Grown-up Timeout

I was talking to a friend the other day about different parenting techniques. What struck me as awesome was that her mom once put herself in a timeout after a harsh conflict with her brother. Genius.

My thought is that maybe there is something to this parental timeout that deserves some further investigating. It probably shouldn’t be limited to parents and children, but to many other humans. Like politicians, or grandparents, or everyone. Anyone who needs to stop and think about the choices that they are making.

When we find ourselves doing, saying, or acting out in a way that is unacceptable we need to put ourselves in a timeout. A forced “pause” in our lives to gain a fresh perspective on whatever is happening. A chance to think about what we did and how we can fix it or make it better. A chance to apologize before an emotional wound becomes septic and a person becomes bitter.

Imagine if you had the chance to actually stop and think about what is happening and how you are reacting to it. Would you change how you react? Would you change how you see the situation? Would you be able to stop yourself from falling down the negative thought hole you’re digging? Maybe not right away, but with time and practice things always get easier. Like learning to play an instrument, learn to play your mind. Maybe, in time, you won’t even think about stopping and making amends, it’ll happen naturally.

You need to remember that you are the boss of your life. Especially your mind. You may think that you have no control over the thoughts you have, but the truth is, those thought are there because you had them over and over until they became a habit. They became the automatic response to any given situation. This can be changed, but a chance to see what is happening from an outside perspective allows for a higher success rate. Hence, taking a timeout.

This is what makes a timeout so great. It’s not often that people get mad if you state that your kid needs a timeout. As a society we accept it as a way for them to learn from their mistakes and grow. In most situations we hope they learn not to be such a tiny a-hole and maybe they won’t grow up to be a big one.

Really not sure on the success rate for this. Lots of a-holes around. Can I be the one to put adults in to timeouts? “Sit there and think about how you are treating the underprivileged! And you can’t get up till you’re ready to say you’re sorry and help them!” Yeah, that’ll go over well.

Anyway. The idea is there. Probably best to start with the small things. The daily things that we immediately respond poorly to. Small changes can make great a impact in your life and the life of others. Just as we work to help children learn and grow, so should we always be working on our own learning and growing. I may be an adult, but I’m definitely not “grown up” and I never want to stop learning.

If you were given the option to have a timeout would you take it? I know I would. A timeout almost sounds peaceful.

Katie

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