Oooohhhh, Time Out

I don’t know why “Time Out” gets such a bad rap. As a stay-at-home mom, sometimes all I want is someone to come in and say “Alright lady, that’s enough. Go to your room until you’re ready to be with the rest of us.” Wouldn’t that be AMAZING?!

My oldest is currently 3 and has all the passion and determination of all of his Italian, Irish, and Persian ancestors crammed into his little body.

Putting him in time out is the equivalent of pouring lighter fluid into a jet engine mid take off.

For months we fought him. We dug our heels in and refused to be those parents who tolerated tantrums from their child. We thought we were doing the right thing. Then we thought we were doing the wrong thing. Then we thought we were on the right track. Then we thought we were
psychologically damaging our child. Isn’t that how this “parenting without a manual” seems to go? I asked everyone for advice, and everyone had a different answer. Some suggested taking a “Time In” where you sit in time out with them. This worked once and then started a horrible chain reaction of a fake tantrums whenever one-on-one attention was wanted. Or how about Baba (“Dad”) being the disciplinarian? This didn’t work because he didn’t care who was rising to his challenge.

Time out on the stairs: he ran upstairs. Time out in his room: he ran back downstairs (and when I’m home alone with two boys and dinner is on the stove, I can’t stand there and hold his door shut). Yelling at him. Speaking quietly to him. Reasoning with him. Nothing worked. Until we did what I thought was “letting him misbehave” or “not correcting poor behavior”. We let him yell. We ignored him. And you know what, his epic tantrums stopped.

Still, sometimes when he’s mid tantrum and I’m ignoring him I feel that rush of anger to take his bait. But later when I reflect on our day, I’m proud I didn’t and I remind myself that everyone I asked had a different answer/solution (on days when I take the bait and scream back at him, I give myself some much needed grace and remind myself to try and be different next time). And the reason everyone says something different is that we’re all parents to completely different children. We have to trust that we know our children best. And in parenting, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

You got this, Mama! Happy Tuesday!