Posts Tagged ‘strong-willed’

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!