Today my little man reached a big milestone in growing up. He had his first time out.
I never really anticipated having to start disciplining him quite this early, and I'm pretty sure he's still a bit young to grasp the whole "some actions have consequences that piss mom off" thing. And for that matter, I'm not really even sure discipline at this age is even remotely effective. But, when you tell your two year old for the fifth time that he can't have another Flintstone's Vitamin, and he turns around and punches you in the face, actions need to have some consequences.
I snatched his hands and told him in my stern/don't mess with me voice that we "DO NOT PUNCH MUMMA." I marched him into the dining room and plunked his little butt down on one of the chairs I pushed up against the wall, and made him sit and face me. I waited for him to settle and explained that he is NOT to hit, and that hitting is bad behavior. I told him to say "sorry" (which sadly is not yet a word in his vocabulary, so was really pointless of me to ask) and he burst into tears and gave me a hug.
So what if his time out lasted only 15 seconds? Like everything else, I imagine he's going to have to learn how to "do" timeouts. I'm not foolish enough to think that this was the end of his "punching" phase (which I hope is a "normal" phase, I'm really not into raising a criminal), especially when he has two older brothers that we're constantly reminding not to show him fist bumps and other physical "teenage boy" forms of affection. I just hope that slowly, but surely, we'll get the hang of "timeouts" and then eventually grasp the idea that bad behavior has consequences.
After we finished timeout, and then our lunch, I started thinking about how I want to handle behavior now that he's two. I think positive reinforcement is probably just as important as discipline, and since Ben has a MASSIVE collection of stickers, I don't think it's too early to start a sticker chart! Sure they're good for potty training, but hopefully a few stickers every now and then for good behavior will help as much as the occasional 15 second timeout.
Damn those Flintstone Vitamins. I didn't want to have to deal with this stuff quite so soon....