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Don't think time out is working anymore. How do you discipline your children?

(117 Posts)
Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 10:11:37

I have been using time out, but it no longer seems to be having much effect, especially with DS1 (nearly 8), who will refuse to go to the step/corner/his room & is probably getting a bit too old for this.
He also throws huge tantrums if I manage to get him in his room, where he thumps at the door etc & screams at me.
The time out seems to make the behaviour worse, but what is the alternative?

I have been trying the praising the positive etc, and I know you are meant to try to ignore the bad, but there is some bad behaviour (like scratching & marking his brother) that I cannot just ignore.

I have been on my own with them for the last 3 months, and am finding it quite hard to deal with the behaviour problems I have been having with the boys.

domesticgrumpess Fri 24-Aug-07 10:21:11

Message withdrawn

Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 10:22:26

I started using time out after seeing it used on parenting programmes like Supernanny etc, but it just doesn't seem to be working for my boys anymore.

MamaG Fri 24-Aug-07 10:22:52

Pnk, I give my DD pocket money and she loves it. Naughty behaviour is given a warning, then a "strike" - 3 strikes and no pocket money that week. It works for her, may be worth a go?

Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 10:25:17

Thanks, DG, some good ideas there.

I have tried the reward charts, but they seem to be having little effect because they get bought treats constantly when they see their dad or my mum, so they don't feel the need to work for them.

satine Fri 24-Aug-07 10:26:08

I know it's not answering your question, but I have noticed that my son's bad behaviour decreases markedly when I've spent some proper one-on-one time with him, playing or drawing or just talking. I know hard it can be, though, to ignore all the hundreds of things that need to be done and it's especially hard if you've got more than one child!

Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 10:27:33

Hadn't started giving DS pocket money, but I guess he is now getting to that age, so that could work.
He likes to be bought Power Rangers comics, so to have his own money that he earns is a good idea. Thanks, I will give that a try.

MamaG Fri 24-Aug-07 10:28:30

I was surprised by how well it works Pink. Good luck!

southeastastra Fri 24-Aug-07 10:41:22

i totally blank and ignore my son when he has tantrums. i walk away. it works some of the time

Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 10:46:35

I try to ignore all tantrums too, SEA, but as DS is getting bigger the tantrums are getting worse.
I moved him into my bedroom for 5 mins the other night because they were messing about badly at bedtime, and he went mad, screaming & throwing my things around the room.

Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 10:53:55

Do you still use time out for your DS, SEA?

juuule Fri 24-Aug-07 11:10:45

Have you spoken to him after the tantrum has passed? Have you explained how it's not helpful to the situation you are all in at the moment and that you would appreciate his help in making things run a bit smoother for everyone. He probably feels a bit out of his depth and unsettled aswell at the moment. As Satine says more one-to-one with him might help. Plus if they are feeling left out in any way it makes them feel included again and reduces the need for attention seeking stuff. My children's behaviour definitely improves when they feel included and when I give them some responsibility for things.
Also have you acknowledged to him that you understand that he is upset at the change in circumstances (I'm presuming he is)?
How old is his brother? Are they both fighting together when he scratches?

Skribble Fri 24-Aug-07 11:21:55

I think at 8 there can be a lot more discusion, where with a 3 yr old I would give them it straight with out to much discusion.

Agree with others that material rewards and withdrawel of these rewards might have an impact, so perhaps controling the pocket money or removing TV / games console privilages.

TBH tantrums at age of 8 I would just walk awy and say look pal once you have calmed down we can talk about this. My DD 7 goes more for the huffy route, I just tell her I can't discuss things or help her if she is doing that and carry on with what I am doing.

I think struggling to get him into his room and enforcing time out is making a huge deal out of it all, its attention seeking and he is still getting loads of attention from you. Once in his room he is isolated and rejected.

My DS's (10 yrs)room is his sanctuary so when he decides he needs time out he can go there and chill. If he is misbehaving I tend to threaten him with not being able to watch his programmes or not getting time ont he computer. I also make sure he knows exactly what he has done wrong, why it is wrong and what he should be doing. Mostly I just shout at him in typical mummy mode .

southeastastra Fri 24-Aug-07 11:55:59

i only used time out a couple of times. he got very violent and i'm sure the neighbours must have heard him.

it's very hard, in tesco this morning he was playing up, whacking us etc because we wouldn't look at toys.

his teacher has referred up to an occupational therapist too. it just goes on.

Othersideofthechannel Fri 24-Aug-07 12:00:51

I have only skimmed the rest of the thread so this may not be helpful but I remember having massive tantrums after being sent to my room at this age because I felt that being sent to my room was unjustified.

I may have been acting unreasonably before the time out but was not in meltdown. I would have loved my mum to take the time to listen to me before sending me to my room or to come and hug and listen shortly afterwards.

Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 12:04:41

Thank you all for your advice & suggestions.

I do have a chat with him once he has calmed from the tantrums, and he is often fine once he's got over it.

I guess I am guilty of not spending as much 1:1 time with him as maybe I should, but they often play games together, or watch DVDs together (when they are not half killing each other!), and I don't seem to be needed too much!
We spend time together in the garden, or at the park etc, and when they are doing a sit down activity.

His brother is 4, and the scratching etc will be as a result of some kind of squabble they have had.
I use time out with DS2 as well, and he gets very cross & has huge tantrums too, so not sure it is really working with either of them.

I have spoken to DS1 about the possibility of pocket money, and he seems quite keen!

Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 12:07:19

I rarely actually put him into his room, only when all else is failing & his behaviour is getting right out of hand.
I was trying to sit them on a step for a few minutes, but they just get themselves off the step!

Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 13:05:20

Poor you, SEA, it can be so hard to know what to do for the best when they are like that isn't it?

I had a similar episode in Woolworths the other week, where DS1 refused to budge because I wouldn't buy them a toy, and when I took him by the arm, he was pulling back & wacking my arm with his other arm.
I just ignored as if it wasn't happening, but it is really hard.

KITTENSOCKS Fri 24-Aug-07 13:46:20

Could I make a suggestion? I read somewhere that a Mum had provided a large cushion for her daughter to hit, kick and bite when she had a tantrum at home. It was in her room and when she felt a rage brewing, or she was about to lash out, she would say "I'm going to see my hate cushion" and proceeded to take it out on that instead of people, toys etc. It sounds as though DS1 is in need of a physical way of venting his anger and frustration and this is a safe and acceptable way to do so. You could reward him when he does this as a positive reinforcement instead of punishing for violent acts which is negative.
Also, when he is calm, why not try discussing and agreeing with him consequences for misdeeds, e.g. giving his docked pocket money to DS2 if he hurts him, mending or replacing damaged toys, books etc. I think it may work for him because he has had some say/degree of control in the decision, therefore he will feel less helpless.
Pocket money is great for this age, they feel as if they have some independence, and learn the value of the things that they want to buy, and actually believe you when you say you can't afford something until next pay day.

Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 13:58:19

The hate cushion is a good idea, KS.
These extreme tantrums have only started fairly recently, and I know they are a frustration thing because I remember feeling similar as a child, which is why I always have a calm talk with him when he calms down.

I won't use time out anymore because it is obviously having a negative effect.
I am just finding it so hard to know what to do for the best atm, and getting so worn down myself.

Their father says I am a soft touch & this is why they behave badly for me, but not for him.
I don't want them to be scared of me though.
It is so hard to get the balance just right.

mimsum Fri 24-Aug-07 14:02:06

to be honest, I've always thought that if your children would actually sit on a naughty step, then you didn't need one! We do use time out with ds1 who's 10 and flies into terrible rages - it's not so much as a punishment really, more a way of defusing the situation. He actually likes going to his room now as he realises it helps him calm down. Pocket money is useless as an incentive as when he's in the throes of anger he can't remember that he really wants x or y, and as he's not particularly materialistic there's not much he wants to buy. Reward charts have also not helped as if he doesn't get a point or whatever then he goes into meltdown, so you have two tantrums to deal with instead of one ...

What has helped (a bit) is helping him find ways of calming down - e.g. simple relaxation techniques, and trying to defuse the situation before it gets out of hand (although the other day he realised what I was doing and screamed "stop trying to distract me - I know what you're doing!" so it by no means works all of the time)

Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 14:15:54

I used time out because it is what is suggested on these parenting programmes, and it seems to work, but in my house it's not working.

Their dad was always the strict one & they would never mess with him, so it has been hard for me to get the balance just right since being alone with them.

It is not just DS1, it's both of them, and I'm finding it so hard. It really is getting me down badly.

witchandchips Fri 24-Aug-07 14:20:28

my mother and sister made up a man who lived inside my sis. He used to get told off instead of my sister. Think this was a really good way of allowing her to get rid of her anger without losing face or backing down. "Think Mr X needs to leave the room now darling, don't you"

Othersideofthechannel Fri 24-Aug-07 14:25:29

Yes, DS has got a good book about this about an angry monster who lives inside a little boy and comes out. When the angry monster starts breaking the boys toys he regains control and traps the monster in a box! It's too babyish for an 8 yr old though.

Pinkchampagne, from an earlier post it seemed as though time out worked for a while so no need to justify yourself.
I had no success with the naughty step with DS. It just turned into a fight/giggling match to keep him there so I gave up quickly.

Pinkchampagne Fri 24-Aug-07 14:49:22

That is a good idea, I would never have thought to invent a little man inside them!

We have had more fighting here, this time with DS2 scratching DS1's face while playing in the garden.

I have had words & separated them, which led to DS2 having a major tantrum, screaming "you're stupid" to me, and throwing things.

It is hard & I am at my wits end with it all.
When I tell my mum I'm finding it hard, she just says "Fun being a mum isn't it? Do you appreciate what I went through now?" & that is it.

I am getting to the stage where I dread the start of each new day because I know it will be a struggle.

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