Time Outs

Theresa - posted on 02/23/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

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Hi, I'm a mother of a 2 1/2 year old son and 9 month old daughter. Recently I came upon an article giving the negatives of time outs and more positive ways to discipline your children. I quit doing time outs with my son because I didn't see it benefiting him and usually made him more emotionally upset. So I chose to do more natural consequences including no toys until he picks up what he threw on the floor, etc.

Is there anyone out there against time outs?

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Shelby - posted on 02/23/2010

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I have attempted time outs...to no avail, My kids just never responded well, To me it didn't serve any purpose if I sat a 3 year old down for 3 minutes and in that time I was constantly standing there sitting him back in his seat, and chasing him when he got up...He learned nothing and I got nothing done. Now I take time out to spank his ass...HaHa...Sorry, I had to go there. Yeah I know Sara...Dare we even say that in this forum. I like anything else have my limits on spanking as well as I had my limits on time out and other forms of punishments. I disagree with a lot of today's "proper" forms of "new" parenting. 1) Everyone is too much in your business 2) It really just hasn't worked for us at all.
Now for my 3 year old, He gets the corner. I don't do the whole get down on his level and quietly explain to him what he has done wrong.
IN THIS HOUSE...AND THIS ISN'T FOR EVERYONE, AND NO ONE ELSE'S WAY IS WRONG EITHER!!!!!
but, I firmly tell him why he is in trouble, and with an assertive tone, which quiets the crying and screaming a whole lot quicker than a whisper, and then he gets corner time...And standing with his nose in the corner for a couple minutes...Ohhhh he hates it, Because he can't see whats going on around him and that kills him!!! So in short, Time-outs don't work here. A lot of things that are considered the "only" acceptable way to raise children now a days does not work here.

I understand that the OP's views are not mine, but all I can say to all parents is find something that works in your house. Not all children are going to respond to what the books say to do.

[deleted account]

You're welcome Theresa! It is very nice to see other moms with similar views in discipline--often when I tell people that we don't spank or use traditional timeouts, they think we must not do anything to teach him right from wrong. We often say "We don't discipline, we teach."

Here is my argument against spanking and yelling. I know, we've all yelled at our kids at some point, and most of us have hit them at some point, but I keep this example fresh in my brain to keep me from doing it again:
When my son was about 2.5, he broke an irreplaceable mixed media sculpture. I was both crushed and angry and I yelled at him! I yelled loud about how he should never touch things that weren't his, how he should respect other people's things, how he made me so sad, why I was so angry, and the list goes on. I yelled at him for a good 5 minutes before sending him into his room. Two days later, we were shopping and he earned a Hershey Bar for finishing his alphabet. I put it in my purse until he asked for it, and when he did, in the next store, I gave it to him. Some how in my purse it was broken into 3 big pieces. My son when ballistic! He screamed at me for breaking it, for making him angry, for ruining his prize! He yelled for what seemed like eternity, but was only about 5 minutes. Then it hit me--That's exactly how I acted when he broke my sculpture.

Kids know when we're angry; we can't hide it, and we shouldn't try to--we should use those moments to teach them how to handle their own anger. They pay attention to the way we act--if we yell, they will yell; If we hit them, they will hit others.


Negative emotions, like anger, sadness, and disappointment are the most complicated, because we must control them; They have the potential to do serious harm if left unchecked. Happiness is easy, because we can experience it with little or no consequence--You can't ever really be TOO happy, and happiness never makes us want to harm the person who made us happy. But negative emotions are different, so we cannot let them envelope us, like we can with happiness, lest we hurt someone, hurt ourselves, or give up hope.
Does that make since?

Sabrina - posted on 02/24/2010

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First of all I just want to say that time outs(as well as any form of discipline) are only going to work if you do them CORRECTLY! I am kind of confused about the one lady that doesn't do time out but puts them in the corner? To me that's still time out, its just in another form.

I'm interested in what forms of punishment you do use, that's better than time out, but not abusive like "beating" your child? I LOVE time outs, it gives him a chance to settle down(he's 3 and a half) & really think about his behavior and why it is bad for him to be acting the way he was. Of course your child is going to be upset when you put them in time out because their behavior is being corrected & they are in trouble for doing something wrong. It's not like you're putting your child in time out for no reason (I hope! lol)

I agree with using natural consequenses, but how far can you go with that? When your child throws his cup in the car, then he doesnt get it back,but when your child pushes another child down you cant go and push them down (that just shows pushing is ok) the natural consequesnse is for them to be punished & that behavior to be corrected. When your child gets older & they rob a bank their consequense will be they go to prison, that's the grown-ups punishment for misbehaving. Punishments is what makes the world go round, when you do something negative then you recieve negative consequenses, the earlier they learn that the better off they are going to be.

Positive reinforcement is all well and good, but what do you do when your child bits,hits, scratches, kicks, pushes, ect someone else's child?! Just ignore it?!!!! So then they get away with their bad behavior & continue to do it because they had no negative consequences from their previous experiance.

I do believe there is nothing wrong with punishment, as long as it's used right & in moderation

[deleted account]

We use time outs regularly and (dare I say?) spank on occasion. It works. Usually when warned that she will get time out or a spanking, she will stop what she is doing and change her behavior. My parents and husbands parents disciplined in similar ways. We are NOT damaged. At least I don't think we are. ;)

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Christy - posted on 03/08/2010

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okay, so first people are against spanking and now they're against time outs? what's next? i know there's already people that don't believe in telling their kids no as well. how do people plan on making kids behave? does anyone else notice that the more friendly "discipline" gets, the worse kids act?

personally in my house when my daughter needs to be punished i make it fit the action. if she has had her 3 warnings about something potentially dangerous but not life-threatening she gets a spanking. if she starts having a temper tantrum, she is told that if she keeps it up she will spend 5 minutes alone in her room. if she throws a fit when she leaves the park, she forfeits her trip for ice cream on the way home.

all that being said, she is a very well behaved little girl and will usually only receive 1 form of punishment 1 time a week. she knows when mommy says some kind of punishment is going to come it's time to change her actions. i don't think i would have nearly as good of a kid as i have if i only did things that didn't hurt her feelings to correct her.

[deleted account]

I think punishments have to be age appropriate. Different punishments work on each of my children. Time outs work on my 9 year old but not on my 3 year old. My 11 year old all i have to say is banned off the xbox and hes like putty in my hands lol.

Amy - posted on 03/08/2010

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I'm gonna be the crazy one here and say...they are supposed to feel bad when they get in trouble. Isn't that the point? My daughter could care less if I took her toy away. I just tell her what she did was NOT polite or acceptable, calmly put her nose on the wall and go about whatever I need to do until her little timer goes off - or i have her sing twinkle twinkle litte star - helps calm her down. i only spanked when she was little and was going towards the fireplace and kept doing it. i had to associate "ouch" with fireplace. I have taken toys away if that was the root cause of what she was doing that was bad. If you don't time out, spank, or have anything to take away because it's a behavior issue -what do you do? I mean, if my kiddo pushes her brother and i take a toy away -well, she wasn't playing with it anyway...so who cares? you know what i mean?

and yelling...boy i try not to. i have actually apologized to my daughter because i yelled once when i didn't need to. momma needs to stay calm and in control. i just told her neither of us is perfect. i'll try not to yell, you try to be good. we need to work together. :) but i think whatever discipline, if you are consistent in there being a consequence, and stay calm, it will work. and i think it's a good idea to switch up what will happen. that way they don't want to be bad because who knows what you decide is a just disciplinary action.

Terri - posted on 03/08/2010

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I do a combination of all. Timeouts, spankings and taking aways toys. Different things work for different parents. My 8 year old is currently answering back, so unfortunately there is a lot of yelling, but we have a very hectic house hold with 4 kids.

We start time outs at about 2 and half to 3 years of age and find they work quite well. Spankings are only a last resort. And I use the toy taking away method but unfortunately doesnt work well with my kids because they are not very attached to anything. Outta sight outta mind with them lol

[deleted account]

I think time-outs can be useful if used properly and in the right circumstances. I in no way condone spanking and will not use it as a form of discipline when my son is older (apart from tha fact I'd be arrested as it's illegal in the UK). However, I was spanked and it sure did work, I was a very well behaved child!

Geralyn - posted on 03/05/2010

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Kelly, I appreciate your comments and the example about the effects of our behavior on our children. A prime example....

Jocelyn - posted on 02/25/2010

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I think everything has it's place: there is a time for time outs, there is a time for spanking, there is a time for taking a toy away, it all depends on the type of child you have. I could beat my son black and blue and it wouldn't make a lick of difference in his behavior. And really, he's not a bad kid, he's just 3 years old :P We do use time outs, but I will admit it is mostly for my benefit. If he is in his room for 5 minutes, that gives me 5 minutes to breath deeply and calm myself down. And sometimes I even send myself to my room for 5 minutes, and he reacts the same way as if I had put him in his room!

[deleted account]

I agree with the yelling. And that is why I think spankings and discipline don't work, because parents combine them with yelling. Yelling shows we've lost control and then the kid has the upper hand. I spank and use time out and "teachable" moments, but I am very careful not to yell. Of course, I'm not perfect. But if I find myself disciplining out of anger, I take a step back and rethink. Calm down then come back to the situation and handle it, whether it is a swat on the butt, time out or something else.

Theresa - posted on 02/25/2010

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Kelly,
Thanks for your further explanation, it makes perfect sense. I like how you call it teaching moments, rather than discipline. I am convinced now and will continue to do without time-outs. Thanks again!

Theresa

[deleted account]

Kelly, I agree with much of what you said. I do find myself doing those things, but I just never thought of it as discipline, more like teaching. We do the toy rule and shopping cart rule as well. But I also don't hesitate to use time outs or spankings on occasion for temper tantrums and blantant disobedience.

Theresa - posted on 02/24/2010

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Kelly Hazel,

Your posts were very helpful, you put into words what I was thinking. When I was doing time-outs with my son, I found myself doing it all the time, and now that I have stopped doing them for over a week now, I find more natural consequences which you have explained. I do the toy rule as well - we have a shelf, and he can't get another toy down until the last one goes back.

I do take him out of the room when he is acting rudely or throwing toys so he doesn't harm anyone physically or emotionally, as you mentioned that's when you use time-outs. I don't make him sit a certain amount of time, he knows when he's ready to come back and act appropriately. If he does come back rudely, I just excuse him from the room again.

I'll have to check out the books - thank you.

Shelby - posted on 02/24/2010

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Yeah, I used to think of time out being any time away...Just in the last 10 years though like I said that has changed.

Sabrina - posted on 02/24/2010

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i get what you're saying shelby, when I think of the "time out" I think as it being a time to pull the child away from the bad behavior they are/have done. It's also a time for them to settle down, and when they are older "think" about what it is that has just gotten them in trouble. It's also my time as a parent to explain what it was they did wrong & why it is wrong for them to do those "bad things" that require a time out.

I think the biggest thing is that I dont really think any parent uses ONE method of raising their children. I know I use a number of thing to show my children what is right & wrong, they have consequences that come with both, sometimes they are negative & sometimes they are positive. I use "natural consequences" when the situation calls for it (i.e. if they run away in the store, then they have to walk. ect) but when the situation calls for more then I use more (i.e. when hayden pushed hiis sister b/c she was in his way, he had to sit in time out, we explained why taht's wrong & then he had to apologize afterwards)

[deleted account]

Ahh--here are a couple:

For not doing his preschool work, or for doing it incorrectly, he has to repeat the lesson. This correlates to the real life penalty of being made to repeat an entire grade level for unsatisfactory work.

For acting out at playdates or fun outings, I take him home and he goes to his room until he is ready to act appropriately. (for these offences, he looses his "fun" privileges until the even would have ended--no video games, movies, toys etc. He can go run around outside, read, or draw on blank paper)





I think often, we under estimate what our children will understand, and thus hold them back. My son knows the difference between a "smart" tone and a civil one--Just because he is not yelling, does not mean he is speaking appropriately.

[deleted account]

We do not use time outs for anything other than excessive rudeness/ hateful comments. In those cases, I believe removing him from the company to which he is being disrespectful will teach him that speaking to people that way will result in a lack of company--i.e. no body wants to be around a mean person!
For other offences, like picking up his toys, getting too far from me in public, etc. I try to get as close to natural consequences as possible. We have a rule in our home that he cannot bring out a new toy until the previously played with toy(s) are put away. It is very easy to enforce: If he is playing legos and decides to switch to a puzzle, I simply take the puzzle away until he puts the legos up--usually 1-3 minutes. Once the legos are put away, the puzzle acts as a little reward. It also works well--the last time I had to take a toy away was before Thanksgiving (he is 5).
For running away in the store, he looses the freedom to walk. I just put him in the cart. At 5, he has the right to walk, so that freedom is restored each time we go into the store, but if he runs off once, it is lost for the duration of the trip.

I'm trying to think of more behavior issues, but I can't think of any at the moment. If you would like to research these methods though, a really good book is "Playful Parenting" by Lawrence Cohen PhD. "Try and Make Me" by Ray Levy PhD & Bill O'Hanlon MS, LMFT is also a very helpful book for more defiant little ones.

[deleted account]

Time outs have their place and so does natural consequences.



It's difficult to get a younger chid to learn from natural consequences because they probably won't remember the consequence of Y when they do X. Now that my son is older I'm finding it easier to get creative and make the punishment fit the crime (eg. cleaning up the mess he was told not to make). I suppose this would be a form of natural/logical consequences.



Time out still works best for hissy fits or excessive rudeness. The only down side I can see with time out is that it's deterrant value decreases as children get older.



All methods of discipline can work, but not for every situation. I think any consequence, whether natural or punishment has to outweigh any pleasure that the child got from doing wrong. Postive reinforcement in the form of verbal praise, hugs and an occasional treat can be used to encourage the child to do right.

Shelby - posted on 02/24/2010

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Ritual was the word that I was so unsuccessfully fumbling around for, and rambling on, yet could not come up with...I simply don't use the word time-out anymore because I associate it more with a complete ritual.

Shelby - posted on 02/24/2010

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"I am kind of confused about the one lady that doesn't do time out but puts them in the corner? To me that's still time out, its just in another form."



That would be me... Most mothers that I have came in contact with have a very clear and precise method that comes with "time out" So to me just saying "time out" brings to mind something like I would see on SuperNanny or something like that. Thats what I was talking about. I don't use that method, so I don't call it that. Its really just that simple. It may be A time out...A time away, but not what I consider being the typical "time out" that I see being used most of the time now. What I view as "time out" is more of an entire way of parenting, I only think that way because I have only been exposed to different "extremes" of parenting for approximately the last ten years. Up until then, I would have used the words time out for a number of different acts, sending them to their rooms, sitting them on a chair, standing them in a corner...you name it. Now because of all the different forms that I have been around its more complex than that. I started noticing this when I got after my daughter when she was around 2..ish, almost 3??? and I asked her is she wanted a time out? The friend that was with me had questions when she experienced what I called time out... For one, there was no letting my child finish her tantrum before I quietly explained to her what she had done...She was warned once, firmly and that was it...She was then sat down and that was the last you heard from her. Then we proceeded to have almost an argument on whether I was wrong for raising my voice at such a young child. So thats why I just consider it all different. Its not just the act itself. To me its the entire method of discipline that one uses.



Ummmm...Not really sure how else to explain it.

Lise - posted on 02/23/2010

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Me! But I'm a behaviorist and am against punishment for many, many reasons. We do all shaping / teaching using only positive reinforcement. It DOES work better than punishment.

[deleted account]

I still use time out w/ my 8 year olds. ;) My newest one is to make them stand w/ their noses facing the wall and hold hands when they've been fighting. Oh, they HATE that one. ;) I love it. Lol!

I've been using time out for several months w/ my 23 month old son as well. And yes, I also spank him on occasion. Usually all it takes is me saying 'if you do that again I will spank you' and he stops doing whatever it was. He's starting to get his extremely strong 2 year old will though..... Someone remind me why this is my favorite age again? Oh yeah, cuz even when you want to strangle them they are just so stinking adorable. :)

Sharon - posted on 02/23/2010

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Time outs have their place.



Like anything else they can be over done.



Later you'll read how taking away anything from a child emotionally damages them and leads them to be hoarders.

Amanda - posted on 02/23/2010

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I am not against time outs. I actually didnt start using them until my son was about 2 1/2 and the time before that it was horrible. I didnt think he would understand the concept of time out at 2 but he did and since I started using them it works. I do feel in some situations that taking toys away or things like that works also, but time outs are a good starting point. My mom didnt abuse us growing up but we did have spankings. My older sister spanks her children from time to time but I dont see that working at all. My mom asks why I dont spank my kids and I just feel that spankings dont really work and I dont like doing that. With my son being 3 now, I still use time outs but I also take toys away and things like that. I do make sure he knows why he is being punished and to apologize for it.

Cassie - posted on 02/23/2010

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I'm not really against anything (other than abuse such as beating a child obviously).



My daughter is only 16 months so we haven't really delved into discipline per say but rather than being against any one form of punishment, I view it more as looking for the form of discipline and teaching that works for each individual child. Different things work for different children and we have to be able to figure out what works best for each individual child to help them develop and understand that their actions have consequences. I do think that when it works, natural consequences are the best way to teach a child in the long run.

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