Harsh Realities

“Why is life so harsh sometimes?” asks Ezra this morning on the way to the track.

“What do you mean, buddy?”

“Harsh.  You know what harsh means, mom.”

“Can you give an example of what you are talking about?”

“Like the Bible, and slavery, and punishments.  Really big punishments.”

Wow.  Where did that come from?

“And why don’t parents get timeouts?  What’s their punishment?”

Ahhh, it’s getting clearer.

Zach perks up and jumps in. “Yeah.  You should get timeouts too. Like when you say bad words, you should  have a one-minute timeout.”

Yes, I think.  But then how will I ever get anything done?

Their case picks up steam.  Why are kids the only ones who got punished for their bad behavior?  It’s not fair.  Not one little bit.

I’m not sure exactly where this outrage is coming from.  It may be that Ezra heard Jeff and I bickering about a credit card this morning, the kind of bickering that might send both of the boys to the slammer.  Or it may be that the boys have been asking a lot of questions about CutiePie’s momma and why she can’t take care of CutiePie. Which led to questions about friends of theirs who can’t see their dad as often as they’d like because of his behavior.  I don’t know for sure, but the intensity of their outrage at the injustice of it all demands an answer.

Which I don’t have at the moment.  As I think about it, I realize that the reason parents don’t get timeouts for their bad behavior is because it would be too easy. Making me sit in a timeout chair when I lose my temper would make a mockery of the real cost of my behavior.  Unfortunately, the real consequences of our bad behavior are borne out in our children.

But that answer seems too harsh for 9 am.  What am I going to say, “Don’t worry, darlings.  I’ll get mine when you turn out to be undisciplined, selfish adults.”

Luckily, CutiePie starts cooing and the boys drop it.  I have a feeling, though, that now that it’s out there – the option of putting mom and dad in time out – it won’t be the last time we hear about it.

What do you think?  Should we submit to some sort of immediate consequence when we blow it?  Or should we just hope that CutiePie never leaves and we can distract ourselves with wet kisses and baby talk?

About Tara Edelschick

Right now, Tara is on sabbatical in Costa Rica. She is sleeping more, and exercising and flossing every day for the first time in her life. She is enjoying her husband, her boys, and Nafisa (the daughter she never had) more than she ever has. And she is learning to rest in the arms of the one who doesn't rank you based on how many things you can cross off your list at the end of the day. Follow her on Twitter@TaraWonders.

  • Syndi

    I read this statement online today regarding time-outs: If you don't think of a time-out as punishment, neither will your child, and that's as it should be. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to teach your child how to cope with common frustrations and modify his behavior. (link: http://www.babycenter.com/0_time-outs-how-to-make

    I'm thinking time-outs would be worthwhile for adults, just as much as children

  • http://sarahmin-bellevie.blogspot.com/ Sarah

    Hahah! They're clever little guys! But as you suggested, adults get their due in plenty of other ways! Oh, to be a kid again!