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Ask Grandma Maggie

Parenting & Childcare Advice
Peggy Moss (1933-2014), also known as Grandma Maggie, penned a parenting column on this site for many years. Back by popular demand, we are republishing the column, sharing with you the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice.
Unfortunately Grandma Maggie is no longer able to take questions.

How should I stop my baby from touching things he shouldn’t?
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Hi,

I have a problem getting my son to leave things alone that could hurt him. I have tried to put him in time out and putting him in his room — all that has happened is he has gotten worse about everything. When he does not get his way anymore about anything, he will bite, hit, slap and even throw things. Please help me I don’t know what else to do.

Thank you for your time!

Sincerely yours,

Sandra 

Dear Sandra,

You didn’t tell me the age of your son and that’s very important. He may not be able to understand the rules, especially if you are not consistent and stay with him in time out, or return him to that section each and EVERY time he needs that time out. I don’t think his bedroom should be used as a punishment. Have one consistent place and use it. Consistency with responses to poor behavior is the most important part of discipline.punishment

Leaving things alone that could hurt him is your responsibility if he is under the age of reason. His response to discipline must also be followed by consistent behavior on your part.

I think this is a hard problem to solve through the Internet, but I have one more suggestion. Sometimes the child has a triggered respons to the word “NO” and the tone used to say it. You can say the same thing but use different words. See if you can work out a way to eliminate the word “no” and still get through with your rules. It’s challenging but worthwhile. Also don’t forget to praise him with the words, “Good waiting” or “Good job” when he makes good decisions. Tell him once in a while what a pleasure it is to be with him. Give him positive reinforcement.

Good luck,
Grandma Maggie