Thursday, November 29, 2012

Discipline and Correction

Liam has reached the age where he requires correction....quite regularly as a matter of fact.  Most especially when he is tired, hungry, or not feeling well.  In fact, when he's in good health, well rested, and has had a meal/drink recently, he is a delightful child who wouldn't consider misbehaving.  But when one of those is out whack, he spirals downward quickly.  Unfortunately, we have had a string of colds, some serious teething, and a transition to one nap in the last six or so we've been honing our method for correction.

First, redirecting.  Turns out, it doesn't work for Liam right now.  He can try to redirect, but once he's started onto bad behavior, he just starts a string of bad if he throws something and I stop him, he may then slam a cabinet, slap something, and try to hit the dog.  He just goes down the line of things he's not supposed to do.  But I've figured it out, and can usually get him stopped after one or two things.

So now, when he starts to act out, I pick him up, take him to his crib, and leave him there with his door open and light on so he knows it's not bedtime, and I will be back.  I leave, and let him work out his feelings.  Usually within 2-3 minutes he has settled down and started playing and laughing and talking.  It's all it takes.  I usually go to the bathroom or get a drink of water, and then I can come back for him.  Then we have a talk.  I know he doesn't understand me now, but he will one day, and I want to get into the practice.  Our talk usually goes something like this, "Liam, mommy loves you, but she doesn't want you to hit/scream/throw, etc.  It's okay for you to be angry, but we need to learn to express our anger in a way that isn't sinful."

A huge part of his problem right now is that he doesn't have a way to express his anger in a way that isn't sinful...he can't talk.  So he can't tell me what he needs.  Thankfully, I usually know and I can fix the problem before it escalates again.  I can get him a snack, or a drink or change his diaper, or sit down and read with him if he just needs a few minutes to be low key and rest.  If that doesn't work, we just go back to time out again...but it almost always works.  For Liam, it's most effective.  He just needs that bit of time to work through his feelings on his own, and he doesn't seem to be able to do it with people around.  I get that.  I need some serious alone time and when I don't get it, I want to scream/throw/hit too.

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