or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › opinions on time out please
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

opinions on time out please

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

What do people feel about "time out"? I have been having some problems with my 3yo dd, hitting me, screaming, pulling my hair, I am really struggling to know how to deal with it, I have never used time out, or any strategy really, on good days I try to validate her feelings but tell her hitting is not ok, on bad days I end up screaming at her. I really need to find a way to help her not do this to me and help myself not get into a state where I am screaming at her while not ignoring whatever the issue is that is driving her. I had the health visitor come round today he recommended a parenting course called "triple p" which involves reward charts and time out. What do gentle discipline mama's feel about these techniques? How do you incorporate time out with validating her feelings, have you had any results good or bad? does anyone have any alternatives? Many thanks xx

post #2 of 34

If *I'm* about to lose it I take a Mama time out.  "Guys, I'm feeling frustrated and angry.  I need a break so I can think."   I don't do formal "time outs" but if my children (6 and 8) and throwing/breaking things or hitting I tell them they need to take a break until they can control their bodies.  They go to their rooms and I let them tell me when they're feeling calmer.  Sometimes, hugs are needed and I give those freely - no time rules there. (I think everyone just needs to be held sometimes)

post #3 of 34

I was totally anti-time out, rewards and even praise.  I loved Alfie Kohn.  I applied all the gentlest GD techniques and they just have not worked for my daughter.  We have had so many melt downs and issues with her just not doing what we ask that we actually have been to a child psychologist to get some help.

 

Since seeing the psychologist 2 weeks ago things have already begun improving. She recommended a book called "The Incredible Years" - it might not be the most GD but the author is a big fan or logical and natural consequences and only using time outs for serious offences.  Here were the main take aways:

 

1./ Lots of connection time.  Most importantly 20 minutes of one on one time with me (or Dad) every day.  During this time we basically play whatever she wants and a running commentary "look you are building a big tower, wow it is getting so tall..." etc. 

 

2./ Praise for any compliant behaviour.  This seems to be helping to improve things quickly.  We are giving lots of high fives, hugs etc. for even small things.  Eventually we will wean her off this over the top praise.

 

3./ Time outs.  We are only using them for defiant behaviour (but in the book they recommend using them for hitting etc.). So far she has only had one time out.  Any other time we have given a warning and she has decided to do what is asked.  There are guidelines for using time out in the book.  

 

At this point in my parenting journey I have come to realize that being the MOST GD, AP etc. doesn't necessarily mean being the best mom to my kids.  I stuck with co-sleeping and now completely resent it and am exhausted from nursing two kids on demand at night.  I am still nursing my 4 year old and I really wish I had weaned her back when she was 2.5 and was losing interest but somehow I felt I wouldn't' be a good enough AP mom if I did.  I tried unconditional parenting and we just needed some more for my spirited daughter.  

 

Hope this helps give some perspective.  

 

Good luck!

post #4 of 34

I totally agree with everything Shannie said!  My daughter is a very high needs child, and many aspects of AP just don't work for her.  I over-praise right now too - "Wow, you are walking so nicely!"  "You're holding Mommy's hand, I'm so proud of you!"  "You brushed your teeth so well, high five!"  She loves this, and it helps remind her of what kind of behavior I'm looking for.  Especially on the rough days when she's REALLY acting up.

 

As far as time outs go - I use them, but only for serious offenses like hitting and outright defiance.  It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than spanking.  I try to let her sit until she stops crying, but no more than a minute or two.  Then she has to apologize to the injured party - "Sorry for hitting, Mommy" - and then I give lots of hugs and cuddles.  When she gets really upset in the moment, this is sometimes the only way to get her to calm down enough to understand why what she did is not okay.

 

Good luck!

 

~Melissa~

Single Mama to Miss Priss (3 y/o)

post #5 of 34

I agree with the other posters...complete GD with no punishments other than logical and natural does not work for every child. I think once my children get older than it will be so much more effective. I have an almost 2 yr old and a 4 yr old.

My almost 2 yr old gets timeouts only for hitting or biting and gets a warning first except for biting. I never had to use any type of punishments for my daughter at this age, but my son is very aggressive for some reason and also very defiant. They are not timed, but I am very stern with him. Then he has to apologize to the victim. He used to actually hit more/not stop if you saw him and now he usually stops since getting timeouts. He just does not care or realize the connection between you hit and that hurt someone.

My 4 yr old gets sent to her room until she calms down. If you insist she follow directions, then it almost always ends up with her crying and escalating the situation. She is very spirited and time outs near us also just escalated the tantrums. She needs that time alone, but would never initiate it on her own so we have to. This is also for our own sanity so that we do not lose out temper with her ;)

 

post #6 of 34

In the same boat as a lot of the others here.  I was so proud that my daughter (age three) has never had a time-out, we practice unconditional parenting, unschooling, tons of freedom, emotional reflection, etc.  Our kids behave in stores and restaurants, are polite, funny, and are very creative.  I can tell you every reason why time-outs are bad.  However.  DD1 hits me when she gets angry, screams at you when you try and explain things or reason with her, and hits, chokes, and pushes dd2 (age 16 months). This physical aggression is NOT okay, gets out of hand very quickly, and is dangerous for dd2.  I started to really dislike being around dd1 b/c I felt there was nothing I could do to get her to listen to me or to stop hitting me w/out it escalating into some humongous tantrum & me getting infuriated.  DH suggested that it may be time for time-outs & you know what?  It was.  I am completely unemotional when administering them & we do them matter-of-factly.  DD1 sits calmly, occasionally cries for a few seconds.  She is a v logical person w/ good self-control & we really think the time-out method speaks to this part of her.  I do not administer warnings for hitting dd2, she goes straight into time-out, but she gets a warning for everything else & it works perfectly.  I have not changed anything about my parenting other than giving time-outs (we do not do rewards, excessive praise, etc) and our lives have improved drastically just over the past four days.  I am actually enjoying having dd1 around and she has gone from being wild back to the sweet little girl that she used to be.  She actually sits and listens instead of screaming in my face and yelling at me.  The reality is that being connected and loving towards one another is the utmost importance.  If your child's behaviour is such that you cannot even stand to be around them, then something has to change, even if it means giving evil time-outs :)

post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 

thanks for your insights, we are still struggling but not quite so much, from a child who had a meltdown once every couple of weeks and would happily except a cuddle while she was falling apart, we have gone to one or two a day where she is completely pushing me away. I have started time outs in my bedroom, there was no way that she was able to stay still and stop screaming for a time out on a step or in the room i am in, I am not completely comfortable with it as she is only 3 and I'm worried that being put on her own when she is in such a state is traumatising for her but I really don't know what else to do, I only do it for hitting and biting. It has definatley helped me with my temper, I feel that I have a course of action so I am not loosing it with her, and I guess I'm not getting so angry because I'm not being physically attacked so much, first sign of it and she goes to my room. She has actually hurt herself (not badly) in my room when I put her there, as she goes crazy throwing stuff and we don't really have a room that has got nothing in it that might cause injury or damage if she throws it or crashes into it so I'm not sure what to do about that. I'm wondering if I have been too available to her whenever she needed or wanted me and too ready to find a solution or compromise to anything that she had a problem with, so that she has never actually learnt to go with someone elses flow, or wait, or basically find a way within herself to tolerate something that wasn't completely to her liking. My theory had been that the more I meet her needs now the less she will feel like she has to battle for things in life and any time things didn't go her way it wouldn't resonate with some unmet need and would be easier for her to overcome, if that makes any sense. But at the moment I feel like I have an extremely bossy intolerant angry little girl and I'm scared it's permanent, I'm really wondering where I've gone so wrong, I'm so torn between giving her what she wants even when it's not what I want at that moment (not just to stop the tantrum but because I wonder if its a genuine need, like today she had a meltdown because I wouldn't play with her, I had just spent half an hour playing chasing, jumping, doctors etc, and then needed to sort the house out and get dinner started) and stepping up the boundaries and making her wait or 'dance to my tune' a little bit more. I think being a single parent home makes it harder as there is not enough of me to go round.

 

Shannie, sorry to hear your struggling, I just wanted to say although I'm sure you've thought of it, you could actually ween if you need to and with some support I'm sure you could do it kindly and sensitively.

 

Thanks again everyone, I'll let you know how I get on

post #8 of 34


I've been thinking about this thread a lot. We haven't hit the "time-out" wall as so many posters note, but we've sure come close sometimes. The thing is, I don't see my son ever willingly sitting in a place/ staying in a room for a minute if he didn't want to, and we're not at a point where I would want to try to force him to do so. But thanks to everyone for the reminder not to be judgmental about that technique!

 

I totally get nickysan's theory, below, and I wanted to say that testing mama and finding that she means what she says is it's own natural developmental need. For us at 3 the balance was more in the line of genuine need for the stated thing, while now at 3.5 the balance is more in the line of wanting to see how much we are in charge. But even at 3, he would freak if he felt vulnerable and we didn't show that we were in charge. So that's a genuine need too, it just gets expressed as "Someone has to play with me right now!" If I've been doing housework for 20 minutes, then I set my internal clock to being an attentive mama. If I've already been playing for 20 minutes, I set his expectations before I switch gears, and offer him a helping activity with me when I get up to make dinner. But dinner is a real genuine need too, so even if there's push back I just try to keep my voice calm and matter of fact and repeat "I'm looking forward to playing again after dinner, and right now I have to make dinner. I'd sure love some help finding those pesky carrots, they're hiding again." If he loses it right then - he's starving and I've got to start him eating asap. After a week of this routine, our dinner hour moved earlier by a whole hour, and our evenings got lots calmer and happier and our tantrums moved into other realms (a moving target.) Just a reminder to take those needs into account too.

 

Good luck.

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickysan View Post
 My theory had been that the more I meet her needs now the less she will feel like she has to battle for things in life and any time things didn't go her way it wouldn't resonate with some unmet need and would be easier for her to overcome, if that makes any sense. But at the moment I feel like I have an extremely bossy intolerant angry little girl and I'm scared it's permanent, I'm really wondering where I've gone so wrong, I'm so torn between giving her what she wants even when it's not what I want at that moment (not just to stop the tantrum but because I wonder if its a genuine need, like today she had a meltdown because I wouldn't play with her, I had just spent half an hour playing chasing, jumping, doctors etc, and then needed to sort the house out and get dinner started) and stepping up the boundaries and making her wait or 'dance to my tune' a little bit more. I think being a single parent home makes it harder as there is not enough of me to go round.

 



 

post #9 of 34
I'm so glad to find this thread. I made it to 3.9 without ever using a timeout but lately I've been feeling like my relationship with DS1 has gotten quite combative and I decided to try it out. Not in the structured Super Nanny way because that never felt right, DS1 has this habit of screaming, loudly, right in my face when he doesn't get what he wants (only every once in a while but it makes me INSANE and it makes me want to scream back which escalates the whole thing, terribly) so when he did it the other day I took a deep breath, told him I understood his frustration but it was not okay to scream at me, sat him down on the bottom step with instructions to take some deep breaths and let me know when he was calm enough to talk about it without screaming. Then I went in the other room and did the same thing. After a minute or so he told me he was calm, he was and we talked about it. So despite all my reading about why time-outs are awful I feel like at this point (and I don't think it would have worked when he was much younger) a little separation and downtime is WAY better than me screaming back and the whole thing turning into a giant, irrational, mess.
post #10 of 34

I have found that unfortunately, forr my little one, time out is ineffective. Maybe some kids could sit for their minutes and then actually stop doing the behavior that caused the time-out. My kid, however, will scream/kick/freak out until you let them off time-out and then go right back to jumping off the sofa, chasing the cat, throwing toys, etc. So I think it would depend a lot on the child. 

post #11 of 34
I don't think time outs are evil--the important thing is to think of it as taking a moment to calm down, NOT as a punishment. If you put them in a room and close the door in their face angrily, saying "you need a time out!" while they're crying, the kid is going to experience that as a punishment, feel angry or hurt and not going to take away anything positive from it.

But if you keep your cool, calmly say "it's time to go sit on your bed (or wherever) to calm down--I'll go with you" then calmly escort them, hand them a book or quiet activity, and sit down nearby until they calm down, then after they're calm use that opportunity to talk to them about what happened and how to do better next time--that type of approach is more likely to have a lasting impact.

It takes self restraint, strategy and a lot of effort on your part, so sometimes it's just not realistic when the parent is at the end of their rope, but it is the goal I shoot for anyway, and in my experience it does work better than anything else when I manage to stay calm and loving and creative the whole time.
post #12 of 34
I'm a mom who used to do time-outs and really regret it. And my first DS was high needs at that age, and my second son is much more difficult to discipline. I read and loved articles by Naomi Aldort and read her book on gentle discipline when my first was very young. I tried her techniques but was so exhausted and stressed when he kept running off from me, kept hitting others, kept hurting me.

What finally worked for us was a combination of lifestyle changes and time. We do not use time outs anymore. Dr. Laura Markham on the Aha Parenting site is wonderful at suggesting alternatives to time out, many of which we have used. She also explains why time outs can be damaging and undermine the connection you have with your child. Ultimately, although the threat of time outs can stop the behavior, it doesn't help the underlying cause of the behavior.

Like the pp mentioned, staying connected is the best way to raise kids who want to cooperate. Here's what works for us:

1. Set them up for success: make sure they are getting plenty of rest, plenty of exercise, and whole foods with lots of protein. If any of these things are missing from your child's day then they need your understanding, not discipline. It is not their fault.

2. Eliminate any possibility of food allergies or sensitivities. It is nearly impossible to gently discipline a child who is reacting to toxins in their body. They simply do not feel good, so any misbehaving is again, not their fault.

3. Stay connected: spend plenty of time with your child, alternating between following their lead and you offering up game suggestions that help give them a sense of being totally loved and cherished by you. Aha Parenting offers great suggestions for these types of games.

4. If your child is not listening to you and you are resorting to consequences such as time outs, it means you need to look at the relationship- somehow the connection has been compromised. Often this happens when we use time outs.

And lastly, this quote stands out anytime I read about charts and time outs: Rewards and punishment are the lowest forms of education- Chuang Tzu
post #13 of 34

We have four lovely, well-behaved children aged 11, 8, 6, and 4. They (usually) get along well with each other, are good about helping out around the house, are comfortable expressing their feelings appropriately and we can take them out in public without them acting up.

 

After reading many books about gentle discipline and child rearing and trying different things, we decided to applying time-out in situations where a child was hurting someone, being mean or repeatedly disobeying.

 

For our boys, time-out has worked extremely well. We do it Supernanny style; minutes = age, tell them calmly why you're putting them into time-out, no talking to the child while in time out, discuss the offense when the time is up. For dd, who didn't really mind being put in time-out, talking about the issue once everyone calmed down and removing priviledges usually does the trick.

 

Quote:

She also explains why time outs can be damaging and undermine the connection you have with your child. Ultimately, although the threat of time outs can stop the behavior, it doesn't help the underlying cause of the behavior.
 

 

I think that when done improperly, time-outs can be damaging, but then so can screaming at your children, not disciplining them or allowing them to behave in such a way that people don't want to be around them. And we don't threaten time-outs. If there's a behavior happening that warrants a time-out, we put the child in time-out. Being consistant about it is the big part of what makes it work.

post #14 of 34

One reason I love Aha Parenting is that Dr. Laura Markham offers alternatives to time-outs that do let the child know that there are limits and boundaries. She does not advocate permissive parenting or no discipline, which I agree with the pp would not work in our family and can be damaging.

 

Her issue with time-outs is that although it may stop the behavior, it doesn't address the underlying problem. If a child is hurting and/or being aggressive they are usually acting out for some (big) reason, often times out of fear. Being sent "away" from a caring, loving parent who has arms to hold them and allow them to get everything out by crying  really helps prevent future acts of aggression. 

 

I agree that I will not let my child hurt me, or anyone else. But children, even older children, who act out aggressively are very unlikely to be sitting alone in their time-out coming to this conclusion. They are more likely to feel that a parent doesn't want them around, that their feelings, emotions and actions are so awful that they have to be sent away and left alone.

 

This isn't to say that time-outs are as bad as spanking, or yelling. I agree those actions are much worse! However, time-outs are another form of punishment that can damage the connection. 

 

It's worth considering and looking into. I highly recommend Aha Parenting. She has other parenting coaches offer advice on her blog too, so it's not just a 1-woman perspective. But her points have helped me become a much better parent and her suggestions have really improved my connection with my boys. 

post #15 of 34

We do time outs.  You either get to time out with a parent or on your own.  It's a choice that you can make.  If they time out with a parent it usually means they're just done and need to cuddle if they time out alone it means they understand they need to remove themselves from the situation.  We use time outs to reset and not as a punishment.  I do not remove myself from the situation because it hurts their feelings way too much.  I've done it a few times and it leads to them feeling hurt.

post #16 of 34

We do time outs.  We also have immediate consequences for any type of physical aggression.  We don't tolerate any hitting, kicking, pushing or anything like that it in our house or when we're out and about.  IMO, when someone (even a little someone) hurts someone else, they need a break.  They need to be removed from harming anyone, and they need to be reminded that hurting is never okay. 

 

I'm probably different than a lot of moms at MDC, because I very much believe that children need to be taught and guided.  I think this can be done gently without physical punishments or humiliation, but I very much believe that children need clear boundaries and consequences. 

post #17 of 34

 

 

Quote:
 If your child's behaviour is such that you cannot even stand to be around them, then something has to change, even if it means giving evil time-outs :)

 

You're exactly right. If you practice unconditional parenting but part of that is disliking your own child or resorting to yelling at them constantly, it's time for a change (I'm not bashing unconditional parenting, maybe it works for your family). My advice is always to recognize when you are being a bad parent, and if you feel like you are failing somewhere, then something needs to give. I'm a huge supporter of timeout simply because of the "time" aspect. It doesn't change. It is unwavering. It doesn't depend on your feelings as a parent. You don't need to resort to yelling or name-calling (As some parents do). It gives children clear expectations of what the punishment is. As such, it is always fair.

 

The problem with other methods is they vary depending on our feelings as an adult (When your child kicks the cat, do you honestly expect to act reasonably with your five year old?). Or they expect too much of a child (Seriously, how logical is your three year old?).

 

Administered calmly, and with clear expectations for all involved, time out is good choice for punishment. If the length of time varies, if you act coldly to your child, or yell when administering a timeout, you're doing it all wrong. 

post #18 of 34

It does not work with my girls personality but my son get over stimulated very easily and would (he has outgrown it now) melt down. Trying to help him and not just giving him space would make it worse and last much longer. He needed time to just sit by himself and calm down. We didn't call it time out I just told him he needed to relax and would put him in the rocking chair in my bedroom and go sit outside the door. He would calm down and sit there for a couple minutes and them come cuddle. If I tried to help him he was thrashing and hitting and it lasted forever and was much worse for him.

 

What I am saying is used positively and for the child with a personality that needs it I think it can be a good thing. Used for some like my daughters that just think you are doing away with them so to speak I haven't gotten a good feeling about.

post #19 of 34

I think a time out is a far better way to handle a child who is hitting or misbehaving than yelling at them or snapping and spanking.  A timeout will let everyone get back under control.  I'm always surprised at people who are adamantly opposed to any kind of punishment, yet whose children are so miserable to be around, even the parents don't like them.  What a sad life for that child. (Not saying that is the case with the original poster.)

 

We don't actually time our time-outs here.  The kids just know they can leave time out when they're ready to talk.  My kids are 5, 9 & 9 and I can't even think of the last time we've done a time out.  I'm sure my 5-year-old will get one again sometime, but she's a pleaser, so has not interest in being sassy or misbehaving.  Sometimes she'll talk in a rude way and we just ask her to stop and she'll apologize.  If there is a time out, once everyone's calm, I let my kids come up with  the "better" way to handle whatever it was that got them in trouble.   As for kids not staying in timeout, that never happened with us, but I think if you just kept putting the child back in time out he or she would eventually stay and it would be less of a battle each time (the goal, of course, being no timeouts). 

 

 

post #20 of 34

From what I've been learning -

 

Non-timed time outs are perfect for melt downs, temper tantrums, screaming or other emotional disturbances.  It gives the child an opportunity to learn coping skills as well as to communicate appropriately (because when you talk, not scream and kick, we listen).

 

Timed time-outs are good for tangible offenses, such as violence, defiance or other similar behaviors because it teaches the child that if you do inappropriate things there will be consequences, which is so true for adult life - otherwise I'd be going around punching people.  winky.gif

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Gentle Discipline
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › opinions on time out please