Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Torturous Tuesdays

Since Jaxon usually spends Sunday night and Monday at his grandparents, Tuesday mornings are the first day of the week that I have to wake him up early so he is usually a bit on the crankier/whinier side on Tuesdays. Yesterday however, I thought his head was going to start spinning.

It was nice out when we got home around 6:00 yesterday and I had planned to let him play outside while I got dinner ready. However, he headed down to the field almost immediately, which he knows is off-limits. We have 10 acres (fenced) and of that he has 2-3 acres right around the house which comprises his "play area". The rest is out of view and earshot so he is not allowed to go to the more remote areas without one of us with him. My request that he please come back up to the play area was stubbornly ignored. I told him I was going to count to 3 and he'd better be back up out of the field or he was going to have to come in the house. This received an indignant squack and protest that he "had to get these rocks" (our property is covered with rocks, there was nothing unique that I could see about the rocks in the field.) I started counting and hit 3 with no compliance so I proceeded to chase him down and pick him up to take him in the house. This was met with not only kicking but hitting which promptly (as he knows) earned him a time out on top of going in the house.

Now usually he will sit in the time out chair(chair in the middle of kitchen where I can see him but he can't reach stuff to play with) although he may be crying while he does it. Not last night. He was being deliberately defiant jumping back out of the chair and continuing the protest all through my making dinner. He knows that time outs last only as long as he continues to act out. All he has to do is calm down and apologize and confirm that he understands what part of his behaviour was unacceptable, what he should have done in the circumstance, and that he will not continue said behaviour next time. No dice. He was NOT going to apologize.

We finally took a break to eat with me telling him he was going back in time out after dinner. (I do not withold food as punishment although let me tell you how much I wanted to send him straight to bed at that point!) Once he sat down for dinner he seemed to calm down and be willing to act more civilized. We had our conversation after dinner and he apologized and promised to listen tomorrow.

So it finally worked out but I was worn out! I am so tired of coming home from work and having to immediately do battle with a 4 year old.

So what do you all do when time outs are refused? I hate to spank (even a light swat to the butt) but seriously, how do you break the cycle? Just ignore it? In this case I felt like I was giving in even letting him out of time out for dinner. Like he "won" that round. I guess I just need to keep off the mentality of "winning" these battles. I guess ulitmately I won, since he showed at the end that he understood, even if he didn't comply with the time out at the time. I guess I just have to realize that when he is that worked up he is not going to listen or do anything I say and just let it go until he has a chance to cool off. That deliberate, defiant disobedience is really hard to ignore though.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Julia has been difficult with her times outs recently, too. Like you, I don't withhold food or spank. I've started sending her to her room, though. Usually when time outs don't work, it's because she's over-tired and sending her to her room to lay down works because she'll go to sleep. For her, it's all about attention. If there's no audience, she calms down.