Time in or out?

When kiddo was two, we visited a friend’s house for a play date. The kids were enjoying themselves and mommies were catching up on life and parenting. Soon it was snack time and the kids settled around the cute kiddie table. How perfect, I thought.

Drew wanted a slice of pie and his mom was serving goldfish with milk. His mom reasoned with him that he could have pie after dinner. He would not have it. He made a face and sulked and started throwing the crackers all over the table. Soon he was pressing on each goldfish, popping them and dragging them across the table. The poor fishies seemed to be dying a cruel death.

His mom sent him to the timeout corner. It was a corner of the room with a tiny blue chair facing the wall. She asked him to sit facing that wall and think about his actions and set a timer for two minutes. Once the timer rang, he came back to his seat and life went on.

This incident had a profound impact on me as a parent. I vowed never to give my child a timeout. Doctors, parents and everyone on earth and Jupiter advocated it, but my mind revolted.

I reasoned, sitting on a chair away from everyone, staring at a blank wall, what is a child supposed to think? Does a two year old’s mind go “hmm Drew that was not ok. You have made your mom upset and assassinated a few innocent goldfish that were planning a peaceful entry into your tummy. Seriously do you not have the maturity to wait for dinner and have the pie later? Come on dude, you need to know better than that.”

If I were the child, I would think ‘ hmm, mommy is being so mean. What is the big deal about having pie now. It is going into my tummy anyway, now or later. Geez, I tell  you. Embarrassing me in front of my friend. Are the two minutes up yet?”

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