When our children become too restless, you may develop a thought of locking them up in their room(s). But the worry is: would it be safe or unsafe? What are the views of other parents over this idea? How can one get through it with a smiling face? Well, let us have a look:
Can A “Loving” Parent Lock Up A Child in A Room Overnight?
Now the problem of having an insomniac kid is not a new problem for most parents. I tend to believe that we all face it at some point of parenthood. This occurrence is prevalent in our kids’ earliest ages; let’s say while a child is still young (below two years) and needs some cuddling in the middle of the night. But sometimes this habit prolongs way too long.
If you haven’t had one; then good for you! But then here is a little personal experience I had in the past. Tell me if this episode rings a bell somewhere in your mind:
It is late in the night, and we want to get our three-year-old baby to sleep.
My wife and I take him to his little separate bedroom and tell him a bedtime fable followed by a sweet, soothing lullaby from mama. He shortly falls asleep. We then lay him on his tiny bed, cover him, switch off the lights and head back to sleep in our bedroom.
After about an hour, he awakes, screams hysterically about seeing some “ghost” and creeps back to our bedroom.
As a loving parent, I carry him back, soothe him gain to sleep, and creep back to our room hoping to catch some sleep. But the nightmare of my kid’s insomnia happens again! Only that this time, he doesn't scream, he happens to be on my bed.
I repeat the same procedure over and over again. By the dawn of the following morning, my wife and I go to work without proper rest because of trying to tame our child.
Like a good parent, I think of getting a few toys to calm your child at night when he awakes.
Sure, enough, I buy him a pretty musical bed. But guess what? The toy didn’t do the trick. And this sends me back to the drawing board for more options. So, I start counting a day, two days; a week, a month, (maybe more than a month) without proper sleep because of the baby.
No online method for a "loving" parent to soothe their baby seems to be working. At this point, the thought of locking up my child in his room to prevent him from sneaking back into my room strikes my mind.
But I feel a little shy. This kid is my baby; this kid is my blood. Would locking up my child make me a parent or a game warden at the Central Park Zoo? Should you go ahead and do it? Or should you hold your horses?
Is Locking Your Child In A Room Cool? What Do Other People Think?
Martin Daubney wrote an article that stated this: "…I locked our toddler in his room to save our marriage", wrote Martin, "…my only regret is that I never did it six months ago." He added in conclusion.
Going by only those two phrases, Martin is probably the last person you would like to refer to as a “loving parent”. Consequently, the last person you might seek advice for the sake of your child. When I first read the statement, I was a bit astounded.
It didn't look cool at all. No child psychologist would easily recommend this. “What if the room goes in flames? What of the trauma that it causes to kids when they feel separated or uncared?” And that’s the exact reason I read it in the first place. I read it because it looked too strange.
So, I first read the article seeking to assess the content of a psycho. But after evaluating it a bit and related to personal experiences, I concluded that he might have been the most caring parent.
No doubt most parents had something to chip in. And with over a thousand comments and long threads from his writing, Martin’s article is probably the first resource you need to seek advice from among all online threads.
While the thought seemed eerie, I discovered that it is a practice done by several parents (I am trying to pretend that I never at times force my kids to behave themselves).
Some parents were critical. “…it might affect him as he might remember it subconsciously as an adult”, suggested one parent.
“We can’t lock them as prisoners or caged animals; it is our children.” “This is too extreme!” exclaimed another reader, “instead of telling our children a firm NO, we beat about the push and lock them”.
In a sense, these readers too had a point to state. But most of the parents were positive about the action.
“Who knew that all I needed to do was to buy a new electric drill and pay a visit to a carpenter for a new slider lock?” asked one parent who had seemingly tried it for the first time.
“…I lock them all the time I am cooking in their small room where they can play”, added another.
“…children must learn that they are not the centre of the world” argued a different reader, "and no single method works for all children. I do judge.”
I could list comments on end for this support. But here is what I could draw from the long story:
Why Do Parents Lock Their Kids?
1. To Protect Them From Doing Dangerous Acts
Kids are very crafty with inventing their danger. If you can’t control your kid’s actions because you want to look “cool” and “loving”, he/she might want to play alongside the stove when cooking. Well, guess what that is likely to do. Who will be blamed for being careless in this case?
2. Parents Too Need To Attend To Other Issues
Parenting might be a full-time job without pay or allowances. But then, at some point, we all need to have other activities to do or just rest. How can you do that in a better way than keeping your child save within a controlled and enclosed environment?
3. It Is A Form Of Disciplining Your Child
Some may say that this act is extreme. Sure, it is extreme, and that is why it should be the last resort to kids who are too persistent.
The truth is that every parent would want the best for their children. Locking up your child does not mean that you are making him a prisoner; once the child learns that mama is serious about not letting me dictate my wishes, he/she will begin to accept it and even call for it (as we will see below).
Okay. But, look…
What about the child’s safety in case of fire outbreak?
Well, isn't it more comfortable to trace the location of your child if he/she is within a confined environment than when letting the kid off to free-range all over the house? Locking your child would ensure your child's safety in case of an inferno.
Won't the child be traumatised by the sudden change of attitude from his/her parents?
Well, what do you think? Somehow, the child will be traumatised. But that is likely to be short-lived within the child’s memory depending on the approach you will take (consider reading the section below).
Here Is My Final Take: I Am Sure You Would Love To Do This
As you might have noted, letting your kid(s) trouble you all the night under the pretext of looking “cool” or “loving” as a parent is not a commendable thing. It even exposes your child to the danger that might cost you in case you kids wander off to hot zones unknowingly. But because you would want to retain a good rapport with your child and yet keep him/her controlled: you can try the following:
1. Give Them A Reason Why They Should Be In Controlled Environments (Or Obedient)
E.g. If your child doesn’t want to sleep, it will be important to try and explain to him/her why they should sleep. In this, explain to him/her why he should not disturb parents at night and why he/she should now behave like a "big girl/boy."
2. Give Him/Her Rewards For Being Obedient
Don’t just tell him/her adult-like reasons. Give your child a few “childish” reasons to sleep. Tell the child that a “good sleeping baby” gets a new baby’s bed on Halloween or a nice teddy bear to sleep with him/her.
Also, tell him a few consequences of a disobedient one too. "The disobedient child doesn't get the privilege of watching their favorite cartoon movie or the gift car pack he requested last time in the Supermarket."
3. The Locking/Isolation Should Come As A Last Resort
When all attempts to control your child fails, and then you can resort to adding a lock.
4. Make The Locked Environment Kid-Friendly
When you lock your child, please try to make the room’s environment as friendly to your kid as possible. Treat him with toys for their ages like the Dinosaurs (for those who love cartoons) or a nice drawing mat for kids.
Like one parent wrote, there is no single verified method to woo kids to sleep or stop being disturbing. Sure, licking kids is a somewhat extreme measure. But if it is the only way to make your kids and family safe; then it is not just encouraged; it is recommended. Remember, prevention is better than cure.