Time-Out To The Rescue

When my son turned two, to combat his typical stubborn defiant toddler behavior, we started 2-minute time-outs (TO). Since his Mother's day out program enforced time-outs as well, it worked pretty well. Most times, just the threat of a TO worked to deter naughty behavior.

Around three and a half, the little guy sort of turned a corner on being naughty. He was a delight more than not. Time-outs became less and less, until we ceased to have them. Instead, we would take a toy or tech-time away for a period of time.

Enter two weeks ago...

The kid turned the corner on craziness! He started to say, NO!, to everything, hit, kicked, ran away, or just, did it anyway--whatever 'it' was that I told him not to do or to stop doing. After a week of the over-the-top naughty behavior and stubborn assertion of his independence, I found myself exhausted and lost for a 'fix'. Taking away toys or his tablet stopped being effective. He basically laughs in my face about EVERYTHING!

It turns out, the reason you hear, 'Four is worse than three,' is because this new feeling of being a big kid takes over. Which, has clearly happened for my now four-year-old.

The truth is, I get it. After only two days of being four, the big guy walks around with a newfound proudness. He keeps announcing he is four, the proves it by doing something on his own, or telling me how he can do it on his own because he is four. He picks out his clothes for school, puts on his one shoes, helps make his breakfast, gets his own cup of water, and even picks up his toys without being asked.

He also, fights to cross the street without holding my hand, won't take a nap or have rest time with a fight, refuses to eat dinners that aren't what he wants, and won't stop doing something until he is ready, regardless of how many times he asked. Just today, when I said, No Way, to a request for candy, he found a way.

We keep his candy on the refrigerator. At least he's resourceful.

Completely drained by the crazy behavior, I called a girlfriend and said, I'm losing it over here, my awesome little guy has turned into a terror. HELP! 

That's when she said two magical words; Time Out.

I don't know why I did't think of that. I was just so shocked by the crazy behavior, I guess I thought it would go away as fast as it came. So much for that.

There is such an ebb and flow when it comes to littles. They really do need their independence to learn life skills and gain a sense of self and self-worth. Unfortunately, most of the time, it's at the expense of parent's sanity and/or patience.

Even though it's back to time-outs and battles of wits and endurance, I do see how the hard work pays off. He is such a great kid, most of the time, because I don't back down when times get tough. That's a big part of what parenting is. Taking the time to guide and nurture your child, even when it sucks.

Four, here we come.

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com