How to avoid a time out… (and where hugs fit into it all)

Time outs are often used as a means to ‘discipline’ a child.  It is seen as a way to teach a child not to keep going with a behaviour, by secluding them.  It is often used as a last resort by parents and is obviously more favourable than a smack.  Mostly, time outs are used by parents as this is what their parents used with them.  Without consciously making change, most parents continue to use the beliefs and disciplinary style that were modelled by their parents.

Time outs are not the only way to deal with misbehaviour.  There are actually two ways to treat your child:

  1. Use a disciplinary action such as smacking or time outs, which eventually gets your child to comply out of ‘fear’.
  2. Teach your child in a loving and understanding way where they went wrong and how to behave in a better way next time, promoting your child to respect you and to try to ‘do the right thing’.

By using the second approach, you will find less resistance, more positive change for the long term and a better relationship with your child.  It is not your job as a parent to ‘come down’ on your child when they are misbehaving, but rather to teach them how to behave appropriately, with love and understanding.

This is basically the same way you can treat teenagers.  The more you ‘come down’ on them, they more likely they are to rebel.  The more you get them to understand why you are asking them to do something or pulling them up on inappropriate behaviours, the more they will respect you and comply.

The trouble with ‘time out’:

  • Children just want to be loved by their parents.  Being secluded by their own parents stresses a child’s body physically and emotionally and temporarily removes that love.  A child then does not feel loved unconditionally.
  • There is always a reason for a child to misbehave.  Time outs do not encourage parents to look at why the child was misbehaving in the first place. They simply see their child as having acted ‘naughty’.
  • The child knows they have done the wrong thing by being secluded in a time out but may not understand exactly what they have done wrong, or how to change this behaviour for next time.
  • If the parent has not used age-appropriate language (roughly 2-3 word phrases for 2 year olds, 3-4 word phrases for 3 year olds and ensuring 4 year olds and older actually understand all terms and concepts the parent uses), they can expect the child will possibly misbehave in the same way.
  • A child does not always know to say ‘I didn’t understand what you were meaning/what do I do when this happens next time/why have I been put in my room?’.

How to avoid time outs

  • Choose to look at why your child has acted the way they have, before you assume they are being ‘naughty’ and acting against you.  Why is your child getting to the point of misbehaving?  Are they bored?  Are they excited?  Are they overstimulated?  Are they craving your attention?  Are they having difficulty regulating their emotions?
  • Use age-appropriate language.  Really stop to ask yourself ‘does my child understand what I am saying?’.  Do I need to show my child how to act instead.
  • Aim to teach your child what to do in each scenario.  For example, “no hitting…say ‘mine'”, ‘no playing here (with power point)…not safe…come play here’.
  • You may need to distract on from inappropriate behaviours (such as power points), when your child is too young to understand why they must not play there.
  • Identify with your child’s feelings.  Instead of sending them to time out for hitting, tell them what they are feeling.  For example, ‘you are frustrated…no hitting…come here for a hug’, ‘no hitting mummy…you are frustrated…you wanted books now..dinner…come’.
  • Use natural consequences. If your child tips out all the blocks, ensure they help to pack up, even if it’s hand over hand.  If your child bites a sibling because they are frustrated they ripped their drawing, ensure they help to give some love for the bite (hug, pat, sit with sibling, get icepack) but also ensure the sibling helps to fix the drawing.  Ensuring natural consequences occur is more functional than just demanding your child apologises.  ‘I’m sorry’ is easily muttered without your child learning any lesson of what their behaviour really meant.
  • Expect your child to learn their lesson the first time, IF you have explained it well and have shown them the appropriate action for next time.  Many children (especially young ones), will need to be shown a few times.  Be patient!
  • Be consistent.  If your child shows the same inappropriate behaviour, such as tipping out the blocks when you have just asked them not to, show them to pack them away again.  If your child is enjoying the attention of repeating inappropriate behaviours, move them onto another activity, without feeling the need for further punishment or lectures.  For example, ‘no more tipping….finished…time to eat’.
  • Trust your child will learn the appropriate behaviour, in time.  Keep being patient, modelling the correct behaviour and explaining why you do not approve of the inappropriate behaviour.

How can a hug solve the problem?

Very often, a child is misbehaving to attract your attention, even if it is your negative attention.  This perpetuates a cycle of your child misbehaving, gaining your (negative) attention and so they keep doing this to gain more of your attention.  Yes, sometimes your negative attention is better than none of your attention.

So try it.  Break free of the cycle and give your child a hug, as soon as your child appears to be bored or acting up to gain your attention….and see what happens.

Don’t hold your child accountable for misbehaving. They are a child. They are learning. You will need patience and understanding.  Be happy to teach your child and model how to act appropriately.  Life is too short.  Don’t waste your and their time playing the time out game!

TIME = LOVE

Have you set a an ‘intention’ to spend time with your children today?

We have a thousand possible activities so I’m going to set the intention to at least play lotto and read some new library books.
I’d love to know what everyone else is getting up to today?….

A cup full of love…for me

 

Last week the parenting gods battered me (I’m sure I’m not the only one!)… But how do you take care of yourself, like ‘they’ tell you to, when you just don’t have the time?
On this day I didn’t even have the time to get to yoga, so I found a quicker way to give myself love.

I came across this tahini/date/pear smoothie (thanks Janella Purcell).
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Whilst I don’t feel the need for ’emotional eating’, I figured this would be a nutritious and filling snack AND would give me an opportunity to be mindful, taking the time to make myself something I wouldn’t normally, along with the cinnamon sprinkle on top!  I didn’t even multitask.

By slowing down to make this smoothie, knowing it wouldn’t take THAT long out of my day, I’ve given myself a little bit back.  Cinnamon and a warm drink didn’t go astray either.

I’d love to know the small things you do for yourself as a parent, even when you don’t have the time!


Dealing with tantrums..with love

Stay on your child’s side!  When your child is having a TANTRUM, the ones where they have truly lost it, FIRST help their brain to calm down by:
– staying calm in what you say, how you act & your volume
– offering a hug
– seeing the problem from your child’s point of view, no matter how inconvenient the tantrum!
– identifying with your child & labeling emotions (‘it’s hard isn’t it’, ‘that was disappointing wasn’t it’)
– don’t offer lectures – the lesson learnt can be discussed when your child is cool
– don’t keep saying ‘no’ or ‘rubbing it in’

Whilst your child needs to learn lessons, they also need understanding that their emotions can be BIG and difficult to get over.  No matter much you think it shouldn’t matter!
If you can help your child to regulate their emotions, they will get better at this as time goes on.  And eventually you’ll be able to talk them out of even going down the meltdown road!

Yes to crying!

We encourage crying in our family.  Not alone but with someone providing ‘love’ at the same time.  This might be a hug, labeling how they feel to show empathy or even just being there with them.

Crying is a physical way of releasing the energy from emotions that you feel.  And as emotions are ‘energy in motion’, it is very important to let these feelings out so that they don’t get trapped in the body.  Children innately know to do this.  It is only by adults telling them not to cry that we as adults forget how calm and clear your head can be when you’ve cried all the feelings away.

Of course we then talk about the situation that lead up to these emotions to understand better what just happened.  All in the name of better emotional intelligence!

Control, guilt, shame, anger

Speaking from first hand experience, it is much easier to work on yourself staying ‘cool’ when your kids try to steal your calm than trying to pick up the pieces, for your kids and you!

So how do you do this?
– Being ‘mindful’ is one way (link in comments to post about mindfulness).
– Dealing with your own emotions is another. Anger, control, guilt and shame, amongst other emotions, can all stem from not receiving enough love when we grew up, (even when we thought we did) OR particular events. This all affects how we respond to our own children when we get our ‘calm’ taken from us.

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It will always be easier to deal with any type of tantrum or emotional turmoil your child can throw at you, when you are not holding onto negativity from your own past.

How do you let go of this?
In a simple answer, getting to the source of your anger or your controlling issues or whatever it is AND THEN expressing it, will release that energy. You can express emotions through screaming (in an appropriate place!), writing it out, crying or even moving (say yoga poses).


Once you have released your what’s holding you back from the past, you will be amazed at the patience, understanding and calm you can have with your own kids. Then it just involves being mindful, to keep on top of your emotions.

Let me know if you want more information on this! 🙂  Heidi

The more love you put in, the more you get back..just like with our children!

Just a few months ago I realised our veggie patch wasn’t giving us as many veggies as it had been.  So we gave it some love and a few weeks later it is nearly overgrown!  It got me thinking about the times when our children might need a bit of ‘extra’ love for whatever reason.  And just like with the garden, before you know it they are flourishing!

The extra love might be hugs, time spent together or some nice words. You will know what your child needs!
Heidi

growing with love

growing with love

Sibling Squabbles

Who doesn’t fight with their sisters or brothers?? It is a normal part of growing up!!! But when does it become not acceptable!!!
Hitting or hurting each other is a ‘non negotiable’ in our house!!! It is not allowed and not accepted. I do not hit my children and I expect them to be able to manage their arguments and emotions without the use of ‘physical violence’!!!
From this
So how do you teach a 4 year old and a 2 year old how to resolve conflict when most adults struggle to do this???
Here are some beginning points:
1. Role model appropriate behaviour in any argument. You must understand that everything you say or do is direct lesson to how your children will behave!!!
We cant be perfect all the time and that is absolutely fine. In any argument it is really hard to keep rational but try and label your emotions to your children. “Mummy is feeling really sad and frustrated”.
To this
2. Get involved and be the person to help bridge the gap. Mediate until they are able to find their own resolution. For example: when they have a ‘disagreement’ give them the words to help them solve it. “You are feeling frustrated and angry that your sister isn’t listening to you”….. Ok, lets have turns talking and listening.
and ends in this
3. Understand that part of learning is to have the opportunity to work through problems in a caring, supportive environment. Sharing is a hard concept to learn. Why should I share this toy?? What internally makes us share with our siblings, parents, friends….really only the understanding that this is a social rule (I will explain about social rules in another post).
Ok so the points above are a few brief points on what to do when the ‘fight’ breaks out. But like everything Heidi and I talk about, it is more about the before!!! You need to teach your children how to interact with each other. If your children fight all the time then that is how they will learn to interact with others. If you teach them to interact to each other in a caring, supportive, empathetic and loving ways they will be able to make great friendships and choose to not be involved in the ‘not so good’ friendships.
As a family we do lots of ‘building’ of relationships and I offer ways for the girls to express their love for each other. Here are some pointers:
Find time in our busy lives to express our love to each other. Through touch, words and drawings.
TOUCH:
After bath time we play ‘Incy Wincy Spider’.
One girl sits in front of the other and the girl at the back runs her fingers up and down her back.
It goes “Incy wincy spider, climbed up the water spout”. The fingers go all the way to the top of the head. “Down came the rain”, fingers run down the back “and washed poor Incy Out!” fingers run up and down back. “Out came the sun” Fingers creep up the back to head and make a sun. “and dried up all the rain” fingers down the back “So Incy wincy spider went up the spout again” fingers back up the back.
Then we swap. You can also teach your children some massage techniques, we also do ‘squeezing shoulders and tickling backs’.
WORDS:
“Goodnight, what did you love about “Miss 2″ ?” “What actions of friendship did you do today?”
DRAWINGS: We have a love wall, it has photos, letters and drawings to each other. This is what Miss 2 likes to have a look at before she goes to bed. We are about to make a book.
love wall
I would love to hear about how you and your family express love to each other!! These are just a few things we do but sometimes the ‘unsaid’ needs to be said ‘daily’!!!
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🙂 Kara