Let’s look at the tag line, shall we?
“In a brain scan, relational pain–that caused by isolation during punishment–can look the same as physical abuse. Is alone in the corner the best place for your child?”
First of all, I’m not buying that a) having my child sit on the stairs (or in the corner) for 2 minutes with me two feet away qualifies as “isolation” and b) that a time out is the same as beating a child with my fists. Can we all just agree that equating sitting in the corner for a few minutes with physical abuse is . . . crazy? It minimizes the experience of physical abuse, a real and horrible experience for too many kids. And it piles on the guilt to any parent who ever put a child in time out. Which is just about every parent I know, myself included.
I hate this kind of thing. I hate it when people — especially other parents and “professionals” — use fear and guilt to sell their product.Doctors, therapists, and researchers are always telling us there’s a better way. Give it time and then they’ll tell us this better way is actually detrimental, all the while pointing the finger at us. I’m over the whole trend of telling parents we are doing it wrong: We’re feeding our kids the wrong foods. We’re not putting them to bed wrong. We’re giving the wrong consequences. And the worst one: the way we are loving and connecting with our child is wrong.
Whatever we do seems to be labeled as “not enough” or “wrong” by someone because it’s not their way and/or it’s not giving 100% of ourselves 100% of the time. Maybe we checked Twitter on the 12th round of Candy Land. Or possibly we dared to put ourselves before our child — “No, Mommy can’t have a tea party with you right now. Mommy needs to take a nap because she has a headache.” We have committed the cardinal sin: we were not present for our child. We are bad people and harmful parents. There are books and blogs that tell us so.
These books and blogs try to sell us a quick fix, an easy way to be a “good” parent: Have a sleep schedule! Put down your laptop! Give hugs instead of time outs! I want to tell these people that parenting is scary and lonely and that there is no one answer. Parenting can’t be judged in one moment or with one approach, otherwise we would all fail. Parenting is a layering of moments over years, not one afternoon. I want to tell these people that in each moment, we are doing the best we can with what we have at the time. It’s not always perfect or pretty, and sometimes it’s not even “good”. But we go on to the next minute, the next day, the next year. We keep doing. And what I want these people to see, to really see, is that we’re doing a damn good job.
And then I wan’t them to give us chocolate and fall to their knees with apologies for the pain, guilt, and divisiveness they have caused. I suppose we can let up to go work on their new book, “You Are Awesome and You’re Doing Everything Right”.