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time out

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

what's wrong with a timeout for 4 yo DD who hits me or pushes over her little brother? at wits end with her and can't allow this behavior any more. we've tried saying "we dont hit" and it doesn't work. she is out of control and we are at wits end. thanks.

post #2 of 13
I don't think anything is wrong with it. I only used timeout twice and both times were for the two times my DD hit me. I have found that talking to DD about why she is a acting up and what she can instead (with her doing most if the planning) is also very effective for her.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks, One_Girl, for your reply.  I was so short with my first post because I was holding onto a squirmy baby and trying to type one handed while keeping him from grabbing things off the desk!  That, and I was so frustrated and at my wits end. 


I guess I know "what's wrong" with a time-out, as far as it being a punitive measure, instead of being neutral (no rewards, no punishment).  And I guess since it's not spanking, it would still be considered "gentle discipline"?  It doesn't really matter.  I have been hoping not to have to use time-outs, but I really feel like I'm at the end of my rope, and she is totally out of control (which in some ways is normal for a 4 year old, since they just don't acquire the capabilities to control themselves completely until 6, or whatever).  But still.  My response to her behavior was just not cutting it.  I have been feeling out of control and angry myself, especially when she hurts her little brother.  The mama bear comes out, even against it's own young! 


We had a good conversation tonight at bedtime... I told her I knew she had a "thorn" that she didn't want to talk about today at dinner, and she said, "yes, it was the time-out" and I asked her why, and she said, "because I don't like being in my room alone" and I said that sometimes when we feel angry, and we hit or hurt others, then we need to have a time-out, because we love each other, and we need to wait until the loving feelings can come back, but that it is hard to feel love when we are angry.  Half the time she was covering her ears, but I hope some of the message got through.  It has been hard on her to have a new brother, and I know that.  We have been working on having mommy/daughter time together, since that has been lost in the shuffle, so hopefully that will help too.


If anyone else has any other ideas or suggestions, I would welcome them.



post #4 of 13

Have you heard of the book, "Siblings Without Rivalry"?  I read through it when my boys were 18 months and 2 months old.  I was thinking the whole time, this will be great when they are verbal, but what can I do NOW?  The next day, I read their recommendation for when one sibling hits/hurts another:  pick up the 'victim' and take them to another space, while saying something like, "Your sister knows how to be nice, but sometimes she gets too frustrated and forgets."  I found this worked wonders after just two episodes of the 18 month old trying to sit on the baby's head.  It also works even these days (they are now 3 and 2 years old), and even when they hit me.  I tell them, "Hitting hurts", then go to another room/space.  They often follow and it is then easier to get to the root of the hitting.


The book also has great suggestions for how to talk to older kids about the baby.  They suggest that denying even negative feelings will be hard on the child.  Rather than saying something like, "No, you don't mean that- you don't hate the baby." they would suggest "Hate is a strong word.  You must be feeling some strong feelings to say that.  Are you feeling left out?"


I just wanted to offer another route, because time outs just didn't work for our family.  I feel like the language tools I learned from Siblings as well as from the authors' other book, "How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk" have taught me productive ways to deal effectively with 85% of our issues. 

post #5 of 13

DS#2 is 3 and very 'spirited'. He is always saying 'no' to me and will quake with anger when he doesn't get his way. I make him sit in his bed until he calms down. When he is calmer he knows to come to me and we usually talk about what he did wrong or what made him so angry. Counting helps us too.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

thanks for the book recommendations.  I am going to use that verbiage next time she hurts her brother.  It keeps it positive. 


I gave her another time out today for hitting me, and basically, as soon as it was over, she was hitting me and scratching me again before she even got out of the chair, while I was trying to talk to her.  So yeah, totally not effective.  I am wondering if this is what people mean when they say that time outs don't work.  I guess it's what I mean! 


I would like time out to be more of a "calm down" time, and I saw a pin on Pinterest for a "calm down basket" which seemed like a good idea, but when I tried to talk to DD about it she wouldn't talk about it, said she wouldn't do it, she doesn't want to calm down, etc.  so I wonder if I should even bother!


Here's the link to that idea: http://www.herewearetogether.com/2011/10/19/meditation-for-kids-dealing-with-anger-in-children-make-a-calm-down-basket/

post #7 of 13

When my DD (also 4) gets out of control, I do the bearhug thing.  I know it doesn't work for everybody, but it helps my DD.  I hold her from behind in a big hug while she thrashes around screaming, and repeatedly tell her that I'm going to help her control her body so that everyone will be safe.  Eventually she calms down.  Sometimes she even thanks me for helping her control her body.  The hardest part, I think, is controlling the anger we feel as mamas when they hurt our poor tiny helpless little babies.  I know I WANT to punish DD when she hurts baby DS because that mama bear rage just wells up in me that someone hurt my baby.  I have to step back and take a breath and remember that DD is still mostly a baby too.  If I try to step in while I'm angry, DD picks up on that and it escalates things.  I tried time outs briefly too, but they didn't work for our family.  I quit the time DD told me when she got bigger she would make me have a time out whenever I hit her.  I responded that I would never hit her, but I realized that the lesson she was learning was that big people can make little people do things they don't want.  I also remember the rage I felt when I was forced to stand in a corner as a child.  I remember standing there eating paint off the wall, hoping it would make me sick so my parents would feel sorry for what they were doing.  I don't want my kids to feel that way.  It really is HARD.  When we have more than one kid, sometimes we NEED the big kid to be older and more mature than they are.  I will say though, that as DD rapidly approaches age 5 (in 3 months), the freakouts are diminishing, and it's getting easier.  Oh, and also, she can control her body 100 times better when I manage to get enough protein in her, which is tricky since on top of everything else, she's become a super picky eater.



post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Puddle.  Sometimes it helps just to hear that someone else has the same struggles and feels the same way. 


I tried a bear hug of sorts yesterday when she threw a fit because it was time for us to leave, and she just scratched my hands.  I probably should have discussed it with her first.  Sometimes I feel like I really can't get anything right!

post #9 of 13

wow, these are some good ideas; going to another room, calm down basket, and it helps to hear WHY time out doesn't work for others--I guess it helps me think about whether time outs "work" for us. We don't really do time outs, but whenever DS hits DH, he takes him in his room and sits with him and won't let him leave until he says that he is done hitting or that he won't hit anymore. This usually takes a while. And often I have gone in to sit with them, and let DS nurse, upon request. Because it helps him calm down and it doesn't seem right to deprive him of his primary comfort practice. But it has been pissing DH off. He thinks it looks like I am "undermining" him. But it doesn't work to not nurse him because DS just gets pissed off and I can't stand listening to it. Sometimes it lasts for 10 or 15 minutes. So DH has conceded and stopped taking him to his room. I have shown disapproval and talked to DS about hitting but it seriously seems to have ESCALATED since we stopped with the "consequences". He just bit me, hard. I don't remember him ever doing that before. So I told DH he could go back to his way. But maybe I'll ask him to read this thread and maybe we'll try something else. Because the time in thing doesn't seem to work for us.

post #10 of 13
Sitting together until calm and able to say it won't happen again works well for us. So if my son does something serious (hit a friend, for example) we stop immediately and go sit together on the couch if we're inside or park bench if outside... But away from the action. I use a calm somewhat angry (firm is a better word) voice to say something about what we are supposed to do.

"we use words when we are with our friends. If words aren't working we ask mommy or daddy for help." if it's sharing related I remind him we say "can I have a turn when you're finished?"

Then I tell him we are going to sit until his body feels calm and he's ready to fix it... Which usually means telling me it won't happen again, saying sorry to whoever is involved, and telling them it won't happen again. And telling me what he'll do next time instead. At first this took a LONG time but the incidents have decreased a lot and it's s faster process now towards calm down.

Is not a time out, I don't leave him alone, it's not for a predetermined amount of time. It's just reinforcing the idea that when we play with other people we need to play safely and that all play stops when we are not safe.
post #11 of 13

I'm sorry you're going through this with your daughter. I wish I had some useful sage advice to give you, but I can offer sympathy and a hug hug2.gif


My son is just 21 months and we only have one...but I know I have been pushed to my rope's end many a time. Still, I am committed to not using time-outs (even though I know most people wouldn't use them on a child that young anyways). Here is just one article from a parenting expert I respect, explaining why timeouts a.) don't work in the long run and b.) cause emotional damage ~since you asked the question "why not time outs?": http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/timeouts


Again, I wish I had a solution rather than just the reason why timeouts are not it. In my experience though I have found tremendous help in looking at the bigger picture, trying to see parenting and the relationship with my son in a holistic way and not focus always on specific behaviors. I have found that when I make a huge effort to "fill his cup", the behaviors I do not accept definitely and markedly decrease.


I wish you the best of luck mama and I hope you can find a solution that both you and your daughter feel good about!

post #12 of 13

We used timeouts in our house for precisely this kind of situation -- someone is out of control and is a danger to us and/or themselves. They need to go cool off. For my kids at least, having us nearby did not help. They simply escalated.


At 18 months "time outs" were mom or dad plopped you in your crib until they (the parents) could calm down and deal with you. We reconnect afterwards.

At 3-4 timeouts were: go to your room (or other place, dd always went to our room) until you have control over you body. Mom and dad may escort you back if are still a danger. Once you're not a danger, we reconnect with a hug or some words.

At 7-10, "timeouts" are now stomp off to my room because I'm really mad! Slam the door (several times to get the point across) if you're ds. Scream at the top of your lungs about how the world has wronged you (if you're dd). Optional stage: Throw things around your room or sulk. When you're done, come down and get a hug from mom.


I think teaching the skill of taking a break is a good one. I don't think there's anything wrong with this kind of time out.


We tried the "other" kind of time out--- the one where the child has to stay in their room for a certain # of minutes -- and it felt horribly wrong. We gave it up quickly. That didn't mean that we didn't have some major battles at 3-4 when the kids needed a break but refused to take one. On more than one occasion I then took refuge in my room. The kids who were bound and determined not to have anything to do with me would then pound on the door until I calmed down enough to open it (at least I knew where they were!).


The key for us is the reconnection after we've cooled off. There's a difference between going to your room to sulk and then pretending nothing had happened, and going to your room to cool off and then coming back into the family circle.



post #13 of 13

there is two different ways I use when dealing with my now 4 year old daughter. When she starts to give me attitude, sassiness, or a temper tantrum that may or may not involve hitting or biting, I send her to her room until she feels better and is able to control herself. It really depends on her actions. If she was stressed out on how to express herself and would end up biting or hitting, I would send her to her room. But if she was just being mean spirited, talking back, or not listening, then I would put her in time out for 4 minutes (since she is 4). I find that a lot of times she will not listen on purpose to see if I would use the consequence for her actions or not. Testing me. I would also have to change the tone of my voice to something more demanding when I add on the consequence. For example: First time-Go and pick up your toys; Second time-You have 5 minutes to pick up your toys, or go into time out. If she does not pick up the toys at all within the time-frame, she would go into time out. I would explain to her that she did not listen to me when I told her to pick up her toys so now she is in time-out for 4 minutes. I would put a timer on for 4 minutes and walk away but not too far because I want to keep an eye on her incase she decides to move from the time out spot. If she moves, I would put her back. If she did start to pick up her toys, I would not push too much because she is being told what to do. Once she was done picking up her toys, I would praise her.


This can also be used for biting and hitting. My daughter has been through this stage and, at times, comes back to this stage. She would be put into time out for it every time. My daughter even has chores to do. She has to help make her bed, pick up her toys and put them away, and make sure her dirty clothes is in the hamper. Once she gets her chores done in the morning, she can go outside or do something special inside (if we could not go out).


I do have to say that my daughter and I have come a long way because her biting and hitting spells started when she started to go to preschool. She was getting too much correction in school and at home, and not enough praise. Now she is getting more praise than correction.


I hope this helped some. I am looking into a new venture since I am expecting another daughter on August 2, 2012.

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