Monday, July 11, 2011 did it go?

I know that you have all been on the edge of your seats all weekend anxiously awaiting the timeout results. Things were....mixed.  But I'm going to call it a success.

One of my girlfriends told me about a study that she read that looked at effects of positive and negative reinforcement.  The findings were that mostly children respond well to positive reinforcements (sticker charts, redirection, and praising positive behavior) but that when it came to aggression and violence children responded best to negative reinforcement (ie. punishment).  That made sense to me.  We've tried re-directing Claire, we've tried all kinds of things and nothing seems to stick--the hitting continues.  That being said, I'm not a huge fan of yelling, angry voices or corporal punishment.   So, the hubbs and I have decided that timeout at our house will be used only with instances of violence and aggression.  (We claim the right of changing our minds and adding things at any time.)

Part of the trouble with this stance is that Claire's normal hitting is actually when she is playing with us.  She get's excited, laughs and squeels and smacks us in the face.  This weekend, we redirected when that happened.  We showed her how she could touch our faces gently and mostly, that worked.  Until Saturday when we firmly told her, "no" and showed her how to be gentle she said, "no! no! no!" and smacked away.

I looked at her and said, "Timeout" (just like I've learned from Olivia's mom) and we walked into her room.  I sat her down on the green crate and set the timer for 1 minute. I told her that she needed to stay there until the timer sounded and I walked out of the room.  My thought on walking out of the room was that I didn't want her to get extra attention for doing something bad so I waited by the door. 

That's when disaster struck.  She fell off the crate and bonked her head. 

She cried but didn't panic (I would have walked if she would have panicked) so I waited it out and walked in when the buzzer rang.  Sadly, the experiment turned a little more corporal-punishment than I would have liked but she hasn't gotten angry and hit again since so I'm going with parenting success (a loose success but success anyway).

I would not have guessed that she was ready (for the second time this week) but she was.  I also loved it because I felt like I had a plan and something I could do so I didn't get frustrated.


  1. In this scary world, you take what successes you can....when and where you find them.

  2. One minute of time out for each year the kid is. We did this with Mira. She also learned the fine art of apologizing. A dot of sassy sauce (hot sauce)on her tongue was for biting and extreme naughty behavior. At 4.5 yrs, she does not like it if the sassy sauce bottle stares at her as a warning.
    You're doing a fantastic job!