I’ve found that holding boundaries with children takes way more out of me than them. Sure, they’re upset to be put in time out or have a toy taken away, but enforcing is way harder than enduring. Especially if there are consequences.
My girls are going through a bit of an “I’ll show you” stage. I put one in time out today while I went to change baby V. I usually try and hang out near them to make sure they stay in time out, but it didn’t work out today. While I was in V’s room, I heard a bedroom door shut. There is only one room they have access to: their room; however, it has a child lock on the inside, so once in, they can’t get out. I finished with baby V and couldn’t find the time-out-child. I checked their room, and sure enough she was in the closet.
Once I opened the closet door, she jetted out with a mischievous grin on her face. For those of you with a toddler, a closed door, giant grin, and an eerie silence are always bad.
Yep! I look in the closet, and she had peed all over the floor. Now some of you might be thinking, “Oh, she had to go to the bathroom, and you were busy.” Nope. We have a plastic potty in the living room at all times for this very reason. She deliberately peed in the closet in retaliation.
And this got me thinking. How often do punishments make life more difficult for us parents? When I put the girls in time out, I have to stop what I’m doing and wait until they’ve completed their sentence. When they get older, and I decide to take away their phone or car as punishment, who is that really inconveniencing? And they know it! Kids are so smart. They know that if they hold out long enough, we might just break, simply because it’s easier for us.
My beloved children were definitely testing my fortitude and patience today. I couldn’t help but wonder how these actions would manifest as teenagers. Then I decided to stop thinking about it and be thankful they’re only 2!