Originally Posted by ryleeee
he gets removed from the situation and we count to ten with him to calm down. by the time we get to 10 he's alright and usually does a lot better. we do this while getting down on his level and looking him in the eyes.
That's great! It sounds like a form of "time in" that works really well for you. You're interrupting the behavior, connecting with him, and teaching him strategies for calming HIMSELF when he starts getting upset.
"Time outs" don't really work like that. Ideally, they act like a cooling off period, but when they're imposed externally, in a punitive manner (and who isn't going to be inclined to speaking crossly to their kid who is hurting their baby or their dog?), without connection, that isn't what they do. The child, especially a toddler, is usually left alone and frustrated, without their underlying needs being met. Either they're going to get even more angry or upset, and learn only that their parent doesn't love them/want them (which will make them be inclined to act out even more - and not to say that using time-outs means you DON'T love your kids, just that that is a very common way kids interpret
such an act), or they're just going to play in the new space, and learn nothing - which isn't all that bad! Redirection and removal are good strategies for dealing with unacceptable behavior in a two year old, who simply does not (cannot!) have good impulse control yet. But expecting them to seem "remorseful", to have "learned something from the punishment", or that removal will prevent the behavior in the future is just unrealistic.
It is crazy hard to be dealing with a child who is hitting, not listening, behaving unsocially, etc, but there are no magic bullets. Redirection, removal, distraction, positive phrasings - these things are not quick fixes. They're about getting through the day (stopping your child's hand before they can hit), and long term pay-off
(having a deep, respectful connection with your child that lasts for years, so you have a prayer of them still talking to you as teenagers!). But just because you can't "fix" the behavior right now doesn't mean you're a failure. Far from it.
All you can do is the best you can in the moment, keeping in your sights the higher goal of creating a respectful, gentle relationship with your child. We need to do what we can to survive the day, of course, but we also need to evaluate how much doing "what works" (or just "doing something", whether it helps or not, which is the category I would usually put "time outs" into) is worth potentially losing something more important.