Monday, 20 February 2012

Taking Back the Time-Out



Who among us has not been part of the “Time Out” debate? Do time outs really work? At what age do you start giving them? How long should your child stay in time out? The questions are seemingly endless.

Well, I have another one to add to the mix – one that, in my opinion, seriously trumps the rest of them:

What do I have to do to get a time out??

I admit it. I’m not a perfect parent. I’ve yelled at my kid; I’ve served up cheese & crackers for dinner; I’ve played the “Because I said so” card; I’ve let the laundry pile up higher than my son; I’ve let him go over his allotted daily screen time on several occasions….. Let’s face it – I’ve amassed quite a list of “don’ts” that would place me in high judgement from the infamous Parenting Tribunal.

So… can I go to my room now??

As parents, all the books, websites & parenting experts tell us that the best way to respond to misbehaviours by our kids is to send them somewhere to be completely by themselves – in isolation of everyone and everything else – in order to calm down and “think about what they’ve done”.

While I’m sure that counts as “dreaded punishment” to many mini-mischief-makers, to me it sounds like pure nirvana. Peace & quiet. No one to answer to. A chance to do whatever I want with no interruptions…. What was the negative part of this again??

I can see it now…

“Oops! I forgot that you only like turkey on your sandwich and not ham. I messed up. Guess I’ll go straight up to my room and think about what I’ve done…..”

Five minutes…. Lying on my bed…

Ten minutes… Flip quietly through the latest People magazine…

Fifteen minutes… Close my eyes and start to drift off…

“MOMMY! ARE YOU READY TO COME OUT AND TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE DONE?”

“Nope – not sure I truly understand the consequences of my actions… I think I need some more time to truly grasp the severity of it all… Check back with me around dinner time!”

Pure uninterrupted bliss…. Perfection…

So how is it possible that with the amount of mistakes I’ve made, I’m still allowed to walk about freely?? Someone should really get their act together and make sure that I do whatever it takes to learn my lesson (and you should know, I’m a really slow learner!).

They say that youth is wasted on the young – but I’m pretty sure it’s the time-outs that are wasted on the tots! It’s time to take back our time-outs and give them to those of us who truly need them – who’s with me??
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