Sunday, April 13, 2008

on the subject of discipline

So, I got some superb, top-of-the-line, just wonderful parenting advice today at the mall. Basically my son is going through a hitting "phase". "Phase" is what the physicians call it. My question is, how long does it take to stop qualifying for a "phase"? I ask because his hitting "phase" has lasted....hmm, let's see....since we got him, 8 months ago! Now really. I am new at this but I thought a "phase" was like a few weeks. Or maybe a month. But is 8 months really a phase? Any experienced parents are welcome to respond.

Now, I've researched some different methods to use with a more "aggressive" toddler. Another one of those pediatrician words, "aggressive". I feel like I'm talking about a dog or raccoon or something. Most of the websites talk about hitting as a dysfunctional sort of way kids interact with one another. I understand that, and we have been through that "phase" already. This is different. This is purposefully hitting, kicking, and now scratching, when he can't get his way or if I tell him "no". I'm trying to "strike" a "balance" between "being" consistent "so" I don't raise "a" brat and not shooting myself in the head if I have to bring this kid into time-out one more time! It is very frustrating; sort of like my libral use of quotation marks.

Anyway, back to the advice. So, my husband and I were at the mall when we got the answer to our prayers, mother-of-all mothering advice. We took Mateo to the little kids play area. You know what I'm talking about right? Where you can drop your kid off for a few hours while you go shop - oh, wait.....never mind, I guess you're not supposed to...leave your kid....okay, forget that part of the story. So, we were at the kids play area, diligently monitoring and interacting with our son, expanding his mind at every possible turn, and encouraging him to reach his developmental "milestones" as quickly as possible. Well, he hit Dave, and then me right after. It had something to do with a hostage situation going on between Dave, Mateo, and some unsuspecting goldfish. Anyway, a middle-aged Chinese woman was sitting nearby (also diligently monitoring her son as he ran around pile-driving children left and right) and noticed Mateo was hitting us. This is what she said.

"My son never hits me. Ever since I put him in the cabinet and left him there for a while, he has been too scared."

Well, there we go! Why didn't I think of that? A cabinet! Of course, it all makes sense now. If only we had put Mateo in a cabinet, we would certainly not have this hitting problem. So, guess what the first thing we did when we got home was? Take a nap.

But after the nap! What was the first thing we did when Mateo tried to hit one of us?

Well, we didn't put him in the cabinet, if that's what you're thinking. We are not that desperate. But isn't that crazy? A cabinet? Yeah, maybe he won't hit you anymore but what if you are instilling a deep phobia of cabinets? Or even worse, all food storage units? What if your child can never open or even look at a cabinet or pantry again? I mean, where would he keep all his non-perishables? His pasta, rice, and spaghettios? Okay, I am probably thinking about this way too hard. But I felt bad for the little guy.

Let's be clear, I am in no way endorsing cabinets being an acceptable location for a time-out. I am merely offering the same suggestion that was given to me. Do with it what you will. Actually, I take that back. Don't do anything with it and certainly don't put your kid in a cabinet.

Point of the story: If you are in need of some discipline advice, I don't recommend going to the mall.


Heather said...

i agree on the skipping the cabinet... i would put him in the oven and have him duke it out with his oven friend... haha, just kidding of course :) Have you been to a dietician for your vertigo, perhaps you're lacking some key vitamins and minerals?

Anonymous said...

Well, if the cabinet had breathing holes and let in a little light, wouldn't that be the same as a playpen?