Archive for the ‘discipline’ Category

Is it Still Called “Time-Out” if it Happens Most of the Day?

September 24, 2012

At Annalise’s 18-month doctor’s appointment, I had so many good things to share with her peditrician. In the past three months, Annalise has learned so  many new things, and she is really a full-blown toddler. We were both amazed at her verbal and social skills. But then, there is the issue of discipline…

I brought up the issue because I was a bit discouraged. At 7 months pregnant, a rule-breaking toddler exhausts me! So I lamented with the doctor the day-in-the-life with Annalise, and asked his advice…

Back story:

When Annalise first started disobeying (meaning she knows not to do something, and she does it anyways – not just her exploring and learning about the world), I tried smacking the back of her hand. This didn’t really go so well – since she rarely got the point. She’d usually laugh or smile after I slapped her hand. And she’d even hit her own hand, while saying “No.” It was a game to her.

Then we moved to time-out. It was a struggle for me to just get her to sit still, but I knew it would be effective since she strives for attention. I did start to see some results…but then I was hit by round ligament pain, and I got lazy. And when you aren’t consistent with discipline, it never works.

After explaining the the doctor Annalise’s struggle with obedience, he reaffirmed Annalise’s readiness and need for time-out, and discipline in general. She is “advanced” in many ways, including testing authority. Joy. So we left the doctor’s office by 9:15am, and I was determined to stand up to the will of my 1.5 year old.

By her 12:30 nap time, we’d probably already had 8 time-outs. Almost all of them were because she had hit me. When Annalise hits, sometimes it’s out of frustration, sometimes anger. And many times it’s as she is expressing her understanding of the “No Hitting” rule, which means she hits me while saying, “No.” Needless to say, on this day, when Daddy got home from work, I left Annalise into his care while I got some space. Of course, she’s always much better behaved with anyone else.

Time-outs at this stage look like this: Annalise is taken to a designated area in the room (or in the car, if we are out…getting in and out of the car is a prime-time for hitting). She sits down and is told, “You are in time-out. We do not hit/throw/touch/run-in-the-street/etc.” I divert my attention, but stay close enough to make sure she doesn’t get up or find a nearby toy. After about one minute, I go over to her. I get down on her level, and get her to look at me (which is usually difficult because she “hides” by covering her eyes…ugh…another game). I tell her she is done with time out, and that we do not x…y…z…. She gives Mama a hug and kiss, and off she goes.

Honestly, I don’t know how effective the time-out is. She doesn’t complain in time-out, and actually seems to enjoy it (she often sings or hums). Annalise still hits and disobeys known rules, but not as often. I think she finds the whole system of time-out intriguing and new. After a week of this, she still hits me (while saying “no hit”), but now she’ll head right over to the time-out spot without being told.

Even though I haven’t created this obedient angel child, I can tell that she is exercising some self-control. When she does hit, she doesn’t do it hard – or she completely misses me. I think she’s testing the limits of her rules, and time-out is just a new activity. I am trying to be much more consistent. The hard thing is enforcing rules when we are out and about, or she’s about ready to go down for a nap. I’m torn as to how to handle those extraordinary circumstances.

But we’ll see how it goes. I have several books in the queue for disciplining strong-willed or spirited children. I’m sure we haven’t solved the problem, and it will always be a journey with Annalise as she grows and exercises her independence.

Anyone else out there have experience with disciplining strong-willed kids? I’d love to hear some feedback!

 

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When Daddy’s Away…Annalise Knows???

August 24, 2012

Jason has a great job. He loves it. He’s good at it. His co-workers and supervisors love him. Occasionally he has to travel to supplier facilities, mostly within a day’s drive. While I love so many things about Jason’s work, I dread these overnight trips. They come too often, in my opinion. Mad respect for single moms or military wives.

The most challenging thing isn’t that I get lonely, or bored, while he’s gone. I mean, Jason and I have been married 5 years. I don’t need him by my side every day. Call it lethargy security. (I am also an introvert, and love curling up with a book or HGTV.) The main thing is that I get tired of taking care of Annalise and our dog 24-7 for more than 24 hours. Who cooks dinner and then cleans the toddler, the dishes, and the kitchen afterwards? Who does the nighttime routine, and then walks the dog? It’s a lot for me. I’m sure there are other moms that do more on a regular basis, but it really wears me out.

But I digress. I have a theory: toddlers know when Daddy is gone. I swear it. The very day Jason got in his car to leave for his last trip, Annalise started acting up. This time? Hitting.

Now Annalise knows that we don’t hit. It’s one of the battles I choose to fight every.single.time. “No hit Mama.” “No hit Mya (our dog).” Annalise pushes against rules pretty frequently, but usually not in a malicious, rebellious way. More out of curiosity and limit-testing. But not this time. Rebellion. Frustration. Violence. All in my sweet, curious, fun-loving daughter.

I think this trip only meant 2 full days with Jason away. And in that time, I was probably smacked in my face (hard) a dozen + times by Annalise. A few times, she hit me so hard that my glasses flew off (!!!). Now, I mostly can keep my cool with Annalise. I understand that she’s usually frustrated or sick or tired when she acts out. But she still has to learn that we do NOT hit. It’s not okay. And that’s where my friend, discipline, comes in.

Now I know there are LOTS of strong opinions out there on disciplining children, and then the age-appropriateness of when to do what. But let me just say it (and please, have mercy on me): I do believe in corporal punishment. And I use it. And I also ignore Annalise, which is very effective since she seeks so much attention. Regardless of your stance on discipline, I have to tell you, I could not believe how much I had to discipline this child when Daddy was gone. What had gotten into her?

And you know what? As soon as Jason was back, it’s like the hitting never happened. She hasn’t hit me in the face once since then. What gives?

Is it just coincidence that she decided to slap me around while Daddy was gone? Or did she somehow know that Mommy was in a vulnerable place and decided to push limits? And of course, Jason is going away again soon…this time I might wear contacts.