Saturday, October 10, 2009

Peter's mom question

So, Peter is 2 yrs and 4 months... a casual, laid back little boy. Pretty good communicator, likes company, likes to be active, likes rules for the most part, a child that prefers a boundary than not... usually. The last week or so that has changed a little. I now am dealing with a "scream" when he either doesn't want to do something I ask, or if I "guide/refocus" when he isn't listening to me, or even if I help him when he didn't ask for it and therefore doesn't want my involvement. Now, sometimes this is a defiant grunt pseudo under his breath, but not. Sometimes it is a quick blast of "aagh", and sometimes it is a "aagh, aagh, aggh" with wriggling, grabbing, kicking. The level of response is not linked to what happened prior, there is no pattern. Usually a time out is all he needs. He doesn't like to be separated and a time out hurts his feelings. With the growing use of time out lately, they are not hurting his feelings as much. In the past I have had maybe 1-2 days that I can think of where I have used time outs more than 3 times in a day... this past Friday, we had 7 time outs, and 3 sets of toys taken away for the day. Still the scream came. When correcting, I always say " you do not scream at Mummy and Daddy, you do not scream at anyone" and then 75% of the time I say "when you don't want something, say I DONT WANT TO MUMMY, if you dont want my help, say PLEASE DONT HELP ME MUMMY" and so on. Today when I dropped him off at his pre-school (Tue and Thu 9-1) I watched through the closed door to see his day start. The teacher guided him to sit, and I could see he was still getting used to the room and he wasnt ready, she didnt notice, she forced the sit a little, he was almost seated and then he popped up and did a grunt at her and had the face. I was horrified and ran out of the building :) prior, when I dropped him off they said how wonderful he is and "so good" (he has been there one week) and usually he is, but I did say to them that we have this recent behaviour so when it happened today at least they were semi-warned! Now that it is happening not just with me - here is my question... if time out isn't "working" and toys taken away doesn't really affect his right/wrong notion, what do I do at this age? Also, after listening to Dr Laura in the car on the way home and hearing her barrage someone for putting a 3 yr old in day care, I am wondering if the T/Th thing is too much. Last year he was in a PDO for 1 day a week. Do you think I should scale back? Could it be an acting out because he isnt ready for so much? Any wise words, wise one? :) I want to get it right, I want to respect his "no" when appropriate as I explain to him above, I want our vibe back :)

I love the sassy bag and frankly if he was older it would have been enforced :)

---This was my response to her:
Easton also does not like time out--SO--if I have to put him in a "normal" time out--which consists of just sitting where ever whenever--more than once or twice--he has to do the time out in his room on his bed...he HATES this and seems to change the behavior--whatever it is--but not usually until after he really lets me know how much he hates the bed time out...I just usually preface it (above his wailing) with --"we do not scream--we use our words"

SO--I don't know how you use time out--but that is one suggestion--take it to a new level...

Another thing would be to give him a sign or even make a sign--like a picture of a stop to him when he is really frustrated about when he gets really mad that he can show you the stop sign in sign language--and that you will help him--you can act it out--you know pretend like you are Peter and you are really mad and you show you the sign and you give him your full attention--does that make sense? Alot of times it is just that they dont' feel like they are getting their point across and they can't get a whole sentence out when they are frustrated (I know when I am really frustrated...I have to keep my mouth shut! or something ugly might come out... :) )

The stop sign is something I told a friend to do with her son a few years ago and they loved it...he would get really mad and go get the stop sign...he would show it to her--it was not a real sign that could be used as a weapon--but was just on paper and laminated at Kinko's...but he would get it and slap it...she would give him her full attention and put the sign on the table--he would calm down immediately...

I prefer the hand sign because it is quiet and you have it with you all the time...

BUT--you are doing everything right with being consistent and giving him words to use instead of the screaming...which is exactly what I do--but you can't let time out stop working for you--it is the best thing in the world...! :)

Follow through

It has been such a long time since I have posted, but I just had to touch base to make a comment about consistency...I have been working with families of children that are really acting out that we were concerned about some deeper meanings behind their behaviors...but what came out most of the time was that there was never any consequences for the behaviors.
One child was running out into the street over and over again--a real safety issue and when I asked what the parents did when this happened, they said that they went to get her. I think they could see the shock on my face and replied that they did not want to spank her, just in case she didn't understand, because she is only 3. Listen--3 year olds can understand NOT SAFE! DANGER!! A 6 month old can understand your stressed voice say is all about tone and follow through. We set up some consequences and some "keep it from happenings" for this family and they just kept saying--do you really think she will understand? I finally said, "Are you willing to risk it if she does or doesn't? I mean, you could be talking about life and death here."
Another child, the behavior was just a real concern because he wasn't unable to play by himself and would throw a big fit if his mom encouraged it. So, we set up a schedule and a timer for "Tommy (that wasn't his name) time" and even if he threw a fit, play time was all on his own until the timer went off. We started with just three minutes because she said that sometimes he would play for a minute or two... and we said that the goal would be 15. She cried thinking about 15 minutes to be able to do the dishes in the mornings. I explained that just being consistent and expecting him to do it--not giving in when the fit got too big--would get it there.
I saw this with Easton a few weeks ago and my friends keep making fun of me because he was really giving me a hard time in the car on the way to Waco...hollering and fussing in the back seat. Jason was on call, so I was on my own taking both kids to my parents and I had gotten a later start than I had wanted to--so I set him up for failure. BUT--I still had to be consistent. He was being rude and I redirected him to make a better choice and handed him a toy. He continued to throw a fit and holler. I gave him a warning that he would have to sit in timeout (knowing that I was driving on Hwy 31 and where would I put him?) if he could not get it together...well--he called my bluff. He threw a book down and screamed no at me. I pulled the car over and walked back to him and restated the expectations and pulled him out of the car. (Yes, I wanted to spank him, but that was not the consequence that I had given him...)I walked over to the side of the road and sat him in the grass. He kept pointing to the cars flashing by and saying, "I'm going to get hit by a car", it was so funny--but not funny at the same time. As soon as he got it together, he stood up and apologized and we dried his eyes, gave sugars and had a wonderful remaining drive to Waco. The great thing is now when we are driving somewhere and he acts up--he KNOWS that there is a consequence of time out--he has experienced it. If Mommy says will happen. That is follow through. Kids need that in their lives.