Discipline Problem

July 18, 2008

I need some advice from any of you with superior parenting skills…or just creative parenting skills.  I’m about to lose it with PJ and some of his naptime activities.  He’s always been good about going to bed readily when it’s time; he’s eager about it even.  He doesn’t necessarily fall asleep right away, but he doesn’t fight us about bedtime, so we don’t fight him about playing for a few minutes before crashing.

Our problem is that lately he has decided it is fun to play with his sheets by taking them all the way off the bed.  Then he doesn’t want to sleep on his bare mattress, so he ends up sleeping on the floor.  It’s sad, but I don’t mind the floor sleeping nearly as much as having to remake his bed twice a day every day.

I have explained to him over and over again that stripping his bed is unacceptable (although with a more 2-year-old vocabulary).  M and I agreed that an appropriate punishment would be to make him sleep with one less comfort object each time he stripped his bed.  The first time he left the sheets on for a whole naptime or night, though, he would get them all back.  PJ has noticed his stuffed animals disappearing and even helped us move them to the other room.  But it hasn’t made a difference.  Last night he slept with nothing but his pillow and sheets.  And he stripped his bed anyway.

I guess that means he loses his pillow for naptime today.  When he strips his bed this afternoon, I guess I start taking away the sheets.  When he’s forced to sleep on nothing but bare mattress with no toys, maybe then he’ll understand what we’re telling him.

I just feel so mean to think of that prospect.  I felt mean enough taking away his dinosaur and blankies, his main comfort objects.  I just have no other idea of how to handle the situation.  A simple lecture sure isn’t going to do the job this time.  Timeout isn’t going to work because he won’t connect it to the offense with the punishment being so unrelated and so delayed.

Oh, and the other problem is that he likes to steal BabyN’s blankie out of his crib, and this morning I found him ripping the bumper out of it too.  This problem will take care of itself, though, when we lower BabyN’s crib this weekend.  We think it’s finally time for that.  I’m just hoping that PJ won’t figure out a way to steal stuff from BabyN’s crib through the slats.  I wouldn’t put it past him.

So what ideas do you have for me?  Can you think of a way to prevent this being a problem in the first place?  Or is there an alternative punishment I’m not thinking about?  Or have I just picked the wrong battle this time?