I was three years old the first time that I was sent to my room as a punishment.
I knew that I was in trouble and that I wasn’t supposed to be playing with my toys. Instead, I thought I should probably sit quietly and look at a book. My book of choice was Bambi and I distinctly recall thinking I was doing a good thing by patiently awaiting my mother’s return.
When she did, she scolded me because I had been sent to my room as punishment, not to play.
I will never forget the confusion I felt in that moment because I thought I had been doing something good by choosing a quiet activity over a toy.
The problem was, my mom had never explained what being “sent to my room” was supposed to entail. She just assumed I understood. But how can a three-year-old who has never been sent to her room before be expected to know what to do?