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January 13, 2016

Go into Timeout

shutterstock_302348501“Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.”
(Albert Einstein)

I’m not sure when “timeout” became a preferred method of parental discipline, but I know it wasn’t around when I was a kid. Perhaps not during your childhood either.

We did have “go to your room!” however. In many ways, the same thing—take a solitude break from whatever it is you’re doing right now, and reflect upon whatever it is you did. Simple, and in many ways, profoundly effective. Here’s why: being forced to take timeouts as a child has a chance of developing into a habit of voluntarily taking timeouts as an adult.

1. It creates a pause in the action
2. It dramatically reduces the emotional stimulation from others
3. It leaves you alone for a structured time and place, allowing for new, creative thoughts
4. It creates emotional space for release, remorse, and the resolve to improve

When we’re young, “timeout” can actually feel more like the penalty box. This is largely affected by how the parent enforces it. So, as you employ timeout with your child, take care to frame it as such, by your relative calm tone and spirit.

And let’s try to do the same with ourselves. Let’s calmly introduce pockets of solitude in our day, and seasons of solitude in our calendar.

It’s not a punishment; it’s a pleasure.

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