I am continually amazed as I watch our little one grow into the person God has created him to be. It's funny because I see more and more of my personality traits coming out of him as opposed to Sam's. I desperately long for my son to grow up to be awesome and amazing like Sam, but it's also kind of nice to see how he takes after me a bit. Unfortunately I see it in his stubborn streak and his short fused temper.
We have been implementing various discipline techniques to try and focus Nathaniel's strong personality into a positive thing. It started with short time outs in his crib at around 15 months (more for myself and Sam than for punishment for Nathaniel) and has slowly grown to one minute stints in the corner and the occasional swat on the well-padded diaper region to solidify our points. Yet...
This kid is driving me mad! He hits. He gets frusterated by our limitations on him and in response he lashes out with his hands, usually slapping either myself or Sam in the face. After trying and trying the "instant time outs" with no warning for hitting us, we moved onto a swat on the butt for continued misbehavior (i.e. when we are walking him to timeout and he starts hitting us even more).
I am desperate! So, the past few days I have tried a different technique, and amazingly it's working! First of all, I notice that Nathaniel likes to do things at his own pace and likes things to be his idea as opposed to being forced to do something (hence the frustration). So, for the past few mornings I have changed our routine and have made our getting ready time twice as long. It involves a long bath time with lots of play (which also gives me the opportunity to catch up on reading, have some prayer/Bible study time or clean the bathroom) and it involves him picking out some clothes, helping get dressed, and allowing him to walk to the car instead of being carried. Sure, it takes an hour instead of a half an hour, but I make the time up with less time outs and less stress on my part. This evening, as he was getting tired he started acting up more and I could tell he was just getting weary. Not yet ready for bed, but tired enough to start lashing out again. Instead of sending him to time out right away for hitting I went back to giving him warnings, then, as we went to time out, (because that just didn't work) I held his arms down at the shoulder to keep him from hitting me and I looked him in the eyes and told him to calm down. It helped a bit. I know he is frusterated by his inability to communicate everything he is thinking, and he tries so hard.
So, that's where we are right now. Loving this little one with everything we can, and trying so hard to have a child who isn't a jerk. I feel bad because since school has started up we have had less time to play together as a family, and on our days off we've had to run errands and do stuff. So, this Friday we are dropping the car off to get new tires and heading to Disneyland to play. I hope that helps things as well.