Most of the time, the Monster’s nicely compliant with what we want him to do. Lately, however, he’s started to be more defiant when it comes to doing what we ask, and that’s definitely a step backwards with regards to how his behavior’s going.
Of course, being defiant at times comes with being a child – the Monster is actually a four year old swiftly coming up on his fifth birthday, and some level of resistance is normal-ish for a child his age. That, of course, also doesn’t excuse his misbehavior.
To date, 1-2-3 Magic’s done fairly good at limiting his outbursts. He’s learned very quickly that when we get to three on those rare occasions, he is going to time-out in his room for the four minutes. One problem we’re encountering is that he’s also in the midst of toilet training, and that having to go to the bathroom trumps being in time-out. He’s figured out, therefore, that if he yells ‘Need to go Potty!’ from his bedroom, we’ll come scrambling to get him out of time-out and take him downstairs to sit on the toilet.
Last night, we instituted the rule that calling out for the bathroom means a reset of the time-out – if he doesn’t actually need to go and asks to go just to be let out of his room, the clock resets to four minutes again. We’ll see when/if that starts to stick in his head that calling out for an unnecessary bathroom trip is not going to get him out of his time-outs for bad behavior.
On the other hand, it’s also impacting how he does his homework. Homework’s never been a favorite of his, and he’s starting to act out more… when it’s clear, when he actually does the work, that he’s actually good at it. Like with the bathroom issue, I think that a few trips to time-out are going to convince him once again that he’s not getting out of doing his homework… but that’s going to be a constant work in progress.
If his verbal skills were strong enough, this wouldn’t be an issue, since we could at least talk all of this out… now we’re just hoping he understands enough to get with the program…