>> Tuesday, December 01, 2009
At our bowling adventure Brooke asked me an interesting question.
"What to you do when she is like this?"
:insert flailing, screaming toddler lying on the bowling alley floor:
"Well mostly I try to ignore it, but it is hard when you’re in public."
:insert sheepish smile and shrug:
Michael and I have been talking for awhile about how we were going to start disciplining her. Time outs, spanking, ignoring etc. There are infinite options really. And we started asking around to see what and when other parents started. The overwhelming response was time outs at about 18 months. But then I wondered if she was too young, or if she would understand. The ignore tactic does work...at home. But god is it embarrassing anywhere in public. More annoying is the constant chasing and running after her all the time. And then I always end up feeling guilty when I do discipline her.
I did some research and found this book. 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan PhD. I am about halfway through the book at this point and then plan on passing it to Michael to read. I am thinking this is something we will start in the New Year. Both parents need to be on the same page so we will read, discuss, enact.
The basic concept attracted me for a couple of reasons. First, no one knows as much as my husband that I have a temper. I am easily irritated too. You know by little stuff...stupidity, loud eating, slowness, the world not revolving around me. I don't think that is unreasonable. But it leads to a lot of yelling and what some would call adult temper tantrums. Yeah I admit it. And I wonder why my child is the way she is. She may look like Michael but she is her Mama through and through. This book speaks on that. Basically it teaches you to discipline without emotion, without yelling, and without hitting. Now I am all for a good spanking just as much as any other southern woman...when it is called for. Not because I am frustrated or because I don't know what else to do. And I don't really know how I feel about discipling hitting with hitting. I don't think parents are born with the ability to discipline their children. It is a lot of trial and error and a lot of learning. So if I can learn to do this I will consider this program a success.
Second, I like the no nonsense "I am Parent" and this is my house approach. At least with little kids. Basically your house is a dictatorship but as kids get older (think teenage) it can become more of a democracy. To a certain extent. You always get the final say. In other words, you can't let your kids rule the house.
The overall concept of no emotion, no talking, no yelling is used with a counting or three strikes you’re out system. You count (to 3!) if they hit 3 they go to Time Out or a Time Out Alternative (for older children). The book calls it a rest period but I think Time Out is more consistent with standards in schools, etc.
I will let you guys know how it goes but I do recommend the book for toddler parents at least. It is a good read especially for parents that want to avoid the yelling and arguments and constant battles. Our main goal is to eliminate tantrums. Lily's tantrums are usually associated with touching things she is not suppose to or being moved from somewhere she wants to be (hot ovens), or just generally being told no. Here is hoping we are starting early enough to just give her the look to stop her in her tracks. Hey it worked with my dad!
I will give a status update as we proceed.