I don’t subscribe to the idea of time outs. I think they create distance, discourage connection and have the potential to grow resentment rather than the obedience they are designed to achieve.
I think they serve one purpose, to give the parent a mental break, a pause if you like, when they have faced so much dreadful behaviour for so long and nothing else has worked.
And let me say, dreadful behaviour is not always a reflection of your parenting. I’m not a perfect parent. But I try my guts out. I research. I remain flexible. I keep compassion, love and connection as my goals. I do not waver from focusing on the values I wish for him to grow during my interactions with him, like respect, empathy, kindness, strength, courage, assertiveness. And even with all that, my four year old was a real test this week.
He took me to the edge of my higher capacity. I cracked many of my fingers. I rubbed my little Rose quartz rubbing stone to within an inch of its existence. And in the end, I was spent. I had completely run out of ideas. So for my own peace and sanity, he spent more time out than he did in yesterday.
It didn’t teach him anything.
I didn’t change his behaviour.
It wasn’t a positive learning experience.
Or was it.
He learned that mothers are fallible.
He learned that anger is not the answer.
He learned that silence is an option.
So maybe not such a bad idea after all when used sparingly and when he understands it’s because mummy needs so time away from his behaviour and bad choices, rather than because he is naughty.
Meh. We survived the day without making headlines. I’m far from perfect and I’m ok with that because I try hard and I now my limits. And that’s not a bad behaviour for him to witness nor lesson for him to learn.
Be kind to yourself mums. Stay flexible. And do whatever you need to do to get yourself through the day.