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Email of the Day: I Tried to Discipline My 14-Month-Old

By Dr. Laura on May, 15 2023
Baby girl in white onesie cries while someone points a finger at her

I recently heard you talk to the mom who was trying to discipline her child by saying “no” all the time. I was also saying “no” to my 14-month-old daughter, and parenting her the same way I parent my 3-year-old, despite the vast developmental differences between them. I immediately put your advice into action.



Every morning, my 3-year-old likes to make a peanut butter sandwich as part of his breakfast. He takes a lot of pride in the ritual of helping me gather the ingredients, spread the peanut butter, put the bread together, and then take the first bite. Every day, my youngest walks over and starts to whine and fuss, but because she is too young to help me handle a butter knife, I have always gently said “no,” but that would ignite more fussing, crying, and a little tantrum.


This morning, instead of saying “no,” I picked her up so she was counter-level with us, grabbed a baby spoon, scooped some peanut butter onto it and handed it to her. She smiled, took some licks of the peanut butter and started hitting the plate with her spoon, all the while laughing and making her brother laugh too. I realized that all of those other times, she simply wanted to join in on the fun.


Thank you for helping me realize the small but oh-so-important parenting mistake I was making.



I Tried to Discipline My 14-Month-Old


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