Ok, so I sent Rory to her room today–probably for a slightly lame reason, but there it is–sometimes I give one or the other the “go to your room” line and then I think, well, that wasn’t really a big deal–but once I’ve said it, there we are. They’re used to it; they march. Rory has marched, but today she didn’t…I had to deliver her.
I went up to release her pretty quickly. The point is, unless there’s some dramatic reason to do otherwise, I am usually just very matter-of-fact about the end of a time out. You can come out when you’re read to apologize, or whatever (in Rory’s case, it’s always “when you’re ready to stop screaming.”)
She wouldn’t do it. In fact she then REFUSED to come out at all, which became a problem, as I needed to get her dressed, and I knew we needed to leave the house soon. But she would not come down to get dressed. It became clear that she wanted me to come get her, and carry her, and soothe her–and I wouldn’t. In the end, I went up, dressed her briskly, told her that since she had chosen to stay in her room, she would stay there until we were ready to leave, put her back in her room and closed the door.
Much hysteria ensued, but that’s not the point. The point is that, again, I eventually went up and told her she could come down as soon as she was ready to stop yelling, because we would be leaving soon–and she wouldn’t come out. I want you, I want you, I want you.
Ok, fine, it’s good that she wants me. I do think we’re bonding. But I also think this was a power stuggle. It became clear that she wanted me to come up, pick her up, carry her downstairs–she wanted me to come to her. And–one, I never do what a kid having a temper tantrum wants me to do, and two, that’s just not my style. A quick hug, and an “I still love you, I just don’t want you to do whatever” is about all you’ll get from me. Anything else seems to me to be rewarding the bad behavior…
I had to go up and tell her, a couple of times–you need to stop screaming now. You can come downstairs as soon as you do. Eventually, she came down. Slowly, On her butt, one step at a time, sniffling dramatically the whole way. And sat on the floor of the kitchen. Sniff. Sniff. If anyone but me talked to her–WAIL! GROWL!–I ignored her for a while, then offered up one of the strawberries I was cutting, just as I was offering Wyatt. I tried to keep it low-key.
Low-key is a little tough, with Rory.
Does anybody out there do a big forgiveness scene after a time-out? How does that work? How do you think it affects the kid? I can tell this is going to come up again.