Parenting paradigms are plentiful. Parenting advice is usually unsolicited and unwelcome, especially when it comes to discipline. It might start with “if I did that I would have been smacked”, “it’s because they’re not hit enough” and other non sensible responses to a child expressing their emotions.
Long before Olive was born my parents bought a chair at Goodwill– a tiny little wooden chair with the words TIME OUT on the back rest. They jokingly assured me they were ready to be grandparents with the cutesy chair. They did become grandparents and my view on parenting took a drastic overhaul from my parents view. After taking a class with Latinx Parenting , nonviolent parenting and parenting with compassion became a fast priority to me.
Time outs didn’t align with the parenting I wanted to practice so the cute little chair was used just as a normal chair until it got a facelift. So what’s wrong with time outs? Let’s start with what they are-
Originated by psychologist B.F. Skinner, timeouts are a form of light punishment in which a child is placed in a certain spot for a set period of time. Often, the child is made to stay “in timeout,” even if it requires restraint, and is ignored for the duration.
I don’t remember being put in “time outs” as a kid but I do remember not being heard. I remember not being allowed to express my feelings and always being told to stop crying. When I grew up my mom would always tell me I have no emotions and I was stoic, but that was a learned behavior, I learned to show no emotions…. because I wasn’t allowed to as a child. I am currently reading and recommend Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children and it is so enlightening and affirming.
All punishments are ineffective, [Linda] Hatfield went on to say, because the vast majority of kids don’t misbehave; they behave. They behave like kids. They don’t do things to be bad; they do things because those things are age-appropriate, or because they’re still learning, or because they’re not getting some basic need met. Maybe they are hungry or tired; maybe they are overstimulated or overwhelmed; maybe they need a hug. Or maybe they just don’t know how to process whatever emotion they’re feeling.Via column written by Wendy Thomas Russel https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/column-why-you-should-never-use-timeouts-on-your-kids
I know what you’re thinking… timeout are so normal… but listen, just because something is normalized, doesn’t make it ok. Pick up “The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind,” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson to start, because the science is there. Punishment in any form, doesn’t work. What does work— empathy and compassion!
Reclaim your time outs
I turned the Time Out chair into a Silla de Paz or Peace Chair. It’s a seat where I will guide Olive to self-regulate her emotions with breathing, essential oils, sound (we use tingsha) or simply listening and holding space. Rather than isolating her and ignoring her feelings, I sit with her as she processes or she sits without me if she wants some space.
This is a practice that is very much for the both of us. What has helped me in self-regulating myself is knowing that every one of her emotions is a means to meet a need. She’s not intentionally trying to ruin my day or make me mad… And also self reflection, asking myself, why am I triggered or why have I lost my patience and identifying my needs. Parents have needs too! Our needs aren’t more or less important than the needs of our children, they are as important and deserve attention.
For the painting of this chair I first prepped the chair. I scraped off the letters and wiped it clean. After a very light sanding I painted with a sample Jolie paint I received at Alt Summit. I intended on finding a project for this paint sample I received and it was so fitting the color was called Zen.
Jolie Paint is a water-based, non-toxic, and quick-drying paint for furniture, floors, walls, and home accessories. Achieve beautiful painted finishes, such as smooth, modern, distressed, textured and many more. Jolie Paint adheres to almost any surface, including wood, matte plastics, stone, brick, concrete, and metal.Jolie Website
After painting a couple of coats I was left with a beautiful milky fresh start. I almost called the chair a “Zen chair” but I really wanted to incorporate some Spanish. I added my touches with black acrylic and to finish of the piece I used the Jolie Finishing Wax (also received at Alt Summit). It was my first time using a finishing wax, to be honest I don’t usually opt for matte or flat paint because I feel like it dirties easily. The wax makes a huge difference. It leaves a nice finish on the piece that you can leave matte or lightly buff for just a touch of sheen.
My hope is this might inspire you to find moments of peace with a toddler. It seems like an oxymoron because toddlers are active little people but they are very much in touch with their emotions, it’s when they become disconnected they have tantrums.