I read an article about time out this morning that one of my friends had shared on Facebook and it really made me stop and think.
It was about how punishing your child doesn’t teach them to be accountable for their actions.
Before becoming a mum I thought that being a parent would instantly give you something in common with every other parent but after Cherry was born I quickly realised that in actual fact there are lots of different ways to bring up your children as well as a lot of judgement and criticism about who is doing things the ‘best’ or ‘right’ way.
I’ve always tried not to do judge or criticise the way others do things. At the end of the day as long as you are doing what you believe to be the best thing for you and your family than surely that is the most important thing?
Recently I haven’t felt like I’ve been doing the best thing.
Since Tiger’s arrival Cherry’s behaviour has become more and more challenging. Before he was born I’d never even had to think about punishment but within the first few months of his life she started to get violent towards him and I didn’t know what to do so I started putting her in the kitchen or hallway for three minutes. I know it was her way of expressing anger at the situation and with everything else I made exceptions but I just couldn’t bear it when she kicked him or scratched him so felt this was the right thing to do.
Since she turned three I have been putting her out there so much more. It’s not just for hurting Tiger now (which thankfully doesn’t happen very often) but for a lot more. Not listening to me, deliberately doing things I ask her not to, slamming the gate at the top of the stairs on purpose to wake up Tiger, the list goes on.
The thing is though that it doesn’t work. It’s not stopping her doing the things she’s put out there for and the threat of it doesn’t change her behaviour in any way.
Lately I haven’t been the parent I want to be. I’ve been shouting too much, getting stressed too much and not enjoying my days as much as I should be. Tiger still waking up so much at night means I’m absolutely shattered all the time which doesn’t help but I have decided to stop using time out as a way of trying to control Cherry’s behaviour.
Mr C does this thing when we have an argument and it drives me insane. When I’m frustrated or angry about something and start raising my voice in desperation to get my point across he tells me he can’t listen to me when I’m talking like that. He cuts me off, blocks me out, makes no attempt to try and understand where I’m coming from and it makes me feel ridiculously angry and really frustrated which I’m guessing is exactly how Cherry feels when I put her in time out.
I’ve heard a lot of people talking about the terrible three’s. I guess it’s an age where they are becoming more independent, trying to learn their own minds and test us to see how strong we are. It’s been such a shock for me, especially as she was so good all the way through her two’s but I’m determined to find a way of dealing with it that doesn’t leave us all feeling rubbish.
I want to start acting out of love and not anger.
I want to try and understand her behaviour more.
I want to start acting on signs she will be acting up shortly like when she’s bored or tired.
I want to try and do all the things I need to do in the evening so I’m not feeling stressed about trying to fit it into my day.
I want to take responsibility for the times when she wants me to be strong and kind but instead I get cross and shout.
I’m not sure it will be easy but since Tiger arrived I’ve realised that being a parent is anything but easy!
So from now on I won’t be putting Cherry into time out.