boundaries but anti time-outs? (23months) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 12-07-2008, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hi,

ok re writing my post.

We need clearer discipline in my house. we are a bit inconsistent abuot what is ok, and not clear when a boundary has been crossed.

I found this article http://www.awareparenting.com/timeout.htm which has made it clear i DONT want to use time outs. but i DO want my child to understand my boundaries.... here is a good list of suggestions http://www.awareparenting.com/twenty.htm but its HARD and i think i could do with some real life examples....

I'm looking at losing my rag because i dont feel in control and damaging my child (even a tiny bit) by using what i consider to be authoritarian practices. neither is any good.

this hippy parenting (hehe ) is fine and looks good on paper BUT it does require you to be centred, spiritually nourished and erm basically perfect. i am a treehugger but i'm also a bit of a mess. maybe timeouts would be better than me just losing it because i havent the energy to do all the things on the "alternative to punishment" list (please encourage me that i CAN - dont liketimeouts!!)
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#2 of 10 Old 12-07-2008, 01:31 AM
 
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What kind of boundaries are the issue?

I have a different take on boundaries, maybe (IMO 'boundary' is one of those loaded euphemisms that means different things to different people.) In my interpretation, boundaries are something we can only have for ourselves. You can't really draw a line in the sand and say "I have the power over you to cause you to not cross this line." You can only say "this is a line that I do not choose to cross, myself." Boundaries aren't laying down the law for someone else (adults or children) they are laying down the law for ourselves.

So to teach my daughter about boundaries, I show her with words and actions what kinds of things I'm willing to be party to and what I'm not. I role-model it for her, which is valuable to me because IMO it teaches not just "I don't want you to treat me this way" but also "this is how you can handle yourself when someone is treating you in an unacceptable way."

I won't allow myself to be hit. If DD hits me, I tell her "I won't let you hit me" and I can walk away. I value keeping some of my special things safe, I don't want them broken, so I put them away if they can't be safe lying around. Toddlers are demanding...I'm a pretty flexible Mama and am willing to meet reasonable requests, but there are some requests/demands that I simply can't (if I'm in the bathroom, I can't come get you water right this minute, I will as soon as I'm available.)

I don't know if any of that is helpful to you without knowing more what's troubling you in your relationship with your son. And I'm limited by the kinds of issues DD and I have had between us. But that's the approach we take in our family and it works for us fairly well. Time outs are definitely not he only way to define boundaries.

Fundamentally, role-modeling positive behavior and good personal boundaries, making her aware when there's a problem and working together to solve it in an age-appropriate way, and always keeping in mind what's age appropriate for a child so young to begin with would be my answer to your question.
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#3 of 10 Old 12-07-2008, 01:44 AM
 
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Okay, you completely re-wrote your first post so mine doesn't make much sense anymore.

You can parent in way that you feel comfortable with, whatever that means for you. You do not have to be perfect. You are just as human as your son, and you're both still learning.

My comfort with GD became infinity greater when I realized that I didn't have to scrap the whole idea if I got off track.

I'm very anti-behaviorist, so our perspectives may be somewhat different. I'd challenge you to consider: rather than "how do I get him to do what I want?" try "how do I show him the behavior I think is best?" To me, discipline isn't about changing DD's behavior it's about sharing my values and teaching my daughter about the world and how it works.

Do you have any specific examples of interactions that bug you?
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#4 of 10 Old 12-07-2008, 06:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffian View Post
. I'd challenge you to consider: rather than "how do I get him to do what I want?" try "how do I show him the behavior I think is best?"

or "How can I help him more likely choose to ______?
one thing that I really like is giving 2 positive choices within boundaries that I'm happy with. For example, if we're walking and LO is pushing or hitting I might say something like, "we can walk with our hands on our hips or our hands on our head." And then validate whatever choice they've made.

at rest time... "would like to rest with your blue blanket or your green one?"

when getting ready for bed.... "would you like to brush your teeth first or would you like to put your pajamas on first?"

They are all creating boundaries and expectations, but allowing the child some power and control at the same time.

mommy to Christopher 2/29/08
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#5 of 10 Old 12-07-2008, 08:15 PM
 
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These are some general ideas that I've collected over the years about how I disciplined our toddlers/young 3 year olds. (After kids hit 4, things change again, because they're a lot more able to discuss/verbalize things.)

None of these are original with me – all are things that I’ve gotten from books. I read parenting books a lot, and it is something that I recommend, because it really helps me figure out where I stand on things. Some books I love, some I hate, most I take a few ideas from.

First, remember that discipline = teaching. For me, good discipline means teaching the child what to do and what to expect. Also remember that learning new things takes time. Your 20 month old can’t tie their own shoes, so don’t expect them to learn to not throw their spaghetti on the floor in one day.

Before you discipline remember that children need to be well fed and well rested before they can learn anything. Feed your toddler every 2 hours. Make sure they get enough sleep. If you're both tired and cranky (dinner time), you're going to have more battles. Try to plan a quiet activity or a way to cool off then. If your child has been sick, expect their behavior to be "off" for the 10 days to 2 weeks it takes them to fully recover (even if they "look" OK).

Here are the general steps that worked for us:
1. Create a positive environment.
For me, this means child-proofing so my child is free to explore. The easiest way for a child to have a good experience is to simply be able to explore without limits because there’s nothing dangerous around. So, toys should be age-appropriate (that means no toys that they can take apart), books should be board books only, knick knacks should be put away, stereo equipment etc. should be behind doors/guards.

For others, this means helping their child explore the dangerous things until the urge is out. (That's easy to do with one, harder to do with more than one because your attention is divided.)

IMO, every child should have at least one room where they are free to explore. Our kitchen was one of these rooms. All drawers except 2 had strong latches on them. The 2 free drawers had pans in them. One cupboard was all theirs, full of tupperware and plastic baby bowls and glasses (and a few pans). The other room was the living room.


2. Make sure you fill up your child's cup of attention daily. If they get positive attention from you, they're less likely to act out just to get attention.


3. Decide whether a behavior is really worth stopping. Do I really care if my child takes ALL the puzzles off the shelf? Is it OK for my kids to slide down the stairs on an old crib mattress? Why shouldn't my kids ride their scooters in the house? (OK, they can't do it while I'm cooking dinner, but other times, why not?)

4. Find a way to honor the impulse if what they're doing isn't safe/acceptable to you.
Find something that the child CAN do that’s not the forbidden activity. So, if she wants to jump on the couch, put pillows on the floor and have her jump on those. If he wants to play in the toilet, set him up at the sink with a step stool, some bubbles and a few utensils.

5. Remember that it really helps to tell a child not only what they can’t do, but what they CAN do. So, instead of saying "don’t jump" say "don’t jump on the couch, come jump on the pillows."

6. Gently help them comply.
Under 3s are physical learners and sometimes need to be physically shown what you expect. Handing them the toy you want them to pick up. Gently helping them put their feet on the floor is more effective than telling them 5 times "feet on the floor".

7. Warn of consequences
Tell your child what to expect. "Don’t throw that truck or I’ll have to put it up to keep us safe. Please drive it on the floor."

8. Enforce consequences
This must be done consistently and the first time the child breaks the rule after you tell them not to. Enforcing it after telling them three times "if you throw that (again), I’ll take it." only teaches them that you don’t mean what you say, or that they've got 5-10 chances before they have to listen.

What are appropriate consequences for a child this age? First, try to 'help them' gently comply. If that doesn't work, then I apply:
1. Removing the toy if they’re not using it correctly.
2. Removing the child from the situation. Generally for children under 3, time-outs don’t do any good. They don't understand why they are there, and they don't link the punishment AFTER they've had the thrill of whatever it was to whatever it was they did. Just removing them to another location is generally enough. Go into another room with them and engage them in something else.
3. Remove yourself from the child. For example, if they're hurting you. So, if they hit, gently take their hand and say calmly "don’t hit. that hurts. You must be gentle (and demonstrate gentle)." If they do it again, then get up and say "Don’t hit, that hurts. I won’t play with you if you hit." and walk away.
4. If you’re losing it, then it’s probably best to separate yourself from your child until you’re calm enough to deal with them reasonably. I had to do this on some long days with our both our kids. I'd plop them in their cribs/rooms, and after 3-5 minutes, I could deal with them again.

After our kids hit 3, we do timeouts in our house on occasion. Almost always it's when things have gotten out of hand we need to separate to keep ourselves sane/safe. If my kids hit, they were levitated to their rooms until they calmed down. Sometimes we send a child to their room for interminable whining. If you've been offered a hug, a cuddle and an alternative to whatever is making you whine, and you're STILL whining, it's time for you to go be by yourself. My kids often feed off of my negative energy, so a separation (either me putting myself in my room or putting them in their room) was effective in breaking the cycle.

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#6 of 10 Old 12-08-2008, 11:55 AM
 
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We used a lot of redirection at that age. "No, we don't want to touch the stove/outlet/dangerous thing, can you help mommy with the bowls/"set" the table?".

When we redirected, we tried to redirect from something inappropriate (Playing in the catbox) to something similar but appropriate (Feeding the cat/playing with the cat).

Sometimes all you can do is remove them from the situation and do your best to distract the heck out of them.
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#7 of 10 Old 12-08-2008, 02:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
These are some general ideas that I've collected over the years about how I disciplined our toddlers/young 3 year olds. (After kids hit 4, things change again, because they're a lot more able to discuss/verbalize things.)

None of these are original with me – all are things that I’ve gotten from books. I read parenting books a lot, and it is something that I recommend, because it really helps me figure out where I stand on things. Some books I love, some I hate, most I take a few ideas from.

First, remember that discipline = teaching. For me, good discipline means teaching the child what to do and what to expect. Also remember that learning new things takes time. Your 20 month old can’t tie their own shoes, so don’t expect them to learn to not throw their spaghetti on the floor in one day.

Before you discipline remember that children need to be well fed and well rested before they can learn anything. Feed your toddler every 2 hours. Make sure they get enough sleep. If you're both tired and cranky (dinner time), you're going to have more battles. Try to plan a quiet activity or a way to cool off then. If your child has been sick, expect their behavior to be "off" for the 10 days to 2 weeks it takes them to fully recover (even if they "look" OK).

Here are the general steps that worked for us:
1. Create a positive environment.
For me, this means child-proofing so my child is free to explore. The easiest way for a child to have a good experience is to simply be able to explore without limits because there’s nothing dangerous around. So, toys should be age-appropriate (that means no toys that they can take apart), books should be board books only, knick knacks should be put away, stereo equipment etc. should be behind doors/guards.

For others, this means helping their child explore the dangerous things until the urge is out. (That's easy to do with one, harder to do with more than one because your attention is divided.)

IMO, every child should have at least one room where they are free to explore. Our kitchen was one of these rooms. All drawers except 2 had strong latches on them. The 2 free drawers had pans in them. One cupboard was all theirs, full of tupperware and plastic baby bowls and glasses (and a few pans). The other room was the living room.


2. Make sure you fill up your child's cup of attention daily. If they get positive attention from you, they're less likely to act out just to get attention.


3. Decide whether a behavior is really worth stopping. Do I really care if my child takes ALL the puzzles off the shelf? Is it OK for my kids to slide down the stairs on an old crib mattress? Why shouldn't my kids ride their scooters in the house? (OK, they can't do it while I'm cooking dinner, but other times, why not?)

4. Find a way to honor the impulse if what they're doing isn't safe/acceptable to you.
Find something that the child CAN do that’s not the forbidden activity. So, if she wants to jump on the couch, put pillows on the floor and have her jump on those. If he wants to play in the toilet, set him up at the sink with a step stool, some bubbles and a few utensils.

5. Remember that it really helps to tell a child not only what they can’t do, but what they CAN do. So, instead of saying "don’t jump" say "don’t jump on the couch, come jump on the pillows."

6. Gently help them comply.
Under 3s are physical learners and sometimes need to be physically shown what you expect. Handing them the toy you want them to pick up. Gently helping them put their feet on the floor is more effective than telling them 5 times "feet on the floor".

7. Warn of consequences
Tell your child what to expect. "Don’t throw that truck or I’ll have to put it up to keep us safe. Please drive it on the floor."

8. Enforce consequences
This must be done consistently and the first time the child breaks the rule after you tell them not to. Enforcing it after telling them three times "if you throw that (again), I’ll take it." only teaches them that you don’t mean what you say, or that they've got 5-10 chances before they have to listen.

What are appropriate consequences for a child this age? First, try to 'help them' gently comply. If that doesn't work, then I apply:
1. Removing the toy if they’re not using it correctly.
2. Removing the child from the situation. Generally for children under 3, time-outs don’t do any good. They don't understand why they are there, and they don't link the punishment AFTER they've had the thrill of whatever it was to whatever it was they did. Just removing them to another location is generally enough. Go into another room with them and engage them in something else.
3. Remove yourself from the child. For example, if they're hurting you. So, if they hit, gently take their hand and say calmly "don’t hit. that hurts. You must be gentle (and demonstrate gentle)." If they do it again, then get up and say "Don’t hit, that hurts. I won’t play with you if you hit." and walk away.
4. If you’re losing it, then it’s probably best to separate yourself from your child until you’re calm enough to deal with them reasonably. I had to do this on some long days with our both our kids. I'd plop them in their cribs/rooms, and after 3-5 minutes, I could deal with them again.

After our kids hit 3, we do timeouts in our house on occasion. Almost always it's when things have gotten out of hand we need to separate to keep ourselves sane/safe. If my kids hit, they were levitated to their rooms until they calmed down. Sometimes we send a child to their room for interminable whining. If you've been offered a hug, a cuddle and an alternative to whatever is making you whine, and you're STILL whining, it's time for you to go be by yourself. My kids often feed off of my negative energy, so a separation (either me putting myself in my room or putting them in their room) was effective in breaking the cycle.
Thanks for taking the time to share this wisdom. It's very helpful for those of us who are just beginning the journey.
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#8 of 10 Old 12-08-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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My son is almost this exact age and very "spirited". I haven't really considered him a high needs child because he was such a mellow baby. However, now that he's a toddler, he is just into everything. I mean everything. I know is totally normal/age appropriate but I truly have to remove whatever he is getting into because he will.not.stop.

Right now, I'm staying at my fathers for another 2 days before moving into our new townhouse. We have been here almost 3 weeks and I'm am truly exhausted. Of course their house isn't childproofed at all so it's really not his fault but it's just frustrating because I am constantly chasing him around, trying to keep him from getting into stuff.

Reading your post made me wonder what is exactly "normal" toddler persistency? How many times does it usually take for a toddler to understand something. I have been seriously considering doing time-outs..I even kind of did a couple "time-outs/ins" today because I'm just frustrated. I have probably told him a hundred times not to touch something and he doesn't get it. Maybe I'm not being firm enough? I have done all of the recommended, taking him outside, go to park, go for walk, buy him books, puzzles, toys...I'm seriously considering food intolerences now..

"Breastfeeding is a robust, biologically stable activity so central to our evolutionary identity that it names the class of animals to which we belong" (Breastfeeding Atlas, Third Edition)
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#9 of 10 Old 12-08-2008, 05:57 PM
 
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Hope this will help some:

Dh and I agreed that behavioral issues (in our view) stem from not listening. Sometimes one isn't feeling ready to listen.

We have a Listening Spot... we all use it. When there is a conflict, one of us might say "I'm not feeling like you're ready to listen, so I'm going to sit in the Listening Spot til you're ready to listen. I won't talk or play until we can speak with respect about this problem."

If dd is being nasty, I'll ask her to excuse herself to the Listening Spot and relax and breathe til she's calm enough that I can listen to her... I often join her (with her permission) and we "relax it down" together, taking deep breaths and getting ready to listen to each other.

A Listening Spot can crop up anywhere... the bench at the park, the bottom step at the library...
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#10 of 10 Old 12-09-2008, 12:55 PM
 
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I think that you will find an article knocking anything and everything if you look hard enough...... Its all about what you personally feel comfortable with and what works for your child.

Personally, I have a strong willed child. I was (am) a strong willed child!! My father was very authoritarian and punative. I strive to NOT be. BUT on the other hand I just pulled myself out of a very dark spot because I was being permissive out of sheer exhaustion and morning sickness and my son took that liberty and made our lives hell. Since tightening up the rules and boundaries he has been behaving wonderfully. Its truely so much better for all of us. He is happier and we are less stressed!

I use time outs for appropriate things. When I cannot resolve something verbally, or he has repeated a bad behavior on purpose I will use the time out. I'd say now he maybe gets one 2-3 times a week. He knows that he hates time out and he will correct his behavior accordingly! Since he is just 2 I can't expect him to fully understand why he is getting the time out but there is time in the future when he is more verbal to work on other parenting strategies. But for now for us T.O's ARE the gentle approach. I'm a much more compassionate happy sane mama!

mama to L (4) and G (1.5)
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