In this episode, I weigh in on a few scenarios involving extreme defiance like hitting, kicking, spitting and what to do instead of spanking, time out or sticker charts.
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My name is Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast at Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them. You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 1 71. Hi guys, I have more scenarios. We’ll see how many I get through. We’ve been kind of scrolling around all over the internet and we’ve just been looking for scenarios posted by parents of strong-willed kids. And that’s sort of what I’m focused on speaking to, and yeah, just seeing how you guys kind of liked this format.
So that’s what I’m doing this week. Okay. So here’s a good one. Here’s here’s a good one. It says please no judgmental comments. I just need some new strategies to handle my almost four year old. He has tantrums and meltdowns at least a dozen times a day over literally nothing. I give them options. Chances limits timeouts. Nothing helps, but spanking. I don’t spank him hard just to SWAT on the butt, but I really hate doing it and would like to find something else that’ll work so I can stop the spanking. He’ll kick me spit at me, scratch me screaming into my face. If he’s not getting his way and Time Out, does nothing tanking weighs toys does nothing talking about it does nothing.
Otherwise he’s super clean to me and is on top of me constantly telling me how much he loves me hugging and kissing me all day long. We have an evaluation appointment with our neuropsychologist. I need some help ASAP. He is super sensitive to everything. So if you’ve been listening this month, you heard, you heard that I made a video series. That’s a five-part video series called setting limits without spanking time out or sticker charts. And I really wish I could reach out to this mom and say, please, here, watch this.
And you’ll see exactly why none of these things are working because she’s not getting to the root of the behalf of the problem. And she knows she’s got a highly sensitive, well, she says he’s super sensitive to everything. So she’s got a kid who has a highly sensitive, nervous system, which those of you who’ve been listening to the podcast for a long time. You know, I believe in Elaine Aron, a R O N her theory of highly sensitive people, 20% of the population are more sensitive, have more sensitivity and have a more sensitive, nervous system.
So a lot of times smells are smelly or noises are louder. The world is overstimulating for, you know, little kids, the way the human brain develops. Like the emotional brain is the most developed part of your brain when you are three and almost four. That’s why little kids are prone to meltdowns because they literally live in their emotional brain. That’s why it seems like nothing sets them up, but something sets them off and little kids who are highly sensitive, who are in this 20%, even more so, so like just going to preschool, can, you know, they’re taking it all into such a heightened degree and being with all the other kids that a lot of times when they come home, they’re just, I mean, it’s like they’re exhausted, highly sensitive kids.
Most, I think the biggest mistake people make with highly sensitive kids under the age of five is they, they, they accidentally misread when a child is going through that phase at like two and a half or three where it seems like they’re dropping their nap, but really it’s just that they’re going through a developmental stage. You know, it’s kind of like when babies, you, when you’re, when you have a baby that’s learning to crawl and sometimes you go into their room and they’re like literally asleep and they’re up rocking on both on, on their hands and knees, but they’re not awake. And it’s because they’re developing so rapidly, they’re trying to work something out.
So between two and a half and three, there’s a lot happening in terms of human development. And like, if that’s the age where children sort of realize that they’re their own being, they’re not necessarily an appendage of mom anymore. And so that’s when they start to challenge a lot of things and, and we use two positive choices because we want to give them all of these sort of proactive outlets to, to feel like they have a choice. Like, you know, because if they don’t have those proactive outlets a lot, they very quickly fall into negative attention patterns because they’re, they’re, it’s, they’re sort of always challenging us.
And it’s normal. Like it’s part of being a developing human. The same thing happens in the human brain during our adolescence. So a lot of times, if you all have heard the term three majors, because three-year-olds and teenagers have, it’s a very similar stage of development that’s going on, like for three-year-olds they’re two and a half and three-year-olds, they’re learning, oh, I’m my own person. I can say no. Right. I can refuse to do what the people are telling me. And at 13 or 14 or 15, there it’s during adolescents, they’re going from childhood to adulthood eventually.
And that is a pruning away time. And that’s why teenagers, it’s sort of their job to challenge us because they’re, they, they realize they don’t have to do everything we say anymore. They kind of have a say in the matter, maybe they’re even as big as we are. And so when we’re telling them, you know, what we think they should be doing, or what we believe are the kind of people we are, they’re like, Hmm, I know I’m not right, because that is the job of the human during adolescents, because eventually that human is going to grow into adulthood and have to spread their wings and fly and be on their own. So they’re trying to, they’re trying to like figure out who they are.
It’s, they’re supposed to be challenging and, and kind of exerting their independence. And unfortunately, most of the time the adults just, you know, we don’t know, we don’t know that they’re doing this. We don’t know that this is totally normal and we don’t know how to handle it. And it makes us feel out of control. And then we start power struggling with them instead of just engaging with them and knowing how to support them the right way. So, so this four-year-old, I have a feeling that this four year old probably went through that stage a year ago, almost four year old. And now they’re a year into this negative attention seeking pattern. And the mom hasn’t known how to do it any differently than trying to overpower him, shut the behavior down, show him who his boss without actually getting to the root of what’s going on for him.
Cause quite often what’s going on is a two and a half or three year old. Who’s going through this crazy stage of development. And they see, and they’re waking up from their nap because their brain is trying to work so much out. What they really need is to make sure that the adult sticks with continuing to give them their nap and making sure that their body gets as much rest as it needs because they’re going through. So, you know, it’s why teenagers need to sleep so much. So much rejuvenation happens during sleep. That, that, that when you’re in these specific times, you really need that extra sleep.
And we miss the mark and we let the child give up the nap. And then we just have a sleep deprived, cranky child. And we have a highly sensitive sleep deprived, cranky child. They feel like they’re in fight or flight a lot. And so this child is doing all the things that you would do if you were a scared animal under attack, you know, spitting, scratching, screaming, kicking, right? Like this child is in a state of survival because their nervous system is probably like all the time, just wrong and they feel terrible.
And then, you know, who do they love the most in the world? He loves mom. So the moments where he’s not in fight or flight, like he wants to be nurtured. He wants to be loved. So he’s all over her, all over her begging for that, like, please fill my love cup, please fill my love cup. And so it’s almost like this Jekyll and Hyde situation. It’s very confusing for the parent. If you don’t understand what’s going on, but what for sure just puts the child into more of a state of fight or flight is hitting them, right? Taking away their freedoms, sticking them in Time Out. You will sit here and think about what you’ve done.
And the child’s like, huh? You know, I, I’m a scared animal in fight or flight. Nobody’s getting to the root of what’s really going on. My hunch is, is that this child is chronically sleep deprived. My hunch is, is that this child has a highly sensitive, nervous system and less is more sometimes with highly sensitive kids. They go to preschool and you know, at the end of the day, like staying for lunch, it’s just like, it’s like too much and too long of a day, sometimes you got to pick them up right before lunch, give them lunch at home where it’s quiet. Less is more. They’re not going to be a little kid living in their emotional brain forever.
Especially if you give, if you meet them where they need to be met, they will grow. They will develop. They will, they will, you know, their, their thinking brain will come more online. They’ll live less in their emotional brain, more in their thinking brain. And they’ll feel properly nurtured. They’ll feel bonded and connected to you. And they’re not gonna always be this type of person, but you got to disrupt this pattern. Now I doubt this. Mom will disrupt this pattern because she’s probably, she’s already going to a neuropsychologist most likely. And I’m not saying it’s not a good idea to get your child evaluated because for all we know this child could be somewhere on the autism spectrum or, you know, it could be, could have something going on medically.
So you do sort of want to rule out what’s going on medically. But what happens, I think quite often is this child ends up maybe going to a play therapist or behavioral therapist. And, and it might be a good environment for one hour a week, but what’s happening the other hours of the week. However many hours during in a, I don’t even know what’s happening in the other hours, 400 and whatever hours in a week. You know, if mom’s not learning a better, you know, a better skillset to help her child to truly see his perspective, to understand number one, first and foremost, we’ve got to tackle sleep.
We’ve got to get child the sleep that his body needs. Number two, what’s going on with his fuel, like basic needs have to be assessed proactive, proactive pet time. What I call pet time, present, engaged time, connecting time. You know, he sounds like he’s very bonded to mom, help having him be a little helper in the house, giving him opportunities to feel a sense of accomplishment and feeling like a valuable team member, family member, you know, is she really helping him to feel safe and grounded in the world so he can stop feeling like he’s in a constant state of fight or flight.
She doesn’t know what to do. So what I would say to this mom is you start with basic needs. It’s where we start everyone and sign up for a parenting class, sign up for a parenting program back. I have a, I mean, we just made all of our programs available. Sorry, I have a sleeping. If you’re watching this and you hear what they’re doing. Oh, oh, oh, oh, my new puppy is on my lap ever report. Hi, hi Hazel. Hazel’s with me. You know, we have a new, like basically we have made all of our programs available, like as a self study model.
And then we we’ve made our app available and you can have access to all of our programs, all of our resources, everything that we make available to our private members that spend $2,000 to work with us. We’ve made all of it available as well as a private podcast, which is a lot of me doing a live coaching on every topic under the sun for $49 a month. And the first week is free. So if you want to chat, I wish this mom, I could talk to her and say, please, please, please sign up for this.
And you’ll learn all the tools that you need to help your highly sensitive child stop feeling like he has to live in a state of fight or flight because these kids are meant to do amazing things in the world, but they can’t feel like they’re in a state of survival, right? To be able to show up as their best selves, they have to feel calm and safe and grounded in the world. Think it is Mastermind, Parenting dot com forward slash mini masters. M I N I M a S T E R S. And that’s where you can sign up and you can click on the pink, sign up button anywhere on that page.
You get all the material, the private podcast, and, and you’ll learn my nice wings for solving any problem. And I see E which is my acronym. We take you through that program. We give you all the homework assignments that we work with. People on. You can do it all as a self study, 49 bucks a month. The first week is free. I’m super excited to make this available because I hope that moms like this who are like, I, I, you know, I don’t want to be spanking, but I don’t know what else to do. I’m like, okay, Rome, wasn’t built in a day. Like just like me. You’re going to have to take the time to recondition your brain and learn new tools and learn new communication methods and learn how to set boundaries, to help your kids feel calmer and safer and more grounded and develop the skillset that they need to, you know, to tell you I’m so mad right now.
I’m so frustrated. I didn’t like it when, right. And for you to also be like, Hey, your body needs rest. When you behave in these ways, then just know you’re in your bed for an hour after lunch and 30 minutes earlier tonight, period. End of story. Like to help you develop the skills to do those things, if you weren’t raised with Mastermind, Parenting, or positive parenting or conscious parenting, you’re going to have to take the time to learn the tools. So, yeah. So go take my program.
It’s awesome. We’re $9 a month. Minimasters okay. Let me go to another scenario. I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna grab one. And here it is. A lot of these are about spanking. A lot of them are about spanking. Here’s another one for about a four year old. See a lot’s happening with four year olds because I’m telling you at two and a half or three, that’s when they start to challenge us because they’re supposed to as developing humans. And when we try to control and overpower them, a negative pattern is created.
And then by four you’re a year into this negative pattern and it starts to feel really out of control. And everyone’s beaten down. She says, one of my strong-willed children is going to be the death of me. She’s almost four. And at a stage where she doesn’t care what I say at all, if you keep doing that, I’m going to spank you. I’ll do what I want. I try not to spank unless necessary, but timeout is pointless. She doesn’t care if she turned it into a game, because guess what four year olds do when something is scary, they turn it into a game. That’s why so often like a child that will run away from you or won’t hold your hand in your life and you get really mad and scared, and then they run away from you.
They dart away from you. All of a sudden, it just became a game of chase because the child brain is designed to, to, to be magical thinking, to live in the world of imaginary play. They’re not at a place where they’re able to make sense of, of a lot of scary situations in the world. Maybe you think about it sort of evolutionary. You know, when, when we were cave people, the little teeny, tiny cave people, they were not safe from predators, unless there was a big cave person around to keep them safe because they don’t have the ability to think everything through.
And they’re not, you know, because they live in the present moment. A lot of times, like if it’s something super scary for them, what they do is they go in their brain sort of like in a spaceship somewhere else. And they create their own reality. Like that is part of being a human because they don’t have the capacity to make sense of really scary things. And that’s why a lot of people who are like, I have no memories from my childhood. It really means that you did a lot of that. There was probably some trauma or scary situations or a parent that overpowered you a lot, the person you love, you know, it’s very confusing for kids. When the person you love the most is now the one hurting you and hitting you and shaming you and screaming at you.
It’s very scary for a kid. So what kids naturally do, what their sort of coping strategy is is they take their brain up in a spaceship and they go somewhere else into the world of imagination and they create their own reality. So anytime something is scary, they naturally do that. And, and so when we’re yelling at them or, you know, and they don’t even realize what they’ve done wrong, and then they run away from us and it seems like they’re defying us really. They’re just, that’s just their coping strategy for something that feels scary. They turn it into a game. So sitting in Time Out and taking away their freedom, she’s turning it into a game because it feels terrible, right?
To feel imprisoned. It actually goes against what we crave as humans. We all crave freedom. So when we use Time Out, instead of putting the energy on helping our child to develop the skills they needed to solve the problem that put them in Time Out. So maybe they got into Time Out because they hit their sibling. Or maybe they got into Time Out because they made a giant mess and refuse to clean it up. Right? And so we put them in Time Out, cause we want to teach them that that behavior was not okay, but not really teaching them, Hey, what was going on before? You know, you have having so much fun and you, you know, dumped all this stuff all over the floor, you were just having fun.
You didn’t realize it was going to make a big mess that now we have to clean up and ruined some things you had, you, you didn’t realize you got carried away and your child at that point probably say, yeah, you’re like, and now, you know, so what are we going to do about it? Now, your child might look at you and say, should we clean it up now? You know, you won’t do it next time. Yeah. I know who you are. I know you don’t, you don’t want it. You, you, you know, I know that you’re an amazing sister and daughter and person in this family. I know you don’t want this family not to run smoothly. You just got carried away. So now, you know, let’s get busy cleaning it up.
So we focus our energy on you. We’re just having fun. Now we’re going to clean it up. And what happens next time you you’re in the mood to make a big mess. How can we make a big mess in a way that does follow the rules that doesn’t create? You know, ruin the floor, make a whole big hassle for us to have to clean up. Where could we go and make a big mess? What can we do? We could do spotter paints. We could do a huge Lego thing in the playroom. There’s lots of areas that you’re totally allowed to go and make a whole big mess. Just not in the kitchen with all of the, our baking goods, right? Cause now we’re at a flower and we’re not going to be able to make cookies.
Cause it’s all over the floor, but we could use sand outside and the colored sand, and we could do this, you know? And so you give them the proper outlets for it, but you talk about it and you problem solve and you get to the root of it. If we’re just slapping spankings and timeouts on kids, we’re never actually having these productive conversations. We’re never actually getting to the root of what was really going on. What need was the child trying to have met? And you know, this mom, who’s four year old, doesn’t want to do anything.
And then she overpowers them and spanks him to get him to do things. She doesn’t even realize that she’s she’s teaching this child. But the only way you can get people to do things is by, you know, overpowering them or hurting them or being aggressive with them. I mean, how is that going to benefit the child moving forward? What does that actually teaching the child? Or maybe she’s teaching the child. I’m not on your team. If you’re trying to figure something out, don’t turn to me. Don’t ask me for help.
Don’t think I’m here to listen. I’m just here to admonish you and to tell you all the ways that you’re doing it wrong without actually giving you useful information on, you know, what needs, you know, finding out what the need was. You were trying to have met and then giving you useful information on how to meet that need in an appropriate way. I’m not giving you any useful information. So what is this child going to learn? I’m in this all alone. I can’t turn to my parents. If I’m struggling with something, they’re not going to give me helpful suggestions. They’re just going to admonish me and tell me I did it wrong and berate me.
So then do you think that when you have a 15 year old, who’s in a compromising situation with friends and there’s drugs and alcohol involved and they got themselves into a sticky situation, see if they’re calling you to help them out of that sticky situation, you think they’re turning to you as their soft place to land? No, because since there were three or four years old, you’ve never been on their side and on their team, you’ve just been admonishing them and admonishing them without ever giving them the benefit of the doubt and giving them useful information. And I know I can seem pretty harsh about this, but I kind of feel like it’s time to get a little bit harsher and to challenge these old school ways of doing things.
And I think many of us are like, okay, I remember, and I don’t want to do it that way, but how do I do it differently? And you know, contrary to what people think, if you weren’t conditioned with this way of doing things, this very civilized humane way of raising kids and creating a connected family and letting kids know you’re not alone, I’ve got you. And I’m here for you. And I do have a fully developed brain cause I’m a grown up. And when you’re stuck in your emotional brain or whatever stages of development you’re at, I’ll be here with you and I’ll lend you mind.
I’m on your side when you weren’t raised with that. Yeah. You got to take the time to learn how to do that, especially when you’re in the heat of the moment. Okay. So sugarcoating and acting like you can just learn like a monkey trick or do you use the 1, 2, 3 magic thing? Like, no, that’s not really, you know, sometimes that little things like that can help in terms of boundaries. You know, when you’re holding kids accountable and you’re giving them boundaries and letting them know certain behavior behaviors are okay and not okay. But most of your energy has to do with getting to the root of why they did that thing in the first place.
What need, where they try to have met, how was your child wired? What is their perspective? And you are on their side and you’re going to be the grounded grownup who helps them. Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household. I want you to go to my website and check out Mastermind, Parenting dot com. We have three beginning programs, and if you need some accountability and more support, then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you.
And as always, we’re on all the social channels under Mastermind Parenting on Instagram, it’s Mastermind, underscore parenting. And you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives, where I give you teaching and coaching. And I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong-willed kids so that they can feel better because when they feel better, they do better. And I love, love, love, getting to know you guys. So thanks for listening. If you liked this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review super, super appreciative.