How do I handle a child that will not sit in time-out?!

Stacy - posted on 07/13/2010 ( 35 moms have responded )

2

6

0

Every time I have to put my daughter in time out its a battle... i mean a big battle. She hits, kicks, pinches and says mean things. I am at the end of my rope and dont know what to do.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Rebecca - posted on 07/19/2010

5

4

0

I think I have some different advice. My son is also the type to try to escalate the time out situation (hitting, yelling, throwing things, punching walls etc...). I have tried ignoring him and putting him back time after time. I find this extremely frustrating and hard to pull off consistently. I can't always devote 30 minutes to time out. Also, by the time all that fighting is over, my son doesn't even remember why he was put their in the first place. It becomes about the punishment instead of about the behavior I wanted to change. So I started to tell him how many minutes of time out he had and then asked him to let me know when he was ready to start. He does a lot of stomping around and yelling but it is easier to ignore him because I'm not trying to force him into time out right at that moment. Here's the key: I don't let him do other things until his time out is finished (quietly). A couple times he let it go for hours. Eventually it was time for dinner, at which time I informed him that he was welcome to join us as soon as his time out was served. He didn't like that! Now he just usually makes a fuss for a couple of minutes and then goes to the corner. So much easier!

Yurena - posted on 07/26/2010

146

7

1

She is old enough to understand what is right and wrong and consequences. Time out is fine to stop the misbehaviour but let her know in advance that if she 'continues doing X' she will be taken away her 'privileges', her favourite toy, or something that she enjoys doing, or desert, etc, something immediate. The key is to be consistent, even if you were too bland or harsh in what you promised, if you follow through she'll get the message that there is a consequence to her actions. More important is that you have a sit and a good think about what sets her off and why, is she tired/hungry/out of her routine? is she reacting to something that is happening around her? Sometimes, many times, tantrums can be easily avoided, for example, if you know she'll through you one in the middle of the supermarket you can talk (positive talk, not threat) about what you are doing to do after. They can smell our fear! so don't get yourself all tensed up before things happen. Maybe get a nice ice cream or go to the park, something simple, inexpensive to do...and simple to take away if she does not behave, you must warn her if you see a sign of an upcoming tantrum, don't ignore the signs, you can try to divert her from getting in the mood with a chat or asking her to help you with something, they tend to be keen when they feel helpful and valued. Simply by asking her to find something for you from the isle you are going through or discussing what to put in a recipe you all like. I can't give much advice without knowing some more about your situation. I hope this helps. Something else, avoid making your relationship about the bad behaviour and the punishment, enjoy each other, play, sing, talk, be silly, catch her doing right and applaud this, celebrate every good thing and just let her know that, when she does something bad you are not happy and that you prefer and enjoy when she behaves like a grown up girl. x

Meghan - posted on 07/23/2010

1

17

0

I deal with this question a lot in my profession. The key is consistency. You put her in time out and walk away. If she gets up, you turn around, firmly (but without harm!) put her back in the corner/chair/whatever and ONLY say, "You are in timeout for four minutes (you're child is 4, right?) because of _____." And then walk away. You continue this until she gets it. Time out does NOT begin until the temper tantrum is over, also. Attention to the tantrum only feeds it. I have had clients that it has taken almost an hour until their child realizes that this is serious. This can be VERY frustrating to the parent, but it WORKS! If you are concerned abotu her safety, you can bear hug her, holding her arms and legs, with her facing the same way you are (i.e. you would be looking at the back of her head). I work with kids with a variety of issues, extreme trauma and behavioral issues included, and have so far never not had it work, if that makes sense. If you'd like something else, check out the "Magic 1-2-3" book--it's flipping awesome, too! Good luck, and I hope things get better fast!

Maggie - posted on 07/23/2010

818

24

47

Instead of calling it a time out I tell my son he needs to take a break until he can behave/be nice. I put him in his bed and close the door. Sometimes he still screams but he's always calm when he comes out.
It also helps that he's not right there screaming in my face or within reach to hit or pinch.
When she's done with the time out you should calmly explain to her (in age appropriate terms) what she did that made you upset AND how you expect her to behave.
Make sure you are giving her lots of affirmation when she does behave how you want her to. Discipline isn't all about punishment - it's about teaching your child how to behave. They don't know they're doing something right or wrong unless you tell them.
That being said (and sorry this is so long) time outs don't work for every child. I've learned with my second son to make the punishment fit the crime. For example - my son throws his toy car. Instead of putting him in time out I tell him "no throwing" and take the car away for a certain amount of time. After a few times of that he knows not to throw or he'll lose the toy.

JoLyn - posted on 07/22/2010

21

2

0

Instead of having a time out chair I send my girls to their room. That way they can throw a fit if they "need" to and it does not bother me. They are allowed to come out when they can be "sweet". They decide. If it takes 10 minutes to be sweet, so be it. If they can regain control in 2 or 3 minutes, cool. When they return, I do not lecture about why they were in their room or force an apology. They know why they went to their room and do not need to be lectured about it. I also do not force apologies because that teaches kids to do what you want as long as you say sorry to get out of trouble. I just say" Oh I am so glad you are back and being sweet! I missed you while you were gone." Give em a hug and go on. My kids are 19years old, almost 5 years old and almost 4 years. Works like a charm. ( No, I do not send my 19 year old to time out.. he usually does that himself :) :)

This conversation has been closed to further comments

35 Comments

View replies by

Chymerem - posted on 07/28/2010

19

0

1

I come from Nigeria in Africa and the concept of time out has always been a foreign concept. I do see it on cable tv on programmes such as super nanny and all that. I just think being firm with kids is usually the answer. The tone of voice when i play with my kid is different from de tone of voice when i need him to obey instructions. The pinching and biting is something u have to find a way to make him/her understand is hurting u and im sure they wnt repeat it.

Brandy - posted on 07/27/2010

117

25

9

I started my son on time out's when he was 10 months old, the time he started walking and exploring his independence. Also the time he discovered our dog and parrot where saps. he would have to sit on mine or my husbands lap for 45 sec. If it's life threatening he gets a spanking or if it's bed time or we are running late and don't have time for a time out then he will get a tap on the leg so he knows i'm serious. There is always a warning with a threat and then a follow through if it's needed. He is 2 now and we usually have to just warn him one time. I also require eye contact but i don't expect him to tell me why he was in time out. He does have to apologize and hug who ever it was he was being bad to. Also a good book is by Dr. Kevin Leman, "Have a new kid by friday"

Tamaren - posted on 07/27/2010

10

15

2

My daughter used to do that too! She still has her bad days once in a while but I found that placing one of her little plastic chairs in the corner or at the end of our hallway where she can't see anyone works great for timeout. She gets super mad at first and then when she tries to get out i say something like; "Brooke get back in your timeout chair or your going to bed early" She used to ignore me but i started doing what i said i'd do and shes getting much better. If I dont stand my ground she walks all over me, be firm and stay calm. Good luck!

Becca - posted on 07/27/2010

12

27

1

wen u put her in time out do not talk to her if she get of just put her back there if she stays in the same place like standing at the wall if she sits dawn dnt tell her to stand cos shes still in the same place if ur cool n calm and try not to talk to her i no its hard not to say anything but if u ignore her wen u put her there hopefully she should realise that shes not getting ur attention. my son is 2 and if i have to put him on time out hes there for to mins good tip get a timer cos kids dont no bout time so if u say u can stay there untill the timer goes off thats helps them reconise how longe to stay on for and u must must praise her after wen she comes of cos she stayed there for u. (the incredible years by dr carolyn webster stratton ) the book helps with time out hope this helps good luck xx

Dawn - posted on 07/26/2010

25

34

0

I would tap her on the butt or leg, not hard just hard enough to let her know you are not playing games, say the word "NO!" in a stern serious tone. Then, pick her up (kicking and screaming) and place her in her room with a baby gate up so that she is in "Time Out". This is really a time-out for both of you at that point. Tell, her you are putting the timer on for X minutes (1 minute per age of child) and then leave the room. After that time, come back ask her if she is ready to be nice and listen. If she says "NO" or continues to acts out tell her that she will stay in "Time Out" until she is ready to be nice and listen. Then, eventually she will calm down and at that point ask for an apology and a hug.

Then, stick to this form of discipline whenever possible. All situations are different and you have to use different dicipline for each situation. So, use your judgement and try to be consistent. Parenting is tough and toddlers are trying to push those limits to see where the line is and when will mom and dad push back. They want you to push back!

Maggie - posted on 07/25/2010

818

24

47

I still think that devoting 30 minutes to an hour to ONE timeout is unrealistic.

Jennifer - posted on 07/25/2010

25

39

0

Been there...I'm curious hold old your daughter is, because that makes all the difference in the world. Between the ages of 2 to 3 it was the absolute worst, but I refused to give into him (I'm a single mom) because I knew that if I gave in he'd be out of control when he got older. Then I realized that time out isn't just for them...it's for us parents more than anything! So, I could walk away for a minute before exploding and calm myself, & handle the problem appropriately. In the beginning when I first started doing the time out thing, I would put him in his high chair & turn it towards the wall, so he couldn't keep ignoring me & getting up out of the chair, socialize, watch tv, ect. I used that technique until he finally stopped getting up out of his chair before I told him he could. Also, another tip that works fantastically but you have to be CONSISTANT WITH, I would not start his "time out" until he was done crying &/or screaming! Once he stopped I would start the timer, and if he started crying or winning again, or tried to socialize or play while in time out, I'd start his "time out" all over again. I also always make it a point to tell him what he is being punished for, and now that he's older I have him tell me what he did wrong when he apologizes. It was tough but SOOOO worth it! He turned 4 in April and wow what a difference. That's not to say I don't have to still discipline him, but now he doesn't fight me like he use to & accepts that he's not getting out of it...so I no longer get overwhelmed with that type of stress as often. Honestly, using the "time out" technique taught me how to be a more stern, and consistant parent; which is a priceless tool that I know will continue to benefit both him & I for the rest of our lives.

Angel - posted on 07/25/2010

1

13

0

Alot of times acting out can be avoided by the way you respond to it. If time out is in a chair then that requires you to stand at the chair and give her a form of reinforcment just by becoming the target, if this is the case then try moving time out to a more open area, you can use the suggestion of time out as opposed to a place by removing any externial stimuli such as toys, television, or your presence.
If she is having a tantrum, simply tell her that is not ok and leave the room, removing any external stimuli as you go, turn off tv, take the toys she is playing with, etc... but be consistent and don't give in, I have one of those strong willed children as well, but when she saw that she was not going to get her way and I was not going to give in she changed her approach. By reinforcing her positively and being consistent and not giving in, you can get through this.

Alicia - posted on 07/25/2010

12

4

0

Patting his butt will eventually stop working. Time outs do work, when they are done effectively. Follow q book called1 2 3 Magic.

Alicia - posted on 07/25/2010

12

4

0

Get a book called 1 2 3 Magic and read it cover to cover before starting. It helps understand her behavior, our reactions and what to do. It is a very good book. I highly recommend it to everfyone. Works for my three year old twins. No yelling on my part needed when I follow it. I got it originally for my 13 year old nephew who was living with us and it worked with him too. Don't explain yourself...we try to reason with children and they just don't get it. They are not adults and don't understand our reasoning, so don't bother.

Holly - posted on 07/23/2010

74

36

1

i started putting my daughter at age 4 in time out.. that was the age she decided to get out of line with me.. she threw tantrums and cried and screamed.. i would tell her if she is going to act ugly and not do what she is told then i will take something you love away or i would take her fav tv show away. if it got more out of hand then more is taken away till she gives up.. i give her an hour and if she is doing very well and listens then i would give her one toy or what ever back and talk to her about it.. i like to watch nanny 911 and others relative shows, they are pretty helpful too.. you can look there web page videos on line threw google or you tube! good luck and keep trying. it will get better and she will change if you keep at it, be resourceful and firm!

Maggie - posted on 07/23/2010

818

24

47

I just went back and read most of the comments here and I have to say...where do you guys get 2 or 3 hours a day to do time outs?! If it takes 30 minutes to do one time out...and you do 3 or 4 a day. I have two kids and I can't spend all my time chasing them around to put them back in time out. It is insane that other things haven't been tried before devoting an endless amount of time to punishment.

Marie - posted on 07/22/2010

11

0

0

I went through that too. Just keep putting her back. If it gets too bad or you feel like you are losing it, just walk away. That's what I did. When my daughter stopped getting the attention she was looking for, she calmed down pretty quickly. Then we sat down and talked about what she did wrong once she was calm.

Susanne - posted on 07/22/2010

9

7

0

I can totally sympathise. It's devastating when you try to be the best Mum you can be, and sometimes you feel like you are failing them when you can't seem to get it right! And, sometimes it's hard to keep perspective.

Are there any patterns to the times or reasons that she ends up in time out? At this age, they are easier to reason with, so generally "lose it" less often,. Maybe look at why this could happening. Is she tired? Is she reacting to preservatives in food? Is she hungry? Is she stressed about something? Is there sibling rivalry? Has she had a big day? Is she overstimulated? I know that I can often pinpoint one of the above when my 4 year old loses it (and she can REALLY lose it!!!) Kids do need discipline. They find comfort in knowing that there is someone in control, but don't forget that they are just beautiful little angels, who are just finding their way in this strange and sometimes confusing world. They are are testing boundaries. They are testing how much you love them, and they are testing where their position is in the family unit. The thing I always try to stick to is "discipline with love". (Oh, and I do use time out!! - although I don't use it as a "punishment" as such, but she knows that she is there because she needs to calm down and think about what she has done. Then, she needs to explain to me why she was in time out & make any appropriate apologies or amends.) Trust your instincts. You love her. You're a good Mum. Good Luck!

Ashley - posted on 07/21/2010

863

2

155

You need to walk away when u put her in it and if she run you start time all over could be a few realy big battles but as long as you dont stop till she gets the time out then she will stop the abuse.

Michelle - posted on 07/21/2010

70

7

11

"Positive Discipline for preschoolers" is an excellent book! They suggest making a special "cool down" area for your child...ex: a corner filled with pillows & maybe their favorite toy/blanket...where they can go to calm down & think about what they did or what they should have done differently...I send my daughter to her room...and when she calms down she usually apologizes...it is meant to be a Positive Place to go..not as a punishment...usually they learn to go there without an arguement if it is projected as a positive thing...alot less stress than fighting them to stay there! Sometime I even put myself in the "cool down" place so she can see that sometimes mommy needs a "time out " too!

Emily - posted on 07/20/2010

32

29

4

I threaten to put my son in his room if he doesn't stay in the chair. It works every time, although he screams A LOT. He's allowed to come out when he's done "screaming and yelling", and when he's ready to say sorry. I usually try to leave his line of eyesight, and just wait. It sometimes takes a LONG time, but he eventually comes out and I give him a big hug and reassure him that I love him, and reinforce what he should not have done.

Kim - posted on 07/20/2010

35

32

0

Awful when they do that, huh? There is only 1 thing that wrks with my son, and that is to take toys away when he is naughty, and then he has to earn them back by being good. I keep them in view to remind him, but out of reach - and always start with the favourite toy of the day. Course if he is choosing to be good I reward him with lots of cuddles and positive affirmations.

Hope this is an idea that might help.

Deborah - posted on 07/18/2010

219

6

29

You have to keep putting her back and back and back until she realises you are the boss, the longer you let her fight before you give up the harder it will be next time. Its a battle of pwer and stubborness, you are the mother and you should have more deternimation and stubborness than your 4 years old. Just bite your tongue, keep putting her back, don't talk to her or interact with her in any way, just keep setting her back on the seat/stairs/corner until she realises she has to stay there.

My daughter thought it was a game at first, and would play peekaboo with me, it wasn't until she got bored of playing peekaboo and wanted to get off that she realised I was serious and this wasn't a game. Eventually she got it.

Melissa - posted on 07/17/2010

4

2

0

who is in charge?? sounds as she is. i have 2 ids 4 1/2 a 2 we use it. the 2 yo. have hit and kicked my 4 yo has stated I'm mean. i just ignore it. if they get up i put them back, even f i have to do it for an hour long. they learn that it's better to do the time than fight. it will take awhile but they will get it. remember pick you battles wisely and stay strong if you cave just once you have to start the whole process over.

Sara - posted on 07/17/2010

1

0

0

I went through that with my son thank he didn't hit me but cried histerically. I brought him to Smyths and let him get a new car seat. The ones that he just sits in and you use the normal seat belt.Letting them climb in themselves also helps ALOT.Takes more time to go somewhere but since i this i have had no problems. Thank god.

Jennifer - posted on 07/16/2010

17

1

0

The only thing that I have noticed that works is I refuse to converse with her until she is quiet for at least one minute. After this I move it up to the number of minutes of her age. It has not been easy, but I absolutely refuse to respond to her. I sometimes had to put her back on the stairs where she must be quiet, but I do it firmly and not angrily! I know this is hard, but I just kept on repeating, when you are quiet mommy will talk to you. She eventually calms down and then we have a conversation. I always left the general vacinity and reminded her when she continued screaming that i would not be dealing with her until she was quiet. She often wanted to tell me something, but I always left before she got a chance so she knew that I would only give her my undivided attention when she was calm. Try it it might work.

Michelle - posted on 07/16/2010

2

25

0

keep putting her back in time out even if it takes 30 minutes. Trust me...eventually she will know that you are the boss and she will sit there. It might get pretty messy and heated but eventually she will sit there. Once she sits there quietly, only leave her there the same amount of minute as how old she is. (ex...if she is 4 then 4 minutes, 5 then 5 minutes). I went through the same thing. Then stay as calm as possible and tell her that its not nice to kick, hit or call names. Also what I did is make her apologize for her actions but instead of just saying that she is sorry, ask her why she is sorry so she can stop and think about what she did. Good luck

Hayley - posted on 07/14/2010

26

14

0

as everyone above but get a timer! If your little one has the timer she will learn when is over and not before. Can she see/hear you when she is in time out? that might be another reason if she can't. My Daughter is 19 months and we have started time out. She sits away from mum and dad - but she can still see us and we don't talk to her until we tell her its over - unless she gets up and wanders in in which case she goes back to time out and the time starts again. She even puts herself in the time out place and if she does this we leave her to it- its her place for a break. Just keep put her back in and explain to her a) why she is in time out b) how long she has to stay there c) after she if finished time out - 'make up'- tell her why she was there and that what she is doing is not acceptable behaviour. get her to apologise (if needed) Tell her mom and dad love her very much - give her kiss and cuddle and then get on like nothing has happened. In time out if she kicks and screams explian what time out is for - her chance to calm it down and think about what she has done. I have a time out place for me too. If a feel I am getting too angry, I sit on a chair and little H I am in time out. She sits near me and plays by herself. I calm down, tell her why I was in time out and then kisses and cuddles and get on. Its hard but worth it....Hxx

Kelly - posted on 07/13/2010

18

19

0

Continually put her back in the timout spot (make sure she cant hurt herself). I watched the nanny once and she said to do it over and over until she stops the fit, get down on her level and explain whatever she did wrong and we dont do that again. She said to do it 50 times if that is what it takes. I did it and it worked for me.

[deleted account]

I use to sit for a girl and her mother set a kitchen timer for her timeouts. She knew every time how many minutes was on the timer and the fact that she couldn't get up until the timer went off. If she battled or got up her mom would reset the timer. If she hit or kicked her mother would add one minute. If she did it again her mom would send her to her room and shut the door. She quickly learned to sit there and be quiet. I don't know if that would work in your case but it definitely sounds like your daughter's reaction is an attempt to push your buttons and you don't need a power struggle. Let her have her tantrum in her room with the door closed. You can ignore her and still send the message that the behavior is inappropriate.

Diane - posted on 07/13/2010

187

24

27

Time outs don't works for my son eather but instead of constantly getting up he just sits there and plays with his toes or the chair..so i dont consider it a punishment if he it dosen't affect him. I pop him on the butt when he does somthing bad when i know he knows its bad. People can call it lazy parenting if they want i dont care cuz it works. =]

Kristen - posted on 07/13/2010

300

15

98

Thats what happens with time-out. You keep putting her back until she realizes that YOU are the boss. Of course you need to keep your cool and explain that when she can calm down and behave she can get up.

Marcy - posted on 07/13/2010

1,042

1

277

How old is she? We don't really do time out in our house as I don't find it that effective with my son. I think that if she is hitting, kicking, saying bad things while in time out its not working well. Why not do a reward chart instead with stickers. When she is kicking, pinching and saying mean things pick her up, put her on the sofa or on her bed and walk away. She will of course come after you. Turn around, get down at her level and very clearly say to her "Do not hit (or whatever she is doing at the moment). Mommy is not going to pay attention to you until you are ready to behave like a nice girl." The stand up and walk away. Chances are she will have a fit on the floor...honestly, let her. When she is done then make her come to you and tell you that 'She is ready to be a nice girl." With my son trying to get him to calm down in the throws of a tantrum is like cleaning up a hurricane right in the eye of the storm.,..not worth it. Honestly, it will take about a half dozen times before she gets it but then each time it gets easier.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms