I am late to the party as usual, but I recently read an article informing me that time outs don’t work and are actually harmful to the child. Wait. What?!! I thought beating your kids didn’t work.
I was completely flabbergasted to find out that there are LOTS of parents that think time out doesn’t work. And, this isn’t a new trend. It’s been around for a while. Instead we’re supposed to do crazy things like positive discipline and even worse, control our own anger.
The arguments against time out include the fact that they are “separated” from Mom and Dad, during time out (isn’t that the point?) and feeling abandoned or something. One article I read even went as far as to suggest that the child is not thinking about their bad behavior, but actually plotting revenge during time outs.
Granted, it all makes me laugh.
Kind of like the other day when my youngest decided biting a chunk of skin out of the side of the middle child was totally acceptable. I have a strict no violence policy in our house, and it’s been just about the one thing I ALWAYS follow through on for their first offense. Kicking, hitting, pushing, biting, or any other act of intentional violence against your siblings is strictly enforced. First offense and you go to time out. Always.
I love time out because it gives me a chance to think rationally for a minute before I talk to the kid who is usually out of control in someway. And it gives the kid some time to stop screaming, flailing, kicking, or acting otherwise crazy before I try to reason with them as to why it’s important to not drop kick your little brother. Kidding. They’ve never done that. Yet.
So, I honestly don’t see what the big deal is when they are separated from me for 1.5 minutes in order for us all to get our heads about us during acts of violence (and other abhorrent behavior). I mean is 1.5 minutes, or even 7 or 8 minutes, of separation no longer acceptable in our society? Is it not bad enough that I literally have been denied of all human rights as a mother, that I now can no longer put my child in time out so that we can both calm the heck down?
I’m sure the experts have some thinking that is on track. My husband did tell me that he and his brothers used to hide toys behind a book shelf or something next to the time out corner. That way, when mom wasn’t looking, and while they were supposed to be thinking about whatever horrible act they committed, they could pull out their star wars figures and have light saber fights. It’s genius, really. This is partially why time out in my house is just sitting down next to a wall in my bedroom with no toys in sight, and no furniture close enough to hide toys.
So, I’m sure there is something to be said for the fact that sometimes, the kid isn’t really sorry, but is only being trained to think of the right thing to say to Mom to get out of time out so they can return to the
pestering companionship of their mother as soon as possible. I mean, 1.5 minutes of being away from their mother is child abuse!! *If you don’t sense my sarcasm, you might want to start this post over and try again.
I will admit though, that there are some times when it doesn’t work. My kids have figured out that when I am not around to witness the violence, they can try to convince me that the injury was accidental. It’s becoming a trend around here when a kid comes to me crying, and obviously hurt at the hands of the other one, for the offending child to exclaim, “IT WAS JUST AN ACCIDENT!”
I’m smart enough (most of the time) to ask lots of questions, and realize that usually, it was physically impossible for them to “accidentally” injure each other the way that they usually do. (By intentionally hitting, for example). Yet, sometimes, I put kids in time out only to realize that they did indeed accidentally do something to hurt the other one. No one claims it’s a perfect system.
And, the 2 year old has just recently started getting sent to time out. For the biting incident, I felt I had no choice. He has seen his brother and sister go on plenty of occassions, so I have to start enforcing things with him too. When I sat him down in the designated spot in my bedroom for his 1.5 minutes of dreaded solitude from Mommy, I couldn’t help but smile at his cuteness in being “punished”.
So, of course, I had to snap a photo.
He was sitting there so pouty, and sad about his Cujo-like behavior, that it made me smile. I mean, is it just me, or is that freaking adorable.
When I went in to talk to him about biting, I tried to remain serious, but as his face mimicked my face expressions that were so obviously trying to be serious, I couldn’t help but start laughing. His furrowed eyebrows turned into giggles, and I realized that I had completely lost all control of the situation.
I had now trained him to think that biting was funny. Just great.
So, of course, I agree that on some levels, it has its faults, but time-out still works good for my kids and my family. Our talks after always end with a hug, and an “I love you” so that my child doesn’t feel abandoned (trying not to roll my eyes, here), and I have to say, that they are pretty good about thinking about what they did wrong, and having an answer ready for me when their time is up. And, I’ve yet to see evidence of plotting revenge against me or anyone else. Really? Revenge??
Anyway, it’s funny how as parents we stress so much over whether or not we are doing it “right” but what drives ME crazy about parenting is the conflicting sides to every piece of advice. One minute you’re doing everything right, until some over-schooled individual points out you were in fact doing it all so wrong all along. It’s discouraging.
But, this mama isn’t getting discouraged about time-out. Sure, I may laugh while trying to enforce it, but I still believe it works, and that my kids feel loved through the process. And, I’m not going to get caught up this time in believing I’m doing it all wrong. Not this time.
But, I’m curious…do you do time out? Does it work for YOUR family? I want to know!
Link up with us this week with some aspect of parenting that drives you crazy!! Going to join us? Here are the “rules” (Feel free to follow them loosely):
1. Add your link below
2. Grab MY button found below and add it to your post or sidebar, and then come back and link up with us here. It’s that easy! I’ll try to promote your post on social media by pinning, tweeting, and sharing.
3. Visit the other awesome bloggers that are also linking up and leave comments on their posts!