affect them negatively for the rest of their lives.

  2. I very much appreciate your wisdom and insight to raising children. I apologize for the wording of my blog, as I may have confused people and how my wife and I are raising our son. We definitely do not believe in 'hitting' children – which is abusive and surely not effective (or loving!).

    I also respect Dr. Dobson, and believe he has many great insights and wisdom in raising children – and I appreciate you referencing him.

    One thing I will comment on, however, is how we are training our son to stay away from dangerous things (like outlets, for example). We cannot "baby-proof" every house we visit, and feel that in order to teach our son to stay away from dangerous things, we have used slight pain (only slight – not hitting – just light force on the hand) to teach him that those things are dangerous. We have seen definite progress even this early, as we pair our action with a firm "STOP," followed by a light "Turn around, son, that's not a toy."

    I believe that being harsh and being loving are very different things, and we believe that we are loving our son as much as we can – especially in the vital stage that he is in right now.

    Thanks again for your comment, and for engaging on my blog. I look forward to hearing more from you.

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