Originally Posted by monkey's mom
Well, of course. But, we're talking about withholding comfort to small children so that they learn to "self-soothe," not setting up healthy boundaries vs. getting sucked into dysfunction.
Based on your comments in this thread, I think you may be injecting some other issues into offering comfort to children in such a way that they feel secure, loved, and guided to comfort themselves and others.
I can't for the life of me understand how withholding comfort is going to achieve those same ends.
I think the converse is true, that people who are not comforted nor have had those emotional needs met, are much more likely to develop that bottomless pit of need. When a need is met, it goes away. When a need is unmet it merely resurfaces in new and interesting ways.
I agree, and that's why I think time-out sends such a confusing message conflating anger and withdrawal of love. When we send people away when we are angry with them, are they more likely to feel loved or unloved? I would contend that people who are sent away, would eventually become very fearful of others becoming angry with them.
It's not my intent to dissuade you. I'm just of the opinion that it's not terribly difficult for a mother to be 'sucked into' dysfunctional dynamics with a child, and that the process of establishing healthy boundaries begins in childhood.
I wouldn't characterize time out as 'sending people away' when we are angry with them; I view time out as a healthy break that can sometimes allow both parties to emotionally regroup and reorganize. Again...it's all dependent upon the particulars of each situation, the age of the child, the degree of upset of the child, and so forth and so on. If anger always meant a separation, perhaps a child would become fearful of anger. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a time and place for separation.
Separation with an infant or a toddler isn't good, IMO. A secure relationship has to be established before you go about the process of individuation. Once our children were at a point where separation seemed appropriate to us at times, there was already a strong foundation between us as parents and child. Separation and returning to each other seems like the natural way of things to us, like the process by which a toddler learns that it's okay to venture away from the mother because she will be there when the toddler returns. To me, there is also a step during which it is affirmed that separations are temporary and an opportunity to regroup.
I want to clarify that time out isn't something that we've used with great frequency. Since our kids have plenty of room to be kids, we don't need it all that much. In other words, we don't expect age inappropriate behaviors from our kids and we recognize that we are all human and make mistakes.
Making mistakes is safe, in our house. Part of the learning process, nothing to dread or to fear.