Remember about a month ago when I mentioned the big "D" word?
You know the one.
Mhmm. That one. The biggest parenting battle of them all.
Ethan is a good kid. He just needs to learn rights and wrongs like any other child out there and I as a parent have to learn the best way to tackle these issues. I bought 4 different parenting books since I last wrote that post. Unfortunately with all the craziness that has been going on lately I've only gotten half-way through one of them. Don't worry, once I've read them all I'm sure I'll share all my thoughts.
I couldn't just put off the whole discipline routine though. I knew things were getting out of hand when I was trying to dodge shoe bombs like President Bush at the Baghdad press conference in 2008 (I was not nearly as quick in my reaction either) and it was clearly time for me to spring into action so I turned to a quick fix...the Super Nanny. I know, I know getting advice from the TV doesn't sound that fantastic, but I watched a little marathon of her shows and I picked up some very valuable information.
1. She reaffirmed my thoughts on the fact that spanking is not the answer. Now don't get all up in arms. I'm not against spanking completely nor do I think bad of you if you do spank your child. I just think that every child is different and discipline has to be applied accordingly. For Ethan, spanking doesn't work for several reasons. I've tried on a few occasions to spank on the severe things like touching something dangerous or hitting me or the dog, but I either receive zero response or I get hit right back. I think spanking is a way to grab a child's attention and say "Hey! This is SERIOUS.", but it didn't do that for Ethan in fact it actually made him hit MORE. I also feel that when I spank I could tend to take out my frustration and that is definitely not what it is intended to do.
From what I gathered the Super Nanny believes that it's confusing for a child when you spank them in order to teach them not to hit and I totally get that. It's kinda like one of those "Do as I say, not as I do" situations and I want to parent by example so spanking is out for me and Ethan. I'm not saying it will never happen, but for now at his age, it's out. Again...there's absolutely ZERO judging here if spanking works for you.
2. The Super Nanny suggests Time Outs and while we are still in the learning process of this, I believe it will be very effective. She suggests giving them one warning although with hitting, I do put E immediately in time out with zero warnings because I consider it a serious offense.
You are suppose to get down on their level, ask them to look you in the eyes, and tell them what they did wrong and that since they disobeyed you that they are going into time out. She suggests doing a minute per age although we haven't quite gotten up to that just yet. If they walk out of time out you are just suppose to calmly get them and put them back over and over and OVER again until they willingly stay. With an older child you aren't suppose to say anything so you prevent arguments, but with Ethan I do say "No, you are in Time Out." each time I put him back.
I won't lie the first time I did this it took 10 minutes of me putting him back until he willfully stayed for 30 seconds, and I realize by this time he probably had forgotten what he had done, but I think once we get this thing down that it will be very effective. I do think I need to get a little mat for him to stand on or something to mark the place because he frequently tests me by trying to stealthily "sneak" out of time out.
After they are done you get back on their level again and tell them again "You don't do X,Y,Z. Will you say your sorry? Then ask for a hug and immediately lead them to a fun activity. I love this part because I think it will also teach forgiveness. I don't want to be one of those parents that brings up past mistakes over and over again. I want to be a good example of TRULY forgiving people and it will start with my children.
3. I think we all know this one, but when they are throwing a tantrum, just walk away. It does work. I think trying to talk to them escalates things at times and I totally agree with her on this one and have heard it recommended from several other sources as well.
This discipline shindig is zero fun for either party, but it is a necessary evil. It is quite a learning process as well so I of course I don't even want to pretend that I have all the answers as we are in fact in the beginning stages of all this. Ethan is a fantastic kid and I just want to be the best parent I can be and teach him right from wrong. Wish me luck!