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):
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time-out’s are harmful?? What is this world coming to? I’m with you on feeling that this is a crazy “expert opinion”. I’m rather old school anyway. Your son certainly does NOT look like he’s being harmed in that picture. Too cute. (By the way, I used to have the Marriage, Motherhood and Madness blog before I got too consumed by it and deleted it and then I started a new one……I can’t stay away from the blogging world).
WHAT!!???? You’re back!?
Yes, sorry it took me a few weeks to re-connect. I HAVE been following you for a few weeks though! Glad to be catching up with all of your posts again:)
You stinker. I was so sad when you left. But, SO glad you’re back! Added your new blog to my bloglovin feed. 🙂
Cassidi Lundell says
Next they are going to tell us we can never tell our children, “No.” I think time out is great- I think the talk after is the key. Even at two, my little guy gets it, too.
I think Time outs would be useful if my kid actually went into one voluntarily. I don’t know how we screwed the grannie on this one, but he refuses to go to time outs since he was a toddler. I think he actually does have anxiety about being put in a spot by himself and deprived from our attention, so the time out actually increases his wild, bad behavior. Unfortunately, we also have a no violence policy, but hitting and kicking seem to be his favorite way of showing anger, so we usually end up physically forcing him into his room (think lion tamer with a chair) and then holding the door closed until he calms down, otherwise he will just come out and hit again. Yeah, it’s a 3 ring circus over here. . . Fortunately, we don’t have to do this nearly as much as we used to. It is really hard and I would love it if positive reinforcement or some other trendy discipline method worked, but he can get so dysregulated, and unsafe that putting him in a time out is the only thing we can do to ensure everyone stays safe (and sane!). So, what I am trying to say is that if it works, great use it! I think if time outs are used as a chance for a kid and parent to cool off and come back and be successful at whatever their next task is, then it is a good tool. If it causes more anxiety or despair, then maybe another method is better. And sometimes you just do what you have to to make it to bedtime in one piece (ya know what I’m sayin’??) Maybe if we were calling it something like “peace moment” or “tranquil time” people would be more accepting of it than “time out”.
Maybe. I look at it as peace time for sure!! Sometimes my daughter will argue the same thing to me over and over until she is screaming. Time out is the ONLY thing that works to calm her down.
Real Life Parenting says
Time-out was a valuable tool when my kids were little–particularly with the Boy. He would get himself so worked up emotionally that he needed that time to cool down so that I could even talk to him. A lot of the time his time-out had to be in a corner because he needed to have NO visual stimulation. It was the only way that he could calm himself down. Sometimes it took longer than others … and there was that one time a woman called the police on me because she said that I was abusing him in a rest area (for making him stand in the corner). Sigh.
Seriously??? People need to mind their own business! What did the police say?? Have you blogged about this?
Kelly McKenzie says
First off – such a cute photo. Adorable. Yes – I would have broken out in giggles too – absolutely.
My guys are now flown and grown – well pretty much. However, I well remember time out time. They worked like a charm mostly. I think sometimes the little person is so overwrought they are beyond themselves. A little separation does wonders.
As they got bigger – mid – to late teens and we were visited by the delightful Bickerson twins it was really effective when I absented myself. I’d leave the room – either go outside or go into my room and shut the door. I didn’t do this very often but when I did man did they shape up. Dishes got done, kitchen tidied etc.
Ha. That’s awesome. I wish my kids would do chores when I leave. Hopefully that time will come! 🙂
Time out worked perfectly for my older son. It was the “go to” punishment, when punishment was needed. My younger son was more challenging. Time out for him just didn’t work. He would tell me things like, “I’m sitting here, but in my mind I’m still jumping on the couch.” No, I’m not kidding. We had to get creative with him – and rarely gave/give him time-outs. I think it totally depends on the kids and their own personalities.
I agree that its frustrating to think everything is going along well, then they change up the parenting “rules.”
haha! Oh my gosh. I don’t know what I would do if my kid said that. My niece is kind of like that….sassy. She’ll stay stuff like “I don’t care” when she is getting punished…and I think she really doesn’t. So far, I don’t have a sassy one…yet. 🙂 Yes, who are these people that even get to make the rules??
Ok, I may be out of line being the first visible male replying here. For that I apologise deeply.
Time outs didn’t work on me as a child, nor did corporal punishment. I don’t think my parents ever found a way to get the punishment right. But then again, I was removed from the house at the age of 13, so separation issues arising from time outs is ludicrous.
I agree with the no violence policies we all seem to have. But it also seems that as parents, we have to figure out things on our own and accept our own mistakes as we raise our children. We will make mistakes, and we will all have to pay for them. If you subscribe to Dr. Spock, then you are truly lost; just like most of the so called child psychologists that would much rather dope our kids up than allow us, as parents, to try and deal with the problem and potentially solve them.
I feel sorry for my fellow parents who get the weird and cold looks from the rest of society because we are forced to discipline in public and society doesn’t like it. I, as a parent, feel trapped by the system that says I can’t spank my child, be it in private or in public. Seems to me that we, as parents, are slowly being forced to drug our children into mindless zombies so that discipline can be attained.
But, on a side note; was a very great read Meredith. My wife speaks volumes of you.
I’m glad you spoke up!! Thanks for the male input. Something we are lacking in blogging world.
I do agree that we worry too much about what society thinks is acceptable versus what we feel good about in our own homes. I was raised with spankings, but don’t feel comfortable using that method with my own kids. I think parenting is all about finding what feels right for your family, and not worrying too much about what the experts or society says. It’s easier said than done though!!
Ana Lynn says
I am back for this week’s link up. As far as time outs go, they don’t really work on my middle one, the oldest is close to hitting puberty so they work in a sense that he will go to his room so that we can both cool off, but he will pout about it. Then again he doesn’t really get into trouble all that often. On my youngest… she kinda puts herself into a time out when she has a fit of rage. Usually she will stomp her feet and scream then walk away and sit in the chair till she calms herself down.
I am kinda surprised and share the opinion of others. If time outs go… what’s next? And then we wonder why our own children threaten US, the parents with calling child services …
I totally agree!! It doesn’t work for every child, but to call it harmful leaves a bad taste in my mouth! Thanks for linking up. Can’t wait to check out your post!!
This house will never abandon time outs! They work and just the threat of a time out works too. Abandonment? Please…give me a break! Oh and cutest pic ever of Chandler! I doubt I could have been serious either. LOL!
I know. He was seriously so adorable I couldn’t stand it.
Time outs are important in our house. Our daughter goes to time out a lot. She has a mouth on her.
Julie Chenell DeNeen says
Time outs work sometimes, but the load of crock that timeouts are harmful because of separation? I burst out laughing. THAT IS OUR JOB AS PARENTS- to teach children how to be separate and functioning individuals from us.
Doh. Parenting experts sometimes make me tired.
Thanks Julie!! So honored to have you stop by. 🙂
Jennifer Steck says
My son received an occasional swat when he was little. That was back in the days when spanking was not the “abuse” it is called today. Every child is different. The key is to have negative consequences for bad behavior. There is always the next charlatan/expert trying to sell a book on perfect parenting. It doesn’t exist. The only expert on what is appropriate for your child is you and you’re doing great, Meredith.
Thank you!! Always good to hear we are doing a good job!
Our oldest (6) has a mandatory trip outside to the barn and back when she gets mad enough to hit. Often starts with physically putting her (and sometimes her shoes and coat) outside the door but she ALWAYS comes back with a whole new attitude. Outdoors and physical movement work wonders for her.
On another note I hate it when they make me giggle when I’m supposed to be the serious mom. Except I sort of love it, cause they can be so darn cute even though they are exasperating! 🙂
Ha! I know!! And, sending them outside. I like that idea. Do you do it in the winter too then??
Sure do, just with snowpants too! 🙂
That really IS freaking adorable! I do time-outs and they work 99% of the time. I think there will always be a controversy over even the most benign parenting tactics. That is just silly to say a parent separating from their child within their home due to bad behavior makes the child feel abandoned! Total nonsense. Kids are coddled too much on so many levels these days that we are inadvertently raising a bunch if sissies. Sorry to sound so rant-ish 😉 my 6 yr old daughter is currently seeming to have outgrown timeouts so I have switched (as of today) to the “consequence jar”…crossing fingers it works…we have 2 snow days to find out 😉
OOOh. Let me know!! My 7 year old is transitioning into something different too! 🙂
I sometimes wish that my kids would put me in a time out.
My husband does time outs with our 4-year-old when she really starts to melt-down about something. He sends her to her room and it works to calm her down. I don’t use them. So we’re wonderfully inconsistent here. That said, I think I reap the benefits of his being “bad cop” because when she gets frustrated about something at home now she “storms off to her room” and calms herself down. She then comes out when she’s ready.
So I think that’s a point for dad’s parenting plan over here…
Yeah, for sure!!! I’m the bad cop over here. 🙁
I don’t do time outs, but of course, I don’t think it’s so damaging either. It really depends on how parents handle it, and if it ends in hugs and laughter, I don’t see what the problem is!
Exactly. I look at it as more of a way for the child to calm down so that we can have a good talk after.
MUM OF ONE says
I NEED time out in my house, for me as much as the boy. I agree it is not a faultless system but seriously, abandonment issues? That is just bonkers. Thanks so much for sharing with the Monday Pin It Party…and he DOES look cute all grumpy LOL.
Totally!! I need it just as much too. 🙂
Californian Mum says
I think time-outs are useful as sometimes my daughter cannot calm down and needs the time to get herself together. I think everyone has to do what they think is best for their child.