I am hoping it is just my altered sense of emotions and perception (32 weeks pregnant) but I feel like our toddler (38 months) is in a new phase where he is actively seeking (pushing for) negative attention.
Not that he has ever been a complicit sort of child to begin with (ADHD, often difficult to engage in new activities, sociable - but for much shorter spurts than some of the other children he plays with, struggles with transitions despite "count-downs"), but I perceive that lately when he is doing something really wrong (hitting or hurting things or people, inappropriate touch, etc.) , that our responses that were working well enough before (not great, but to a level we could live with), aren't working at all. Sometimes now he is even getting into the habit of giving what I would label a genunie and obviously attention-seeking "shit-eating" grin as he is doing exactly the opposite of what he is being directed to do.
Again, I'm pregnant and he's a headstrong and super-active toddler, but what are some other things I can try to avoid us getting into a rut of giving him negative attention to poor behaviors? I see my husband getting into this rut also and I think that tells me our patience is getting stretched too thin and something needs to change.
We do currently try:
- Count-down warnings to let him know an activity is coming to an end, that we are about to change locations, bedtime routine is starting, etc. ( usually 3 notices over a 10 minute interval)
- We do take the 3-warning approach to most inappropriate behaviors before applying a time-out or taking a toy/object out of the scene
- Since his expressive language has been intermitent ( he frequently abandons language that he has used well previously), we do try to patiently put requests from him or from us into slow words ... so I can't say we've been taking the caveman approach to parental guidance language lately - that could be an area for improvement.
- We make time for a lot of physical activity outdoors most days and include him in our work as much as possible to ward off boredom (sometimes even to the sacrifice of including him in quiet activities he still seems to not have the maturity for)
Any thoughts that come to mind will be of interest. Thanks!