Mothers Speak: Time Out

I was having tea with a girlfriend yesterday when all of a sudden Salem, for no apparent reason hauled off and whacked me in the face. No warning. No reason, and yet, no exceptions. Hitting is simply not tolerated in our house. I recognized the immediate look of “uh-oh, I’ve gone and done it now” in Salem’s expression. Therefore when I whisked him up to the tune of “Time Out” and carried him to the back door where we keep the smelly trash {where our bad attitudes belong}, he didn’t put up a fuss. At the sound of the 3-minute stove timer, we rehearsed the “Time Out” mantra.

Mommy: “Salem, do you know why Mommy put you in time out?”

Salem: “Hit Mommy”.

Mommy: “That’s right, Salem. It is never OK to hit Mommy or Daddy or Sister. Can you say, ‘I’m sorry’?”

Salem: “I sah-wee”

Mommy: “I was wrong.”

Salem: “Iya wong”

Mommy: “Please forgive me”

Salem: “Peas a-giff me”

Immediately upon release, Salem bee-lined for his guitar which allowed me to resume my conversation. My girlfriend said to me, “Wow, you’re really good at that”. “Good at what?” “Discipline”. As though discipline is something a parent either has a knack for or not. We chatted about it for a while longer, but even after she left, I was thinking about it, and I’m still thinking about it today.

My question for you is this: Is child-discipline something for which a parent has an aptitude or not? Does it come more naturally to some while for others it feels about as awkward as watching an umpa lumpa hold a Bikram yoga pose? The truth is Salem and I dance our “Time Out” routine sometimes multiple times a day…. ok, an hour. There are days when he spends so much time in the smelly trash corner that I’m convinced I won’t be able to wash the garbage-scent out of his clothes and he’ll surely end up one day becoming an adult with a body odor complex! And then other days we skate right through without so much as a hiccup… {except for last week when he tried to put Daddy in Time Out. That didn’t go over very well even though 3 minutes on the stove timer in the smelly trash corner might actually do both Clark and I some good.}

I’m noticing that the topic of discipline can easily become a touchy subject among mamas, so I realize that I may be opening a can of worms. But I’m curious. What does discipline look like at your house? I’ve heard it said that one form of discipline may work for one child but not necessarily another. Do you believe that?

Come on, ladies. Let’s chat it up!



  1. Katie Watson said,

    August 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I have to be honest, discipline is something that is difficult for me. I do think some parents have more of a “knack” for it, mostly due to whether or not that parent has self discipline. It is much easier to be consistent with your child’s discipline if you know how to be consistent in your own life and habits, this is something I lack and have to work very hard on. For most it is a combination of natural personality type and how you were raised.
    I do think what works can be different for each child. There have been times that I spanked my daughter and she literally laughed in my face.(we went through a difficult phase with her) On the other hand, my son bit me while nursing and when I gently said “No, sir”, he immediately began to cry and you could tell he really got his feelings hurt. He is eight months old:) While both my children seem to be strong willed, they do react differently to scolding. We are still figuring out what works!

    • ladylullabuy said,

      August 18, 2011 at 7:06 pm

      Katie, your comment so blew me away I blogged about it over at Check it out and thanks for posting!

  2. connie pearson said,

    August 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    We had a minister from India that his parents made him say “I am sorry…..and I won’t do it again.” I think the “I won’t do it again” is the good part. This summer at the pool was a child really out of control so loudly that she could be heard outside the restroom. Screaming all the way to and from the restroom. When she got back into the pool…she said to all us “floating raft women”….I am sorry. BUT I wanted to bring to her attention….”And I won’t do it again.” I get so irked with children that think they are the center of everyone’s world. Yesterday the same girl sang ALL afternoon “Old McDonald Had A Farm” and the mother did not seem to think it was offensive to us “floating raft women”. I like cute creative children but I am amazed that the mom did not ask her to stop after a few verses. Instead, she asked another little girl to join her in singing more verses.
    My mom’s remedy was for us to memorize the Love Chapter in Corinthians and then repeat it to each other when were were not nice….and then give the sibling we were mean to a kiss on the cheek with “I am sorry.”

    • ladylullabuy said,

      August 18, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      Hi Miss Connie! Great to hear from you. I try to be so sensitive and instill a sensitivity in my children to consider the feelings and comforts of those around them. This was a great example of why that’s important. Thanks for posting.

  3. Tracy Sheehy said,

    August 18, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Here is a great tool that I have found to aid in the discipling of my kiddos…of course they are older but I think you could use this for any age. It is called Wise Word for Moms by Ginger Plowman. She gives you a child’s behavior, then questions for heart probing, then the reproof, then the encouragement, then additional verses to go with it. For example…

    defiant attitude, defiant look.
    Heart probing:
    Are you obeying or disobeying with your attitude? Are you truly obeying when you obey with an unhappy heart?
    It is wicked for you to harden your face and foolish for you to despise instruction. Proverbs 21:29
    A wise heart accepts command and a happy heart makes the face cheerful. Proverbs 10:8
    Additional verses:
    Proverbs 17:22, Proverbs 28:14, Philippians 2:5

    It is in a chart form and hangs on our refrigerator. It keeps my attitude in check when disciplining too because I am always pointing them back to the Bible.

  4. Jessica C. said,

    August 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    We intentionally train our children and only “discipline” for disobedience and rebellion. When we need to discipline we fully explain what they did wrong, and why they need a spanking. We also make sure they know how to act differently the next time. Afterwards we love on them and make sure they know how much we love them. It’s amazing to see how much their attitudes change and that they really do appreciate us training and correcting their behavior.

  5. Lisa W said,

    August 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I commented via fb and am glad i checked your comments here. They are good! One thing I left out was the positive reinforcement side. When Haven shares I make sure he sees my smiling face and tell him it make my heart happy. Or when he makes the right choice I make a big deal of him obeying so he’ll know there is a big difference between obedience and disobeying. I also give him the choice to obey or get a consequence. That way I’m not punishing, he’s choosing.

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