Thursday, 3 December 2015

Parenting Adventure: Time Out Edition

Parenting is pretty hard. I know, I know, "this too shall pass" and "it's only a stage" and all that, but in the meantime, can we all just agree that the right here and now isn't all that easy?

Elliott is 20 months old and just last week we started time outs. Guys, he isn't even 2. 

He gets it though- oh boy does he ever understand. Here is a typical time out interaction....

Let's say he pushed one of the Dayhome kids....

"Elliott! No pushing. You get a time out for pushing"
I put him on one of the booster chairs, strap him in and push the chair into the corner facing the wall. 

*whining, crying and saying "all done" commences*

1-2 minutes later I go, kneel down in front of him and say 
"Why did you get a time out?"
"Meeeem ooouuut"
"Yes, time out. Why did you get a timeout?"
*avoids eye contact* 
"Elliott, why did you get a time out?"
"Mommy!" *Grabs my face and kisses me on the lips*
"Look at my eyes. Why did you get a time out?"
"Meeeeem ooooouuut"
"Why did you get a time out?"
"Ya ya!!"
"Yes, Olivia. What did you do?"
"That's right. You cannot push."
"Pushing is not being gentle. Pushing hurts"
"You cannot push. Do you understand?"
*nods head emphatically*
"Ok, you go say sorry please"
"Mommy!!" *Hands around my neck and big kiss on the lips as I unstrap him and get him down from his chair*

He then runs up to the "victim" and pats the on the head and says "Sowwy! Sowwy!"

He is lucky he's so dang cute.

But seriously, I think time outs have drastically improved his behaviour. He pushes and hits so much less. I often still feel like a full time referee, but I feel less overwhelmed and exasperated. 

I try to remind myself that he is who he is and his personality and behaviour will grow and change as he grows and develops his relationship with the Lord. I don't want to ever wish he was different, but instead just do my part in guiding him in healthy outlets for his personality. He is such a confident, energy filled little boy, which is what I always prayed for. I know his confidence will serve him well later in life. His pushing and hitting has never been mean spirited, but almost always because he plays too rough and is just a little ball of energy! Of course he's a toddler and fights over toys like the rest of them, but 80% of the time he is just trying to play or give hugs that turn into tackles. He just loves so much! It sounds silly (or backwards), but I really do believe that he'll be such a caring empathetic little boy once he learns not to hit and push.

Oh, and for those who may be wondering, he hasn't bitten anyone since "the incident" over a month ago. Thank the Lord that whole thing wasn't without good fruit!

So anyways, parenting sucks. Being the bad guy sucks. I hate giving time outs so young, but I do it because it works and because I'm seeing a change in behaviour. That, in itself is worth celebrating!

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