I’ll admit when I first became a mother I read all of the baby books. I read parenting books. I followed motherhood “rules” to a T. I thought these books were the guiding light of when to feed solid foods, what my child could or couldn’t do, what I should or shouldn’t do as a mother. I believed it all. Now, some of the parenting books I read enlightened me. These books taught me the various stages of development. These books taught me some honestly good things. The problem with these parenting books, and now the internet, is that they’re full of tips and tricks or statements that say some ways you parent your child is wrong. These books and mostly the internet, such as social media, is full of text and memes that feature things citing time outs and other uses of parental tools mean that you’re a bully.
I’ve lost count of how many memes and other updates on social media that I’ve read recently that cite being an actual parent is being a bully. These statements go on to say that children have rights. That children have a voice. Those children shouldn’t be punished for “feelings”. These statements and memes go on to say that being a parent, you know setting consequences and healthy boundaries with your children makes you a bully! Are you kidding me right now?! Come on … please stop!
I cannot take it anymore.
Listen, I was that mom. That first-time mother who believed in all of what the parenting books told me. Imagine all of this internet propaganda was being spewed 17 years ago when I was a first-time mother!? Who the heck would my firstborn child be today?! I’m willing to bet my firstborn child would be entitled, arrogant, whine about people when they said something offensive, and not have a clue how to stand up for what this child believes in. I’m so glad I let the voices of “what I’m supposed to do as a parent” disappear. I read it all. I took it in. And then I thought for my own self and made parenting decisions based on what I feel makes sense.
Since I cannot take it anymore, I’m sharing my thoughts on why I think time outs and consequences aren’t “bullying” tactics by parents, rather these options are tools in which we start to teach our children that they aren’t in charge, that some people aren’t going to like them, that they need to have a strong backbone and be able to find healthy outlets for sharing their feelings. I believe in using these consequences that each parent chooses to use as a means to not raise entitled little boogers. I have three kids, for some reason, my middle shows the most signs of this entitled personality, however, he’s also on the spectrum so while he may seem entitled, it’s probably more due to his logical thinking skills as opposed to a feeling of entitlement. With that being said, no parent can guarantee their child will grow up to make good decisions or to not be an entitled booger. We can only do what we feel works best to mold our children into little humans that are we equipped with the right tools to make good decisions in their adult life.
Every parent does their best. I don’t want you to feel bad for consequencing your child. It’s not acceptable to let society tell you what’s right and wrong. So as long as you’re not abusing your child, and they’re simply living a life that says they have rules to abide by, as we all do in this world, then come on! Stand up and be heard, you are not a bully for being a parent and doing this job to the best of your abilities!
Time Outs and Other Consequences Do Teach Lessons
Now that I rambled some of my thoughts, here are the few reasons a parent needs to enforce time outs and other consequences for their children. You’re not a bully for parenting a child and teaching them that, while they are important, the world doesn’t and will never revolve all around them.
Toddlers are adorable. These mini-humans are able to speak their minds and share their feelings more so than any other time they’ve lived yet. Newborns and babies simply fuss or make noises to signal that they’re happy, sad, angry, or hungry. Now that your little human is a toddler, and can speak, it’s a whole new world. Toddlers are able to express how they feel. They will throw tantrums. They will test their limits. Toddlers will do everything they can with no self-control just to figure out their place in the family and this world. Using time outs for a toddler is how you help teach them to cope with these strong feelings. A time out isn’t bullying your toddler. A time out gives the little human you love so much a chance to calm down, breathe, and come back to chat about their feelings when they’re calm. Time outs are a fabulous tool to help teach toddlers self-control. After a few time outs, your child will eventually learn more coping skills to share their feelings in a healthy way that gets people, you the parents, to listen and work with them on these feelings. Self-control is a necessary life skill our children need to learn as it’s something adults have to use regularly!
Respect Thy Elders
Oh gosh, again with the whole this is a bullying move by parents. Give. Me. A. Break. Teaching children to have respect for their elders isn’t bad nor is it bullying a child. I grew up in a world where we were to have respect for our elders. Now, does this mean I always said the right things and never lashed out at my elders?! Hell no! I lashed out a lot and I showed disrespect especially during my teen and young adult years. I never learned how to control my emotions, see reference to self-control above. This means I struggled immensely during the teen and early adult years with respecting my elders by expressing my feelings in a healthy way. Children need to understand that their elders have lived in a far different world for far longer than the children have. This means our elders bring wisdom and lessons learned from history into this child’s world. Setting healthy consequences when a child is rude and disrespectful to their elders, helps them respect and comprehend the family unit as a whole and in turn, start to show appreciation for what their elders bring to their world.
One of the things I’ve worked on being more adaptable about since my by the book firstborn raising days is to figure out a way to set rules, expectations and healthy consequences that will not only help my children understand the world won’t revolve around them and the world won’t always like them, but to determine which method will help boost their confidence. I do believe a parent’s job is to help boost their child’s confidence so that they’re better able to speak up about how they feel without fear of judgment. Setting time outs and other consequences in place for when your child doesn’t listen to what’s expected or do something wrong, helps show them that there will be consequences. Do you not have a consequence as adults? If you don’t pay bills, they come after you. If you speak ill to someone in public, they may punch you in the face! Using time out and other consequences will help solidify your child’s self-confidence as they work to feel good about themselves when they’ve made a good decision, therefore don’t get a consequence. In time your child will start to feel self-pride and higher confidence levels for having major self-growth during all stages of childhood because their parents worked to teach them self-control, and respect by the means of setting healthy consequences.
Final Thoughts on Consequences and Parenting
You know, at the end of the day you can parent anyway you want to. I think we do need to stop shaming parents and pushing more “mom guilt” for parents out there. We are moms who feel guilty about every little decision we make to being with. Why do we need to take your memes to heart? Why do we need to take your criticism to heart?
While yes, these memes are annoying me because I think it’s fueling a new generation of parents who simply are too afraid to BE THE PARENT and in turn, we’re seeing an influx of entitled young adults entering the employment world thinking that everyone will like them. A new set of young adults who don’t know that sometimes people will hurt your feelings, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It isn’t and shouldn’t be a crime to simply “hurt your feelings”. That’s not the world we should live in. In the words I heard growing up, “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”, let’s teach our children this concept.
So while this is my opinion on why I think time outs and consequences DO teach important lessons, at the end of the day, you can parent your child any way you see fit, but please have an open mind for those of us who still believe in those “old values” of instilling Faith, Hope, Respect, and Confidence in our children. For us, out here raising our kids by what some call “old school ways” is not brute force, we are not bullies, we are parents who believe in adjusting how we parent and set consequences to help our children grow up to be confident enough to stand up for what they believe in, healthy enough to express emotions properly, and strong enough to not let words ruin their day!
We are not criminals nor bullies! We are parents raising each of our kids as we see fit, so perhaps calling another parent a bully is rather harsh and teaching your children exactly who they shouldn’t be! Since I disagree that using time outs and consequences make you bully, I’ll continue writing about the other side and why time outs and consequences are not forms of bullying, but rather a necessary parental tool to not raise entitled, spoiled children.
Let’s consider that you want people to be more open-minded about your experiences and opinions, so why would you tell the other side that they’re simply BEING A BULLY, as opposed to being more open-minded and remembering that there are a lot of grey areas in parenthood. No two children are alike. No two parents are alike. Let’s come together and respect each other as parents and understand that time out and other consequences are not a form of bullying, it’s a form of parenting. You can choose to not use those tools or use them, the choice is yours. Period.