Help! I Just Found Out That My Friend Locks Her Toddlers In Their Rooms At Night And For Naps!!!!!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was talking to my friend on the phone, and I just learned about how she deals with their toddlers. Now that they are no longer sleeping in their cribs, she locks them in their rooms at night! When i heard this, my first instinct was to totally lose it on her like I would have in times past. But, because I wanted to get my message across, and because I really wanted to show some progress, I fought back my extreme rage, counted to ten and breathed deeply befor asking her this, "Seriously? Are you kidding when you say this, or do you really do this?

"I really do this."

"Why," I asked.

"Because now that they have outgrown their cribs, I have to keep them in their rooms. I mean, I don't want them crawling into bed with me since it is my time, and i don't need them getting into things."

Outch! Now, here is when I would have lost it. How could a mother say such a thing? This is so heartless! Surprisingly, I did not. I remembered what I had learned in spiritual counceling and kept my composure. I remembered that I had an objective. My objective was that I wanted to convince her that it was not right to do. I remembered that if I lost my temper, the message woudl be lost with it.

"You know?" I began. "Have you ever thought that your children would be afraid to be locked in their rooms? Have you ever thought that they want to be close to you?"

"Well," she said, "they'll have to get used to it. I can't be there for them all the time. I love my children. They just have to go to bed when I say they have to. If they cry, they cry."

Though I was hurt beyond belief, and though my heart was torn into a million pieces, I managed to tell her what I believed and how I took care of children. I shared my experienced as i would an interchange of ideas. I did not want to tell her what she should be doing, as I did not want her to be on the defensive. I had the big picture that I wanted to share more with her in the future. So, I just shared my beliefs and my ideas in conversation.

Needless to say, when i hung up the phone, I cried. I'm still crying now. I'm so confused. Part of me is proud that I did not burst into rage, and the other half of me is so mad at myself because I felt I should have yelled at her and told her how crazy she was. I'm feeling so lost and confused. I hate having Aspergers, as it really impairs my way of doing things and reacting. Yeah, I'm getting much better, and I can update you all on that soon, but I just needed to sound this off tonight since i was so troubled. I'll probably have ightmares when I go to sleep tonight.

Did I handle it right?

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#2 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:18 AM
 
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Are the toddlers at least in the same room so they can have each other's company?

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#3 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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I think you handled it great.

I don't know what I would have said. I would have been pretty stunned and probably found an excuse to get off the phone.

My son sleeps in a toddler bed, yes he gets up but we just tuck him back in. We sit in his room with him at night and sometimes we do have to put him back to bed several times, but that is part of the job. When he wakes up crying at night, I go back in to check on him and he goes back to sleep.

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#4 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:27 AM
 
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Yes, I think you handled that extremely well. I'm not a particularly passionate person but I would have become agitated too--so congrats on keeping your cool.

I would ask her how she locks them in. If it's a key and keyhole, I'd point out that that could be very dangerous in the event of fire. (Is it even legal to lock children in a room all night? If it's not illegal, it should be.)
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#5 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Are the toddlers at least in the same room so they can have each other's company?


NO, they live in a three bedroom house. They are in separate rooms. One is two and is still in diapers and can barely talk. The other is four and is poty trained, but she leaves his potty chair in his room. This is so upsetting. It is so sad.

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#6 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:31 AM
 
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you're better then me. i would have frilling lost it.
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#7 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:34 AM
 
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yeah, i think you handled it well. although i have no idea what i would've done.

um, aside from the fact that it's just plain sad to lock them in their rooms, what about the saftey issue of it all? I mean, obviously she's there, but still. they couldn't get out if they *really* needed to.

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#8 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I think you handled that extremely well. I'm not a particularly passionate person but I would have become agitated too--so congrats on keeping your cool.

I would ask her how she locks them in. If it's a key and keyhole, I'd point out that that could be very dangerous in the event of fire. (Is it even legal to lock children in a room all night? If it's not illegal, it should be.)



I did ask her. i left that part out. Sorry for that, guys. I was just floded with confusion and sadness and rage while typing my first post. I had to get it out. I had to sound it off. So, I did leave out that detail and probably some others, too. But, if you have questions, and I kow the answers and it was something I forgot to mention, I will definitely answer them so as to give the full picture.

She said that she turned the doorknobs backwards. I still feel it is abusive, sad, and dangerous all at the same time. I told my mother about it, as I was so distressed, and she said that she was psychotic and a few other choice words. She tried at comforting me. (My mother is also receiving my beliefs in attachment parenting much better than she used to. We had some heart to heart conversations, and it really helps that I can have a discussion without it ending in rage because someone endorses something that I think is cruel and abusive, such as crying it out.) It did help, but I'm so upset. I don't know if it is illegal, but i'm tempted to call social services on her and remain unknown and report her. I know she is my friend, but children are involved, and some of me feels obligated. I'm fighting inside. I know that they don't view CIO as abuse, which they should since it could not be done to elderly and mentally challenged people, but I'm not sure what they'd say about locking kids in a room all night. And get this. She doesn't let them out until eight in the morning. She said that she needs time to get up, have her time, and then she will deal with the kids. Outch outch outch! My heart! It hurts right now!

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#9 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:45 AM
 
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#10 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:46 AM
 
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I'd call CPS & find out if they consider it abusive (it should be!!) & report her. It's incredibly cruel, imo.

You did much better than I would have, since I'd probably have screamed at her, hung up & immediately reported her.

Did you ask her about the safety issue or were you too upset to think about that at the time?

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#11 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:50 AM
 
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I think you did the best that anyone could have done in that situation. You're right - blowing up at her would have just put her on the defensive and your message would have been lost. At least this way there is a chance she might think about your viewpoint and perhaps realize that what she is doing to her kids is NOT okay. Doesn't sound like it, but you never know.

I really don't get how parents can be SO self-centered, to the point of neglect. Yes, I value my 'me' time too, and at times I am short-tempered and just want to be left alone -- but I would never in a million years dream of doing that. Those poor babies.

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#12 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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you're better then me. i would have frilling lost it.





Usually, i would have since i have extreme anger and rage issues. No, I'm not in constant rage. i have rage when I think an injustice is being done, especially when children are involved. I was abused as a child, and I've been through many more things and witnessed much more than someone could in three lifetimes. I'm scarred for life though I'm striving hard to get better. i also suffer from Aspergers, which doesn't help, either, as it caused extreme feelings to come up. Nonetheless, when I suspect something is wrong, my reaction was to flip out in rage ad osmetimes get physical, as all that was on my mind was that I had to liberate the child or weak person, even if it appeared crazy. Bt now, I'm learning some techniques to deal with my anger though it will never stop me from fighting for justice and standing up for those that need it. I'm learning to have discussions without it ending in rage, and I'm learning how to cope. Thank God. I am starting to feel peace now though I can't tollerate the injustice.

I'm so surprised I stayed calm. I really am.

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#13 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:52 AM
 
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She said that she needs time to get up, have her time, and then she will deal with the kids. Outch outch outch! My heart! It hurts right now!
Not that I am advocating what she is doing at all, but if she does NEED her time, I'd hate to think of what she would do to those kids if she didn't get it.

My kids, now 3 and 4 have both been in their own rooms in their own beds since they were both about a year old. Before that, they were in our room in a crib. They DO NOT co-sleep well. NONE of us gets any sleep. They need their own space. I close their doors when they are trying to go to sleep because that is what THEY need. They both like to look at books and listen to music and have their own time. I'd love to hold and cuddle them to sleep, but they won't have it.

After they are asleep, I open their doors and if they get up, they get up. I don't think there is anything wrong with closing a kid's door, but locking it for all night seems...psychotic. AND dangerous. What if something happens to her and they are locked in there and no one knows? I'd be tempted to report her anonymously.
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#14 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:55 AM
 
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I lock ds in his room. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Yeah, I commit the daily crime of putting a baby lock on the inside of his door. I get paranoid about the possibility of him sleep-walking or coming out of the house and me not hearing him on the monitor. That said, if he cries, I do go into his room and sit with him until he's back asleep.

In the morning, he says, "Come in, Mummy!"

I do have a friend who doesn't go in for her daughter right away, though. Her daughter wakes up and plays in her room quietly until her mom comes in. This started when my friend had just had a second baby and was completely exhausted.

I don't agree with CIO in general, but other than that I'm not sure what the problem is.
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#15 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd call CPS & find out if they consider it abusive (it should be!!) & report her. It's incredibly cruel, imo.

You did much better than I would have, since I'd probably have screamed at her, hung up & immediately reported her.

Did you ask her about the safety issue or were you too upset to think about that at the time?


I asked her that what if there was a fire. What if they got sick? She said that they would be okay and that she'd come ot them if they cried in the night. But to me, i is not okay. NOt in the least bit! I'm severely closterphobic--I hope I spelled it correctly--and the thought of being locked in a room, especially as a small child not fully understanding the world and that they are safe is so scary. I can't wrap my mind around it. Maybe, it was better that I was my mother's child and not hers.

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#16 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 12:59 AM
 
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good for you! i know what you mean about the rage. i get it a lot too. especially when i see someone hurting someone and no one will stop it. Circ, CIO, and Spanking are big ones for.. i can't even debate them with people.. who disagree...telling them they are cruel and should never have children (i am 21 and the only one with a child ... my friends are at the disadvantage of having no experience what so ever and being selfish overall which i hope will change when they become parents)

NIP is another one.. just because stupidity is my biggest bet peeve after cruelty.

btw i agree call CPS.
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#17 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:05 AM
 
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My brother has done the same thing with his three children. The youngest is 2 and is locked in her room at night. I think the other two (7 and 5 yr old) aren't anymore. He has a plastic cover on the inside door knob. It has tabs that you have to press in that grasp the door knob. I can see using something like this to keep a small child out of a room like an office but I always thought it was potentially dangerous to use it to lock a child in a room. My parents actually think it's pretty cool and have commented that they wish they had something like that when we were kids. This is the way he keeps the LO in her room when it's time for bed. I remember a night I was over to his house years ago when the oldest was around 2. She fell asleep on the floor right by the door with her hand sticking out. My brother said that was normal.

The crazy thing is that I haven't been around many (if any) kids except for my nieces so I always thought that this was just the normal thing to do. It always struck me as cruel but I didn't have kids so who was I to know any better? That's a big reason why I'm so glad I found MDC. This place has taught me to question a lot of things I've seen my brother do and a lot of things I've heard my parents praise.
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#18 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:07 AM
 
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I lock ds in his room. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Yeah, I commit the daily crime of putting a baby lock on the inside of his door. I get paranoid about the possibility of him sleep-walking or coming out of the house and me not hearing him on the monitor. That said, if he cries, I do go into his room and sit with him until he's back asleep.

In the morning, he says, "Come in, Mummy!"

I do have a friend who doesn't go in for her daughter right away, though. Her daughter wakes up and plays in her room quietly until her mom comes in. This started when my friend had just had a second baby and was completely exhausted.

I don't agree with CIO in general, but other than that I'm not sure what the problem is.
It's good to get another perspective on this. I hadn't considered the sleepwalking issue. However, the woman in question apparently has very different motives from you in locking her children up.
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#19 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:07 AM
 
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Can she hear them if they're sick? What if they're throwing up in the middle of the night? Scared? All these things have happened to my kids over the years.

I think she'd be better off putting a lock on her door. That way they could bang on the door if they needed her. Early in our marriage, dh and I locked our bedroom door during 'our time', to keep curious little boys from wandering in. But I would never, ever, ever EVER lock a child in their room.

Or else what about putting a baby gate on their door- that way they could still call her if they needed to. Not that it's the best option, but if she's intent on keeping them in their, it seems less lonely with a gate than a locked door.
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#20 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:11 AM
 
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I'd call cps as well.

What she's doing is both dangerous and neglectful.

Oh, and I'd certainly no longer be counting her among my friends.

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#21 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I lock ds in his room. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Yeah, I commit the daily crime of putting a baby lock on the inside of his door. I get paranoid about the possibility of him sleep-walking or coming out of the house and me not hearing him on the monitor. That said, if he cries, I do go into his room and sit with him until he's back asleep.

In the morning, he says, "Come in, Mummy!"

I do have a friend who doesn't go in for her daughter right away, though. Her daughter wakes up and plays in her room quietly until her mom comes in. This started when my friend had just had a second baby and was completely exhausted.

I don't agree with CIO in general, but other than that I'm not sure what the problem is.


I did not feel that you had to be so mean and sarcastic about it. However, I will say that I do understand your concerns about him wondering and getting hurt and stuff. I did not mean to strike a nerve or offend you. I just can't lock my child in a room. i just think it is cruel, and I'll stick to that.

Just a thought, but have you tried cosleeping? I'd do that before anything else. I personally feel that there are other creative ways one could take to make sure a child is safe.

Oh, and no worries. I don't think of you as a bad person. It is obvious that you are not neglectful to your son, and that is good. My friend--I may now cal her my ex-friend, as I have not decided yet since I still want to help her change--has very different motives than yours.

As for your friend, I won't get into what I think about that. No matter the exhaustion I feel, I'd never do that to my child, not at all. I'd call on reinforcements if things got tough. We are not islands, we need one another. I have other friends who believe in attachment parenting to the extreme as I do and would not turn their back on their babies literally that I'd trust my children to stay with. I've already trusted them with my life on a few occasions. Right now, i care for my friend's child, whom I consider to be as well just my own, until she gets out of trouble, but when I have my own children someday, I'll trust them in those friend's care.

I'm glad to know though that you do go in and comfort him when he cries. That is very good of you. You are an awesome mother for that, as your ensure that his emotional needs are met. Good for you. I give you points for that. Way to go. Keep up the good work.

You are a single mom? Wow! It must be tough. It has to be. I have friends who are single mothers, and they sometimes have trouble. Sometimes, i'll take the kids when they feel tired so they can rest up, and the needs of the kids don't go by the way side. It is all about helping people. That is my nature, and sometimes, it got me into trouble. More self control has helped. If I lived closer, I'd offer to help you out, also. Take care of yourself. Stay strong. If you ever need to vent, I will listen. My skype name is on my profile, and i have free world wide calling. So, if long distance is a problem--I did not look to see if you had a location listed--I can call you if you send me an email that you are frustrated or just need someone. Reaching out is one of my favorite things to do, especially to ones in need, such as single arents. When I help someone, I feel fulfilled and warm inside.

Sorry again if I offended you.

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#22 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:17 AM
 
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good for you! i know what you mean about the rage. i get it a lot too. especially when i see someone hurting someone and no one will stop it. Circ, CIO, and Spanking are big ones for.. i can't even debate them with people.. who disagree...telling them they are cruel and should never have children (i am 21 and the only one with a child ... my friends are at the disadvantage of having no experience what so ever and being selfish overall which i hope will change when they become parents)

NIP is another one.. just because stupidity is my biggest bet peeve after cruelty.

btw i agree call CPS.
Just wait until you turn 40 like me and want more children and your strong advocacy could get more fierce. My young twins are not ready to wander in the night so rather than put them in a bed and lock the door they are 2 1/2 and in their cribs. We have stairs that we can't alter the wall to install a gate(rental) and there are lots of danger areas that especially one of my girls could get into trouble without proper supervision. I LOOOVE my time to myself but I'd like to think I get it in a more gentle way..........our girls wake up every night, EVERY and I don't go in and beat them senseless, these are my babies and we'd like more. As a PP said, I'd surely hate to think how things would be if that mother *didn't* get her alone time. WOW!

But yeah, most toddlers are in toddler beds by now, mine aren't, they're safe and their door is open and I can hear them *toot* in their sleep, no danger that I'll miss them being sick or crying.

I'd just check the legalities on locking children in their room for peace of mind.

BTW, the word is claustrophobic. Sorry I teach 2 languages! You did well though, you acted with love and that's always the best approach! xo

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#23 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:23 AM
 
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I remember a night I was over to his house years ago when the oldest was around 2. She fell asleep on the floor right by the door with her hand sticking out. My brother said that was normal.
That is so sad

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#24 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:24 AM
 
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I did not feel that you had to be so mean and sarcastic about it. However, I will say that I do understand your concerns about him wondering and getting hurt and stuff. I did not mean to strike a nerve or offend you. I just can't lock my child in a room. i just think it is cruel, and I'll stick to that.
I make a choice that comes from a place of serious thought and consideration over how to best protect my child from danger.

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Just a thought, but have you tried cosleeping? I'd do that before anything else. I personally feel that there are other creative ways one could take to make sure a child is safe.
Are we still on MDC? Of course I've tried cosleeping! I coslept for two years. Again, I made a very thoughtful decision to move ds into his own room, and he is very happy about it. If anyone needs any tips on transitioning a child with care, and making the room an inviting rather than scary place, I'm your gal

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As for your friend, I won't get into what I think about that. No matter the exhaustion I feel, I'd never do that to my child, not at all. I'd call on reinforcements if things got tough. We are not islands, we need one another.
Actually, at the time, my friend was completely isolated from family and friends. In fact, she had moved away from her incredibly toxic, abusive family. And her child was HAPPY to play for half an hour when she woke up. No big deal.

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I have other friends who believe in attachment parenting to the extreme as I do and would not turn their back on their babies literally that I'd trust my children to stay with. I've already trusted them with my life on a few occasions. Right now, i care for my friend's child, whom I consider to be as well just my own, until she gets out of trouble, but when I have my own children someday, I'll trust them in those friend's care.

I'm glad to know though that you do go in and comfort him when he cries. That is very good of you. You are an awesome mother for that, as your ensure that his emotional needs are met. Good for you. I give you points for that. Way to go. Keep up the good work.
Thank you, I *am* an awesome mother

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You are a single mom? Wow! It must be tough. It has to be. I have friends who are single mothers, and they sometimes have trouble. Sometimes, i'll take the kids when they feel tired so they can rest up, and the needs of the kids don't go by the way side. It is all about helping people. That is my nature, and sometimes, it got me into trouble. More self control has helped. If I lived closer, I'd offer to help you out, also. Take care of yourself.
I actually love being a single mom, and it's the best choice I've ever made in my life. I have a great support system though, and I'm doing just fine. Plus, I know how complicated and busy your life must be.
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#25 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:25 AM
 
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I lock ds in his room. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Yeah, I commit the daily crime of putting a baby lock on the inside of his door. I get paranoid about the possibility of him sleep-walking or coming out of the house and me not hearing him on the monitor. That said, if he cries, I do go into his room and sit with him until he's back asleep.

In the morning, he says, "Come in, Mummy!"

I do have a friend who doesn't go in for her daughter right away, though. Her daughter wakes up and plays in her room quietly until her mom comes in. This started when my friend had just had a second baby and was completely exhausted.

I don't agree with CIO in general, but other than that I'm not sure what the problem is.
We put a child lock on the inside of DS's door too. He would get up and wander around the house without waking us up. We were afraid he would leave the house as he was tall enough and smart enough to unlock and open the outside doors. :

But we always responded to him if he called for us.

Joy wife to DH, mom to DS1 (4/2005): DD (5/2007) : : DS2 (1/2009 :
I do what works and when it stops working, then I do something else.
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#26 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My brother has done the same thing with his three children. The youngest is 2 and is locked in her room at night. I think the other two (7 and 5 yr old) aren't anymore. He has a plastic cover on the inside door knob. It has tabs that you have to press in that grasp the door knob. I can see using something like this to keep a small child out of a room like an office but I always thought it was potentially dangerous to use it to lock a child in a room. My parents actually think it's pretty cool and have commented that they wish they had something like that when we were kids. This is the way he keeps the LO in her room when it's time for bed. I remember a night I was over to his house years ago when the oldest was around 2. She fell asleep on the floor right by the door with her hand sticking out. My brother said that was normal.

The crazy thing is that I haven't been around many (if any) kids except for my nieces so I always thought that this was just the normal thing to do. It always struck me as cruel but I didn't have kids so who was I to know any better? That's a big reason why I'm so glad I found MDC. This place has taught me to question a lot of things I've seen my brother do and a lot of things I've heard my parents praise.


I'm so thankful for MDC also. It has started me on my journey to wellness. I owe so much to the mods and the people here. I'd like to donate some money to keep things going here, as I support any community who believes in what I do.

Even when I was not caring for any children, I thought things such as spanking, CIO, locking children in a room--my aunt did it too to my cousin--and cursing at kids among other things were cruel. To me, it always seemed like common sense that one would not do those things. Also, because I was severely abused--not by my parents--I had a one up on having insight into how one would treat another individual, especially a child. I can't say that I was thankful that I was abused. But, I can say that I have insight into many things that so many would not have usualy.

The story about your brother's children made me cry. i mean, should the first years of life be spent spend locked up in isolation away from love, especially at bedtime. The scary thing is that when these children cry out out of fear, they are just being ignored as being rebelious and sent on their way despite their pleas for comfort and their strongest efforts to tell their parents the did not want to be alone. As for his littlest one having her hand sticking out under the door and falling asleep there, that is common sense thatshe is hating the situation. Something tells me that she cried there until she was exhausted, and because no comfort or relief was forth coming, she had no choice but to fall asleep there at the door where she was begging to be let out of, well, her jail cell.

I have to give people like this to God. He can handle it better than I can.

I am married to my soul mate and best friend, and I am truly blessed.

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#27 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Can she hear them if they're sick? What if they're throwing up in the middle of the night? Scared? All these things have happened to my kids over the years.

I think she'd be better off putting a lock on her door. That way they could bang on the door if they needed her. Early in our marriage, dh and I locked our bedroom door during 'our time', to keep curious little boys from wandering in. But I would never, ever, ever EVER lock a child in their room.

Or else what about putting a baby gate on their door- that way they could still call her if they needed to. Not that it's the best option, but if she's intent on keeping them in their, it seems less lonely with a gate than a locked door.


I like the gate idea and keeping all the doors open. I'd do this so long as my children were okay with sleeping without me. That is an idea.

I am married to my soul mate and best friend, and I am truly blessed.

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#28 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:29 AM
 
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As for his littlest one having her hand sticking out under the door and falling asleep there, that is common sense thatshe is hating the situation. Something tells me that she cried there until she was exhausted, and because no comfort or relief was forth coming, she had no choice but to fall asleep there at the door where she was begging to be let out of, well, her jail cell.

I have to give people like this to God. He can handle it better than I can.
That's what I was picturing, too, and it breaks my heart. I don't understand the lack of compassion and understanding. How does a parent just ignore that basic need?

~e, wife to my sweet T partners.gif, mama to my turtleman (8) , sunshine (6 vbac.gif), and monkey (2)
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#29 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:32 AM
 
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I don't lock my son in his room but I do put a baby gate up and leave the door cracked. in the morning he says "open the gate please mommy!!!" or I hear him starting to stir and I come and let him out. It does seem dangerous to lock the child in the room. But I don't think it's illegal unfortunately, unless there is other neglect going on.

Julie, wife and mother. I love my little ones: DS ::Corbin Randall---6/06 and DD :Morgan Reese 12/08.
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#30 of 236 Old 11-26-2008, 01:35 AM
 
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I don't lock my son in his room but I do put a baby gate up and leave the door cracked. in the morning he says "open the gate please mommy!!!" or I hear him starting to stir and I come and let him out. It does seem dangerous to lock the child in the room. But I don't think it's illegal unfortunately, unless there is other neglect going on.
i think a gate makes sense as a safety thing... you don't want them running around and opening doors or something. in our old apt none of the doors locked so a gate would have made the most sense. plus they can see and hear you and vice versa
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