I've been working with my oldest, working with her math. She seems to be enjoying it, but that's not what I want to talk about.
My youngest yesterday was having a bad moment and beginning to through a tantrum. Well, instead of letting her explode and me yelling at her (she's only 3) I did something that I learned in a Parenting Class. I put her in Time Out. I know what you're probably thinking "he's just punishing her". Well no. In my Parenting Class They taught, and I'm using it to "stop a behavior".
I didn't just tell her to go sit in the corner. She was already beginning to cry and flop on the ground, so I told her she needed to sit in Time Out for a couple of minutes. She didn't respond, except to cry more, so I gently picked her up and gave her a hug, which almost completely calmed her down right then, and then carried her to the hall where she was going to sit and placed her in the chair. I then spoke to her for a couple of minutes to let her know why she was sitting there.
Here is where I took another teaching moment. She kept looking at her feet to begin with, so I lifted her head with my finger and made sure that she looked me in the eye the whole time. I've been learning (And vaguely remember as a kid myself) that if you don't look at the parent talking, it doesn't really count.
Also, I am reminded of something that happened to me in the Army. I was in school working on getting promoted, and the next day I was required to lead the physical fitness training. Now, I had been leading things for years before this, but in school, you are graded on your performance, so I wanted to get it right. So, I practiced my commands by saying them to myself in the mirror. Let me tell you, that is the single most difficult task I have ever done. You try it. Look yourself right in the eye and say one full memorized sentence without blinking, turning away, glancing down, or anything else.
It's hard to maintain eye contact with yourself. But I figure, if I can teach my kids to do it now, so that it is a natural, normal thing for them, they will have a leg up in the world, where eye contact gives you credibility and stature.
As a survival technique I can only see it as a plus, when in an emergency, you are making constant eye contact with EMTs, Firemen or other emergency personnel, or claims adjusters for that matter. People tend to pay more attention, and take you more seriously when you look them in the eye.
Anyway, back to my daughter. After two minutes she had completely calmed down, so I looked her in the eye and told her it was OK to come back over to the rest of us. Then I gave her a big hug and reiterated why she was on time out to beginning with "because she was having a tantrum, and not co operating". That's something I do with both kids if they have to be corrected. I tell them why at the beginning, so that they should think about it while on time out, then after it's over, I review why they were there in case they forgot (they are only 3 and 5) Then I try to give them an alternate to the behavior I'm trying to stop.