Thursday, April 1, 2010

Disicpline Usually I post our StArt project on Thursday. It didn’t happen this week. In fact, a lot of things I planned didn’t happen this week or last week. Instead we had a lot more “disciplining” than I would have liked. It looks like every week lately Anna finds a new creative way to get herself in trouble. Every time it happens during the time she is supposed to be down for her afternoon rest time. First it was sprinkling her room with water from her water bottle (we thought it was a fluke and let it slide), then it was making bookmarks out of a library book page. Yesterday she decided that it’s a good idea to pee all over her room. Mind you, this comes from a child who has barely ever had any accidents and has been potty trained for months now. Moreover, she is really upset when she has those rare minor accidents. This time she behaved as if nothing happened.

My husband (all those things happened when I was at work) is beyond himself. His whole approach to child rearing is based on belief that our child is a mature and intelligent human being. Even when she was a baby we chose not to baby proof our house but instead consistently impressed upon her what things are her things and what things are adults’ things. I keep reminding him that our daughter might be intelligent, but she is certainly far from mature. We had many heated debates about appropriate responses. I tend to apply “immediate consequences” (same day punishments) and then “forgive and forget”. He is more in favor of relatively long term modifications. Yesterday he even went as far as threatening to put a diaper on her and set the crib back up. Fortunately, so far we’ve been able to work out a joint strategy on every transgression, and usually it means removal of privileges for the day – no sweets, no books, no play time. It’s been tough going for adults in the house. Anna still behaves as a carefree child though – she is certainly upset that parents are mad at her, but now she has grandparents to run to when she is in trouble. And she seems to believe that as long as she covers us with kisses and we kiss and hug her back, all is good again in her world. Here is her strategy in dealing with an angry parent: Papa, I want to give you a kiss! Mwa! Are you happy now? I certainly hope that things will look up soon, but in the meantime we are curious – how do you discipline your kids for major transgressions and what would be major in your house?


Ticia said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Our kids are so much alike. Except my boys did that on the wall, and then tried to blame their sister. Ummm..... that's not anatomically possible.
As to discipline. We do time-outs, privelege removals (like no _______ for set amounts of time) and the like. We do also occasionally use physical punishment, but that's more to get attention, and rather rare honestly.
Sadly, what works best in our house won't work for you, because you only have one. It works best to be isolated from brother or sister.
And, I'm with you kids are not little adults. Their brains are not fully formed yet, and it is useless to ask them why. They don't understand why, and they're not at the point we should expect them to yet.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

We've run into trouble like that at naptimes, when the kids get bored - though, believe me there are worse things than pee to have smeared around a room :(

We do best when they have real clear activities they are allowed to do, quietly in their rooms, and very set consequences, agreed on ahead, if they do other things.

Debbie said...

Welcome to the world of a 3 year old. We have not had the pee problem, but yes Selena has been rather testy and doing things that she knows she isn't suppose to do. I must admit that we have never used spankings as a form of punishment, but she is in a stage right now where time outs mean nothing, removing privelages mean nothing, so yes she has recieved a swat on the behind especially when she is doing something that puts her in harms way.

This phase too shall pass, it is a stage, consistency is the number one rule. Being on the same page with each other on your discipline is a must! She is discovering the world of testing her parents and the world of how can I make them think "MY" way.

Rest assured you are not alone, all 3 year olds go through this period in their life.

Gabriele said...

No real advice...just (((HUGS)))
I am similar to Debbie...we do not use spankings as punishment, and rarely use time out either. It really is a phase they go through...they will try to test every.single.boundary.
I really try to practice 'natural consequences'. So, for him making a mess (on purpose or not) HE has to clean it up. For the pee, I would likely make him take his yucky clothes and start the washing machine, make him clean up any pee on the floor, etc.
It's SO hard to follow the natural consequences on days when you are just DONE with the behavior, so those days, he gets sent to his room and just away from me for a few minutes.
The library book thing would probably be a discussion about how other kids can't read it if it's messed up, and possibly losing library privileges for a week or something.
(((HUGS))) mama! They say it gets better! <3

Joyful Learner said...

I remember my mom kept a cat in her shop and the cat would knock over all the merchandise after he was scolded by my mom. I love cats. I had no idea cats held grudges or was so vindictive.

If the pee incident happened, we would ask JC help clean it up. Then we would have a talk to get to the root of the problem. We talk about feelings a lot around here and what we can do if we are mad, sad, frustrated, etc. It has helped her manage her emotions better. When it's hurtful or dangerous, we talk about what could happen if she did it again. I'm discovering that 3 year old's are very much like teenagers. They think they are invincible! I don't want to squash her spirit but I do want to warn her of dangers if there are any. But no matter what, we tell her how much we love her. I think kids just as well as adults need to know that they are loved no matter what. Usually, the greater love wins over and melts away whatever is bothering them.

I highly recommend "Positive Discipline" by Jane Nelson! She's a godsend in parenting young children.

Autumn said...

In my experience and from reading I've done on the topic, potty "accidents" are just a symptom of a larger issue, and really shouldn't be disciplined. Perhaps Anna is a bit stressed out by something? Could she be trying to exert power in this area?

What we do for accidents (for either kid, for any reason) is have them help clean it up, and then say matter-of-factly that pee & poop goes in the potty, not in our pants. I think that if we get emotional about it, they will see it as a tool of manipulation, and realize that they can affect our emotions by the small act of wetting their pants. Now, obviously this doesn't apply to newly-potty trained kids, but those who have shown a clear ability to potty in the correct place.

We don't allow a child to run to the other parent for comfort when they are currently having (or just had) discipline with one parent...we will redirect them to the parent who just disciplined so that there is restoration with the relationship. Hopefully Anna's grandparents are on the same page as you and Lars so that discipline is easier on you guys!

As for major transgressions, for us it is anything that a child does the he *knows* is wrong (and that we are very sure that he knows it is wrong). For instance, about 6 months ago, Tommy ripped a library book to shreds...he literally tore out every page, and tore the papers into confetti. Let me tell you, *that* was a major transgression that he got major consequences for. Now he is very gentle with books. :)

MaryAnne said...

I go for immediate consequences (usually the child or a toy that is being fought over going into time out). For messes, I have my children help clean up. I would probably even do this with pee, since urine is pretty harmless. We emphasize being sad rather than angry at improper behavior. "Happiest Toddler On the Block" taught me to go straight to the point and keep verbal explanations/reprimands as straightforward and clear as possible, and that seemed to help a lot.

Good luck - I'm sure things will start to go more smoothly soon =)

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

I think every parent has had times like what you described. It will get better! I'm confident you'll find a good solution to this. Because you rock!!!

Sherri said...

Loved this post...because we can all relate! And I am excited to follow your blog!
I have a great oldest daughter potty trained herself...never never had an accident...never did anything wrong. She was perfect! At 7 years old...she must have decided to experiment...she drew on walls..."wanted to know how it felt"...she peed at the park on purpose..."wanted to know what it was like"...things like this went on and on...everytime I asked her "how was it?..."did you like it?" and we talked about it. It was strange...but fun to have a 7 yr old do what a 2 or 3 year old would do and be able to discuss it!
She is now back to perfect!
my other 4 have followed normal behaviors!
Good Luck!
From what I can are AN AMAZING MOM... and doing a GREAT JOB!!!
Kids will be kids!!!

Elise said...

Life sure is full of surprises with a three year old during rest time. We have only just made the transition to rest time (in the last week). So far, we have not had any major problems, but it only early days for us. This morning, Savvy and I selected some activities for her to do during rest time today and placed them into a special tub. I am trying to collect things for her to use only during rest time.

As far as disciplining goes, what works best for us is to give choices. For example, When Sav and Blake are not sharing, they are given the choice of sharing, or the toy/activity goes away.

In other instances we may send Sav to her room for a short time. We always tell her (before she goes to her room) why we are not happy with her behaviour and what she could do differently next time. When it is time for her to come out (after a couple of minutes) we get her to tell us why she went to her room, why we were unhappy and how she could do it differently next time.

We also talk a lot about feelings - frustration is a big one here at the moment and how to deal with it appropriately.

Kim said...

I've also read that the last 6 months of a child's year are the most difficult, and it has certainly held true here. Crumpet was *very* difficult from 3.5 to 4. Now that he is almost 4, he is really getting easier. And it will get easier for you too! I think all children need to test boundaries at this age, and they are definitely not mini-adults. Their brains just don't work like ours- I expected too much for a while, but now I'm learning to give him a little leeway. I know how hard it is to have different discipline ideas than your spouse too. My husband believes in being much harsher than I do, and using major consequences like your husband. I think at 3, they really can't understand long term punishment. I use time outs, and lots of discussion. I admit to the occasional spanking - and did spank him the one time he tore a book. That is a major transgression here, which he knows, and he only did it to test me. He knows now not to try it again... Other major issues we have here tend to be hitting me, friends, or the pets. Now, when he's that angry, he is learning to go to his room and hit pillows. Slowly, slowly, with lots of repetition and discussion, things sink in and they alter their behavior. Hang in there...

S said...

Just wanted to offer a hug!

We've tried a lot of different approaches to discipline in the past. Currently we focus on emotion coaching and avoiding rewards and punishments. However, I'm not always on my "A" game :)

We've had many major transgressions around here. The only one that compares to yours is when my son was urinating in his room. He was 7 at the time, fully aware that it was wrong. Nothing worked to stop it until he changed rooms (we had new rooms finished downstairs.) So I can't even take credit.

It will pass, but in my experience one problem just gets replaced by another. I am hoping to be out of the phases by the time they move out. LOL

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

I agree that immediate consequences are best - ones that require the child to take some responsibility for their action, like having to clean up the mess. Anna is old enough to begin to learn that her behaviour has consequences. I also agree with the previous comment, that this is actually part of a larger situation - the fact that it is happening at the same time everyday might mean that Anna is bored at rest time, maybe it is time for a change to that part of her routine, for example, could she lie on the couch and listen to a story on CD as an alternative?
I like to think of 'behaviour guidance' rather then discipline. Asking, "How can I help my child move through this stage? What may be contributing to the problem? What can I teach my child from this?"
Good luck