Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Discipline" Success!

I mean, my kid is 22 months old, so there's really no such thing as discipline right now. I'm still figuring out how I feel about the whole "discipline" thing with a toddler. I've been reading up and I guess I fall somewhere in the middle: I don't think he "gets it" all of the time, but I do feel that in my home it's important for us to start laying the foundation of what is acceptable and what is not early.

I have a few friends that are all about the "redirection only" methods and to be honest, it just sounds like they live in households centered around their child and what he wants. For me, that feels like it would create a kid a few years down the road that would have a really tough time accepting rules and boundaries and other people's wishes.

So far, discipline has been frustratingly exhausting, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Jacob either doesn't realize he's being punished and sits in time out chattering to himself and playing with his shoes until I come over to have our "follow up", where he looks me in the eye and tells me what I want to hear so he can go play, or I get all-out tantrums complete with hitting, kicking, screaming and wailing. Neither is fun, or feels like we are getting anywhere.

But yesterday, I MIGHT have had a breakthrough!

Lately he wants us to carry him ALL.THE.TIME. He has begun refusing to walk on his own to/from daycare or anywhere, and just whines and tries to block our way until we cave. So I didn't cave. The process looked a little like this:

"Mama, hold again," while reaching up.
"No, we're going to hold hands and walk today," so I take his hand, and he instantly becomes a sack of potatoes, throwing himself to the ground and trying to wrench his shoulder out of socket. So I let go, let him tantrum, and say "I'm going to keep walking now".
"Bye," he screams at me through tears, until I get too far for comfort, then he runs towards me crying hysteerically as if I have just dropped him off at a baby insane asylum, never to return.
I stop, let him catch up, say, "are you ready to hold hands and walk now?"
"No, hold again," and lather, rinse, repeat.
This was our process all the way from his classroom to the front door. It took over 10 minutes.

I finally carried him outside and we sat on the bench. We had a nice chat while he was sitting in my lap about how I needed him to be a big boy and walk, and how I was never going to leave him behind, but I couldn't always carry him. And then I made a deal. "How about you hold my hand and we walk all the way across the parking lot, and if you can walk with me like a big boy, we'll go look at the bus up close?" THAT got his attention. And then we did...walk all the way across the parking lot. He was awesome, and I told him so.

And then I picked him up and carried him to the car. As a reward for both of us for staying calm (me) and listening to mommy (him).

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