How I learned to let go of fear, anxiety, shame when my son gets in trouble

While tucking my son into bed tonight I was flooded by grief and joy simultaneously. He is eight, so I am used to this. Every time he goes and grows up he leaves me with this memory of the younger boy he left behind that day, vanishing in my arms as I reach down to kiss him goodbye. Tonight is different though. Tonight, perhaps I am the one who grew up a little bit too. It's amazing what a call from school can do.

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Imaginary friends, no time outs, and two more ways we're compassionately disciplining our preschooler

So here's the thing about discipline in our house: up until recently, we had no idea what to do about it. We went through a flirtation with time-outs for a while — we had a special chair that was in a special spot, and whenever it seemed appropriate, we followed through with asking/making our then-toddler sit in time out. It never felt totally "right" but it didn't feel wrong, and it was better than other alternatives we knew of at the time.

I had to ground my step-son for the first time and it made me feel like a "real" parent

I love my little man. He's seven, and while not mine by birth, he sure as hell is mine by love. The four of us parents, (mom, step dad, dad, and me — step mom) get along pretty well, and while we disagree on some things, we try to compromise and present a united front. Usually, this isn't too hard — he's a good kid, hardly ever misbehaves, and for the most part a good talk will prevent any major infractions of the rules. That is, it was easy until yesterday.