blankie bribery

(obviously not my kid...pic from aden + anais)

Like I mentioned the other with an almost 3 year old has been a little rough and tough lately. There have been a lot of tantrums, a lot of time outs, and a lot of me pulling my hair out. I have been at such a loss. How do I keep this wild child under control? We have tried time outs, we have tried positive reinforcements...they don't seem to work. The only way I can get him to do something that he doesn't want to do is bribe him (aka threaten). It works great when his best buddy is coming over..."So and so's not coming over until you do such and such!" But if his best buddy isn't coming over, I have to bribe (ahem...threaten) him with his other best buddy...

his blankie.

He can't imagine life without that thing, and all I have to say is, "Shall I go put blankie in the goodwill bag right now?" and he is finally submissive.

It works like a charm. I finally figured out how to calm the tantrums...but why do I still feel so terrible? Well, I've done a lot of praying for patience lately and I think I figured a couple things out.

1. The tantrums all started around the time we started potty training. He was trained going #1 in 3 days, but #2 has been a little more difficult for him. He'll do his duty in the potty about half the time. He can even go by himself, but only on his own terms. At first, I was always positive, but knowing that he could go in the potty, yet still going in his pants half the time got really frustrating really fast. I realized that I haven't been very positive about it lately. It's been more like, "Are you serious? Didn't we just talk about where the poop goes?" Now that I look back at the way I've been talking to him about it, I just feel awful. No wonder he has been acting up. I think this guy just wants a little less criticism, and a little more love.

2. We need some family rules. We can't just threaten to take away blankie for every infraction. First of all, I don't really want to take blankie to the GW. I think I would be just as heart broken as Ande. Second of all, the punishment needs to fit the crime. He needs to be aware of the consequences of certain actions, and why those are the consequences. We need to have, say 5 or so, family rules set in stone. Rules that we talk about with him, explain to him, and make sure he understands. This way, when he breaks a rule, there will be no question what the consequence is, and hopefully he'll understand why he has that consequence. Then maybe he would break the rule less often!

I hope nobody takes offense to any of this, thinking I am trying to be a "know-it-all" about parenting. I am certainly not that. I'm really just talking out loud here, trying to make sense of things for myself. And, what I really hope to take away from it is some advice from any of you! Do you have any good suggestions for taking care of tantrums? Do you have a set of family rules in place? What are they? I'd love to know.

And I also just realized, after reading over this, that you now must think my child is a monster! This is not so...things have been more difficult at times lately, but he is also funny, smart, and sweet. He is tender and is one of the 3 loves of my life! As much as he makes me crazy, he also makes me ridiculously happy!


  1. Having some rules is important. If you are assigning consequences for breaking the rules, you must be consistent in applying them. Otherwise, it won't work.

  2. I have no idea, but it sounds good! I think rules would help so he does become accountable and then you don't have to take his blankie so much! :)

  3. No one should take offence, it's a well known problem. My son little red has always had the naughty step, no it doesn't always work and the spot has had to be found in shops as well. Yes we do bribe when we are tired but time out does work if they know the rules and you are consistent. If something is wrong, including the tantrums then it has to be wrong all the time. There are times where we are rushing to school when we don't have time for a time out so then we say if you don't behave you will have one of your toys taken away till tomorrow. There is always a time limit and we follow through. The other one is if you don't go into school nicely you won't go to the park after school today. The main thing is stick to your guns. We still get the tantrums especially when he is tired but he is learning what is right and wrong and little by little it is working (till the next thing comes along). Stick with it you'll get there!

  4. I didn't read this as you're a know it all... more like, sweet she's 3 years ahead of me, i should take notes.

    Also I never thought your boys are terrible. They're the cutest little boys and my parents always talk about how well behaved your son is.

    As for your plan of attack--sounds pretty smart to me (not having a tantrum age child yet). All I know is when I lived with a family with a 3 year old and they put him in time out for everything it didn't really work, so I think having punishments that fit the crime and are specific is probably a good idea. The other thing I noticed that helps is instead of acknowledging the bad behavior (whining, screaming, yelling, etc), acknowledge the feelings and that they are upset but you can't understand them when they do (blank). I've seen this kind of help kids to breathe, explain their issue, and then you can actually address what's wrong.

    Of course, I've only used/seen that as a babysitter... I'll let you know how it works for me with my own kids... or I'll just read your blog for tips!