Olivia has been on a mission to strip me of my sanity. She doesn’t get what she wants – she screams. Her brother has something that she wants – she grabs and pushes. I have to hold her hand while she falls asleep… sometimes for 45mins to prevent a meltdown. If I ask her to clean up she answers with “No, you do it” or “Don’t talk to me.” She is very capable of being the adorable, respectful and smart little girl I’m trying to raise, because I’ve seen it! Some days though, Lord help me, my daughter is hidden in a little monster suit.
So…I decided it was intervention time – timeouts weren’t working… It’s hard to reason with a screaming almost 3 year old, so that was out. I know I spoiled the crap out of her and I needed to undo some of it for her own sake. I took to the web and found a book that looked promising: “Positive Time-Outs And Over 50 ways to Avoid Power Struggles at Home and in the Classroom” by Jane Nelson E.D.D. I downloaded it on my Kindle app and prayed that Ms Nelson could save Olivia and I.
Well… I have only read the first two chapters and I’m very intrigued and excited enough to write about it. Turns out, I’ve been doing everything backwards. What Nelson calls “Punitive” timeouts (which are what you would typically expect from a timeout) just cause resent and prevent the child from developing skills to self soothe. No wonder! Olivia can’t control her reactions and learn to behave correctly on her own because I’m telling her exactly how to feel, what to do and how to apologize when she does something wrong…
Per the the title of the book, this so called “Positive Time-Out” is a way to create an atmosphere where children can learn long lasting skills to deal with emotion and behave correctly. According to Nelson, you should allow the child to create a space, name it and design it so that they feel pride of ownership in it. When the time comes you should encourage your kiddo to go to their space and cool off. The key is to be firm and kind… and when they leave timeout and are ready to fix what they did, it’s best if you let them offer remedies. Genius!! Toddlers thrive on feeling in control and I could see Olivia doing really well with this.
Anyway, I just thought I would quickly share! Stay tuned to find out if it actually works and as I continue to read… I’ll let Olivia create her space tomorrow.
Here is a link to the book if you are interested: