As parents, we spanked. We probably spanked too much, but our children don’t seem to hold it against us. Occasionally they spank, too. I still believe that sometimes that is the only language toddlers understand.
But I also appreciate the current practice of “time out.” Yesterday I got to try it for myself when Knox and Finn were staying with us without their parents. They both slept well Sunday night to Monday morning and we had a great trip to EnterTRAINment Junction.
Finn had a good nap when we got home and all should have been well between them.
For some reason, our gentle Finn came in the kitchen throwing his cars instead of rolling them. I realized this was an opportunity to practice what we are studying in our parenting class: When reprimanding, give a reason why you don’t want them to do something and you’ll see a longer-lasting effect.
So I said, “Finn, do not throw your cars. You cannot throw the cars because you could break them or you could hurt someone.”
He said, “Okay,” and started playing more appropriately. I [mistakenly] felt successful.
In a few minutes, Knox came in with an injured air. “Finn threw a car at me and hit me in the back!”
I went to Finn in the living room and did not give him a chance for denial. I reminded him of what we’d just talked about and put him in a chair for time-out. Knox sat and glared at him indignantly, and I figured that was a good idea. I returned to the kitchen to work on dinner.
When I went back to check on them, I asked Finn why he was in time-out. He, chastened, said, “Because I threw a car and hit Knox in the back.”
I said, “That’s right. Now what—“and before I could finish, he jumped from his chair and ran to Knox, hugging him.
“I’m sorry I hit you, Knox!” Finn said, almost in tears. The two hugged and all was well.
So, I thought, that’s the way time-out is supposed to work. For now, I’m a fan.