Peace After Punishment

Photo by Ron Lach on

Last night LM2 had a hard time. He was yelling and throwing himself a regular old fit in the middle of dinner. It was all very dramatic and loud. Think Vassily Primakov’s Opus 3 No. 1, around 3 minutes in.


I know, I know, you hear angry piano music when your kids start freaking out, too, right?!? It’s totally normal.

We’ve been a family to utilize time-out practices for a long time. But this year, especially after coming off a pandemic, we needed to reboot several practices in our home. The usual stuff just wasn’t working.

Following his fit, I walked LM2 up to his room, turned on the light, shut the door, and grabbed a few pillows to get comfortable. It was time for a “time in.”

“What’s bothering you?” I asked.

“Are you ready to talk about it?”

“No!” he shouted.

I breathed aloud in a way that made my breath audible. Not quite like a yoga lion’s breath (though I find this very appropriate in other instances), but something loud enough that he could notice. I didn’t ask him to breathe with me. But after a while, he did on his own.

Then LM2 reached for one of his paper airplanes and started to adjust its wings with a pair of scissors. I waited and breathed and listened to the calming silences between the sounds of his cutting.

Then, without prompt, LM2 told me why he was upset. He’d been given a punishment he didn’t understand. He hadn’t heard the warning delivered for it, either. It was all very upsetting. He thought it was unfair. He felt sideswiped.

Reading always brings me peace and teaches me something new! If you’ve read this one or something else helpful, drop a comment and let me know what you thought!

I explained the situation from our perspective. How he’d been asked to follow directions but was too busy building a slide out of the dining seat cushions. I explained how his words and actions had been hurtful. I told him that Daddy deserved an apology, and that speaking calmly would have been more helpful in this instance.

And then, without prompt, he got up, walked downstairs, offered a heartfelt apology, and finished eating his dinner. Like nothing had happened at all. Hugs and kisses included!

I breathed. Sighed. Picked up my fork.

To be 100% truthful, I felt tired from this exchange. It wasn’t easy. It was annoying and frustrating, especially at 6:45 p.m., when my day feels pretty done.

But finding that little extra energy brought about peace. And then we finished dinner. And shared our stories for the day and laughed.

And it was pretty peaceful.

Looking for more resources on mindfulness with kids? Check this out!

What brought you peace today? Share the peace!

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