Monday, February 22, 2010

Well, That Seems To Have Backfired

Ella is a physical child. She always has been. As we approach the terrible two's, this has begun to show up in her communications. Meaning, when she is angry, sad, or sometimes happy, she hits, bites, and pinches. Sammy is the most frequent recipient of Ella's physical love, although Sean, the baby, and I are also on the receiving end.

It's really not okay, and telling her no, showing her the marks she leaves, trying to create empathy by pointing out that her sister is crying and sad, is not working. So, a few weeks ago I decided to try the Time Out Chair. The idea was every time she hurt someone, she would go sit on the chair for two minutes. Then I would ask her what she did to get time out, make her hug her sister, and say she's sorry.

At first she would scream and I would have to put her back in the chair over and over again. Her language skills weren't good enough yet, so I would have to explain what she did wrong and leave the apology to just a hug.

Now, however, she tells me when she needs a time out and willingly goes to the chair to sit. Then she gets up, tells me what she did wrong, says sorry to her sister, and gives her a hug. Sounds pretty good, right?

It's the willingness that bothers me. I think it has become another attention seeking behavior. She does things to get a time out. Samantha also is making it not work as she has started giving Ella time outs when she doesn't want to be bothered or when Ella touches a princess doll. And Ella goes. Willingly.

The biting, pinching, and hitting have not improved. I guess I'll have to try yet another discipline method, but I'm running out of ideas. On the plus side, Ella apologizes for things all the time now, even when it's not needed or wasn't her fault. Plus, the hug at the end of time out is pretty cute.

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