Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Timeout Dilemna

Little Man has us in a timeout dilemma.  First, he doesn’t seem to actually mind going in timeout so I am not even sure it is an effective punishment.  Sure, sometimes he says “no timeout, no”, but most of the time he runs over, does his two minutes and then pops out.  We thought that it wasn’t being an effective deterrent to bad behavior but  due to the fact that he has started putting himself in timeout we know he at least understands the point of a timeout. 


This past weekend, we were all playing/working in the garage and he threw a ball into the street on purpose.  I got up and got the ball and said to him “please don’t throw the ball into the street anymore, it isn’t safe and I would like to see you make a better choice next time.”  (We talk to him a lot about making good choices).  Anyway, a few minutes later Papa Bear comes in and I hear him say to Little Man “Did Mama tell you to get out of timeout?”  I see Little Man standing up from the timeout spot in the garage and I said “I didn’t put him in timeout, did you?”  Papa Bear responded in the negative so we asked Little Man why he was in timeout.  He said “throw ball in street, bad choice mama”.  So he had put himself in timeout.  Yesterday while at a friend’s house he threw something that I has asked him not to throw.  I didn’t consider it something to put him in timeout for (especially since he hadn’t had a nap all day and was running on fumes) but he went ahead and put himself in timeout. 

So he understands right from wrong and good choices and bad behavior and even puts himself in timeout when he makes a bad choice or has bad behavior.  He says he is sorry for whatever he did when he gets out of his self-imposed bad behavior.  All of this (which rare and totally surprising) is confusing to say the least.  He has taken away our first line of behavior deterrent with his self-imposed timeouts.  We are still trying to figure out what to do with all of this and how to effectively parent and help Little Man make responsible and good choices.  But when he doesn’t you might find him in a timeout of his own choosing??!!

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