It’s Wednesday again! Hi Friends 🙂
One of the most important things I’ve read about disciplining children, that I sadly needed to hear was the importance of doing so out of love, not vengeance. #ireallydolovemychild #really
There were so many times when he first started walking and climbing that he would wait until I turned my back, and then teleport (seriously, I’m convinced that rocket fuel was sloshing around inside those chubby little legs of his) to the exact place he wasn’t allowed to be, touching the one thing in that room he was not allowed to touch. When I think about how I took that as a personal offence, my heart breaks a little.
He was just being a kid. Dare I say, a boy? Must.touch.everything.
The fact of the matter is, I was at home with him all day, er’ day. And I didn’t want to be. #didshejustsaythat? Around the time he hit 1½ years I realized that I loved him dearly, but really didn’t enjoy spending time with him anymore. It was exhausting. I was spent, and angry with him.
Any given 2 minute block of time looked something like this:
SELF: sit down
SON: runs to the phone to make “a call”
SELF: demand that he put the phone back
SELF: whisper, “Son, yelling is entirely unnecessary”
SON: yells louder
SELF: get up, unplug said phone and hang it high on the wall – then pat self on back for clever solution
SON: empties an entire box of Kleenex, draws on wall and throws my wallet in the jug of water while I accomplish the above
SELF: sad, very sad.
And the sadness grew as the day progressed and there was rarely a moment to sit down, laugh with him, accomplish something (PhD in progress anyone?!) or pee. Truth.
The Way we Time Out
After trying a variety of disjointed, loosely enforced strategies in an attempt to wrangle his wiles the one that worked for us has been to time him out. Quickly. Matter-of-factly. And seriously.
When he does something dangerous, or against one of the rules of our home, he is informed:
- That it is not allowed to
- Of the consequences should he attempt it again
When he almost inevitably goes at it again, I calmly say something like this to him:
“Son, you know you are not allowed to [glue daddy’s phone to the toilet] – since you made the decision to do it again, you have to have a time-out”
And then he has to sit down right where he is, clasp his hands together (to prevent further trouble) and we count. Depending on the severity of the crime it’s anywhere between 10 seconds and 75 seconds (the very occasional 200 has also made an appearance). I then lead him in apologizing for whatever it is he did, offer my forgiveness, remind him how much I love him and then smooch those little cheeks.
Another little perk of this strategy is just how portable and discreet it is. When we’re out anywhere (even in silent places like Mass) if he does something inappropriate he can be timed out, and no one is the wiser.
The key to disciplining children is consistency. At first that meant there was still very little sitting in my life, and much more jumping up to time him out for everything he had previously gotten away with. Within just about a week of consistent consequences, I noticed a huge change. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not ya’ll.
My son is a much more obedient, gentle, joy to be around for me again.
He has had his share of timeouts. Maybe a few other kid’s shares as well. AND, as a result, he has learned to count. We’re at 40 so far…. Maybe my time outs aren’t quite long enough….