Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Does Talking Really Work Better Than Time-outs?

Hey Lovelies!

Aiden turned 3-years-old two weeks ago. Woohoo! And he picked up a new less-than-appropriate behavior too. Boohoo. Is there a such thing as the "terrible threes"? Because someone should have really warned me about it.
All of a sudden, the kid sticks out his tongue and makes a spitting sound (I think that's what they call 'making raspberries', but I'm not quite sure).

Anyways... I. Can't. Stand. It. When. He. Does. That.

But hey...the joys of parenting.

The first time he did it was to the doorman of our apartment building. I was completely shocked because Aiden has a good relationship with our doorman and is normally nice to him. I was like, What on Earth?! Did that sound just come from my sweet baby boy?! I hate to admit this, but in my frenzy, when we got upstairs to our apartment, I invited Aiden to his time-out chair. And he went. Thing is, I didn't fully explain to him what the unacceptable behavior was so I'm pretty sure he was a tad-bit confused. Sigh.

He did it a few more time throughout the weekend, but nothing beats when we were in the elevator of our apartment building. To an old lady who was just tryna say "hey." I was shocked again. I mean, didn't I "take care" of this earlier in the weekend?

But even more than shocked, I was embarrassed because I didn't even have a chance to apologize to her before she looked at Aiden, looked at me, and then shook her head. Ouch, lady... that hurt!

There I stood in the elevator, frozen. There she stood in the elevator, shaking her head. And then there was Aiden in-between us, sticking his tongue out and making raspberries. Sigh. I was so embarrassed. Her looked shamed me. I walked out of the elevator covered in shame.

As Aiden and I walked out when we got to our floor, I was a gal of many thoughts: What was she thinking of me? Of young mothers in general? What was she thinking of Aiden? I didn't have the opportunity to tell her it's just a phase and he's actually a good kid. I was silenced.

When we got to our apartment, I scolded Aiden. "We don't do that when people say hello to us; go to the time-out chair." He probably was thinking, "huh?" But he went to the chair.

As he sat in time-out, I sat in the kitchen thinking, Okay, what just happened? Let's have a do-over and make this right. So I called him over and TALKED to the kid about it. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Aiden, when you do that to people who say "hi" to you, it hurts their feelings.
Aiden: (listening intently) okay.
Me: It makes them very sad, like this (frowning to show him a sad face)
Aiden: Okay.
Me: And it makes mommy really sad too.
Aiden: Mommy... I not gonna do it again. (Notice he didn't say "I'm not going to do it again...oh the language of a 3-year-old.)

But just like that, he stopped. At least for now. Since then, whenever we're in the elevator or outdoors, he says "hello" to people who greet him.

And all it took was a little talk. Not time-out.

But hey, I live and I learn.



  1. My nephew was into the raspberry thing around the same age and I've taken my brother's que and as soon as he does something inappropriate I check right there so there's no room to say he was confused. I think you did a great job taking your time and then sitting down talking to him on such a level! Great Job Aiden!

    P.S. To the old woman shaking her head, YOU KNOW HOW KIDS ARE, DON'T GO SHAKING YOUR HEAD AT ME BEFORE I CAN APOLOGIZE!!! (ok that's all lol)

  2. I think it's great that you are wondering if time-outs are more beneficial than talking with Aiden. Oh the wonders of talking, I think it's really important to keep the floodgates open for communication even if lil man is only 3.

  3. My son started doing that too and luckily he has stopped. But he only really did it to me, when I told him to do something he didn't feel like doing. I couldn't stand it either! But you handled it well, mama! :)

  4. Omg! So once they reach 3 y/o they actually "listen" when you correct them and teac them right from wrong?!!! WOOHOOOOO!!!! Can't wait for that time to come! Like, seriously. Everything is "NO!!!" and defiance with Chase now. lol

    Anyhoo, you handled it really well!! :-)

  5. It is such a myth the terrible twos, it really is the terrible threes and above. Timeouts are a weird thing, sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. Talking works sometimes and sometimes it doesnt. What is good about this situation is that he was actually listening.

    my only advice and its from my own experience and trust me its hard even now not to do this. Do not try to talk to your child mid tantrum. They are irrational beings and as one knows you can not have a rational meaningful discussion with a person who is irrational. I have tried to talk my daughter down when unacceptable behaviour happens it doesnt work until she is calm and in a listening mood.

  6. Personally, I swore my son was an Angel incarnate because we never had any "Terrible Two" issues.  Then, he turned 3.  I don't know whether to get a psychologist or an Exorcist.  He has been a total, oppositional nightmare.  Good thing he's super cute or I'd be looking to trade him in.  ;-)

    You took the time to speak with your son and that makes all the difference.  Sounds like you're doing a terrific job to me.  And to the lady in the elevator?  :-P  (that's me blowing a raspberry!)


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