Before you have kids, you know exactly how you will discipline them. You’re either a “I’ll never spank my kid, my parents spanked me and…” or you’re a, “I’m going to spank because I know that when I thought I was going to get a spanking, I’d think twice before doing it!” type of person. But then you have your cute little sweet bundle of joy, and he/she’s all yours, you can’t imagine inflicting pain on this little angel! Then they turn a year and a half and they touch touch, twist, poke, pry, dig, ruin… all in the name of exploration. You place all your glass and breakable treasures on the top shelf, so that junior doesn’t have to be redirected away from your lovelies 300 times a day. The house looks like it was decorated by a team of interior designers that consist of a minimalist dwarf and eclectic giant! By age two (two for girls, oftentimes three for boys) they are throwing fits, but you are still sticking with the “no spanking” rule (except for that time you tapped your daughter’s hand for getting into the kitty food for the 7,426th time while you were cooking dinner and she cried and gingerly touched her offended hand as if you beat her half to death, and you felt like total crap.) But the boy…. ohhhhhh the stubborn boy!
At age two, when a child is developing their knowledge of right from wrong, we created the naughty spot. Ours was a hideous avocado green velvet chair, it was garage-sale-retro-chic… in other words, very very used. We would sit him in his naughty chair for a time out. All the books, and I read a lot of them, say that a time out is supposed to last for as many minutes as the child’s age. But our two minute time out’s turned into 20 minute battles, which often ended in a smack on the butt. I gleaned advice from The Nanny’s books, Love and Logic, Your Three Year Old: Friend or Enemy, The Out of Sync Child, Nurtured Heart Approach & more! Never had I met a child that was more strong willed than mine! I know you are not supposed to compare children, but it actually physically pained me to see other children do their two or three minute time out and go back to playing, while my child struggled and fought with me, only causing the time out to drag on and on. After weeks of consistently putting him back in the naughty chair and resetting the pink piggy kitchen timer, he learned to stay in the chair for the excruciatingly long two minutes. I continued to battle with him over the way he sat in the chair though. He would lay with feet up in the air, he’d squeak and make noises, he was moving moving moving constantly! We eventually gave up on expecting him to do a time out like other children, and were forced to be contented with the fact that he was actually staying in the chair, even if he was turning it into his own amusement park ride!