Sunday, April 06, 2008

Discipline and Getting Older

Andy is a little under the weather. You'd never guess this from watching him rollick on the floor with his brother just now, causing Joey to erupt in cackles and giggles. But two hours ago, Andy was zonked out on the couch.

So there is my three year old, curled up on the sofa with Blankie and Mr. Guinea Pig when Joey decides the funny thing to do is to imitate the dryer sound (a loud, long buzz) at top volume. As intended, this noise woke Andy. But then he started to scream and cry- the poor kid couldn't believe anyone would mess with him when he was feeling so bad.

So, amidst the wails, Joey laughs. I order him to his room for a timeout- both to punish him and more importantly, restore some quiet to the room. I get "No, I don't think so."

This was not Joey's first trip to his room this afternoon. On our first trip, we talked about apologizing and what it meant. I modeled that when you apologize you mean that you're sorry, that you wish you hadn't done or said whatever you'd done or said, and that you'll try not to do it again.

So we went up for the second time and Joey was already scripting the usual "I'm sorry". Why? "Because Daddy's mad." Right. The previous lesson clearly had not sunk in. The time out rules this time were pretty strict- stay in your room, no toys, and most importantly, be quiet.

He was never really going to follow the third instruction, but I did want him to stop screeching at the top of his lungs, since we were right above where Andy was attempting to sleep. I went downstairs, and after about fifteen minutes of sniffling and wailing from above, returned to see what he'd learned.

After he calmed down, Joey said, "I'm sorry for Andy. I won't make dryer noise anymore." Wow. We walked through what happened again, focusing first on how Joey's noise made Andy feel, and then about how Joey was upset because he got punished and also that Andy was sad.

Andy's still at the age where he thinks simply saying he's sorry makes it all better. It seems like Joey is outgrowing that stage, and part of it is that he understands others' feelings more completely.


Stimey said...

Good for Joey for getting the lesson.

My oldest occasionally will verbally refuse to go to his room for a timeout. It's terribly frustrating.

Casdok said...

Hes growing up!!