How do I get my one year old to behave?

I am a first time mom and I'm not sure how or when to start teaching my one year old how to behave. I get a little frustrated sometimes when I go out in a public place to eat. She screams when her food is gone or I don't give her another spoonful quickly enough. I also took her to get pictures taken recently and she would not sit still. Everytime I tried to get her to behave and settle down for a shot, she would shriek like a banshee. I had to go to the mall five times to get retakes before I came out with pictures I thought were acceptable. There are other things too that are a little aggravating that she does when we're out in public. I don't understand where she gets these bad habits from because I don't spoil her at home. I can deal with the shrieking, but in public I panic because I hate for other people to have to listen to it, especially at a semi-nice retaurant. What can I do to curb some of these behaviors that would be acceptable for her age?


Just a little update, I'm just looking to see what has worked for other parents as far as the screaming goes and maybe gain some insight if I'm doing something wrong. I have taken child development classes, but sometimes that doesn't compare to real life experience. I know she is only one and I use the term "behave" loosely. My biggest concern is the fact that when she does sceam, it's nearly ear shatterring and I'm not sure if it's something I can teach her to stop or if it's a phase I just need to be prepared for. (Thanks for all the good advice, by the way!)

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    My daughter is 13 months old, so I know what you're going through. I also have a son who is 2 1/2. I remember being absolutely SHOCKED when he started behaving like this. I thought the willfulness and tantrums didn't come until around 18 months old, but it's definitely right around 12 months.

    I think part of what's going on is that around this age they make a cognitive leap, meaning they now know EXACTLY what they want and want it at THAT VERY SECOND; however, they haven't made the leap on being able to communicate it well or of understanding that they may need to wait for more than a nanosecond.

    This age is way too young for structured discipline, like time outs. That doesn't come until age two. The best thing to do at this point is to try to redirect your child when she starts to scream, and if that doesn't work, you just need to ignore her until she calms down (of course making sure she's not hurting herself or anyone else).

    As far as going out in public -- the only remedy there is to either not worry about what people think or just don't go out too much. My husband and I have resigned ourselves to the fact that we won't be going to a restaurant with the kids for several months at this point. It's just not worth the stress, and it will get better soon.

    Good luck!

  • 1 decade ago

    Your question tells me you have a huge need to study child development. What you describe as bad habits are perfectly normal behavior for a child her age. Screaming might not be quite necessary but perhaps she has learned that it takes that extreme to get your attention. You have unrealistic expectations. Go to the library. Check out some books on child development. I also strongly recommend you read a couple of books by Maria Montessori - I believe she has one titled something like When a Child Joins the Family. Your child is a baby. You don't teach babies to "behave". Enjoy your baby, she wont be one long. Try to meet her needs - don't expect her to meet yours (preventing your embarrassment in public for instance). Meanwhile get prepared for when you do start teaching your child or as you call it getting her to behave. I raised four children as a single mom and later in life I became a teacher and studied child development. I wish I had known what I learned when I really needed it - while rearing my children. I firmly believe parenting and child development should be a required courses in high school. I believe it would cut out some child abuse and any little improvement is worth the effort.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    My God, what an impossible child ! I'm so glad that I NEVER behaved like that at 1 year old, beatings apply more beating in public ! OMG It's SO ANNOYING when a baby cries at the movies, and in the super market, I'm so glad that I never did that as a child at 1. I hope this is a joke ! all one year old's DO THIS ! I ate in a restaurant the other night and there was a child screaming VERY LOUDLY, right next to our table, I don't think we noticed it once. Try and sit down near other people with kids, thats what we do, it usually works out well, someone always has something to keep them occupied, If they don't have anything, we always offer something, little toy or safe trinket. It's Called "LIFE" and your Baby is QUITE NORMAL ! Ask any parent, thats what one year old's DO, it's their job. At one restaurant my little guy, pee'd on the floor, threw up, broke a dish, you name it, he did it, the waitress's just cleaned it up, I was so apologetic, they were like "PULEEEZ, WE'RE ALL MOTHERS", I felt so bad, that I left a HUGE tip, LOL, it was kind of funny, they kept teasing me, LOL, "Hold on Dad, it's a BUMPY ride ahead", LOL, Good folks, I think most people understand how an infant acts !

  • 1 decade ago

    I'm a mom of two little girls both under the age of 5. Try bringing toys or a book to keep her quiet. Something that won't make a racket and that would be easy to distract her. Try not to give in either. When she cries if you don't feed her right away, let her learn that screaming and crying isn't going to help. Hope you find a solution.

    Happy Holidays!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Im a stay home dad of 2 special needs boys/ when you go out does she have any favorite toys with her or anything like books even music in the car (calm stuff) Some kids will do this when they feel left out or nobody is paying attention. they all feel this way but asking her questions while eating about deesert her drink / she is 1 so may not talk but she may atop to listen.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This is going to sound strange but I swear it works.....When my 18 month old throws temper tantrums in public (whining, crying,etc) I just say very nicely "Go ahead, cry, but make sure you cry really loud so everyone can hear you. They can't hear you, cry a little louder". I don't know if it confuses them or it's the lack of sympathy or what but it always works. I learned this trick from my mom (who is by the way a very loving and very good mom) it worked for her with both of her kids and nieces & nephews.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have two under 2 and I can tell you that it's not easy to know when to start teaching acceptable behavior This what I found works for me, we will stop in the middle of what she is doing and I bend down to her eye level and say what is wrong and repeat what is acceptable behavior and what is not, it has worked about70% of the time.

  • 1 decade ago

    Oh honey, NORMAL. You can not get a toddler to behave. The only thing that works at this age is distraction. And skip the public outings. Put her in situations where she CAN succeed.

  • Ahab
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    At home in her daily routine. Teach her to learn to wait. She has learned that screaming gets her results. Put her in her baby chair at feeding time. One day make her wait 5 minutes, next day another 5 minutes. When she has cried her eye balls out and you won't give in then she will learn that to get what she wants she has to be quiet.

    Trust me! She will only become more selfish w/ time.

    Teach her now. Don't give in! It is the natural response of a mother to attend to a crying child. The child is screaming and crying to get attention. She will need to unlearn that and learn that sitting quietly gets her more results. It might take a couple of weeks. Good luck!

  • 1 decade ago

    cong. u become Mom. be normal and do not frustrated. it is time to learn yourself. caring your baby, notify all activities, listen her voice what he/she wants. when carrying.

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