Mothers Speak: Time Out

Mothers Speak: Time Out

Aug 18

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I was having tea with a girlfriend yesterday when all of a sudden Salem, for no apparent reason hauled off and whacked me in the face. No warning. No reason, and yet, no exceptions. Hitting is simply not tolerated in our house. I recognized the immediate look of “uh-oh, I’ve gone and done it now” in Salem’s expression. Therefore when I whisked him up to the tune of “Time Out” and carried him to the back door where we keep the smelly trash {where our bad attitudes belong}, he didn’t put up a fuss. At the sound of the 3-minute stove timer, we rehearsed the “Time Out” mantra.

Mommy: “Salem, do you know why Mommy put you in time out?”

Salem: “Hit Mommy”.

Mommy: “That’s right, Salem. It is never OK to hit Mommy or Daddy or Sister. Can you say, ‘I’m sorry’?”

Salem: “I sah-wee”

Mommy: “I was wrong.”

Salem: “Iya wong”

Mommy: “Please forgive me”

Salem: “Peas a-giff me”

Immediately upon release, Salem bee-lined for his guitar which allowed me to resume my conversation. My girlfriend said to me, “Wow, you’re really good at that”. “Good at what?” “Discipline”. As though discipline is something a parent either has a knack for or not. We chatted about it for a while longer, but even after she left, I was thinking about it, and I’m still thinking about it today.

My question for you is this: Is child-discipline something for which a parent has an aptitude or not? Does it come more naturally to some while for others it feels about as awkward as watching an umpa lumpa hold a Bikram yoga pose? The truth is Salem and I dance our “Time Out” routine sometimes multiple times a day…. ok, an hour. There are days when he spends so much time in the smelly trash corner that I’m convinced I won’t be able to wash the garbage-scent out of his clothes and he’ll surely end up one day becoming an adult with a body odor complex! And then other days we skate right through without so much as a hiccup… {except for last week when he tried to put Daddy in Time Out. That didn’t go over very well even though 3 minutes on the stove timer in the smelly trash corner might actually do both Clark and I some good.}

I’m noticing that the topic of discipline can easily become a touchy subject among mamas, so I realize that I may be opening a can of worms. But I’m curious. What does discipline look like at your house? I’ve heard it said that one form of discipline may work for one child but not necessarily another. Do you believe that?

Come on, ladies. Let’s chat it up!

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Salina Beasley