Both of the kids know full well that when Greg starts counting 1…2…3… or I count 5…4…3… (we have to get on the same page) a real punishment is about to be delivered. For the most part, that is typically a time-out (although it has included no evening snack, no TV, playing in different rooms, etc.). Tonight, I learned that Arianna has a pretty good sense of real punishment, too.
The kids were in the toy room playing nicely, so I gave them an extra hour to watch Jake then Mickey before bedtime (on a ‘lil nap day). Both came into the living room to show me a picture Arianna drew and they stood on the couch. At that point, Arianna decided to hit her brother. For no explainable reason. She just slapped him on the face. There was no question, this one called for a trip to time-out.
And, as he always does, Evan (“Repeat”) decided he’d join her on the step for her four minutes of shame. I had to coax him off the step and back into the room to watch his shows. Arianna wasn’t showing she really cared, and when I passed her to go back to the living room, she said, “It’s okay. I can still see my shows from the step.”
Clearly, something needed to change. Punishment was no longer real punishment for the crime.
“Move up to the fourth step,” I instructed, guiding her to count the steps until she got to “4”. Clearly, this had an impact because within one second of plopping her ‘lil bum down on step four, this happened:
I think it’s pretty safe to say that she was thinking about her actions while serving the time (four minutes, one for each year she is old–Mommy loves when she gets a 30 minute time out…and YES…it does happen).
This real punishment was followed up by her usual finding of Evan and hugging him with an “I’m sorry”.
Tonight’s experience opened my eyes to the whole punishment delivery system. Greg’s Mom hit the nail on the head, “hope she continues to clue you in when punishments aren’t really”. Me too, Mom! In this case, her honesty got the best of her–she’ll learn!