This weekend, my middle son, Tris (3) was sitting with me on the couch and he said to me, “Dad, you love me every time.”
I laughed initially at his wording. It’s a wonderful sentiment summed up incorrectly. But then I realized that it was also very true. Not just that I love him, but I love him “every time”. I love him when he’s being good, and I love him when he’s being bad, and I love him when he’s driving me to the liquor cabinet to pour a double shot of something strong and cheap.
We try very hard not to use any corporal punishment. This is not a reflection on anyone else. This was a parenting choice that we made. We use time outs which have just as many, if not more, tears and crying, and that seems to balance the universe.
After time out, we ask them why they had to sit there, what they should do in the future, and then we require hugs and say, “I love you.” Because we do.
I find the hugs are the best part of time out, not because the whole issue is over, but because it tells my boys that it was the action that was wrong, not the boy. The boy is still good.
And I love all my boys, every time.