Home > Parenting > The Theology of the Time Out

The Theology of the Time Out

Being a Christian, my wife and I want to raise our kids with our core values: love God, love people, and never become a vegetarian. (That last one might just be my core value) Now that D1 is becoming more human, her logic is getting much better, which also means that what we teach her could have long term ramifications.

Lately, she’s becoming more and more self aware and also becoming more afraid of certain things. Thunderstorms are one example; vegetables are another (that’s my girl!). I used to love the sound of rain and thunder when I’m sleeping, but now? It usually means I need to wake up and go console D1. So my wife and I have been teaching her that if she’s in trouble or afraid, she can pray for Jesus to help her and He will (and I can continue sleeping).

So the other day, D1 is testing me and I warn her that if her behavior continues, I’ll put her in a time out. She briefly contemplates the consequences and decides to continue on. I like to have fun when performing my daddy duties, so I don’t just put her in a time out, I like to T her up like an NBA ref. So I make the T sign and sit her down in her time out chair and go about my business. And then I hear

“Help me, Jesus! Help me, Jesus!!!……Help me, Jesus! Help me, Jesus!!!….”

Just over 3 years old, and she may have discovered daddy’s kryptonite. I’ve studied quite a bit of theology over the years but I’ve never had to consider the theology of the time out.

What about you? What clever ways have your kids found to get out of discipline?

  1. Veronica
    March 24, 2011 at 10:25 am

    bwahahahahaha! What a little (evil?) genius. That is so cute! We didn’t get time outs growing up, we got spankings, and we never did figure out a way to get out of those. Of course we preferred advance warning so we could put on an extra layer or two. 🙂

    • Pop
      March 24, 2011 at 10:34 am

      Bwaha! That reminded me of my childhood. I’d get on my thickest sweatpants I could 😀 What I would’ve given to have had time outs back then.

  2. KLZ
    March 24, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Alex is eighteen months old. When I give him a warning “Do x or Y will happen.” he just thinks about it and then just goes to do Y himself. Which….I don’t really know what to do with.

    • Pop
      March 24, 2011 at 10:35 am

      One time, D1 sat in the time out chair and said, “I need a time out.” Seriously. What do you do with that? Do you just say, “Ok” and go eat a sandwich?

  3. March 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    You can tell her that Jesus doesn’t talk to bad little kids…wait…would that be too damaging?

    We put my son in time out and it seems to go pretty well. Ok, sometimes it goes well.

    • Pop
      March 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      LOL. Maybe I should’ve just stuck with Santa Claus. I wouldn’t feel so bad if she cried to Santa for help and he never came AND never brought her toys. 😛

  4. March 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    LOL! This reminds me of the time I put my youngest in time out (in his booster seat at the table because it buckled and I knew he couldn’t get down) and when his “time” was up and I took him down, he cried because he wanted to eat. I have a food lover. 😉

    • Pop
      March 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      The kid has his priorities straight.

      One time, I sat D2 in her seat not for a time out but because I had to do something and she’s mobile now. And when I was done, I took her down and she began shouting at me b/c she thought it was time to eat.

  5. kim
    March 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    She’s just practicing her preaching skills 🙂 We’ve taught all our kids to pray when it thunders — sometimes it works and sometimes I have kids in my bed. Violet is a Baptist minister in training and whenever a member of the family gets hurt can be heard shouting, “Dear JeeZus, help John/Sarah/Mommy/Daddy! Come and heeaaall them!” Sarah prays for God to not make us make her eat. John asks God “Let me not talk.” So I totally think D1 is on the right path and you are a rocking the Christian parenting!!

    • Pop
      March 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      LOL. Those are awesome examples, Kim!

  6. March 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    OMG. I needed to read this. So funny.
    I can only imagine the prayers that would be going through my daughter’s head, my husband’s too, for that matter.

    • Pop
      March 30, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      Hehe. I can only imagine when you were fiending for the donuts.

  7. March 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    In Target last week I heard a mom telling her kids if they continued to misbehave she’d tell the Easter Bunny and he wouldn’t bring them any presents. When did a Bunny become Santa? Is this like the Tooth Fairy now bringing $20 instead of a quarter? I don’t think I can afford to have kids, or I’ll have to pretend we’re Jehovah Witness until I start bringing in the big bucks!

    • Pop
      March 25, 2011 at 10:04 am

      I guess once the kids are in school, you don’t have as much control, but over a toddler, you have one awesome parenting tool: lying.

      D1 thinks doing the dishes is so fun! She can’t wait to get bigger and help with the dishes and taking out the trash. Sometimes, I get tired of the act (smiling when I’m doing the dishes or laughing while taking out the trash), but I know that a few years of hardship will result in decades of sitting on my butt while my kids work.

  8. March 25, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Doomed. You are doomed doomed doomed.

    My clearest memory of discipline was telling two-year-old Child A, after he had bitten a little girl at day care badly, that if it ever ever happened again that I would spank him.

    This little boy, who had never been spanked in his life, looked up at me with huge frightened blue eyes and said, “Never again, Mommy.”

    Which, in retrospect, made me wonder what the heck he thought “spanking” was?

    Never bit again, though.


    • Pop
      March 25, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Maybe I should just make up a crazy, scary sounding word. “If you don’t stop, you’re going to get a kerplunkinating”

  9. March 25, 2011 at 2:34 am

    Did he answer?

    • Pop
      March 25, 2011 at 10:08 am

      I like to think I was an instrument of the mercy of God. I haven’t been able to use a time out since.

  10. March 25, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    My son gets sent to his room for time out. Potty training him to poop not only regularly but in a potty has been a challenge. He has a little potty in his room to help facilitate pooping in the potty. So, when he gets sent to his room, within moments of punishment, he has pooped, needs his but wiped, and looks at me with big blue eyes & says “are you proud of me mommy??”


    • Pop
      March 29, 2011 at 9:05 am

      wow. That’s tough. And when faced w/ moments like that, I take a step back and remember how manipulative D1 can be. 😛

  11. March 26, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Praying to get out of time out? What a clever, clever tactic. And such a smart little thing. Methinks D1 is going to give you guys a run for your money. 🙂

    • Pop
      March 29, 2011 at 9:05 am

      Going to? Sadly, that needs to be put in the past/present tense.

  12. March 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    we found that time out did not work. i was really hoping it would, dangit.
    so we’ve resorted to (GASP!) a swat on the bare butt. I haven’t had to do it yet and i’m not looking forward to it. sigh.

    • Pop
      April 1, 2011 at 9:49 am

      It’s definitely a tough decision. My wife and I have talked about it, and we’re still debating the spanking issue. Disciplining is so not fun but so necessary.

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