Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Time-Out Dilemma

Last Friday was a rough day. I called our place The House of the Time-Outs and Spankings. I had expected it to be difficult -- just getting Jet used to a new routine, etc.

However, we've run into a couple of issues, and I'm seeking opinions.

First, you should know that I'm more prone to use a time-out (one minute for each year of age) for discipline than a spanking. For starters, it doesn't hurt me as much. I hate spanking Jet. Sometimes I feel like it seems to him that I'm taking my frustration out on him instead of the spanking being logical consequences for his actions (a.k.a. discipline). Time-outs also seems to be more effective with him.

So, here are the problems. When I put Jet into time-out, he takes a swipe at me. He also yells while he's in time-out. He doesn't yell any words. It's more like a cross between a scream and a growl, and it's definitely directed at me. He does that about three or four times during his three-minute time-out.

I know that hitting is wrong, and he should be disciplined for it. I usually just consider the time-out to be punishment for the previous incident as well as the hitting. I do make it a point to tell him a stern "No hitting!" when he hits me, and I address it in our post-time-out pow-wow. I make him apologize for both things. He says he's "Sorry for [fill in transgression-of-the-day here] and hitting and yelling". I tell him that I forgive him and I love him.

My question is this: Should the hit and/or yell escalate the punishment? If so, to what? Spanking? It bothers me to say, "We don't hit - here's your spanking"...Here's Your Sign. I don't think a longer time-out is effective or appropriate, so... ?


Heather said...

It's a tough one and he's testing his limits with you. This probably wasn't an issue at playschool. It's a power struggle.

When Little Artist got old enough to understand, I told her that I spanked her as a form of discipline. Hitting is wrong and if you hit, you will be punished. If I spank you as discipline, I am the parent and that is OK (basically along those lines). She understood. I also did the "mean" thing and when she did something that I couldn't get her to stop doing, I'd do it back. She pulled my hair from behind when I wasn't expecting it, so finally I did it back. She cried and cried and it broke my heart but she never did it again!

The hard thing is that Jet is only 2 (?) and he can't verbalize his frustration to you. All he can do is use his moans and swiping motions to SHOW you he's angry. He's super intelligent, so you might try saying, "I know you are angry. I know this hurts your feelings, but when we do (insert), we get punished. I love you and when you are done with your time out, we will talk and I will give you a hug and a kiss." It lets him know that he did wrong, and you understand his frustration, but that he needs to be punished, and you still love him.

Damsel said...

Thanks, Heather. I'll try talking to him like that next time he swipes at me.

I appreciate the encouragement!

Heather said...

I was much less patient with Little Artist as she was my first child and super difficult. Still is *wink*. With Love Bug, I was more patient and she is a much more calm child and yelling or spanking DOES NOT work with her. It only shuts her down. She must be looked in the eye, spoken to in a calm voice, and reassured that she is still loved and that we're not angry anymore.
You'll do great. You just have to find out what works. JUST BE CONSISTENT. With this being a power struggle, he'll wear you down. They can last FAR longer than we can. hahahaha. Once he sees you mean business, he'll catch on pretty quickly!

ann said...

someone recommended to me some wonderful resources regarding child-rearing:
1- go through Proverbs w/ a notebook and write down EVERY verse that relates to raising/training/disciplining/etc children
2- "to train up a child" by michael and debi pearl
3- don't make me count to three by ginger plowman

ann said...

ps. that was "don't make me count to three" by ginger plowman

also, the james dobson / focus on the family resources have been VERY educational for me

Absolutely Bananas said...

good question. I had the same problem with CJ, and found that spanking was never the answer. the problem is that when they're so little, they lose all control of their emotions, and you "stooping to their level" (eg spanking or other physical act) just heightens and it becomes this awful spiral. When CJ would hit me I would say, "Ok, now I have to hold your arms in time out because it is never ok for you to hit mommy. I know you're mad..." and then I'd try to distract him and try and help him cool down. But as you know, every child is different and I'm a believer that the parent knows best for their child... that's just my experience! :)