Time Out for Daddy
Time Out is a difficult thing for both parents and kids. The idea is simple enough: you find a place in your house that is safe and relatively isolated. When the child is bad enough to warrant punishment, you put them in Time Out. This means they have to go sit in that place for some period of time determined by the parents (usually 1 minute per year of age). After the Time Out is over, you talk to the child about what they did wrong and then get them to perform some sort of restitution (saying "I’m sorry" or some such).
It’s this interaction that makes Time Out so difficult.
For example, last year our technique was to not let C out of Time Out until he agreed not to do whatever it was that he had been doing wrong. He quickly figured this out, however. Thinking it would get him out quicker, he’d sit in Time out and loudly list all the things he wasn’t allowed to do: "No Hitting Mommy, No Hitting Daddy, No Hitting the Dogs, No Hitting. No Spitting. No Biting. No Biting Daddy, No Biting Mommy…" All the way until he ran out of things that he knew of – at which point he’d start all over again.
This trumped our "let’s make sure he understands what he did wrong" theory, because invariably whatever he did was somewhere in that list. How do you say "stop telling me what you’re not allowed to do, and tell me what you did wrong?"
Fortunately, we (somehow) got past that phase. However, the little man has discovered a new trick. Now, he’ll sit in Time Out and practice his laughing. If I’m anywhere near him he says (in the cutest voice he can produce) "Hi Daddy". If he can’t see me, he tries laughing. Not maniacal scary laughing, but the most normal infectious laughing you’ve ever heard – all the way from giggling to guffawing.
It’s the sort of thing that drives you crazy. He’s supposed to be in punishment, and it sounds like he’s being tickled to death. Calling out "no laughing" makes him laugh even harder – and you can’t exactly go punish a kid for laughing. I mean he’s already in Time Out. We don’t really have a next level of punishment. I’m not a fan of hitting, and even if I were, I can’t imagine beating a kid because he was laughing. I tried that "be quiet" thing, but you can still hear him chuckling under his breath.
Argh. It’s enough to drive you to blogging.