Thursday, February 10, 2011

Time out!

I have hit the child rearing wall!  My three year old is all sorts of defiant lately, and this week has nearly constantly tested his limits.  What do you do with a child that will not sit in time out?  Ugh.  This has got to be the most frustrating thing about parenting.  You want to enjoy all the wonderful things about your child, but when they are acting up so much you can't.  By the end of today I was nearly ripping my hair out of my head.  My husband and I decided we have to revamp the disciplinary system we had going on.  I think between the baby starting to play with fun things (jealousy), and Daddy working so many long hours and not getting to spend so much time with him, my oldest son is acting out.  By the end of the day, he is super exhausted and then he can just switch from fun kiddo into beastie in the blink of an eye.  I would like to convince him to take a nap in the middle of the day, but he doesn't get that it would help him feel better, and have a nicer evening.  I feel like I'm yelling at him all day, and constantly sticking him in (or at least trying to) time out.  Aren't they supposed to figure out after a few time outs that the behavior getting them there is not worth it?  He will repeatedly do the same wrong thing forever.  I am not sure of one bad action that he's been in time out for multiple times that has actually been corrected.  I don't believe in grown adults hitting children, unless the child would otherwise be hurting themselves or another child or animal and a swat on the hand or even mouth (for biting), could be appropriate.  A big reason for this is it sends mixed messages to be teaching a kid not to hit, but then you are hitting them.  They've also found that hitting children makes them aggressive, and my kid is already this energetic, clumsy, doesn't know his own strength tornado.  I don't need to have him being mean and trying to hurt others when he already hurts people simply by not watching what he's doing or not realizing how rough his play is.

We are going to try a rewards system.  I have seen this professionally recommended, as well as personally recommended by a friend of mine.  "Tell them what they can do, then tell them what they can't do." is a statement I heard, and so a rewards system with more "time in" for good behavior to help ward off bad behavior and "time out" seems like a possible system for us.  I knew that we had it too good when he was 2 and so lovable and happy go lucky.  It was the Terrific Twos and the Terrible Threes for us!  But, I want to find something that will work for him.  Kids are miserable when they are acting up so much.  It doesn't feel good to them to be doing that.  In my son's case, it clearly is a response to his changing environment.  We always have more problems with him when company is around or something is very different, and so I see how when his daily routine is changing he could have the same type of reaction.  It's just never this frequent.  I don't want to be the mommy that is always screaming because she's exhausted and out of ideas. 

I have to remind myself not to take it personally.  He is not doing this TO me.  He is testing to learn his boundaries, and what is acceptable, and what is expected of him.  I just wish he'd pick up the pace, and learn a little bit faster.

I also cannot wait for better, warmer weather.  I think being stuck inside the house due to the bitter cold, and me not wanting to take the baby out in that, has really taken it's toll.  My oldest has always needed to run and play, and work his energy out.  All this bottled up energy seems to just be overflowing and exploding now.  The little soccer league he's going to be joining cannot start soon enough! 

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