Declan is in a big throwing stage. I think it's fueled by his love of balls but we certainly think it's a problem- i.e. taking a plastic maraca in the back of the head (true story). Last Friday my in-laws, mom and a stranger at the camera store (after observing Declan throwing all items contained in my wallet) told me about an article published in that morning's paper. Here's the content of it:

Living with Children
John Rosemond


Q:       Our son is a month from being two. We’re concerned about his throwing. During a recent dinner out, he threw a fork that whizzed by a lady’s head just missing her eye. I took a building block to the lip the other day and Grandma got a metal car on the forehead. The articles I’ve read just say throwing is a way of exploring cause/effect relationships. We’ve tried consistent timeouts, redirecting, ignoring, and getting down to his level and telling him “No!” His throwing just keeps getting worse. He starts school in August and I’m anticipating a lot of incident reports. Any suggestions?

A: I first have to ask why otherwise intelligent people would go into a restaurant with a not quite two-year-old who has a habit of throwing things at people? Would you take a dog that bites people to a park and let it off the leash? Can you say “common sense?”
I should not need to tell you that until the aerial assaults stop, you need, for the public good, to keep your son out of places where he can pick up solid objects and wing them at unsuspecting strangers. In that event, the cause/effect just might be the following: injury/lawyers. (To be perfectly clear, I don’t think toddlers should be allowed in restaurants that have wait staffs (meaning all but the fast food sort) even if they don’t throw things.)
Yes, two-year-olds are known for throwing things. And yes, throwing is a way of exploring cause and effect, but the most immediate and fascinating effect in this case is that everyone gets upset. That’s the payoff.
You tell me you’ve tried “consistent time outs,” but then you tell me you’ve also tried several other consequences, including ignoring. What, pray tell, is consistent about that? And even if you did use time out consistently it probably wouldn’t stop the throwing. Time out (a few minutes in a chair) is the weakest disciplinary consequence ever invented. It works with kids who are already well-behaved. Furthermore, time out does not work when the misbehavior in question is above 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, and throwing things at people is at least an 8, regardless of the thrower’s age.
When he throws something, or even acts like he’s thinking about throwing something, you need to put him in his room and gate him in there for at least fifteen minutes—thirty minutes is not too long for a child this age. If he’s too strong for a gate, then cut the door in half, re-hang it, and turn the knob around so it can be locked from the outside. If neither of you is skilled enough with tools to do that, then contribute to some handyman’s standard of living.
When you put him in his room, you must do so without the slightest show of emotion, as if you’re just following a formula. You needn’t even say “No!” He’s a smart kid, I’ll wager. He’ll get the message. If he screams for the entire fifteen minutes, so be it. The experience will not scar him, I assure you. It will, however, make an impression, however slowly.
When his time is up, just let him out. Don’t lecture him or try to make him confess/apologize. Just let him out and go your merry way, prepared to do the same thing the next time an incident occurs. Consistently done, I predict this will cure his throwing in no more than six weeks. Even then, no restaurants for another two years. Okay?

I'm going to hold back the majority of my respond to this advice but I will say that I agree throwing stuff is a problem. I do not agree that a 2 year old should be put in their room for 15-30 minutes for disciplining purposes ever. I want Declan's room to be his safe haven. I think 15-30 minutes is far too long for a time out. John Rose.mond is a supposed expert so I miss how he thinks a 2 year old even remembers what they're being punished for after 5 minutes. 

Plus I  think he's snappy and just plain rude. Some 2 year olds can eat out at a nicer-than-fast-food restaurant just fine. That's not my son, but he's an extra special dose of sky high energy. 

So, thanks but no thanks, John. I'll be trying some other tactics. Any mamas out there with a less drastic approach to addressing the 2 year old thrower?


b harms said...

my mom used to duct tape whatever I was throwing, straight to the palm of my hand. worked like a charm.

just kidding.

but seriously.... i totally think that would work.

just kidding.

Patti said...

Wow, that response was really harsh. The whole time I was reading, I was thinking "Is this supposed to be funny? Because it's really kind of disturbing."

I don't have any advice, though. Jeb is an abnormally good listener. I really lucked out in that regard, but he still doesn't sleep all night, so I guess you win some you lose some ;)

Christy said...

We are in the same place with Andrew, but when he throws isn't aiming at people. But that article? Wow, pretty harsh, and I totally agree with your assessment.

As for tactics, we don't have anything great. We don't raise our voices or show lots of emotion. We take away whatever he threw and make him sit in time out for 2 minutes. If we catch him about ready to throw something we remind him that a time out is in his future. Sometimes that stops him, sometimes not and he heads straight to time out.

I'm open to suggestions too!

Aaron and Angie said...

Holy Toledo was that a crazy article. Like Patti, I was waiting for the "just kidding" at the end. I am lucky that as of right now, neither of my girls are throwers. BUT, together, they can be a handful. I just went to a sit down place today with them (and my mom to help) and they were excellent! People even came in AFTER us and sat NEXT to us! What a compliment! The so-called expert cannot have kids himself. He actually sounds a bit like my former-infertile-angry self. Hmmm... And the 15-30 mins is a bit crazy to me. I could get maybe 5? And duct tape sounds fun too! Honestly though, I think it's a phase that he'll just have to outgrow. Both my nephews went through it too. Perhaps a boy thing? I know it won't be a popular opinion but like biting... ever thought of tossing something back his direction? Of course NOT forcefully but enough to show him the outcome? Not sure it'd help, or that it'd even be a good idea... anyway, good luck!

Jess said...

Holy flipping cow!! 15-30m for a not -yet-2yo? Nice. And toddlers shouldn't be allowed in restaurants that aren't fast food??? WTH? My kids have been eating in restaurants, including some very NICE ONES on vacations since they were born. Yes, I have eaten a meal or 16 in the car with one of them, esp since Ethan has sensory issues that until we found out the cause, meant we left with him A LOT....but that's parenting! How else will they learn to behave in a setting like that? Of course it's abused too often...parents need to leave with a rowdy child, and...I also think that you should be able to keep FORKS away from a not-yet-2yo too....he doesn't need them really, give him a spoon, and at least it isn't too dangerous. Also, they could ask for a booth, etc. I want to know when she thinks a child SHOULD be allowed in a restaurant, and how she thinks a 5yo with no experience will know to keep calm and quiet?

Shall they be disallowed in CHURCHES too? Sheesh.

Oh and hey! The insurance agent and has-been-through-a-homestudy mom in me both say that CUTTING A DOOR IN HALF sounds like a pretty unsafe situation if there ever was a fire in the home.

BecMama said...

So part of me agrees with all of you that the response may have been a bit harsh. But another part of me is saying wow, that could be a good thing to try. We are at a tough stage with Evan being totally defiant in regards to everything. All the forms of discipline we've tried aren't working. And I think a 2 year old understands a lot more than people give credit too. They do remember!
If I have any advice to share it would be to use warnings once and then time out. Remind of the consequence if it looks like it will happen again. Then take toys away. Put it all out of reach and there will be nothing fun to throw. For Evan it is more devastating to have the object taken away and his behavior changes. Those are my thoughts. It's just a stage...remember that...they are just stages and they are normal!

Anonymous said...

Holy Moses, that article is CRAZY. I totally agree with you that 15-30 minutes is about 13-28 minutes too long for a 2 year old to be in time out, and I definitely agree that the place we expect them to sleep through the night shouldn't be turned into a punishment chamber.

As for the throwing, all I can do is say what we do with Evie, but she is only throwing occasionally (so far, that is). We tell her the toy she threw is in time out and we put it somewhere in view but out of her reach. If she asks to play with it, we remind her that it's in time out because she threw it. After an appropriate period of time (a couple of days perhaps at this age, maybe longer when she's older) the toy gets to come back out into circulation once more. So far this is working, but she's not Declan's age yet! :) Plus, you can't do that with your wallet. If Evie did that I'd say "No! That's Mommy's wallet. If you want to throw something, let's go home and throw a ball in the back yard."

kimbosue said...

Miles is starting to throw things at 15 months.

This article? Holy mother of extreme conditions! Does John have kids? A little radical if you ask me...

Kris said...

Seriously? An expert in ignorance sounds about where the line of expertise is drawn to me. My son is two and we eat in a nice restaurant about once a week, and I've had to remove him for disruptive behavior about 3 times in his whole life. How are they ever to learn how to behave in such a place if they never go? Moron. I want to throw sharp objects at HIM!

Simply Complex said...

Agreed, it does sound harsh, but I have read two of his books. The latest one is "Making the 'Terrible' Twos Terrific!" and though he is definitely a no nonsense type of guy, his advice is really practical and makes a lot of sense. I think for the most part, you could lighten up some of the consequences he suggests a bit and still be effective, but he does make a lot of sense. At least to me and my husband. I think that if you read more of him and what he has to say, you might get a couple of ideas. Plus, his writing style, for me, is hilarious. You get hints of it in the article you reprinted, but his sense of humor is super dry- I think he is really funny.

Good luck with whatever discipline techniques you choose for little Decs!

TXMom2B said...

Andrew is in a hitting-throwing-spitting-biting stage. Ouch!

I actually have been lucky in that a two-minute time out is helpful. It doesn't mean that he won't do it again, but it usually calms him down for awhile. There have been many times when I've said, "Andrew, if you ____ again, I will put you in time out" and he settles down. There have also been many times when I say the same thing and he laughs maniacally at me.

Still, though, I've come to expect some of this insane behavior and my goal right now is to not lose my cool. I know he wants a reaction and, darn it, he gets one too often. So is lowering you standards a solution? Just kidding:-) What I'm trying to say is that I have no real advice, LOL.

I actually did laugh at this article. It is a joke, right?