Raising a Bilingual Kid: Time Out vs Chancletazo

As children we did not know there was such a thing as time out.  Instead, we knew that when mamá or papá gave us that look we had better stop doing whatever it was we were doing, or else.  The or else could have been anything from un manotazo, to a pellizco or even a cintarazo or chancletazo.  Usually it was either of the latter.  It wasn’t that my parents were mean.  Nor were they aching to give us a good manotazo all of the time.  The truth is we were bad kids!

raising a bilingual kid time out vs chancletazo
El Chancletazo, or something similar to it anyway.

You can just imagine how much trouble seven kids under one roof can get into.   We were definitely creative in our antics.  One year, for example, my younger brother and I were fighting in Mexico.  He had made me mad and as we were leaving our terreno in the rancho, in one smooth move, I walked right up to him and broke a bowl on his head.  The bowl was not even ours.  We were actually walking to whoever’s house that had let us borrow the bowl to return it.  My mother, needless to say, was furious.  In fact, all of my siblings were angry at me for that stunt.  They chased me around our terreno, probably about half an acre in size, my mother with a chancla in hand, all ready to make me feel the same pain I had caused my brother.  He was at the front of the line, just ready to get his “revenge”.

Now before you go feeling too sorry for him, he was just at vicious with me at times.  Once, this is back in Houston now, again we were fighting and this time I was standing on top of a chair for some reason.  I think I was changing the light in the hallway of our apartment.  (Notice how in my version I am so innocently trying to be helpful).  All of a sudden he kicked the chair from under me in some way.  I came crashing down onto the back part of that chair, hitting my stomach right at the center of the tallest part of it, and then I literally could not breathe for a couple of seconds.  There was no air coming in or going out; I could not speak at all; I was moving my mouth but nothing would come out; and my face turned a bright red and then almost a light purple.  My mom meanwhile yelling and screaming ¡mijo! ¡¿qué te pasa?!  I was terrified.  My brother was terrified.  All of us were terrified.  Afterwards, mamá was ready to take a belt to both our behinds.  I can’t remember whether she did or not?

Though in hindsight, now I hope she did!

Fortunately, Edgar hasn’t hit that “bad” streak just yet.  By all accounts he’s a pretty great kid.  Respectful, obedient, one to always ask for permission, and even though he doesn’t like it, he does always do his homework and clean his room when he is told.  There have only been a handful of times where we have actually had to seriously discipline him.  My immediate gut reaction was to spank.  However, Anjelica is much more partial to the talking it out approach, taking away his privileges, punishing him with a time out of all things (LOL!), and then, if all else fails, mommy gets her chancla!  Edgar knows never to let it get that far.  I’ve kind of made the transition to this approach as well.  Though Edgar and all my nieces and nephews will tell you I certainly make very good use of the deepness and tone in my voice!

raising a bilingual kid time out vs chancletazo
The Time Out approach.

The one time I did take Edgar to the room and spank him with my cinto he was in shock.  He had not seen that side of me before and I could see it in his face that he was completely confused about what was going on.  Afterwards, I felt about an inch tall.  I was upset at myself for letting my anger and frustration get the best of me.  So I went in and apologized, explained why I had done it, and told him I did not want to do it again.  Since then he has not given us any reason to do so.

I am really hoping it stays that way.

10 thoughts on “Raising a Bilingual Kid: Time Out vs Chancletazo

  1. I’m partial to spanking, just like my parents but fortunately my kids are pretty good. When I was younger it was my uncles helping us raise hell, even my aunts once in a while. Whenever I see them we always remember the good-old days! You don’t raise hell with your nieces & nephews?

    1. Alright, so we do sometimes… jajaja! But more often than not I’m the one trying to keep order in the house. What can I say, I am a little bit of a nerd 🙂

  2. We use the all-of-the-above method, lol. But I tend to use time outs and “a tu cuarto!” as they get older. As a cultural conflict, the first time I sent my toddler to her bed, my husband intervened, pulling me aside asking if I was over stressed, LOL! The idea of a mother spanking and screaming was much more comfortable to him then a mother sending a child away to be sola! That was just evil! Thankfully he uses that method now almost exclusively. También recuerdo mandando mi sobrino de 3 años a un 5 minute time-out por decir Fuck you a mi suegra. She cried and kept trying to pull him out when I wasnt looking and told his parents on me,lol. They spanked him and she gave me a look like “See? THATS how we treat our kids!” Hahaha

  3. LOL…when I was little, we used to get the sinturon, and in my mother’s case she would use the “cuchara” (wooden spoon to cook) more than her chancla!

  4. Till this day my kids don’t belive me when I tell them how my parents were back in the day and the look was all I needed to know better. I have used my chancla but what I truly believe works for me is a warning and if they still don’t listen I take something from them. To earn it back it takes them 1week of chores and good behavior. Now that works like a charm with my two oldest. At first they thought it was a joke but after a couple of weeks they quickly learned I meant what I said…

  5. Is there a proper way to say “time out” in Spanish? I’ve just been using the English word with my son, which he understands, but I’d like something en Español. What have you used?

  6. I got many a Chancletazo growing up from my grandma, uncles, etc.
    as I lived with my grandparents growing u. I don’t have kids by choice
    and I don’t think I would hit my kid if I did. That said, I am a better
    person for it. My siblings and I laugh a lot about how we were
    disciplined.

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