Monday, October 11, 2010

Time out can have a time out.

I hate time out. Hate hate hate. Almost as much as Amaya does.

Amaya is Jekyll and Hyde these days. She can be the sweetest, cutest person ever (especially for other people who demand absolutely nothing from her and give her whatever she wants--you would be amazed at the amount of sugar she can get out of the average person), and she can be the most unruly, bossy, lying and impulsive thing ever. She has started screaming the second I say No to anything, screaming when she doesn’t like what we’ve asked her to do, and screaming when I send her to time out for screaming at me.
The second I put her in time out (because I have to pick her up, kicking and screaming, and put her there) she jumps up immediately and runs after me, hitting me all the way. I have to pick her up and put her back. Over and over and over again, all the while explaining that she is going to stay in time out until it’s over.

So today I closed the door on the way out and she had a complete breakdown, screaming (did I tell you she was screaming?) and kicking the door and not listening to a word I said through the door (that I would not let her out until she sat in her time out spot). I just waited. And waited. And waited. It was like torture. In fact, she sounded like I was torturing her.

When she finally went and lay down on her bed, still screaming at me, I went to google “Time out doesn’t work.” Did you know that there are 88 million results for such a google?

The first site was an article on Dr. Spock’s website. I read it. I felt like I was reading my autobiography.
“The temperamental traits that make the behavior of some children in general more challenging--high levels of activity and intensity, high impulsiveness, persistence (which comes across as stubbornness), and relatively low sensitivity to rewards and punishments--make all forms of discipline less effective. Parents and teachers of these children often turn to harsher forms of punishment in the hope that yelling louder or spanking harder will work to correct the unacceptable behavior. But these tactics almost always backfire, resulting in a child who is angry and resentful, or fearful, and even more badly behaved, at least when adults aren't watching.
So, even though timeout doesn't work as well for some children, it is still far and away the most effective form of punishment. Parents of children who have "difficult" temperamental traits need to be even more skillful in the use of timeout and other nonhurtful discipline, whereas parents who are lucky enough to have easygoing children can get away with only a basic understanding of timeout. (For these children, almost anything works.)”
It is SO difficult for me to keep my cool. I don’t.

I read everything that related to this article and tried to prepare myself with an arsenal of techniques. (Techniques I’ve used before, of course.) It just sucks that time out is not that effective but is the only thing I’ve got.

The funny thing is, she is completely wonderful for the five minutes after she comes out of time out. I always hold my breath and hope that she is going to stay that way. It’s like waking up from a dream and trying your hardest to keep it in your memory.

1 comment:

EVA said...

Your post came at such a good time. We just got back from 3 weeks in Slovakia, and all the boundaries that he so nicely and contently lived within have been pushed and broken, and now I'm struggling. Tomorrow I am going to go out and buy the No Cry Discipline Solution, which I borrowed once from a friend and everything got better, most importantly my keeping it together got better. It has some discipline tools that came in very handy when I was watching 2 other kids besides Fin for 8 hours a day 5 days a week. However, I need another tutorial right now. It is 3am and he is wide awake from jetlag. UGH.