I watch alot of the television show “Supernanny”. Actually, my entire family does. It’s good entertainment for us since:
A. Our boys are waaay beyond the years/age of the children who are featured,
2. We get a perverse sort of pleasure out of seeing how some of the parents on the show just don’t have a clue that they actually created the mess (I wrote *some*. I would even go as far to say *most*.)
Jim and I were never really the “Time Out”/”Naughty Step” kind of parents. In fact, although we put them in “Time Out” on more than a few occasions (especially the younger one), there are only two kinds of Time Outs that I really remember, the first being my own.
When the older boy was a toddler, I vividly remember going into the bathroom by myself (yes, Moms, it can be done!) and–the horror!–closing the door. My purpose? Not to go to the bathroom. Don’t be silly; of course on occasion I did use the bathroom, but what I’m talking about here is different. If the boy was getting on my nerves, making me angry, or we were just having a bad day, I removed myself from the situation* and gave myself a Time Out. Just for a few minutes, to recharge.
Once, he banged on the door and said, “Mom! Whaddaya doin’?”
I replied, “I’m just getting some peace and quiet!”
“Okay,” he said, as he went back to his pile of toys in the next room.
From then on, whenever I went into the bathroom–ahem, for any reason–he announced to anyone who was available that Mom was “Makin’ peace.”
Apparently my own Time Outs made an impression on my kids, especially the younger boy, whose personality is, let’s say, a little on the passionate side. As he grew from toddlerhood to little boy, his “passion” (read: anger at certain situations) grew as well. We nipped it in the bud a bit by telling him to “Go to your room until you settle down, and then come back and we’ll talk about it.”
Over the years he learned, from the combination of his own Time Outs and mine, to remove himself from situations that made him angry. It’s an amazing thing. Even now, at thirteen years old, he can get into a heated argument with his brother or become extremely frustrated with Jim and me, and the next thing you know he has taken himself upstairs to his room (closing the door on the way) to cool off. Minutes later he’s back, ready to approach the argument or conversation with a fresh start, hashing it out logically until it’s taken care of.
I am so thrilled that this young man has learned such a valuable lesson about not acting or reacting out of anger, and instead counting to ten before moving on. What a great skill to have throughout life, don’t you think?
So if you’re ever at our house and you can’t find us, look for one of us in the bedroom and one of us in the bathroom. We’ll be Makin’ Peace.
*DISCLAIMER: Obviously when I went into the bathroom and closed the door he was not in a situation that would be dangerous for him!