Friday, November 5, 2010

The Final Countdown

I have to admit, I am one of those parents who snickers at certain things. I know that everyone has a different style of parenting. What works for you might not work for me. I have restrained myself in saying something to people in the grocery store because I know it is not my place. But my blog I guess is my platform for speaking my mind. For instance, I HATE, HATE, HATE...the countdown. As in, if you don't put those scissors down in three seconds you are going to be in big trouble, mister! I don't know who came up with "the countdown" but I have seen so many kids push the countdown to the limit. If I were a kid now and my mom started to do the countdown I would know that I have 2 minutes and 45 seconds to continue to do whatever I was doing before that infernal countdown started. Let's be honest, the 3 seconds really should be shortened to one second. This is not baseball and I am not giving you a three strikes chance to cut off your sister's hair. Time is precious especially if you have a toddler who is impulsive. Let's put this in perspective with a real life situation. Let's say you are a police officer who just foiled a bank robber. Your gun is drawn and there is a standoff between you and the bad guy. Are you going to A. Tell him to put the gun down or you will shoot OR B. If you don't put the gun down in three seconds you are going to be in BIG TROUBLE? If SuperNanny has taught me anything you have to give the kid a warning. That is, one warning. If they do it again then they are done. I mean, that's the way the real world works right? We don't have magic Twix bars that will let us stop time to think over how we should respond to the situation. You can apply this to any situation in your daily life. Let's say a scenario for Human Resources; Joe, if you don't stop sexually harassing Laura in 3, 2, 1, you will be put in timeout young man. It just seems silly doesn't it? Don't give your kids the chance to continue the behavior. Warn them of the consequences and if they do it again, you have my permission to shock and awe them. By shock and awe, I mean timeout. A minute for every year old they are, in isolation from any toy distractions, and don't listen to the sobs. It's hard to listen to but necessary. Eventually they will get it and all those seconds you spent counting down you can have back to yourself for a nice cup of coffee. The countdown needs to go people. Let's let NASA and rock and roll bands have that one.

1 comment:

  1. you are so right. sometimes a warning is important. sometimes its unnecessary. on occasion i will find myself saying "if you don't get off your sister before i count to 3..." then i snap out of it and realize what he needs to hear is "GET. OFF. YOUR. SISTER!"

    i will however, share something we've been trying which works with kids who need a little extra time to process that they've been asked to do something, i will do a 20 second countdown. its purpose is different than the 3,2,1...instead of stopping behavior, it works to *motivate*. For example, Parker has trouble transitioning to new activities sometimes. I'll say "hey buddy its time for you to stop playing and go potty so we can head to the store..." and of course he says "ok..." but doesn't start to put his stuff down or make any moves to the door. I start counting "20...19...18..." and he jumps up and heads to the potty. I have never gotten to zero with him on this and sometimes he races to beat his last time. Not sure why this works, but its better than "parker, buddy! i said go potty. parker? can you hear me? parker you're not listening. i said go potty..." :)