Disciplining Children and Teaching Them to Count!

It’s Wednesday again! Hi Friends 🙂

Disciplining Children

One of the most important things I’ve read about disciplining children, that I sadly needed to hear was the importance of doing so out of love, not vengeance. #ireallydolovemychild #really

There were so many times when he first started walking and climbing that he would wait until I turned my back, and then teleport (seriously, I’m convinced that rocket fuel was sloshing around inside those chubby little legs of his) to the exact place he wasn’t allowed to be, touching the one thing in that room he was not allowed to touch. When I think about how I took that as a personal offence, my heart breaks a little.

He was just being a kid. Dare I say, a boy? Must.touch.everything.

The fact of the matter is, I was at home with him all day, er’ day. And I didn’t want to be. #didshejustsaythat? Around the time he hit 1½ years I realized that I loved him dearly, but really didn’t enjoy spending time with him anymore. It was exhausting. I was spent, and angry with him.

Any given 2 minute block of time looked something like this:

SELF: sit down

SON: runs to the phone to make “a call”

SELF: demand that he put the phone back

SON: yells

SELF: whisper, “Son, yelling is entirely unnecessary”

SON: yells louder

SELF: get up, unplug said phone and hang it high on the wall – then pat self on back for clever solution

SON: empties an entire box of Kleenex, draws on wall and throws my wallet in the jug of water while I accomplish the above

SELF: sad, very sad.

And the sadness grew as the day progressed and there was rarely a moment to sit down, laugh with him, accomplish something (PhD in progress anyone?!) or pee. Truth.

The Way we Time Out

After trying a variety of disjointed, loosely enforced strategies in an attempt to wrangle his wiles the one that worked for us has been to time him out. Quickly. Matter-of-factly. And seriously.

When he does something dangerous, or against one of the rules of our home, he is informed:

  1. That it is not allowed to
  2. Of the consequences should he attempt it again

When he almost inevitably goes at it again, I calmly say something like this to him:

“Son, you know you are not allowed to [glue daddy’s phone to the toilet] – since you made the decision to do it again, you have to have a time-out”

Disciplining Children
Making his most convincing “sad face”

And then he has to sit down right where he is, clasp his hands together (to prevent further trouble) and we count. Depending on the severity of the crime it’s anywhere between 10 seconds and 75 seconds (the very occasional 200 has also made an appearance). I then lead him in apologizing for whatever it is he did, offer my forgiveness, remind him how much I love him and then smooch those little cheeks.

Another little perk of this strategy is just how portable and discreet it is. When we’re out anywhere (even in silent places like Mass) if he does something inappropriate he can be timed out, and no one is the wiser.

The key to disciplining children is consistency. At first that meant there was still very little sitting in my life, and much more jumping up to time him out for everything he had previously gotten away with. Within just about a week of consistent consequences, I noticed a huge change. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not ya’ll.

My son is a much more obedient, gentle, joy to be around for me again.

He has had his share of timeouts. Maybe a few other kid’s shares as well. AND, as a result, he has learned to count. We’re at 40 so far…. Maybe my time outs aren’t quite long enough….

30 thoughts on “Disciplining Children and Teaching Them to Count!”

  1. Wow Vanessa… I feel like you are telling my story… u are an amazing mom and have lots of patience!! Love the sitting down and counting time out.. it incorporates learning numbers too.. will definitely try it with Nathan too

    1. I hope it works well for you too Samantha – let me know 🙂 For the most part as parents I think we all go through pretty similar things eh? I love being able to learn from other moms and find creative solutions. Good luck! You should strap on a pedometer for your first week…

  2. This is the best weblog for anybody who wants to search out out about this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want¡­HaHa). You undoubtedly put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, simply nice!

  3. haha, I can’t help but notice how adorable he is in the picture sitting like that XD
    I can say that my dad had the similar technique, while my mom had more “hands on” approach (spanking).

    1. So do I! Thanks Megan for stopping by :). It so great to get to learn from other parents about what works!

  4. I don’t have children yet, but I’ve been thinking about this part of being a parent. I thought I’d leave this to the father, but I guess I will have to learn how to be a bit tough sometimes ;))

    1. Never too early to start ;). I always kind of thought the same thing… But since I’m the one who is with him all the time, for the sake of consistency, it had to be me! Good luck when the time comes!

  5. This was great to read! There’s no one way to raise a kid. It’s so good to hear how others are handling these situation. Thank you for this post 🙂

    1. Thanks Tiina! Totally agreed – we all figure it out in time, but the internet is a beautiful thing – to be able to learn from so many others at the touch of a button. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  6. Yes, this is a very clever way of disciplining children. It requires patience and dedication but seem to be a very effective way of relating to a child whats acceptable and not acceptable. Clever time out.

    1. Thanks Kathryn! you’re right – patience is key at first… And then it gets so simple. thanks for your thoughts 🙂

  7. I don’t have kids (and not sure if I want them) but I’ve been raising a puppy. It sounds a lot similar lol. My puppy gets time outs when she’s being bad. I agree that consistency is the key to discipline (training in my case).

  8. I’m not a parent yet but this is something even I think about. I feel like it’s got to be one of the hardest parts of motherhood. I love your writing style.

    1. Aww, shucks! Thanks so much Lily! I appreciate the kind words – disciplining was a tough go until we found out groove – and life has gotten so much easier 🙂 All the best when the time comes for you!

    1. hahah! in a lot of ways we become our parents when it comes to … ahem.. parenting, I’m finding 🙂

  9. This is one the HARDEST things as a parent we have to learn. I love the humour because it is seriously like “dude, you teleported just to do what I asked you not to do…. seriously?!!” It is hard not to yell sometimes because you are frustrated that you have to say the same thing 500 times and they still don’t get it. That being said, something I am definitely working on changing since it was how I grew up. I do the time outs more as a “you need space” thing but my kids are older too. That picture was too adorable.

    1. Thanks so much! I agree – it felt so personal before – like he was intentionally disobeying me, what I really needed was a change in mindset, and thank goodness 🙂

  10. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a
    comment is added I get four e-mails with the same
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    Appreciate it!

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