How To Discipline a 15 Month Old

When you discipline a 15 month old you must ______________. Please fill in the blank. Sometimes I really feel like I have no idea what I am doing. How do you ignore tantrums yet still be tender to a child who doesn’t know how to express his feeling? How do you not go crazy saying “no no” a million times before they get something? How do you enforce no? I will NOT spank, slap, hit, pat, pinch, squeeze or anything of the like. I think it’s 100% wrong and 100% ineffective. I kind of think he’s too young to have a time out. And what happens when I’m trying to get something done and he’s hanging on my pants. I like to ignore him but should I be more tender? He gets probably a good hour or so of cuddling a day (he’s a cuddle monkey) so I know he’s getting enough touching. I just feel like children need to be fit into the family, not the family fit into the children. I like the fact that if I need to make supper I’m going to make supper because that’s what’s needed to make our family work. Am I being insensitive if I ignore him when he’s freaking out at that time? There’s no blood, or bumps, or fire, or broken limbs. He’s just being needy and grumpy. I’ve never actually dealt with um…..children. I think I’m doing a good job. Silas is very self confident and happy. He’s very healthy as well and he’s learning at a very good rate. So I think all of his needs are being met. I just don’t know what to do about some things. Perhaps I should be grateful that when I say “no no” he actually obeys it most of the time, well, lets say about 60% of the time. Anyway, please respond with advise. What works for you guys? I don’t really need comments telling me I’m a good mother because I’m not really having an insecure moment, I’m just a little stumped.

Yesterday Silas started to say “no no no” when I say it. It makes it all much harder because it just is so CUTE! Dangit! There’s not much else new. I’m excited because I get to go out to Olive Garden tonight with a bunch of old Bible College girls. Time to catch up on things. I’m the only one there with Children, I hope I have more things to say than just stuff about Silas.

I’m babysitting my sister’s three kids today….oh I mean two kids and one TEENAGER. She made me call her a pre-teen last year, I almost vomited. They’re actually being quite lovely and well behaved. They don’t have cable so they have been watching YTV all day because it’s very exciting to watch TV when you don’t have it. It’s very exciting for me that they’re getting along. Silas enjoyed them too, before his nap. I have to think about getting them some lunch now. What do children and TEENAGERS eat? Think they’d like my quinoa and black bean wraps? Brent and I think they’re heaven. I need to write about quinoa on my health blog because it’s a rather amazing grain. I like eating it. SO healthy. I actually just made it for the first time two nights ago and I’ve dreamed about it for two nights. Yes, there is something wrong with me but I’m rather passionate about healthy food. Even though I just ate 4 pieces of bread with butter and jam…I’m pregnant OKAY?? I’m going off on a bunch of different rabbit trails aren’t I? Anyway, I’m going to ask the kids what they want for lunch and then spank them all for being greedy (kidding).

Yesterday’s funny search engine terms (a new ‘segment’ I thought I’d add…like Ellen does)

  • i’m 17 and still pee my pants
  • my child was a headbanger
  • when boobs leak
  • boobs leaking
  • peeing

PS yesterday my blog got 163 views. WOOHOO that really beat the record of 113 views. Thanks for reading!

How do you discipline a 15 month old?


  1. Oh man, I totally feel you on this lately. My little girl is just coming into her own with screaming insistently until I pick her up or pay attention to her, and mostly when I’m busy doing something I need to get done! Which makes it difficult to get things done! But I am of the same opinion as you, about not wanting to cater to every whim of baby whining. My biggest tool is distraction, and food. If she’s really bothering me, I’ll sit her up in her high chair with a snack (crackers, cheerios, banana, or something) and that will usually calm her so I can get dishes done, or cook supper. If I’m cleaning or whatever else, I usually just lift her up for a quick second, talk nice, and put her in front of some other toys, or find something different for her to play with. I find her to be really busy these days, always needed some sort of new stimulation, so it makes it difficult. Old magazines is great! I try not to let her rip them, cuz I don’t want her to learn that she can rip pages, but at least it’s no big deal if they crinkle or whatever, and she loves it, especially if there’s baby faces in them. Anyways, I don’t really have any advice, but just that I hear ya on this one!! This can be a difficult age for mom and baby to figure each other out!!

  2. I went through this and still am. The only thing we can do at this young age is distract them when we say no. I know what you mean about it being cute. I don’t know whether to be a proud mommie or a mad one at times. My son is now climbing on top of the kitchen table and I am a proud mommie with her heart in her mouth. My solution is that I will have to gate off the kitchen when I am not in there. What else can I do? It will also keep him away from the exposed socket in the room with the washer and dryer… which is not hidden behind, but is in the front.

    I think we all wonder and worry about not doing the right things. I still feel that way at times; but I also know that I give him all the love I have. How much more can I do? You DO need to ignore him when you can’t give him your attention. I think even when he is getting on your nerves, remind yourself that he is growing, learning about his environment and the other people in it, and this is how he is doing it.

    Babies Cry. Gabe’s Dr. told me that. He will not hurt himself… but it hurts my ears and hair! Ha. I know it’s so hard when they look at you, red-faced and bawling, just remember that we all feel the same way and that however crazy you think your thoughts or feelings are all us moms go through the same stuff.

  3. When disciplining a 15 month old one must …. find your inner peace. Oh, and be confident and consistant. Actually I don’t know what I am talking about. Basically, I just take a few deep breaths and keep repeating myself like a broken record. “No, No, don’t touch that… No don’t touch that, lets play over here…. No don’t touch that, here’s a toy…..No you can’t touch that….” There is no way to discipline a 15 month old. They just don’t get the connection between actions and punishments. Repeat yourself until you go horse and then ignore the screaming and try to remember that this little person is your life. And try not to think about how you will discipline a 16 year old. (My biggest fears lie down that path.)

  4. I feel much better after a good cry, don’t you? Maybe Silas feels better after a good cry too. Young children are feeling emotions for the first time, all the time. Or, they forgot that they had that particular emotion 5 minutes ago and forgot that they could actually deal with it without crying their heads off at you! Learning takes repetition, hence reading the same book 50 times, and pushing the button on that ever so annoying toy 50 times a day, or bumping their head on the wall while navigating around the same corner over and over again. It’s the same with emotions; they need to experience them over and over in order to learn how to deal with them. And discipline can be fun, Barbara Coloroso said that. The word discipline actually means… a student, a learner, and I think we all agree that learning can be fun! It sounds like you are an amazing Mother…okay, yah yah, your my sister so I KNOW you are amazing! xxoo

  5. I forgot to say that we need to let them experience things in order for them to have the chance to learn from them, so letting them make mistakes, cry for awhile, have a tooty fruity freak out tantrum session sometimes is okay, learning is happening! And, I know you know when he really needs you and when he is being a tutty fruity head and can manage on his own. The lines are blurred sometimes but that little Silas is well cared for and I MISS HIM!

  6. With some experience with my own (3) and just the one (hoping for more) grandchild I have observed, tried, failed, and succeeded in some cases with every method you lovely mothers have tried! With a major in abnormal psychiatry and a minor in developement of the special child, here is the one constant theme (no pun intended), CONSISTANCY. While I, like most people, are really tired of the “time out” school of discipline, the concept is
    sound, it is how it is applied that bears some thought. I have found after a “no no” appears ineffective, don’t underestimate their intelligence, simply state “if you do that again, you’re going to your room until you know how to behave”. Now here comes the important part, DO IT.
    No questions asked, no whining, no second chances, mean what you say, and DO what you said!
    Here’s another example, the back seat is a war zone, the kids are taking the snacks you bought as apppeasers and assualting each other with slushies and cheese crackers!
    Ask them in a firm and polite manner to “KNOCK IT OFF”, should this fail, if they have heard this admonition too many times with no consequence, bring it on! Pull over, inform the rascals they are out of options and if they continue they are going back home and to their rooms and that you are not only unhappy, but angry and disappointed
    in them. Here again, DO IT!! Lost trips to Grandmas, the park or to play dates, are probably more of an inconvience to you but in the long run, it does work.
    It also is effective if instead of anger your demeanor expresses your disappoinment and sadness at how things turned out. I actually had my son offer me a treat if it would make feel better.
    Hope this helps a little, try it, can’t hurt, and I swear if applied consistantly (there’s that word again), works!

    My heart goes out toYa’all Southern Grandma Cheryl

  7. Im going through the samething at the moment. My 15Month old girl, Leona, is playing me up big time. She screams all day long,iv tried saying no and for a long time it worked. But now she just walks round the house screaming. When i pick her up she screams, and when i put her in her Highchair she starts again. Iv tried toys, food and trips out. Im t the end of my tether and just want to cry. I spend my day running after her and its Daddy she wants! he just gives her what she asks for and leaves her to it. Iv had enough now – what can i do to stop her screaming?

  8. Hi, my son is also 15 months and going through the EXACT same thing. Somedays he is happpy to play by him self for a while and others his is clung to my hip all day long! I feel bad but when my husband gets home I just pass him off because I need a break! I have one of those playyard gates and Im thinking of just using a few pieces of it and creating a time out for when he doesnt listen to ‘no’.. because he does know what NO means! Im not sure he will understand time out, but i am going to do a bit more research to see if it is effective at this age or not?

  9. Hi, my son, James is a HUGE screamer. He just screams…he will actually tantrum when I tell him no, but afterwards he just does short little screams. He knows about 20 words or so, but he only uses them when I tell him to “say ——“. I am at my wits. Any suggestions? My husband is out of the country for 2 weeks at a time and it’s just me at home most of the time. I really don’t know how to break him of this?

  10. You know, I’m realizing that there’s nothing you can really do for a while. You can just be consistent in showing them the right way and try your best to be patient. I’m finding lately that I can give him his soother and put him in his crib with some books and some music on when he’s freaking out and it gives him some good quiet time. He loves it. I’m almost at my wits end to.

  11. How many naps do your kids take? I would like for James to take 2, but he really fights me for nap time….usually more for the morning nap do I get a fight. What is your routine? Maybe it could help me and James. Because when I try, and he doesn’t sleep, I get frustrated too?!?!

  12. Silas sleeps for about two hours at 11am. We have a snack before and then lunch after. Lately he hadn’t been falling sleep at night until about 9 but that’s from teeth I think.

  13. Hello, my baby girl is just about 15 months and going through all of the things i have been reading about here. Before, when i would tell her no she would listen and find something else to do. Now she not only keeps trying to get away with it, but sometimes starts throwing a temper tantrum. She also has been throwing anything she gets in her hands, even food, im at my wits end and just do not know what to do, because im not quite sure what she understands.

  14. sometimes i think my nephew is evil…lol nah… i am sure he knows what no means… his mother has tried smacking him….not smacking him…she doesnt have an consistancy though…she will try it for 5 seconds and then she gets over it… i have refused to have him now… because i cant take him anywhere….i am too embarressed as to what he is capable of…and hes only 15months…he is usually good for me when i have him…but i have been away at uni and now he thinks he is boss…and his mother lets him think he is boss….my only advice is the same as cheryl…. i told him whenever he started to winge for no particular reason(when he didnt want to go in his car seat) i would be polite but firm and tell him to “cut it out” and i used consistancy with him and it worked….i only hope this works for u….

  15. my g son is 15 months and when we try to stop him from doing some thing wrong he dose it perpasely we don’t know how to handle.
    can you suggest some thing

  16. My son is 15-months and comes home from daycare and starts up right away with a tantrum.. I figured out that he is upset that i have picked up and taken him away from his play. SO i try to grab him a snack and run for the backyard for some mommy play time. That has been effective lately. Then of course, when it’s time to come inside to cook dinner it starts alll over again. Temporary breaks do help..

  17. I actually went online today and typed in “How to dicipline a 15 mnth old.” My girl is our first and I am constantly thinking…ok if I give into this one thing….how will it effect her behavior in the future… She is now only having one nap a day, which I am living to cope with. She doesn’t have tantrums when I tell her “no”…she actually laughs full heartedly at me! I have just been trying to distract her…but is she really learning anything from that? She also hangs on my legs when I try to do something…and lately I have been trying to ignore it because I am worried that if I constantly pick her up and stop what I am doing that I will be creating a monster!

  18. I’m a fulltime live-in nanny to a 15 month old boy. i too googled “how to discipline a 15 month old” and this was the first thread that came up. I think my biggest problem is consistency. I am with him from 7 am to 6pm everyday and on some occasions i’m the one that bathes him and puts him to bed. his mother is rarely around and when she is around she has no idea what she’s doing. I fell that she and i need to be on the same page. she’s the mom and she should make the rules, problem is, she has no idea what she thinks is best. so we are left with my way of taking care of business, which is ignoring his tantrums, and placing him in his empty playpen when he doesn’t listen to “no”. and her way of taking care of business; which is ignoring him for a few seconds and then giving in EVERY TIME, and sitting beside him to make sure he doesn’t fall off while he’s climbing on the table instead of teaching him not to do it in the first place.. *sigh*.. so completely frustrating.

  19. I also searched on “how to discipline a 15 month old. I know he understands what I tell him NOT to do. It is a communication issue between us that I am working very hard to establish. I think things will get easier when he can speak a little more. We are working on him telling me “no more” when he is done eating, for example, because he usually throws his food when he is uninterested in his meal. I always tell him no that is bad, do not throw your food for example. I try to give him reasons why things that are dangerous or germy are not to be touched. I assume that by starting early and being consitant that discipline will get established (I hope :/) If he gets upset and tantrums because I take away something that is not a toy I ignore the tantrum, and it ends quickly. i dont do time out, and I do give a slap on the top of his hand if he grabs repeatedly at something that is dangerous, I feel this really works, but I would never spank him or hit him. I hope this helps, you are not alone, it takes all of my patience to deal with a 1 year old!

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