Options between time out and positive reinforcement? — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Options between time out and positive reinforcement?

My 25 mo DS will often not use his 'listening ears' or follow what mommy asks - use your inside voice (when DS 6mo is sleeping), please do not throw your food off the table, etc. we use please and thank you and engage in a lot of positive reinforcement but it's often not enough and he begins to play a deliberate game of not following moms direction/request.

I've researched time outs which I can see after a major act of disobedience-hitting/major tantrum but I haven't tried it yet because I've felt he just wouldn't 'get it' and it doesn't seem to be suggested for small acts like not using his inside voice inside... Any tips or suggestions beyond positive reinforcement for those things that may not warrant a time out?

Thanks!

Re: Options between time out and positive reinforcement?

  • I honestly don't think a 2 year old will understand what "listening ears" are. IMO you need to adjust your expectations a tad. I'm not saying let him throw food or be crazy and loud when you've asked him not to but just have some sort of consequence for his actions. Not necessarily time out but if he throws food, the meal is over. If he yells, ask him to stop or ignore him. At that age you need to do a lot of ignoring. Keep pushing the positive behaviors you'd like him to have but the real lessons come later, when he can understand more. FWIW, when my son was 2, we used time out's for hitting only. Now we use time out if he's totally out of control or REALLY not listening but it's not that often anymore (he's 4).

    At 2 years old, kids are realizing they have some power and they can push limits because it will get attention. Even negative attention is fun for them. I hate to say it but 3 is SOOO much worse.


     

  • Kids at this age are testing boundaries. They will deliberately do the opposite of what you ask often to see how you react. It can be frustrating, but unless the behavior is dangerous or harmful to themselves or others, you really need to just choose your battles. That doesn't mean that they get away with stuff, but instead of thinking discipline you might want to think natural repercussions and modelling expected behaviors instead of stating expected behaviors. Like pp if food was thrown, the meal was over (natural repercussion). With my boys, if they yelled I'd only talk to them in a calm whisper (modelling behavior). Often they would think it was a game and either started whispering too or they would yell a little bit more but quickly got bored or frustrated because they were being too loud they couldn't hear me or weren't getting a negative reaction.
    wintersongDianeRog
  • banfrog said:
    Kids at this age are testing boundaries. They will deliberately do the opposite of what you ask often to see how you react. It can be frustrating, but unless the behavior is dangerous or harmful to themselves or others, you really need to just choose your battles. That doesn't mean that they get away with stuff, but instead of thinking discipline you might want to think natural repercussions and modelling expected behaviors instead of stating expected behaviors. Like pp if food was thrown, the meal was over (natural repercussion). With my boys, if they yelled I'd only talk to them in a calm whisper (modelling behavior). Often they would think it was a game and either started whispering too or they would yell a little bit more but quickly got bored or frustrated because they were being too loud they couldn't hear me or weren't getting a negative reaction.
    I do the same thing when DS is yelling! Model appropriate behavior.

     

    banfrogcrsanchez87wintersong
  • I use time out as the last resort. I don't use it as punishment but more of a quiet time. At the same token, there are some offenses that automatically warrant a time out. We start with a warning/redirection, "no", taking object away (if applicable), losing privileges (if applicable) and then lastly time out. I started when my daughter was 18 months. You just have to be very (very) consistent. We also do a lot of positive reinforcement for good behavior. 
  • I don't think they really get much out of time out, especially at that age. We do a lot of immediate consequences when DD doesn't listen. Taking away an item that isn't being used properly, removing from a situation, etc. Most of the time a warning works because we are pretty consistent. We have to be prepared for the occasional meltdown and not give in just because it's easier, but they don't happen too often (so far!)
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  • I don't think they really get much out of time out, especially at that age. We do a lot of immediate consequences when DD doesn't listen. Taking away an item that isn't being used properly, removing from a situation, etc. Most of the time a warning works because we are pretty consistent. We have to be prepared for the occasional meltdown and not give in just because it's easier, but they don't happen too often (so far!)
    I think at 2 years old they DEFINITELY do!
    Squirtgun
  • There's a great discussion going in the 24 month+ section about identifying your child's needs and offering an alternative Take a look at that thread For a really different approach  http://forums.thebump.com/discussion/12665351/understanding-your-2-year-olds-needs-stops-the-terrible-twos#latest
  • My daughter is 23 months, and is starting to get the gist of time outs. We put one of her chairs in the corner and set her on it. She screams and cries for a couple of minutes, then one of us goes and talks to her. She calms down, gives hugs, then goes on her way. 
    Either she forgets what she was doing, or she learns it was wrong and doesn't go back to it. Either way it's a win. 

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