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I have a 14-month-old child. She's very active and likes to grab anything that catches her attention. Whenever we teach her something such as mama and papa, she doesn't want to listen, and her attention is already diverted to something else and if not, she doesn't want to be taught.

And when we call her name she doesn't listen or it takes a few seconds to catch her attention.

I always tell her no (even say NO in a loud voice) when she tries to do something that might hurt her, but she still does it, and I'm forced to remove her immediately to avoid situations of her being hurt.

When we try to make her stay still, she wiggles out and throws a fit, she doesn't want to stay in one area. She wants to explore every part of the room.

What approach should we take? I don't have much experience with kids since I am an only child and she is my first baby.

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From reading your description, many of your child's behaviors are typical. For instance, I've not met many one-year-olds whose learning style falls under the "sit and listen" category. First and foremost, children learn via play. Play allows them to engage in their environment in an experimental manner. As a one year old, "play" can look like pulling a book off a shelf and tearing the pages out. This can, of course, be enormously frustrating as a parent. The correct approach to regulating such undesirable behaviors is typically prevention (not always possible!) rather than negative consequences. There's nothing wrong with sternly saying "No" as you remove the book she's about to tear from her hands-just don't expect her to have the self restraint and comprehension of the word to stop in her tracks when she hears the word alone.

All this being said, I think further investigation of your child's behavioral difficulties may be warranted. If she is inconsistently responding to her name, I'd recommend looking into an Early Intervention evaluation for her. Responding to ones name consistently is a communicative skill that should be established before the child's first birthday.* Early Intervention evaluators should perform a comprehensive psychology and speech exam to rule out any acognitive or hearing difficulties** your child might have.

*This chart is a bit of a headache, but you'll notice in the 7-9 months row, "responds to name" is listed as a hearing milestone.

**I saw you said your daughter loves music, which is a fantastic sign. However, hearing difficulties can come in degrees. If a child is hard of hearing rather than deaf, she might enjoy music but frequently miss when she is addressed using a quick, single word.

  • 1
    This is my first answer on this site. Could downvoters please explain? – user30516 Nov 27 '17 at 14:02
  • Autism can also result in developmental delays in speech ability - though by that I mean "still not talking at age 3+". – nick012000 Jul 7 at 14:33
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First and foremost, make sure your child's hearing is tested. If there's a problem, deal with that.

Your baby/14 month old sounds like a normal, active 14 month old. She wants what she wants. She can't delay gratification (like you can) and be still while being taught. She can't control most of her impulses, and exploring (every part of the room) is one of these things.

The "normal" attention span of a baby that age is a few seconds if they are not interested (redirection to what they are not interested in will result in an even shorter span) to longer if it's something they are interested in.

My firstborn used to put his finger near an outlet and look at me, waiting for my admonition. I guess for him it was like magic; all he had to do was put his finger near an outlet and I would perform! Then he would stick his finger in it even though I was saying no. (This was before outlet covers were available.) My only recourse was to whisk him away to something more interesting.

My advice would be to read about what is and isn't normal behavior for babies, so you know it's not about you and it's not necessarily about her. Knowing that her behavior is normal allows you to approach this as a phase to deal with as opposed to a toddler who needs to be disciplined. Your pediatrician's job is to keep the baby safe and healthy; they should be able to give you copious amounts of literature and some good book recommendations. Know that there are 'quiet' babies, 'active' babies, etc. Yours may be on the more active end of the range.

My feeling is that you can start teaching a child that there are consequences for bad behavior starting at around 2 years of age. It's fine to say "No" and divert the child's attention until then.

  • She can hear. She likes listening to live performances of the voice and beyoncè. And she loves moana so much – Mary Joyce Carro Nov 27 '17 at 1:44

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