Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Time Out is Out

Time outs are not working with 20 month old Ella. She has had them for the past 5 months. Yesterday, at about the 5th time out, she trotted over to her chair with a big grin on her face and sat there smiling and singing to herself for the 1 minute she sat there. Yeah. Not working. Understand, she only gets a time out for hitting or biting. We're not talking minor infractions -- she has a temper and she isn't afraid to take out her frustrations physically on another person (adult or kid, she doesn't care).

So yesterday, after the 5th time out, I told her if she hit again, she would get a spanking. Of course, she's never had one so she had no idea what to expect. Sure enough, she socked another little girl a few minutes later so spank her I did (once on her diaper clothed bottom). Ella was shocked. And immediately repented -- she repeatedly signed "I'm Sorry" (amidst tears, of course).

There is pretty big debate amongst our friends regarding spanking. We've done the research (Dobson, Swindoll, etc) and we've pretty much concluded that for hitting and biting, spanking, at least for now, is going to be the punishment. I still have an internal debate: how does spanking (hitting) teach her NOT to hit....but when it is viewed as discipline, not as hitting out of anger, then it isn't the same. Or not. We're willing to try and see what happens. But after the spanking yesterday, Ella didn't hit or bite for the rest of the day. That never happened with a time out (or 20).

If you have any other suggestions for teaching a 20 month old not to hit or bite, I'm all ears.

3 Thoughts From Others:

Karin said...

Not being a parent I can say that I've never looked into the spanking thing, but we were spanked and we turned out fine.

This is something my basketball coach did with her kids: if they hit, kicked, bit, etc, she did the same to them. It wasn't to be mean or hurtful, but how does Ella know that it hurts someone when she hits them if she's never gotten a swat on the bottom?

Plus, by being the one to issue the punishment, Coach made sure she wasn't hurting her kids (can you imagine if she let one child get even with another??). Again...her kids have turned out great.

Jen said...

I agree with Karin. I was spanked for major infractions and I turned out fine. You said the time-outs were 1 minute. What if you upped the time to 5 minutes or longer? Just an idea!

Camille said...

Karin, This is true. Ella is the bully. Rarely does another kid beat up on her!

Jen, the guideline for time outs is 1 minute for every year of age. I don't think Ella can do ANYTHING for 5 minutes straight right now! :-)

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