Thursday, May 21, 2009

Toddler Discipline: A little advice, please?

So I definitely have a 2 yr. old now. Not only does he like to contradict me and change his mind a bajillion times (says he's done with food, I take it away, he gets upset and asks for more, I give it back to him, he pushes it away, I take it away, he gets upset, .....), but he's becoming obsessed with throwing things and hitting. Throwing and hitting have never been allowed. Either he gets a time out, or the object he threw gets taken away. Or both. But the hitting and throwing continue. After time out, I make sure to tell him he needs to be "suave" (gentle) with whatever he was hitting/throwing things at ("Suave with Chiste". Or, "suave with mommy"). He repeats "Suave" and sometimes even gently pats me if he had hit me before. If he threw books, I give him a book and make put it down nicely before he can come out of time out. Yet the hitting and throwing continue.
Sometimes it's out of anger, sometimes it's just for fun. For example, as I was writing this he:
Came up to me, happy, and hit me with his sippy cup. I took the sippy cup away. He did not like this. He started crying, found a wooden ball, and threw it at me. Now he's in time-out.
Is this something that he'll eventually grow out of? Should I continue taking away items, putting him in time out, emphasize being "suave," and just give it time? Or do I need a different strategy? Any suggestions would be welcome!


Linda said...

You're doing great - stick with it and continue to be consistent and as controlled when you respond to him as possible (ha!). Be sure to give him more attention than you think he needs so that's not an issue. I remember you guys banging me with things like toys and cups a lot. He'll catch on. Some kids are biters, some are hitters or kickers, but they learn.

Beth @ The Natural Mommy said...

I agree about the consistency. With some kids, it doesn't matter what the strategy or punishment/discipline is - they need 4200 repetitions per day for a month solid (or two!) before it starts to sink in. It's way too easy (especially when pregnant!) to get lazy and not punish all incidents, but consistency is definitely the best way to teach them. If you feel yourself starting to lose control (what? me? never...) put him in his room until you've cooled off a bit. But other than that, just keep up the same thing you're doing.

And I agree with the advice about spending more time with them, too. It seems they act out the most when you spend the least amount of time with them. Especially at that age - they don't know how else to explain to you what they want/how they feel.

But yeah, as far as actual tactics, we do time-outs (in their room, on their bed) most of the time, just like what you're doing. (Rarely, we resort to spanking when it seems nothing else is working and the crime is serious enough to warrant it) You're on the right track!

Teresa said...

Thanks for the encouragement, both of you. I sat down and made a schedule that divided up time with him vs. time of individual play. Friday was great! (until Daddy came home and we wanted to sit a few minutes on the couch to talk). And it helped me to stay focused (when I have no schedule I often feel lost as to what to do).

Therapy Mom said...

You're doing the right thing. You will find yourself doing it over and over. I remember those SAME thoughts with RDC, but don't even bat an eyelash at CCC! His tantrums are just ignored...and it works beautifully. Throwing is addressed the same way you are.

It is a phase and this too shall pass...keep telling yourself that...even after the 53rd time out of the day!