Terrible Two and the Time Out Approach

I don’t even know where to begin with this. This has been stressing me out.

So yes, “terrible two” is expected. But it sure as heck doesn’t make it easier when the dreaded finally comes. Baby Bubbles has been hit by the terrible two syndrome for a few months now. Tantrums are regular parts of our day to day, and screams are way too common I’m surprised I’m still sane.

Well, sanity is objective anyway, right. If you meet me, you might think I’m a loon already.

It started a few months back, when suddenly this child knew how to throw himself on the ground, on his belly. His legs kicking and the whole screaming shebang would begin. If he didn’t get what he wanted, he would be on the ground in no time. Honest to god, one day he just did that. I have no flipping clue where he picked that up. My dad in law said that children just knew how to do that naturally. I doubt it. To this day, I’m still figuring out what started it.

There’s this saying that children in their terrible two phase love saying “no” to everything. In my case, I can safely testify to its truth. If he is in tantrum mode, nothing would satisfy him. He gets himself all worked up, unable to calm himself down, and anything you offer, short of forbidden sweets (this is last resort to me), would be responded to with a sounding “NOOO!!!”

Now I really do not want to bribe my child with sweets everytime tantrum strikes. Although in some cases, I will admit, that I give him some candy bar like Snickers so he would quiet down. This is rare, and usually only happens when said tantrums happen in public places. Grocery store and the doctor’s office are example of such case. Nowadays, we  have found a better approach to fix this emergency, and that is by letting him play with the coloring app on his dad’s cellphone.

At home, I tried to make this work. I tried reasoning with him. The problem is, reasoning doesn’t work once he gets himself into his tantrum bubble. It’s a hysteria mode, and unless he snaps out of it, no amount of reasoning would reach its desired effect. The problem is getting him to snap out of it.

I am the parent who doesn’t believe in the “spare the rod and spoil the child” school of thought. No spanking for me, thank you very much. I am sure it works for some people, but I actively make the decision not to do it to my own child. I make absolutely no judgement for parents who choose this approach as I firmly believe that there is no ONE correct way to raise a child. There is, however, different ways for different children. Everyone has their right to choose how they’re going to raise their children.

My parents rarely ever spanked me or used hands. I can count only with one hand the instance(s) in which they did, and I can honestly say that in those instances, such actions were well called for. I was unruly and highly misbehaving. But I always remember that they try their damnest not to ever raise a hand even when I was being very frustrating to deal with. I thank them for this, everyday, always.

Before having a child, I was somehow apathetic to the “time out” approach. So.. you get your child into a corner and let them stay there in hope that, some 5 minutes later, they come to their senses? Yeah, I didn’t know shit back then, so please forgive me.

So one day when reasoning doesn’t work, I decided to attempt this time out approach. I put him in a corner and firmly told him, “You will not treat me like that. You will stand in that corner until you calm down.” Well, he was still flailing about and screaming. I sat near the corner, and told him to go back to the corner. He cried for another 5 minutes or so, uncontrollably, and I didn’t move. I stayed there, firm, unmoved.

The crying eventually subdued into sobbing, and eventually into mild sobbing until it stopped altogether. When he was done, he stood there, looking at me with his puppy eyes (DARN IT CHILDREN AND THEIR PUPPY EYES!! LETHAL WEAPON I TELL YOU). I told him to come to me, sat him in my lap, and told him that he can’t do that, tantrums aren’t okay and it makes me sad. He calmed down, hugged me and I told him it’s okay. Then he went back playing.

Some days, this works for me. He would know that when he is on time out, he is in trouble. He would adjust his attitude then. But some more difficult days, not even time out works. Sometimes I just let him scream it, I tried to hug him but he would flail about, so I just stay near him and let him finish his tantrum. Once he calms down, then I do the reasoning. At this age I feel like he has some understanding of some parts of the reasoning, like why certain things are not okay.

But terrible two is still very much a big part of our life now. I’m slowly trying to make peace with it. That it’s just a phase and it will too, pass. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but man, some days the tunnel is so dark I can barely step forward without being afraid I might step into a black hole.

Okay, not the best analogy. But you get the gist.

Any of you blogger friends experiencing the same thing?  We’ll all get through it, right?

9 thoughts on “Terrible Two and the Time Out Approach

  1. namanya anak2 ya… gak umur 2 doang, sampe ntar2nya juga akan selalu bakal ada masa2nya gak nurut, gak bisa dibilangin…
    dan hukuman yang tadinya berhasil, di saat lain bisa gak berhasil. yah kudu kitanya yang terus mikirin gimana harusnya yang terbaik untuk ngatasin anak kita. 😀

    dan bener tuh… puppy eyes!! duh, suka bikin kita jadi kasian ya… huahaha. tapi kitanya harus tetep tegas sih…

  2. kalo aku termasuk emak yang tega yah, jadi biasanya dulu kalo si chip and dale udah mulai ngamuk di mall di cuekin aja, pasang muka acuh tak acuh alias muka tembok. Bodo amat orang-orang pada ngeliatin. Emang sih berdarah-darah awalnya karena pastinya dia teriak-teriak dan kitanya kudu narik dia pergi dari situ gimana pun caranya. Tapi setelah beberapa kali begitu akhirnya anak2ku berhenti sendiri. kalo udah mulai ngeyel ngamuk aku jalan cuek aja gak lama mereka terpaksa ngekor dari belakang karena tau seberapa kuat pun dia nangis sampe nungging sekalipun gak akan terkabul keinginannya hehehehe…tega ya gue?!!

    Soalnya kalo dibiasain tiap dia ngamuk kitanya give-in nanti dia merasa supaya dikabulkan keinginannya dia harus begitu. jadilah dia begitu setiap kali kepengen apa-apa. Gitu sih katanya. Well I have been there, n untungnya sekarang udah gak gitu lagi karena mereka tau kalo jerit-jerit ngamuk tetep gak akan menghasilkan apa-apa 🙂

    Eh kayaknya small bubbles belum masuk Indonesia Mom Blogs Directory nih…ayo dong submit, biar Indonesia juga punya mom blogs directory yang hidup…lagi ada giveawaynya juga…di sini: http://blog.cutecoconut.net/?p=257
    see u there yaa 🙂

    • Aku sama suami orangnya maluan, kalo anak dah mulai jejeritan di tempat umum kita langsung lirik lirikan, cepet2 mikirin strategi kabur atau strategi menenangkan anak, hihi. Sekarang ini kita kalo pergi di waktu2 dimana anak lebih happy, misalnya sesudah bobo siang, atau sehabis sarapan, kan kenyang, masih semangat. Kalo naga2nya dia mulai cranky, salah satu dari kita nemenin dia di mobil atau di luar tempatnya, dan yg satu lagi cepet2 masuk ke dalam nyelesaikan apapun yg mau dikerjain.

      Ya moga2 masa ini cepet berlalu. Walau nanti kalo dia udah gede, pasti terkadang kangen dengan sekarang.

      Nanti aku join direktori dan ikutan give away nya ya mbak Rina. Makasih udah diundang ikutan. 😉

  3. We have the same problem!

    Sejak umur 1,5 tahun udah diterapin hitungan time out, jadi pas skrg umurnya 2,5 thn, dia udah tau ‘aturannya’.

    Misalnya kyk sekarang dia pasti bilang ‘GAK’ klo disuruh mandi.
    Trus, aku nanya : Perlu bunda hitung, nak?
    Dia cuek aja
    Trus aku mulai hitung : 1 mandi! Dia senyam-senyum
    Lanjut : 2 mandi! Dia pura-pura gak dengar
    Trus : Tiga! Pilihannya cuman dia masuk kamar mandi ato gak,
    Klo gak, kududukin di kursi hukumannya. Aku bilang : kamu dihukum 1 menit! (Lamanya hukuman= umur-1)
    Dia pasti bakalan nangis iba banget (Harus kuatin hati yaaah, Wu)
    Habis 1 menit, aku dekatin dia, jongkok natap matanya trus kutanya : tau kenapa bunda setrap? Krn kamu gak nurut bunda utk mandi. Say sorry to Bunda (sambil peluk)
    Abis itu mandilah dia…Hehehe

    Awalnya susah pasti, pas dia disetrap, lari2 terus. Tapi harus konsisten, dudukkan dia lagi, mau 30 kali kek, 100 kali kek, 1000 kali bahkan. Klo dia udah duduk manis, baru menitnya dihitung.

    Sama klo dia udah mulai teriak-teriak, marah2 gak jelas…Abis disetrap, baru aku tanya maunya dia apa. Seharusnya dia bisa bilang baik2.

    Dimana aja aku udah terapin ini, di rumah neneknya kek, di tempat kerja ayahnya kek…It works!

    Tapi yang paling penting tim work ama hubby, keduanya harus sama2 konsisten, jadi si kecil gak ambil ‘kesempatan’ utk tdk disetrap…

    We’ll all get through it, Wu!
    Hope my method useful for you! ^_^

    • Waaah samaaa…kalo aku gak ngaruh time out ke anak2…mereka badung2 hadeeeeh, diterapin time out gak mempan, mereka lari2 kalo gak malah main ditempat time outnya yeee gak served the purpose jadinya tapi itung 123 itu emang manjur banget…trus iya kalo mereka salah aku biasain “say I am sorry mommy” gitu….

    • Makasih mba Mayya tipsnya. Belakangan ini dia udah mulai ngeh, kalo denger kata time out dia jiper dan biasanya membaik. Kalo di suruh time out dia pergi ke sudutnya dan diam disitu, walaupun kadang sambil nangis. Ngga lama kalo nangisnya berhenti, aku suruh dia ke pangkuan aku, terus dipeluk dan dijelasin. Kita juga ajarin bilang minta maaf ke Mama/daddy kalo dia salah gitu. Belakangan ini malah habis time out dan dipangku ga disuruh langsung bilang “sowwy mama” duuuhh kalo udah gitu rasanya hati ini ga tega.. langsung dipeluk, kadang2 akunya ikut nangis dikit. 😀

      • Mdh2an makin membaik ya Wu…tapi tetap konsisten dan puji dia klo berbuat baik (ini penting bgt).Hari ini udah nyetrap si kecil 2 kali krn gk mau makan…Halaaah….

        Oh ya, dulu sebelum merit, aku baca buku ini, ampe sekarang berguna utk ngajarin si kecil disiplin dan tanggung jwb. Ada versi Englishnya kok. Selamat mencari ^^

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