Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Time Out or A Different Consequence?

This past week we went to a friend's cabin up in the Black Hills of SD. It was about a 6 1/2 hour drive. Baby A was great. We arrived at 5pm. It was enough time to have a good dinner, get her some exercise and get her to bed.

The following day we had breakfast and then went driving around. We ended up in a small town that is about 30 min. from the cabin. By the time we arrived it was 12. I was hoping we would get back by 1 for nap but it didn't seem like it as we needed to eat lunch and there was a fish hatchery down the street we wanted to take Baby A to feed the fish. By the time we got back to the cabin it was 2. An hour late. Yes it bothers me a bit, but we were on vacation so I could deal with an hour late. She didn't sleep as long as she normally does, probably because we were somewhere else that was new and exciting. Once she got up it was pretty late so we hung around the cabin. I went on a mountain bike ride and Baby A got to ride her bike around the cabin with her dad and friend. Dad fed her dinner. I returned at 7. It was time to get her ready for bed. Baby A and friend were playing peek-a-boo. She was having a blast, belly laughing like you couldn't believe. When we went down stairs to get ready for bed she was calming down. Then it happened....

I laid her on the bed to change her diaper and she hit me. So I said, "Bummer, time out" I put her against the wall for 1 min. Then I said, "Time out is over. I love you." So I resumed in trying to change her diaper again and she hit me again. Deja Vu. Time out again. After the third time I started to get a bit frustrated. I had to decide, will I keep putting her in time out b/c that is her consequence, which could mean getting ready for bed could take a long time. Or do I do something else. On the spur of the moment I decided to skip time out and I said, If you keep hitting me we will go straight to bed without ready books. She kept hitting me so I quickly finished changing her, put her pj's on, and put her in her crib. I said, "I love you. Goodnight." Then it hit her. I watched her mouth turn down, open wide and start to cry saying, "Books." I reiterated, "I am sorry honey, I love you but you chose to keep hitting me so you have to go straight to bed without ready books." Then I left. Boy did she cry. I walked upstairs and looked at my friend. I wasn't sure what to do. I don't want to take books away from her but at the time Time Out wasn't working. After a bit I went back down b/c she was still crying, hard and when I opened the door, she said, "Books," through her tears. I repeated again what had happened, told her I loved her and it was time for bed. Then I went back up stairs. I proceeded to go back one more time but couldn't calm her down. I know if I took just one book out that would do it, but if I did it...she would start to think she was in charge. She needs to learn there are consequences other than Time Out and some will be very sad.

Around 8:30pm her father came home and heard her crying. I quickly explained the situation and he said, "I'll go down, is there anything you want me to do." I said, "Just don't read her a book."

A few minutes later he came up and all was quiet. I wondered, "Did he read a book?" Then I realized that we are both on the same page and we don't contradict each other. He ended up picking her up for a few minutes to hug and rock her.

Did this consequence work? Is she still hitting me? Yes, every now and then and she goes into time out but she hasn't hit me while we have been getting ready for bed. I think she likes her books too much!

1 comment:

  1. Just an idea to plant... one that Love and Logic has missed, in my opinion.

    Ostracism (which is what a "time out" or the silent treatment is) is scientifically shown to cause the pain receptors in the brain to respond.

    We have chosen to utilize natural consequence. Sometimes that is nothing more than talking about the (our) resulting feelings from our child's actions.

    We also use a strict adherence to NVC. We have not had her act aggressively toward us even once. She'll be three in Oct.

    Just some thoughts to ponder.