Small One is a feisty, yet agreeable creature. In this, she is different from my other two children- Eldest was feisty and ornery, Middle Child, in her preschool years, was agreeable and complacent. Small One is always on a mission, with things to do, places to go, people to see.
Because she is agreeable, though, she and I rarely collide. Most of the time, I can talk her out of a scheme by re-explaining "the rules", and she changes her course. Very rarely have I ever spanked her. My older two, I spanked, but in retrospect, I don't believe it was the best course of action. Nineteen years into parenting, I have reached new conclusions, and I apply new methods. I don't know if it's an increase in wisdom due to trial and error, or if this most recent child is just easier than the others, but I've found that when explanation fails, time-out works wonders. I absolutely do not believe in spanking her, unless in an extreme situation, where she's endangering herself, or being out-of-control defiant. In her almost three years, I can count on one hand the times I felt that course of action was warranted.
This is why it surprised me yesterday when she spanked her baby doll. She carried the doll rather roughly into the kitchen, where I was working, and said "This baby knocked down my juice!" She proceeded to turn the dolly over and give several pretty firm whacks to her little stuffed backside.
I said "Wow! Don't you think maybe you could just put her in time out?"
She nodded grimly. "Oh, yeah, I'm gonna put her in time out, too!"
She stalked off, sat the doll in her armchair, and came back into the kitchen. After a few minutes, she said, "Mommy, I put that baby in time out!"
I said, "I know you did. Don't you want to go and get her out and tell her you still love her?"
She shook her head, still angry. "No, I cwan NOT do that."
(Small has a weird habit of sticking "w" into certain words, and "ch" on the end of others.)
I said "Don't you want to go check on her, though? Maybe she's sorry."
She replied, a little sadly, "No, she not sorry. She VERY naughty."
Harsh! I didn't know whether to laugh or be disturbed. I will definitely be paying attention to the severity of the time-outs I administer, though.
That dolly sat in time-out ALL night. Such a naughty doll.