Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kiddie Jail

You know those crazy parenting ideas that you hear about and think that you could never try them because they are too mean? Well, I had such a moment of hesitation when mean mommy K told me about the following trick:

With three boys, K couldn't keep them all contained, especially when they got big enough to resist. Whether they were running out of their rooms when they were supposed to be in time out, or refusing to take a nap or go to bed, sometimes K just needed them to stay put. She did something that I never would have considered: she unscrewed the door knob and replaced it, but with it facing the other way, with the lock on the outside of the room.

When K first told me, my reaction was "That's so mean!", which was quickly followed by "That's genius!" The very next time my kiddo needed to stay in her room (this was back when she was three), I hesitantly attempted to lock her in her room. Big problem. I showed weakness by hesitating, and she resisted. It was one of those "now or never" moments; I knew I had to go through with it or I wouldn't be able to pull it off in the future, and I was desperate.

The kiddo did not take kindly to being locked in her room and pounded on the door and cried and screamed. When she finally got quiet, it was because she had fallen asleep on the floor. Looking back, this was probably my first mean mommy moment, the moment I realized that I had to suck it up and deal with the unpleasant aspects of parenting in order to ensure that my kiddo was well taken care of. In this case, it meant physically restraining her and dealing with a tantrum in order to give her some much needed sleep (not to mention a respite for me).

It has been a while since I used this trick, or even thought of it, since the kiddo is big enough to respond to other incentives to do what she is supposed to. Plus, if I locked her in her room now, she would probably trash it!

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