Topic: time out??
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October 14th, 2010, 10:33 AM
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MamaMandy MamaMandy is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moon~maiden View Post
I am debating starting time outs with Cadie now that she is older and is blatantly rebelling and trouble making. She is a real handful a lot of the time. The problem is I'm not sure I really believe it will work and mostly I think it will just become a huge battle to get her to stay in it. I feel like the point will be totally lost. I really have a lot on my plate around here and I am afraid to take that on.

Does anyone use time outs? Why or why not?
Liana has sensory integration/processing disorder, which is neurological and beyond her control BUT does manifest in behaviors, along with a diagnosis of emotional disturbance, which I've spent years learning about and helping her through. So, I'm not an expert, but she and I have had A LOT of intervention & support services that taught us a few tricks.

For us anyway, the best one has been time out BUT - huge but- we call it "taking space" and it is approached 100% as a positive thing, as a coping mechanism for her, and we even use it when she is just getting too overexcited and out of control. Plus, it's action/intervention on my part to end the problem behavior, and if I'm lucky, to spot that she's gearing up and take space BEFORE the meltdown. I explained to her ahead of time we were going to try a new way to handle all those feelings that boil over and make us fight/feel bad/whatever words you use, so we can get back on with enjoying our day. When "stuff gets too much", we BOTH will go into a room to "take some space", to breathe, to chill however works, even if it's watching TV, looking at a book, punching the bejeepers out of her bed & pillow, thrashing on the bed like a wild animal - whatever she needs. and *when she is ready* (aka, calm, rational, not angry anymore) she can tell me what was going on. For us, it's been so important that I just BE there until she's chill- no blabbering on to her, or trying to coerce her any which way (after she's got the tools, at first I did quietly suggest what might help her, if she wanted to try) Usually I sit there and obviously breathe deeply, shake out my shoulders, read - basically model the behavior I'm expecting from her AND calming myself down too. Only after she tells me her reality of it, do I step in with the mom stuff about a better way to handle it. For her, it's usually using her words and telling people how XYZ made her feel, and being able to walk away if that person won't/can't/shouldn't change what they're doing. Or it's finding another toy while she waits for her turn, or being angry without hurting herself or someone/thing. I make sure to ask her too how she might have done it differently and/or which ways she thinks would work out better for her/others. The whole point of a timeout is to stop "bad" behavior, redirect, and relearn so it doesn't have to be a punishment or solitary seclusion, and if it's not seen by them as bad, they are more likely to cooperate and get more out of it to boot. After the first few times, she didn't fight me on taking space (well, rarely!) because it helped her and it sure beats a screaming angry showdown, she realized ok this is a good thing for me and mom's not going to punish me, she's trying to help.

Now, sometimes *I* am the target and what/who is setting her off - still, I give her the chance to have me in the "space place" with her but it's been made REALLY clear I will leave to take my own space if she tries or does hurt me either physically or "hurting words" like I hate you, you're an awful mom etc. I think it helped a lot for her to see me taking space too, and it sure helps me to be able to say "I"m getting cranky and I don't want to be, I need to take some space" and she gets that. It was kinda tough to define that it was ok she let me know she's mad at me or doesn't like me at that moment, but not ok to say I hate you etc, it took a lot of teaching by example, that boiled down to don't be cruel, if I wouldn't say it to you, don't say it to me. But that came later, at first I'd just sit there will she railed and flipped and screamed - baby steps, she wasn't hitting or breaking things or banging her head so it was progress! It really taught me how awful her meltdowns were FOR HER, that she didn't WANT to be acting like that, but her little body & soul would get so overwhelmed with all these strong feelings and not know how to process them/deal with them/fix the situation. It was a huge, heartbreaking breakthrough once I realized this wasn't something she was "doing to me" or doing on purpose, it was her at her breaking point. Once I started looking at it like that and with compassion for her, it helped me keep my anger & impatience in check, so instead of yelling or locking her in her room or whatever I have the head about me to do something helpful and use it as a teaching and even sometimes bonding moment. At first we did this like a million times a day, now it's a couple times a week max and she will even tell me "Breathe, Mom, just breathe" or ask "Do you need to take some space? You sound angry" Wow, I wrote a frickin book here! Sorry so long! Hopefully this kind of different spin & perspective on the whole time out strategy is helpful. If you want to give it a try & I somehow didn't write enough about the method - LOL- feel free to ask away. Good luck, I know how tough challenging behavior can be day in and day out! Just breathe, Mom!
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