I Need Your Help.

(Updated below)

How do I discipline a child who laughs when I get angry? I say "NO!" He laughs. I say "BAD" and he bursts into hysterics and throws legos at my face. I say "ARCHER! NO! BAD!" and he giggles, waves and makes silly faces

I feel like maybe he thinks "NO" = "YES." HOW DID THIS HAPPEN!?


Please for the love of G, I know many of you are experienced parents who have survived toddlerdom... PLEASE. I am your student. Enlighten me, professors and professoras.


Thank you.

GGC


Lunchtime Update: I currently have Archer in "time out" for throwing cheese at me. He's facing the wall in his high chair, playing with his hair and singing. Timeout seems to be playtime somehow. Is he tricking me or is he a masochist? I'm waiting for him to react but, um... "BA! BA! BA!" is his happy noise.

41 comments:

Michele | 7:44 PM

I feel your pain. No advice since mine is still laughing at me. The more angry I get the harder she laughs.

Then, when I pull her away from the drawer of knives (ha!) she screams and hits herself. Erp.

Heather | 7:49 PM

I am glad you asked, because I need the answer too.

Gina | 8:16 PM

Ditto what the other two gals said... i am coming back to hear what the rest of your fans have to say.

giddybug | 9:11 PM

Don't show emotion; that just adds to the fun of the game. If I'm right about Archer's age (about 15 months, no?), there's not really a lot you can do about discipline at this age. It'll be all about redirecting his attention for several months yet, with judicious use of short (one minute, max) time-outs when redirection doesn't work and either his safety is at stake (like if he's broken a glass and you need to clean it up) or your patience is frayed and you must have that tiny break for your sanity.

When you do say no, say it in a calm, matter-of-fact way (I know this is more easily said than done when a kid's pushing your buttons), and then immediately redirect. What you want is for the undesired behavior to be no fun, because it gains no attention.

giddybug | 9:15 PM

Wow. I sound like a stuffed shirt and a real pleasure to be around, don't I? I promise, I wouldn't have spouted off that kind of assvice if you hadn't specifically asked.

Maybe someday it won't be midnight when I answer a question like this, and I'll get to make it all sound a little more fun. If questions of discipline can ever sound fun. I'll get back to you on that in about fifteen and three-quarters years, ok?

Dad Gone Mad | 9:32 PM

When raising a toddler, one must always remember the three Bs:

1) Benadryl
2) Barney
3) Beer

No. 3 is for you.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 11:53 PM

Giddybug-

THANK YOU! That was GREAT advice! I think you're right! I think I'm putting too much emphasis on my reaction and his response instead of turning his attention in another direction. Truly! THANK YOU! I appreciate your advice so much. YOU ROCK!

Dad Gone Mad-

Does Barney know how to discipline? Can he, like, come to the house and show Archer who's boss? He is a purple dinosaur after all. Hee.

the mad momma | 12:36 AM

oh please.. share some of the advice with me... in the past few days i have had a calculator and a magazine flung at me among an assortment of other things. and i am ready to give up the ghost. why doesnt he understand and when will he ever begin???????????????

Karen Rani | 4:41 AM

Same problem over here - I'll be listening intently to your readers. So if you see me on your Site Meter a million times, just ignore me - I don't take up much room!

toyfoto | 4:52 AM

You might try ignoring him when he's being a pill. (you can't really ignore him when he's running into traffic, but you can ignore him when he throws his toys or empties the roll of toilet paper on the floor. Sometimes, saying NO and getting all upset is like a stage show to a kid. He just wants to see you turn blue, so in essence it reinforces the behavior.

Just a thought.

toyfoto | 4:53 AM

Sorry, didn't read through. Giddybug already suggested it.

blair | 4:56 AM

de-lurking...

So our daughter is just 2 and when she started doing this we would totally remove her from where she was, sat her on our stairs and got very quiet and said you need to listen or you have a time out. We made eye contact and stayed very firm, quiet, serious and still. The removal from the situation, patience to wait until they calm down and focus and the quiet seemed to make a bigger impact than anything.

The good news is we started introducing "time out" around 15 months (yes, it is almost impossible to get them to be still - but it was more conceptual - quiet, serious, calm etc.) but now she understands time out and will stay still which has been really helpful.

I have another friend who has turned her pack and play into the "pokey". Again - it isn't in the main fun/play room and whenever bad behavior happened she would put him in the pokey for 1 minute. Now she just says "pokey" and he stops.

I don't know if either of these are remotely helpful...:-)

blair | 5:02 AM

Also wanted to add that you will have less work on your hands if you and your husband devise a consistent plan of action on the behavior...no matter which one is right for you...and enforce it together.

My husband and I both instituted time outs one day (one behind the other)and it made a HUGE impact on her. We also traded off on restaurant time outs and now she is great at sitting still. We try to "front load" behavior work - meaning we figured if we started to be consistent and calm early, we would have an easier time when the two's officially started.

I'm writing a lot so I'll shut up now and go back to lurking. *grin*.

SuperFiancee | 5:36 AM

The key, as I understand it, is consistency. Keep making it clear (and I agree with the others...calm, serious is the way to come across) that the behavior is unacceptable. It won't work for a while. Sometimes a long while. But, eventually, it will pay off. If you keep changing up how you approach the bad behavior it will be much harder to change.

Hopefully, he'll learn that "no" means "no" before he starts dating...;)

Avalon | 5:53 AM

Ahhhhhhh,

I vaguely remeber those toddler days. I have no good advice because my sweet baby is now 22 and is still laughing when I say "NO'. Only now she has the funds and the education to laugh all she wants!

me | 6:16 AM

truthfully speaking there is no way to overcome toddlerdom,especially with boys. they ( as you have seen) just don't care. grin it and bear it and laugh right back at him. it goes quick, and maragritas make it go even quicker....good luck

lynsalyns | 6:19 AM

Oh, if only I knew. Em thinks it is hysterical when we say no or get mad.

Toddlerdom is the third circle of hell some days, and the entrance to Nirvana on others.

It is like living with someone who is bipolar and won't take their lithium!

Andrea | 6:20 AM

Discipline is hard. I've found taking Gabe out of the situation, i.e. time out or putting him in his room and shutting the door, works for me.

I like these other suggestions. I'm way emotional, so my telling him no is usually reactionary instead of calm and firm. I'll have to try them, the calm and serious, and the ignoring the bad behavior while praising the good. It's so easy to forget this stuff in the heat of the moment.

Jessica | 6:25 AM

Here's something to keep you awake at night....my son is nearly 16 and STILL does this. Sigh.

Keri | 7:08 AM

We don't do time outs around here; instead we redirect, redirect, redirect and REDIRECT. ;)

It is my assvice, take it or leave it, to try to save your NO's for SERIOUS situations in which Archer is about to really hurt himself badly like putting his finger in an electrical socket or about to tumble head-first down the stairs. Too many NO's and Archer will eventually tune you out and that wouldn't be good if he was running across the street.

Another assvice: don't use the word "BAD" because you don't want Archer to think he's a bad person. He's not a dog, either. ;) It's the behavior you are targeting. At this age, he doesn't know what he's doing anyway; he's just watching for your reaction.

Need more assvice? Go to:
http://www.askdrsears.com

I love their discipline suggestions!

Woman on the Verge | 7:26 AM

Ok, can't handle the they become desensitized to NO thing. No means no even though he may not realize that for a while. He is feeding off of your reaction and also looking to see how far he can push you. Normal toddler stategy. Actually I think we continue to do this even as adults. And while he is still very little he has a very cognizant mind and is capable of putting more together than many adults give credit for. It's a simple(I say simple HAHA) matter of redirection and consistency.
Ok I'm done feeling like and asshole assvice giver.
Good luck!
Oh and I agree with dad gone mad. The 3 B's.....

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 7:35 AM

You guys are awesome. Great suggestions (and comiseration) I wish I could give each and all of you a high-fives.

It feels a lot better knowing ALL OF YOU have the same ish to deal with. I'M NOT ALONE! HOORAY!

I'm off to experiment with breakfast. Oh, boy....

angie | 8:55 AM

My daughter is 8 months old.. and whenever I get mad and tell her no she busts out laughing. It's hard to stay mad w/ that darling face looking back at you... but somehow you gotta stay serious or they'll never learn!

Shelli | 8:58 AM

I can completely relate... it is so hard (and frustrating) to keep a straight face... or not go mad when your toddler looks you in the eye practically mocking you!
After dealing with this for over a year now, I have found that you just need to stick to your guns... he is pushing you to see if he can break you.
Keep saying NO, keep hangin' in there, and if he gives you a reaction that makes you laugh your ass off, just turn your head (away from him) and smile. lol.

Mrs. Q. | 9:19 AM

Smart little buggers, aren't they? I think it's because I used to smirk/laugh when he did something naughty. Ack. Blame me. I now use the phrase "LEAVE IT!" on my 16-mo old. Learned that from my friend's dog training. Woof.

Anonymous | 9:49 AM

Redirecting and consistency have been key to my 2 1/2 y.o.'s behavior.

for instance, DH purchased a ginormous bag of dum-dum suckers about 5 months ago. Our son loves to have one or twenty and daddy usually gives in. I don't mind giving him one AFTER supper, but DH does it to keep the peace. However, our son has totally learned how to pull daddy's puppet strings.

When I tell him no, he starts his inevitable tantrum and i REDIRECT him to something else, sometimes this does not work, but i stay consistent in my actions. When he doesn't settle down, i warn him about going to his room to calm down, which is usually where he ends up. Then when he has calmed himself, he's fine, b/c momma don't play that ish.

On the other hand, daddy tries to tell him no, then usually gives in. Our son has learned that if he cries to his daddy long enough, he'll get whatever it is that he wants. My son knows that I won't give in therefore he doesn't pull his tantrums with me as often and when he does, they get nipped in the bud pretty fast. I love my son dearly, but he needs to know who is boss and it's not daddy!

sorry to ramble; just wanted to put in my two cents, which is about the price of each of those dum-dum suckers!

steph g.

the weirdgirl | 10:26 AM

My son is at that same age! This is the system that has been working for me: First I tell my son "No" and if he doesn't stop the behavior (or stops and then does it again to push my buttons) I pick him up and put him in his crib. Then I say very calmly, "no hitting" or biting or whatever it is and walk out of the room! This last part is important because it gives us both some space and kids his age hate to be away from mom (and with you out of the room he doesn't get a reaction). I set the timer for a minute and a half. When the time is up I walk back in, calmly say, "Are you ready to come back and play? NO more hitting." Then I bring him back out with me.

I was surprised at how effective this is. I saw a big reduction in biting after only three trips to his crib. I only use it for the BIG discipline things like hitting or biting or beating up on the cat. I think the key is to react quickly, putting him in his crib as soon as you know he's doing it to push your buttons (and not just forgotten himself). OR if I've just taken him out of his crib and he right away tries to test me again, I put him immediately back in for another time out. (I only had to do that double time out once and he stopped the behavior.) I agree with everyone else, once it's no fun for the kid they stop doing it.

For general stuff like playing in areas he's not allowed, I'm just very consistent with the "no, that's not for playing" and then I redirect him.

I hope this helps. Rest assured, you are not alone!

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 10:55 AM

I LOVE YOU PEOPLE!!!!!

giddybug | 1:58 PM

As for him playing in time-out (in your lunchtime update), don't worry about it. Time out does not have to be a dreaded punishment to be effective; time outs are about changing the situation and breaking the behavior-no-stop-behavior cycle.

1-2-3 Magic has a good description of what to expect from time outs and how to handle them (though I wouldn't recommend using the 1-2-3 system as a whole until he's closer to two); basically, just give the time out, and don't worry about what he does during them, as long as he stays put. He can cry or play, whichever suits him; but the interruption of the undesired behavior will remain the same. Whatever his behavior is during the time out, don't react to it; that's a zero-attention time.

aj | 2:16 PM

Forget time outs! Spank the kid. "Spare the rod, spoil the child"

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 3:04 PM

THANKS Giddybug! As far as the spanking advice. Hmmmm, yeah... not so much my thing but thanks anyway!

creative-Type Dad (Tony) | 3:41 PM

OMG!
I was going to write about this. My daughter is only 14 months and this "NO!" thing has begun...

Help!?

freerose | 3:47 PM

I think that they go through this at a bunch of ages, my son is going to be 10 soon and he is doing the same thing…again. When he was little he would laugh and think I was funny, I would get so upset, to the point of crying. My father said one day “you know he’s playing you”? It was like bells going off, he was right, our kids know what makes us tick, your together 24-7 how could they not?? So I had to figure out what would make him tick and with him it was ignoring him, not showing the emotion that he was going for. He hated it and made him so upset; he would through a fit over me not responding. It doesn’t work now that he is almost 10; I’m trying to figure out what works now…again. He’s such a little smart ass that I have a hard time not laughing at him. I feel your pain, all I can think about is what my parents used to say “wait till you have kids, it will come back on you” I was such a smart ass:)

bluejai | 5:10 PM

I have a 3 year old and a 1.5 year old. Believe me, I'm still learning!!!! I'm trying to read as many books about positive discipline as possible. One thing I am/have learned though is that you can't just tell them NO. You have to tell them what to do INSTEAD! So if he's throwing food, show him how to put it back nicely if he doesn't want it. I'm still trying to figure out WHY they do those silly things so I can understand their underlying need, but I guess it takes time. Good luck!!!!

Mother | 6:08 PM

Advice? I guess I'll chime in.

Definitely change your reaction and voice. If you're usually animated, make your voice quiet and firm. It can freak them out and get their attention. I also make sure my daughter is looking at me. I use a very quiet and low voice that is VERY different than how I deal with her and she knows.

I'd say NO the first time and tell him if he does it again, he'll go to time out. Make sure he is looking at you.

I know WG uses her crib - but since my daughter HATES her bed anyway, I didn't want to make it the dreaded place to be - so we just send her to the corner. At first, she loved it because I mistakenly put a little chair there - but now she just goes and stands (or sits on the floor) and I count.

Now, I know Archer is younger so perhaps a carpet square and I sometimes have to physically hold her there (just lightly on her shoulders).

I also like the idea of providing alternatives.

Say NO, give a warning and then offer an alternative.

But be consistent and not so upset about the time out. I just tell her go to time out like it's no big deal (my voice changes but I don't get all freaked out). And when she's out - it's over. Done.

Works well for us.

Anonymous | 7:48 AM

For my son, the time outs and to the room did not do much... but putting his toys in time out sure did.

kittenpie | 8:05 AM

what giddybug said, and also if things get thrown, they go away for a "break." Period. 15 minutes by the timer.

Sarah | 9:26 AM

My daughter is just about 3, and she LOVES my attention, in any form. If she hits or throws toys at me, and an initial "Regan, that's not how we treat each other" doesn't get me anywhere I just immediately stop talking, and get up and quietly leave the room without looking back. Guaranteed she'll come running after me with hugs and kisses and a "sorry mommy"

Smoochy | 6:16 AM

From about 5 on I remember getting my ass paddled on a regular basis. That seemed to work pretty well for me. Before 5 I have no idea what my parents did. I don't think it matters what you do for them when they're that young. It's all just a coping thing for you. What you think is working. That's a collective you btw not a you personal. Whatever, i have no idea. i'm still jetlagged and got up at 4.

Maria P. | 9:37 PM

I think at this stage redirection is your best bet.

Desitin's Child | 4:29 PM

This is so hard. What we do is redirect, stay consistent, show no emotion, and talk, talk, talk. Talk about the reasons why this behavior is not acceptable, talk about how it could hurt her or someone or something, what the feelings are that made her want to do that, how there's some other object she could throw/bite/scribble on, blah blah blah. If things are *really* serious (she keeps doing it), I count to 5. She knows that when I get to 5, I'm going to pick her up and remove her.

That said, those are the things that work for my kid...and they don't always work. Sure, I lose my temper. Sometimes I pretend not to see her doing it, just so I don't have to respond. I leave the room when she's whining :)

Good luck. It might feel like pouring your energy down the drain, but he really is catching on about what's okay and what's not okay.