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What can I try next?

(29 Posts)
anotherbadnight Fri 24-Jul-09 21:08:59

ds is 4. He is generally really lovely, of course, but he's also quite a handful. These days, when he is naughty I put him on the naughty/ time out rug for four minutes.

It's completely ineffective. He always does the same, giggles, rolls about, gets off, blows raspberries at me etc. Not v useful. And really really really annoying.

I know he's testing his boundaries - he feels he has succeeded in getting what he was after if I get cross or raise my voice or whatever - it makes him laugh even more. He's the same with dh.

I have tried ignoring naughty behaviour, or explaining what he has done, I have tried bypassing the naughty step and taking away toys (but he just threatens to take away mine!), and I am careful to reward good behaviour all the time.

What can I try next?

jeffily Fri 24-Jul-09 21:16:16

Hi anotherbadnight. I am no expert, DD is only 4 months so I have not yet had to deal with this, but it occurs to me that if he cannot see your reaction to his behaviour it might take the fun out of it. Could you try putting him in his room and shutting the door? You would be removing your attention from him and it would also give you a break from it. Even if he ends up just playing with his toys, at least it would defuse the situation.
I'm sure someone with better advice will be along soon!

anotherbadnight Fri 24-Jul-09 21:26:35

thanks jeffily - I did that tonight actually. He wouldn't stay in there though, so I wasted a lot of time sending him back in! I tend to close the door to where the rug is (for exactly this reason) but he bangs on the door, or opens it and comes running through and then runs back as soon as I look at him ... that kind of thing.

Kaza1 Fri 24-Jul-09 22:35:47

Yeah sorry can't really offer any advice sounds exactly like my DD1 she actually asks to be out in the time out zone. If I take toys off her she says to me 'oh mum you forgot this one' and actually gets a bag to put them in. Very very frustrating!!! They always seem to know the buttons to push angry

fruitstick Fri 24-Jul-09 22:49:10

My DS (3.5) is exactly the same. No words of wisdom I'm afraid.

plimple Fri 24-Jul-09 22:54:50

What does he do that warrants the naughty step? I only use it if I need to separate my DD for violence really. Give examples and I'm sure there are alternatives that'll work.

anotherbadnight Sat 25-Jul-09 08:00:20

I would love a good alternative - I probably do use it for non-serious things, although it's not usually the first naughty thing he's done. Trouble is it all escalates so he's being told off more for his reaction to being told off than for what he did in the first place. iyswim.

day before yesterday I used it because he kept throwing a cushion at the light(which he would have done until it had broken) and when I took the cushion away (after asking four times for him to stop while i was caught up doing something) he picked up something else to do the same.

um - yesterday he threw a garden spade across the garden towards his sister (it didn't go far, quite heavy and all that, and didn't touch her, but it did land on my vegetables so I probably over-reacted!)

should I just ignore it/ not do any naughty stepping, since it only makes things worse for everyone?

moondog Sat 25-Jul-09 08:04:19

Well, whatever you do, you need to do it consistently for a long period of time. Switching to a variety of different strategies isn't helpful and often makes things worse.

In behavioural circles, we would consider not reinforcing undesired behaviour.The most effective method is probably to ignore it (hard I know). He is seeking to get a reaction.

Walk away and/or avod eye contact, saying 'I will speak with you when you decide to stop being silly'. Stick to it.

purepurple Sat 25-Jul-09 08:09:51

pick your battles and leave the naughty step for the serious 'crimes'

try and use distraction instead, it really does work ' oh come and look at this reaaly big spider' should get him running
'oh no, it's run away, let's look for it'
that should keep him busy for a bit grin
also, give the praise before he has done what you've asked him to
after you've done the 'thank you, put the cushion down' bit say something like 'you are such a good boy for not throwing that cushion anymore, I am really proud of you'
even if he is still doing it, he will be tricked into doing what you have suggested
usually works
I work with 20+ pre-schoolers, so I have to keep the peace somehow

anotherbadnight Sat 25-Jul-09 08:14:22

i have tried ignoring it but probably not for long enough, before giving up. He is totally looking for a reaction (hence the laughing when I end up cross).

also what happens when it's violent/ destructive and needs to stop? can't ignore that - and that's usually the issue

purepurple Sat 25-Jul-09 08:26:06

Your DS is crying out for attention and has worked out that the best way to get your attention is to be naughty
both instances you gave as aexamples of using the naughty step you were not giving him your attention until he misbehaved
he has learnt that negative attention is better than none and he is probably feeling a bit resentfull of the baby, which is perfectly natural
I know it is hard with a baby as well, you feel torn in two.
Just try to be more positive, maybe, in your delings with him.

purepurple Sat 25-Jul-09 08:28:03

just reread your post and i don't know where I read about his sister being a baby blush

anotherbadnight Sat 25-Jul-09 08:28:49

purepurple - thank you but distraction has never worked with him! works a treat on his sister, so it's not that I haven't tried it, but he is incredibly focussed and if he wants to do something, it wouldn't matter if a spaceship landed in the garden! I'm sure it will be useful for him in later life ...

I agree about picking battles - I do try but I often end up thinking 'I can't let that one pass' when it's something dangerous or something that has hurt someone. should I let more go?

anotherbadnight Sat 25-Jul-09 08:35:36

she's two - he did have a phase like this when she was a baby (and he was 2) so I agree with you.

You're absolutely right about the attention thing too - but with the cushion I was cooking tea so he couldn't have all my attention.
and with the spade I was in the garden playing with them and having we were having a lovely time until he grabbed the spade!

I also agree about being positive but I think I am. I am always thanking and congratulating and saying he's had a good idea and well done for being so nice to your sister when he is and so on and so on ... it feels like I can't do anything right!

purepurple Sat 25-Jul-09 08:43:03

Sounds like you are doing it all already
maybe you do need to let some things go?
sometimes the old 'well, i told you that would happen' line does work
have you tried the couting to 5 line?
or the 3 strikes and you're out one?

there will be something that works with him, the trick is to find it

plimple Sat 25-Jul-09 08:45:32

When it comes to throwing anything this is what I do, if it helps.
Zero tolerance to start with!
Let it be known that we don't throw things indoors and outdoors it's balls only.
The moment something is thrown indoors step in immediately. With the cushion I think I'd probably say "where does that cushion belong?" in a firm voice, but not cross or angry "Yes that's right, on the couch, can you put it where it belongs right now as we DO NOT throw things indoors" - it gives something to do instead of just not throwing and allows him to correct the wrong. If he says no, I'd say "you either put that cushion where it belongs and say sorry for throwing it or you can sit on the naughty step, I'll count to 3 and you can put it back and I'll give you these balls to throw in the garden if that's what you want to do or you can just sit on the step, 1, 2, 3". No need to get cross, it's his choice. If he chooses the step more fool him, place him on it and make it clear that once he's done his time he can say sorry and put the cushion back, but won't get the balls reward. This last to be said as you put him on it, it's not up for discussion, you've given him time to make his choice so he can live with the consequences.
I would never ignore throwing things indoors as things can get broken.

anotherbadnight Sat 25-Jul-09 09:01:26

but that's pretty much what I did! I didn't do the balls/ reward bit, admittedly. but I didn't get angry - I asked him firmly to put it back where it belonged. several times. and threatened the naughty step.

But the trouble almost always begins on the naughty step rather than ending there. that's what makes it so tricky.

it doesn't matter how firmly I tell him to stay on the step, how many times I put him back on there without any fuss, he ends up rolling, giggling, trying to get a reaction out of me rather than showing any signs of remorse! So a four-minute bout on the naughty step turns into a half-hour struggle.

franch Sat 25-Jul-09 09:09:05

Read Alfie Kohn, Unconditional Parenting. Forget naughty steps.

plimple Sat 25-Jul-09 09:13:48

You asked him several times though and naughty step was a threat instead of a choice. Once should always be enough. If the step isn't working I may not have that as the choice. I may say you either put that back NOW or I will help you to pick it up. I'll count to 3 (time restrictions are important - don't make counting to 3 last 30 secs, though) and you either pick it up and put it back or I will pick you up and you will put it back." If he chooses the latter to test you pick him up firmly, pick up the cushion and hold it by his hand and then put it back.
Next step is to distract immediately or he'll have the cushion thrown immediately to test if the same happens. So bring him into another room, ask why he threw it (for fun probably!) explain why it's not allowed and send him into the garden to throw a bucket of water around!

plimple Sat 25-Jul-09 09:46:21

Eventually/immediately you just want to be able to say "we don"t throw things indoors. Do you want to stay in and we'll play with your trains/whatever, or shall we go outside to see if I can catch your best throws?"

moondog Sat 25-Jul-09 15:55:35

Don't whatever you do, read Alfie Kohn. Utter tripe.

Ignore undesirable behaviour and reward desirable behaviour with lots of attention. Simple as that.

RumourOfAHurricane Sat 25-Jul-09 16:08:18

Message withdrawn

RumourOfAHurricane Sat 25-Jul-09 16:11:10

Message withdrawn

moondog Sat 25-Jul-09 16:19:33

I agree with Shiny.
If my kids are pains in the arses, they get a bollocking.

RumourOfAHurricane Sat 25-Jul-09 16:31:18

Message withdrawn

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