Friday, September 18, 2009

time outs

When to give the first timeout? A question that I’ve been thinking
about lately. I’d read age two and that was what I expected to do.
But recently, we’ve had some cases of River misbehaving or having
tantrums in which it’s pretty clear he is trying to manipulate us. He
does understand what we are saying and he is using poor behavior to
try to get his way. Giving in teaches him that such behavior results
in what he wants and encourages it. Walking away (which is the
technique I’ve been using lately) doesn’t work well in our tiny abode.
He’ll come after me and pull the same routine. Or put his head down
in trauma, then stop crying and call out pitifully, Mama, Mama. This
was what made me think that he knows what he is doing. When I did
some more googling, I found quite a few people saying they started
from 18 months and up, when the child was old enough to be
purposefully misbehaving.

Last night he threw his step stool down the stairs. I told him that
we don’t throw things down the stairs. A while later, he threw the
toilet seat down the stairs. So I gave him his first time out,
putting him in his crib for one minute.

He cried the whole minute and it was kind of pathetic when I took him
out to see his tears and to feel him clinging to me. He seemed so sad
and I felt bad. But he got over it very quickly. I try to remember
that it’s always sad to see a child unhappy. But that occasionally,
they have to experience moments of unhappiness in order to learn how
to function in a world with rules and other people who have rights and
desires too.

As for whether or not it has any impact on him throwing things down
the stairs, I’ll have to see. (postscript – in the 1.5 months since I write the post, he hasn’t done it again)

When did you start giving time outs? How did you decide when the
right time was? Did it work? Or do other techniques work better?

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