One viewer asked a question about discipline and time outs and Michelle said that she does use time out but not because the child is in trouble. She tends to use it as a way to calm the children down. In other words, she will put her children in time out as soon as she sees them getting overly excited, and prior to them doing something they would get them in trouble. This does two things: 1) It prevents anyone from getting hurt because the behavior is stopped before it gets out of hand. 2) It teaches the children to take control of themselves and their emotions before losing control. I think it is a tactic I want to try but that means I need to make some changes in me for it to work.
In order to preemptively use time out as a calming tool you have to be tuned into your children at all times. You have to watch for signs that your children are getting out of hand and stop the behavior before it happens. When my children were babies, I was very tuned into their needs and was able to take care of their needs before they realized that they had them. They were great babies because of this. I was able to know when they would be getting hungry and I fed them before they began to cry. If they had a wet diaper, I usually changed it before they let me know it was uncomfortable. If they had gas, I knew how to help them get rid of it and would often play with them in ways that would help them get rid of it before it became painful.
But as they grew and became more independent, I stopped paying as much attention to them. That is not to say that I neglect my children. I have just been ready for them to take on more independence at each new stage. Unfortunately, I have at times given them more independence than they can handle. For instance, my youngest (age 6) looks up to her older sister quite a bit. That means she wants to be around her all the time. This it cute but not so cute to her sister. When her sister does not give her the positive attention she craves, she gets her attention in negative ways by tormenting her. If I can make myself catch her needing her sister’s attention before she starts tormenting her, then I can lessen the number of fights that they have.
One thing that they often fight about is clothes. My youngest thinks it is so wonderful to get hand-me-downs from her sister because that means she gets to dress like her. The problem is that she has started wearing her sister’s clothes that I have not handed down to her yet and fights erupt when my oldest daughter realizes this.
Now that I know Michelle Duggar’s trick, I plan to take a more preemptive roll in my youngest daughter’s dressing to help reduce the fights. I also plan to help my oldest daughter learn better ways to handle her frustration than throwing a tantrum. How I plan to do that is next week’s topic.
Until then, thanks for reading and God bless.