Go to Your Room. And Then Come Out.

The go-to punishment in our house is a common one: go to your room.

Now, I know that that’s a hot-button for Rory–go away from me, because you’re bad–and although she gets the sending, she rarely gets the leaving (other attempts, like a time-out chair and such, failed). She gets an immediate parental visit, a hug, a reminder of why she’s there, and nearly always, instant release–which she then inevitably refuses to take.

I’ve talked about this before–how hard it was to see that she needed to be soothed and brought out of her room, not left to come out on her own–and the various compromises and attempts we’ve made with  it–we still won’t make a big party of her to excuse her behavior. Suffice it to say, we’ve mostly sorted it–and today we had a big breakthrough.

I walked into the kitchen to find her kneeling on the counter—as in, feet, body, everything, up on the kitchen counter. This falls into the category of absolute nos at our house, no, not under any circumstances, no, never. It’s hard for monkey Rory to remember–I honestly  think she doesn’t see climbing on things as much different from walking–but she does know, and there’s no doubt about that. So–go to your room–and she went, instantly, and forgot to even start to cry until she was nearly all the way there.

Then, of course, she wailed–and wailed, and I went up, and I said, as simply as possible, you knew better, and you got sent to your room, and I am not mad, and I love you, and you can come downstairs now.

I don’t wanna.

I gave her the hug, I repeated the words. I don’t wanna.

I went downstairs, finished dinner, came back. Come on down now.

I don’t wanna.

This is a power struggle we’ve had before, and my inclination with any other kid would be to leave her to it—but that’s not right for Rory, who needs choices and control. It’s time to come down for dinner, i said, and if you don’t come down for dinner, then I’ll come up and get you ready for bed. And more words to that effect, and finally, gently, you need to come down before dinner’s on the table, or I’ll know you want me to come help you with your pjs.

I went down. I heard some noises, and called upstairs–Rory, come make your chocolate milk! Nothing. Rory, come choose your plate! Shuffle, shuffle thump. I called again, a couple of times-I could hear her inching her way down the stairs until she appeared–and got a hug, and the chance to stir her chocolate milk, and dinner.

She came down by herself. She recovered herself. It felt big.

And later, when Wyatt got sent to his room for jumping on the couch, I reminded her–see, when you break a rule, you go to your room–and all was good.

And then Lily pushed me over the edge and got sent to her room for the whole rest of the night–but that’s another story.

5 Responses to “Go to Your Room. And Then Come Out.”

  1. Wuxi Mommy says:

    We, too, tried a dozen things and finally decided on “going to your room” as our best option for SuSu. We didn’t feel quite right about it at first, but everything else failed, and so we went with plan Z. SuSu also used to refuse to come back out of her room when time-out was all done, but now, she bounces right up and comes flying down the steps when time out is finished. I found that if I got busy with another activity, that her interest in staying in her room vanished and curiosity brought her downstairs:)

  2. When my daughter Annie (27) was a toddler, she misbehaved somehow, and I told her to “go to her room.” Always smart and stubborn, she calmly closed the door to the room I WAS IN, and said, “No, you STAY in your room!” I have never been able to outsmart that one! molly

  3. My (almost six year old) Maddy is like this too. She’ll misbehave and be sent to timeout and will refuse to come out afterwards. I’ve never been able to understand why she does this because it just makes her punishment so much more miserable. I know she want me to be sorry for putting her in time out but I refuse to play that game anymore because she’s getting much too old for it.

    Now I say to her “You pulled your sister’s hair but she’s okay now and you can come out of timeout anytime you want to” Then I pretend not to notice that she’s launching into her serious sulk mode.

    She can’t accept criticism at all and ultimately ends up mad at us for punishing her. If I go to her and soothe her, she rejects me. It’s like she wants me to be punished for punishing her. I do pretty much what you did and she’ll eventually come out of timeout.

    When she’s fully recovered and back to her happy self, I have a better opportunity to talk to her about how to deal with her frustration (anger?) at being corrected. She’s usually a happy little girl but any correction is a BIG deal to her.

    I bet puberty is going to be fun times in our house! 😉

    Our Blog: Double Happiness!

  4. oh i say “go to your room for everything”. now that i think about it she did used to refuse to come out. but being the mom i am, i was like “oh well.” and just went about my business. lol i know…that is not in the adoption how to books either. but she never refuses to come out anymore…so i think nobody has been scarred.