I wouldn't want to use a time out because it feels like it is alienating the child from me as a punishment and I would not want to set up that dynamic with my child. I want to be the support my child can run to even if they are not behaving right at that time. I want to be stern if I need to be in telling them no to behavior that I don't want them to do- but I don't think having them go away alone and calm themselves down is a healthy way to teach a child appropriate behavior. Better to just accept that often times they are learning things for the first time and I need to teach more than punish! thanks for helping me to clarify this in my process.
Time outs? need discipline help w- 2.5 yr old - Page 3
Yet again contradiction! "I don't let him do what he wants" ok but in your term it's a brain/chemical thing if he reacts! If you really did your research and fully grasp just how the brain operates. It may surprise you to learn that there is such thing as Cognition
The definition in case you haven't done your research:
Where is the contradiction? There is a difference between recognizing that a toddler cannot help but have a tantrum and allowing them to continue with a behavior that is not appropriate. Just because he can't help the tantrum doesn't mean that I can't intervene in the behavior. It's how I chose to react to the situatioin that is the difference.
I do agree with you that toddlers and children know more than we give them credit for, and I do agree that they learn by testing boundaries and exploring. Again, the difference is in my reaction to these learnings.
I would invite you to read some articles on this subject rather than taking my word for it. I recognize that these are not from academic journals, but don't have time to dredge that up right now (or the library access). If you are interested I am sure you could find the studies behind these articles.
Here is an excerpt from the first article that explains what I was trying to explain much more eloquently:
"So what is happening with a 'toddler tantrum'?
Most toddler tantrums are triggered by anticipation of something: an anticipation that is denied. The denial sets up feelings of 'loss' that upset the child's brain chemistry.
Babies have grown used to their 'needs' - hunger, cold etc, and have worked them down pat. They know if they tell you they are hungry or whatever, you will attend to them. These are direct physiological needs and they respond at the time of the need - I am hungry, feed me.
There comes a point, however, when their horizons and their expectations, and their sense of time, expands. They see a red blob in the distance, and they are intrigued, and they reach up and their hand moves and it is in their fist! Miracle! they begin on the path of wants, not needs. I want pretty thing, I want hug, I want dog tail. I want candle flame.
But the distinction between a want and a need, is not in them: that's quite high level functioning. You can see they don'tneed the candle flame. They can't. They need candle flame. Candle flame is fun, candle flame is nice candle flame is..... going away! Mummy take candle flame away! Mummy take away my need!
When this happens, when toddler brain has built up an expectation of something, an antcipation of it, and it doesn't get it, the toddler is plunged into a world of loss and pain. A huge chemical hormone wave pulses out of the immature brain and floods the toddler's body with distress hormones. The toddler is powerless to control it - is at its mercy. It cannot get the inbetween bits to intervene, it cannot reason, it cannot negotiate a safe space to be in in order to calm down. Only one person can do that - the adult in charge of the toddler."
Including a definition of "cognition" does nothing to aid your argument, seeing as you've provided no evidence that tantrums aren't developmentally appropriate for toddlers or evidence of what toddlers are actually supposed to be cognitive of. I find it sad that adults call small children brats - it's insulting their own child. Tantrums are how toddlers release emotion and express frustration, especially if they haven't developed a large enough vocabulary to be able to express their emotions using words.
Accepting tantrums are part of normal toddler behaviour doesn't mean a parent sets no limits. But there is a difference between setting limits and gentle guidance (for example, explaining why he/she cannot have what they want at that time) and punishments like time out.
My final bit of advice to you. Read and re read this cause what you wrote is a bunch of hot air. Of course you didn't really listen to me so here re-read this then just maybe you will get it.
When I wrote:
OMG if I throw a temper tantrum mom or dad will give me what I want---->Imagine that!
Really sit back and think about what those words mean. It's obvious you just randomly googled things and taken lots of things out of context.
Here I will leave you with one more definition to ponder:
Wow, defensive much!
It's also pretty obvious that you didn't read my response. I pretty clearly stated that I don't give my DS what he wants when he throws a tantrum. Could you please be more specific about what part of my response is a bunch of hot air? And what's taken out of context?
It's also pretty clear that you haven't read through this entire thread. I'm not the only person here to disagree with you. Did you look at any of the articles? I doubt it.
Could you also please provide some evidence to back up your "parenting advice"? So far it's just your opinion which I don't feel is any more valid than mine, except that I am basing mine on parenting books and resources and you haven't made it clear that you're doing the same. I am always happy to learn (which is why I love MDC) so if you have some up to date advice from someone who is AP friendly that says time outs are a great way to deal with toddler tantrums and why I will certainly read and consider the information (You might find google helpful).
You are right, I did google "Toddler Tantrum Brain Chemistry". What search terms do you recommend? I did also find some articles linked through the Chicago Psychiatry Department if you are interested, you should be able to find those as well. But they weren't academic journals (again, I don't have the library access for those), they were interviews/articles based on information from various researchers in that department (oh, and Yale and Harvard). I recall one links to the NY Times. Try checking there.
If you'd like, pick up "The Discipline Book" by Dr. Sears. The same information is there, and I'm pretty sure that Dr. Sears' degree isn't from google like mine is.
I totally agree with you that it is our job as parents to set limits for our hcildren. And to teach them what the limits are and showing them when no means no. We do need to raise them to get along with other ppl and know societies ways of interacting and so forth.
I also am glad you have posted so clearly and openly about how time outs work for you. I can see how having a firm boundary can be good for a child.
I think the discrepinsie (spelling?!) is in the way it is taught- in time outs it seems like a punishment happens when a hcild is learning his or her boundaries- so if they throw the thing they should not throw they get "in troublr"- at least on a mental level made to feel that they have done something worng. But the thing is they are learning all these things for the first time- so there is no need to have anger/badness/pinishment all along the road of teaching them the rules, in my opinion.
Instead looking at it as all a learning process for the child- we can teach them what is right and wrong and say no and mean it- but maybe having gentle ways to enforce- not focusing on the punishment but rather teaching and then moving on to the next thing and leaving the punishment part out.
I think that is what ppl are advocating here.
Of course this is an attachment parenting focused group so most of us are on one side of the topic. It is good to have you here to help get the conversation moving.
I Am glad I opened up this topic as i think it is a gray area many of us are learning ow to rasie well behaved kids while leaving out the anger/punishment if we can.
I think time-outs can be an amazingly effective tool, when used correctly My DD is almost 3 and on the "spirited" side, so we've adopted time-outs for only the most extreme tantrums.
Situation: DD is freaking about something (the string cheese is all gone?? Horror!!). Tears are starting to flow and her protests are increasing in volume. Mama immediately applies hugs and "I understand you're upset, but the cheese is all gone. Would you like some carrots instead?" Of course, carrots are not a suitable replacement for string cheese! DD flings self on floor and starts shrieking.
At this point, no hug/redirection/empathy from mama will "break through" to her, so DD needs to reset and calm down. I pick up flailing child, bring her to her room, give her her blankie, put her on her bed, kiss her cheek and say "it's time to calm down now, I will be right back when you are all done crying". I leave the room and close the door only halfway, and wait outside in the hall. It usually takes less than 2 minutes for DD to realize that being in her room is boring and that carrots are pretty awesome after all. As soon as she's done crying, I go in and pick her up and administer lots of hugs and reassurance: "It's ok, we'll get cheese at the store tomorrow. Let's go get some carrots and we'll color, ok?"
I really don't think it's doing any damage or hurting DD's self-esteem to help her step back from a situation and reflect on it. Isn't that what we do as adults? If you're having a bad day, doesn't it help to just step outside or into a quiet room and breathe for a minute or two? Basically I'm just providing a change of scenery, taking her away from the situation and into a safe place so she can relax and reflect. Since we've starting doing this, her tantrums have decreased dramatically, maybe only once or twice a month now compared to several each day. I don't feel like I'm "withholding love" or anything like that, I'm just helping her learn to cope and center herself.
I don't think small children being left alone when they're upset means they're reflecting on the situation. Yes, they'll eventually calm down - but the message is "I won't help you learn to deal with your emotions, if you have big feelings you're on your own."
Adults might choose to take time alone but their brains are very different to that of a toddler's or young child's. It can be quite frightening for a young child to be separated from their parent and unable to reach them.
I'm not especially convinced when people discuss the 'effectiveness' of different ways of punishing or training children. CIO may be 'effective' in stopping a child from trying to communicate at night, but it doesn't mean the child is actually sleeping and it's detrimental in various ways. Punishing children for tantrums (again - this is normal developmental behaviour for small children) may reduce incidence of tantrums, but it doesn't mean the child has learned to process their emotions or found better ways of expressing them. It may just mean they bottle up those emotions because of fear of punishment. I understand that this makes life easier on the parent, but it isn't in the best interests of the child.
I agreee with lovemila. it just doesn't sit right with me to teach a very young child that when they are expressing unhappy emotions they need to go be alone and away from mom and dad until they can control themselves! That is sad in my opionion and does do some dammage to their sense of self.
I will use time outs if ds is hitting or otherwise hurting people (he goes through hitting, biting, hair pulling stages, sigh) because I feel like that is a natural consequence-you hurt others, you don't get to play with them any more. Also, I don't necessarily call them time-outs, I just say you have to go to your room to calm down until you can stop hurting me/your sister/etc.
Otherwise, I generally redirect rather than sending to time out. Ds loves to play in the fridge too, so I will sometimes have to physically stand in front of the fridge or hold the doors shut while he screams to get in there while explaning to him that we do not play in the fridge. He is incredibly stubborn, so this will often repeat all day and can be very frustrating to me.
Like a PP, I will occasionally take a time-out for myself if I feel like I am going to lose it by putting them in their room while I cool off.