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Making Punishment Memorable

Question

My 4 year old son has an AMAZING IMAGINATION! Its actually something I love about him! He's almost never bored and can entertain himself almost endlessly. Its great--except when he's sent to his room for misbehaving. It seems like a punishment for all of 5 minutes until his imagination kicks in. Sometimes he even opts to stay in his room when his hour is over. He doesn't even have a whole lot of toys or anything in his room--a toy box that i pull out in the hall when he's sent to his room. Just books and a few little toys. What would you suggest? It sure seems like sending him to his room for an hour or even for the rest of the day is not a big deal to him. I know you talk about how the weight of a consequence needs to be felt solely by the child and not by the parent, but i feel like i'm failing here on that one! As a family of 5, its not convenient for anyone to have a kiddo sent to his room for the rest of the day. I'm willing to do it obviously but it feels like I'm the one feeling the weight of his consequence and not him because he's just happily playing in there. Thoughts?

Answer

I'm glad you asked. I love to listen to four year olds and the stories they can create. An imagination is a valuable thing. It's also something you can't control. In this situation you need to make his punishment more uncomfortable. The room needs to be cleansed of all toys, books, and any non essential items. You may want to put them in a portable bin so you can move it to a different location during his punishment time and the brother will have access to it. There should only be a place to sleep,a light in this room and a few clothes. Tell him the Doctor says boys who misbehave need more rest and put him in the bed. Stop bearing the pain of his punishment. Raising children well is not always convenient but is so worth it as they grow up.

Jada Waldrop
Certified Leadership Parent Coach

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