Thursday, February 27, 2014

Testing Boundaries

*I see it out of the corner of my eye, a chubby finger reaching for the buttons on the TV console.

Wait, just wait,” I tell myself, “she hasn't done anything …yet.”

That "yet" comes seconds later when Brynna pushes the input button and the TV screen goes black.

“Brynna Helen Brody! What have I told you about touching the TV? Do you want timeout?”

“No no,” she replies from the Winnie the Pooh blanket on the floor. A makeshift seating area for kids and ultimately dogs.

So I’m guessing that I’m making a few rookie mistakes: (1) being that I ask my 15-month old if she wants timeout; (2) yelling. Something that I told myself I would not do.

Raising my voice is not something I am proud of doing but it gets her attention. Of course I can simply steer Brynna away from the TV/dog beds/ coupon drawer/ closet rather than raise my voice. But sometimes it’s a knee jerk reaction when I’m in the kitchen and she’s heading to the bedroom at rapid speed. By the way, toddler speed is crazy fast. How can those little legs cover so much ground in such a short amount of time?

If she can't see me maybe I won't get timeout.
I’ve trying my best to not raise my voice mainly because I cringe upon hearing parents yell at their kids. Of course I understand that everyone has a breaking point, it’s a quick way to grab a little one’s attention, or parents are having a rough day. I’ve been there and totally done that.That's why I'm trying to change this habit.

So far Brynna has had to sit in timeout in JC Penny Home and the library. By the way, to the shopper in JC Penny Home who chuckled when I told Brynna she was going have to sit for five whole seconds in timeout due to misbehaving: shut it.I'm trying to lead by example so I couldn't give you the stink eye. So, i'm doing it now. 

Brynna's version of the stink eye.
Brynna isn’t a fan of timeout but she will sit there – sometimes – while I count to five then explain to her why she was being disciplined. I swear that little girls understands this whole process on some level. But of course she hates it. Sometimes it’s effective.

But not all the time.

Brynna loves to test boundaries. She knows what she can get away with with grandma and her tias, and what doesn't fly with us. The latest  thing is hitting. She will hit out of frustration if we take her away from something that she shouldn’t be doing but wants to do. Usually that results in us trying to explain that hitting is wrong, trying to make her understand that she needs to be nice and sometimes it leads to timeout or just a moment sitting with one of us as she cries and we try to explain why hitting is not okay.

Of course that doesn't always work since she is only 15 freaking months and has yet to really grasp the concept of misbehaving and consequences.

Since this is a fairly recent stage for us, we’re learning as we go. We know sometimes timeout works, other times removing her from an area that we don’t want her to be is key.  Or maybe gentle discipline is the way to go?

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog how self-help and parenting books aren’t for me. But my book club is all about these books so I’ve been giving them a chance. Okay, I really just flip through to the chapters I’m interested in but that’s further than I’ve gotten in most of these types of books. The most recent being Mayim Bialik’s “Beyond the Sling.” There are a few methods that I intend to implement as recommended by Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler herself.

I like the whole saying “Not for Brynna” rather than “No” all the time. I’m feeling the “hands are not for hitting, hands are for hugging/blowing kisses/ giving high fives.” This one especially struck me since this is a behavior I am currently working on with Brynna.

Of course Blossom and I don’t see eye to eye on several of her gentle discipline methods such as time outs. I’m still trying to decide whether or not this is effective. She is completely against it.

I do know that I want to stay away from giving little swats although that was how I grew up. My cousins and I understood that talking back resulted in a swat as did throwing a tantrum or just being a punk. We all ended up okay. When I was a teenage, specific privileges were taken away when I misbehaved.  Having the radio and super Nintendo taken away was equivalent of going without an iPhone for a week. I needed my tunes and my Yoshi’s World!

But I want something a little different for Brynna. Plus this method will really make Alex and I have to think of creative ways to teach her right from wrong (i.e. Teeth are not for biting Bean’s tail but they can chew Carrot Cake. Let’s eat some! I like this one).

Lets put these chompers to use. Just not
on Mom's shoulder or Bean's nub.

I’m not for or against attachment parenting. But I’m all for coming up with a discipline method that works best for us. I’m thinking of a mix of conventional parenting with attachment parenting or any other non-labeled concepts out there.

Maybe my discipline experimentation will result in the perfect (for us)  solution. Or maybe it will steer us in an entirely different way. 

Wish us luck!


How do you teach your kids right from wrong?