Follow up on Parenting toddlers..

I love all the great comments about disciplining toddlers. I’m definitely taking a few of those pointers and putting them into play.

I thought I’d also expand on the rewards idea that I had, as I guess I didn’t explain it very well- I knew I should have drafted the post and waited until I wasn’t listening to Porter dink around in his room at naptime.

I guess what I was thinking as far as the rewards/sticker idea wasn’t so much rewarding him for good things (such as… oh, good job for listening to me… here’s a sticker), but more or less something along the lines of Heather’s idea for the bedtime chart… (which, funny- I had remembered her telling me about this awhile back and I had just before naptime taken pics of Porter doing his bedtime routine and printed up a bedtime chart!).

It seems like so many days we have struggles and time out after time out and threat and warning and yelling and scolding and tantrum after tantrum… that I was wondering if there was something more I could to do encourage GOOD behavior rather than combat the BAD behavior… does that make sense?

I totally agree that I don’t want to reward him for being good or doing things that in general are expected behaviors… but I also want him to learn to choose good behavior over bad behavior. I thought awhile back Heather had tried something with Savannah (refresh my memory if you did..) that was a chart with frown faces or something and whenever there was a tantrum/fit/bad behavior, she added a frown face to her chart. I am not sure how to put something like this into play with a 2 year old, or even if this would work. I’m not even sure what the reward/consequence would be (ie… if you get 3 frown faces you get a toy taken away?…. or maybe if you don’t’ get any frown faces all day you get a reward? … or maybe hmmm???)

I do also (occasionally… and I should do this more as a few of you referenced this) tell him when he starts to do something naughty “Is that a good choice?” or “I hope you don’t choose to say a bad word” but again, I’m not fully consistent on doing this all the time. Really, I haven’t been fully consistent on anything lately.

I am not sure if we should stick with one single form of discipline or if different behaviors should warrant different discipline tactics (such as… we use counting a lot when we transition… like time for naptime… go find Rocky and lets go upstairs. If he dawdles, I tell him I’m going to count and he usually does what is asked. I am not sure I feel that a time out is warranted for something like that, as really- isn’t just a few extra minutes what he’s wishing for?) I guess I’ve noticed we seem to rotate disciplines with different behaviors. Maybe we shouldn’t?

Ok, so maybe I’ll outline some typical behaviors and how we react/discipline for them. If anyone has any suggestions on any changes, I welcome it!

  • Hitting: Time out for 2 minutes, then we ask him why he was in time out (and he tells why- and always knows exactly why) and explain that it isn’t nice to hit. He then has to apologize and hug/kiss who he hit.
  • Throwing toys: We take the toy away for the rest of the day. He gets it back the next morning. I guess sometimes we’ll do a time out for this, but there we go… inconsistent. Should he get the toy taken away AND a time out? Or just one?
  • Swearing (his infamous “damn!”): This is where I’m sure some of you won’t agree… but we’ve tried everything for the past year. I finally gave in and let Ryan try his method…. a bar of soap in the mouth. And guess what… it worked. We went for a whole week without hearing his “damn!” and even now he’s stopped way more than he used to as he knows that if we hear it, the soap goes in his mouth. We can usually tell when he’s getting carried away or frustrated and on the verge of using his bad word and we remind him “I hope you’re not going to use a bad word.” and that usually stops him.
  • General tantrums about not getting his way: If its a minor fit and I’ve explained why he’s not getting his way, I try to ignore the fit. If its a screaming crying hanging on me, throw yourself down fit… we tell him to take it to his room and come out when he’s calmed down.
  • Getting out of bed… Oh hell.. this is where it all falls apart. I’m going to implement the bedtime chart after he returns from Aunt Lori’s on Sunday. This week I tried, at naptime, telling him that he doesn’t have to sleep but he does need to stay in bed and read a book. Ok… dumbass… what’s the consequence? Nada. Bedtime/naptime has gotten to the point where I finally, after repeatedly telling him to stop dinking with stuff in his room, have to go in and spank him and make him upset with me to finally get him to stay in bed and fall asleep. I hate doing this. I just am at a loss as to what consequences to give him for getting out of bed. He doesn’t have many toys in his room… those that he does have are in baskets in his closet. Its usually just books.
  • Mean voice: he does this awful sounding mean voice, not always when he’s mad… but its just annoying and mean sounding. He does use it sometimes when he doesn’t get his way (such as…”I want to go outside!”) I think he’s mimicking me when I get a stern mean disciplining voice with him. We’ve been talking to him about how we don’t like his mean voice and when he does use it (usually when he’s getting carried away and hyper and sometimes when he’s backtalking to attempt to get his way) we warn him not to use it and then he gets a time out if he continues.
  • Acting obnoxious/overly hyper/putting on a show for visitors: He seriously flips a switch when people come over and he starts acting overly goofy, overly obnoxious and just plain wild. We haven’t become very active in disciplining him, mainly just continually asking him to calm down. I’m thinking we should send him to another room for a “calm down time out”?
  • General not listening: Lately I feel like a broken record with things- telling him/reminding him to do things two or three times. And usually the lack of follow through is my fault as I’m a serious multi-tasker and I usually ask him to do something on the fly while I myself am in the middle of doing a couple other things (such as… I’ll ask him to go find his shoes while I’m packing the diaper bag and changing Hudson and getting myself dressed… and then I ask him numerous times while I’m doing my zillion things and finally I flip out because I’ve asked him 3 times to find his shoes and he still hasn’t done what I asked).

    Or… tonight it was time for bed and Ryan told him to give Aubri a kiss and hug goodbye. Both kids kept stalling and Porter kept talking about his toy he wanted to play with. I finally took him by the shoulder and headed him upstairs and said “You had your chance to tell her goodbye… its time for bed now.” Which he was ticked that he didn’t get to hug her, but he had his chance. So… is there anything different that should have been done? I mean… a time out doesn’t seem right because that’d only give him 2 more minutes of up time, kwim?

Like I said before, we use counting a lot when we’re transitioning. Like today we were at the park and I gave him a heads up that we had a few more minutes and then it was time to leave. I gave him 2 last pushes on the swing and when it stopped I told him he could go tell the little boy he’d been playing with good-bye. He ran over to him and I saw him pause and I knew he was thinking of jumping on the merry-go-round. I told him to tell him goodbye and that it was time to go. He still didn’t, so I said “Tell him goodbye and let’s go or I’m going to start counting.” He told him goodbye and then ran to me to leave.

I guess we also do a lot of “If you keep (insert behavior) then we will (insert consequence). Is this a no no? I just noticed I did that… Porter woke up and was crying to come lay with me in bed. I told him no and put him back in bed. He started to cry and I told him “If you keep crying I’m going to close your door.”

Anyhow… Ryan and I brainstormed his bad behaviors and what is listed above is what we came up with on the fly as far as what we’re struggling with right now. I just feel like I’m always doing a time out or always taking away a toy or always yelling at him or always sending him to his room or always counting or reminding him to do something. I am just thinking, along the lines of the “chart”… that maybe doing something where he visually sees how many times he’s acted out/had time outs/thrown tantrums and sees that his bad behavior has a negative effect on him (losing a toy or not earning a reward or something?), that maybe that would help?

Enlighten me more… please.

  1. It kind of seems like Porter has trouble with transitions. I’ve found that if I give the girls ample warning about the next activity, the transition goes a lot smoother. Like at the park, you told him in advance. You may have to carry that into EVERYTHING! Sounds tedious, but once you start, it will just be natural. When I taught preschool, we did a stoplight. When it was on green, they could free play loudly, then when it was on yellow, they had to find a quiet activity and of course red means to stop and clean up. You could kind of follow that guideline with Porter, it creates a visual but also teaches him to wind down. Perhaps if it’s green he can play, yellow he needs to clean up, and red means it is time to do the next activity, whether that be going to the store, or bed, or whatever. Ok, so this became a novel, but I think you are doing a lot of good things. We can’t be perfect with so much going on in our lives. I’d love to yell less, but when all 3 are acting like stinkers, well it’s just something that comes out. It actually takes effort to act reasonably! IMagine that. Good luck! Porter just sounds like a normal 2 year old boy!

  2. Okay, I’m finally back over here to think more on your ideas/questions. I just love this topic and I love how it gets me thinking about what I do, why I do what I do and how it all works for me (or NOT!). Here’s a link to the behavior charts I blogged about with Savannah by the way…http://morrisonsinmichigan.blogspot.com/2007/02/so-what-is-today-best-day-of-whole-year.htmlLet's see… what else stuck out to be in your post?…Bedtime. You asked about consequences. I always struggled with that. For awhile we started taking stuff away from Savannah (this was before implementing the chart. she usually did great after the chart). Like we would remind her that she needed to stay in her bed and lay quietly and if she got up there was a series of consequences. If she wanted to keep “privileges” she needed to cooperate and stay in bed. She liked to sleep with the door open, so if she came out of the room, she lost that privilege and we then closed the door. If she still got up again, we would take her stuffed animals away. If she still got up we would take her Lammie. Ouch. And here’s where it got even testier… if she still got up we took away her beloved blanket. That was hard for me, because I knew that was her comfort thing. But she had these consequences spelled out ahead of time and she still made those choices, several times, and as a result lost the chance to sleep with her most prized possessions. It wasn’t long before she figured out she would rather fall asleep with her stuff than fall asleep crying for it, and she then had to at least be reminded less often.Otherwise, I have no advice about bedtime challenge consequences. I really think the thing that has always worked the best for us as long as we were completely consistent with it, was just planting one of us outside their bedroom and silently putting them back in bed consistently every single time they get up. Yes, it takes the most work out of us, and definitely the most patience, but every time this problem crops up again, if we just buckle down and do that with undivided attention for a few nights, it always takes care of the problem no fail.Okay, I’m going to cut it off here for now before I write another novel. If I think of other stuff I just HAVE TO TELL YOU (haha!) I’ll be back later!

  3. I think everything you listed sounds great. I am going to try some of your techniques with Lucy. I totally understand how you feel about sounding like a broken record. I think the key (I say I think because I just don’t know) is consistency. I have tried to be VERY consistent this week with time-out for hitting (every single time she hits or starts to hit, she gets no warning and goes straight to time-out. I seriously think on Monday she hit Norah or me about 20 times. Yesterday, she hit twice and today not at all. I know that she will still hit every once in a while, but I hoping that I made my point. Bedtime – Our biggest struggle with Norah was jumping in the bed (she is seriously bouncing/jumping ALL day long), which we have said is a big no no! At one point we point a little blow up bouncer (around Christmas last year) and our rule was if she jumps in bed, no jumper time the next day. That worked for her! Now the bouncer popped, but we haven’t had any issues in months!

  4. I really love your chart with the pictures of his actions so he can see himself doing those things. I’ve been thinking about how young is too young to start this type of thing, and I think you’re right on! I think they are at a great age for this type of thing.

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