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enlighten me - what's wrong with time outs? - Page 3

post #41 of 185
Well I admire you for your use of loaded language but in essence, yes, for now I am the boss of my kid. I am there to teach him what's OK and what's not and hurting others is not ok. For me and my family, time outs work well for that particular issue.
post #42 of 185
I've seen a lot of physical forced used to execute time outs with unwilling children. Pinning kids down and pulling them back to a time out seems like a pretty common part of the scenario. I would not advocate that.
post #43 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Boy's Mama View Post
I don't think a time out like that is teaching him to be afraid of the time out though. It's a time to reflect on why it's not OK to hit the cat and that's why we talk about it briefly beforehand and then more in depth afterwards. If avoiding a time out is also part of his reasoning for not hitting the cat, I'm OK with that too. Life is filled with all kinds of social consequences for unacceptable behavior and I think it's an important part of growing up to learn how this all works. For example, if he hits me then not only is getting a time out going to occur but I will also be upset and I will explain that to him. I don't like being hit, it hurts and hurts my feelings and he needs to understand and digest that.
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post #44 of 185
also, there is the concept that a discipline technique like time out teaches a child to relate everything to their OWN experience. it can foster self-centeredness and also negatively impact the development of compassion and empathy. since the child learns, time out after time out, that a negative consequence happens to them due to x y or z behavior, they don't learn that it's not ok to do x y and z. instead, they internalize that either they have to be better at not getting caught, or not to do a certain thing because of the impact on themselves, not on the effect that their actions have over others.

those are not a life lessons that i would like for my child to learn.

yes, there are negative social consequences out in the real world. but honestly, i don't cheat, steal or hit others because i'm afraid of going to jail or being sued. i don't do it because somewhere, somehow i learned that cheating, stealing, hitting etc are not nice, kind or ethical things to do to OTHER people and not because i'm afraid to land in the pokey.

as for using time outs as being a welcome shift in the current parenting paradigm, i do somewhat agree. as a physically abused child, i sure wish my parents used time outs instead of hitting me. but it is still the lesser of evils, and i hope to transcend these patterns and embrace truly non-violent parenting. i do believe that peace in the world begins with peace in the home.
post #45 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Boy's Mama View Post
Life is filled with all kinds of social consequences for unacceptable behavior and I think it's an important part of growing up to learn how this all works.
I think by most standards we would find ignoring someone and putting them in a chair for a timed period for a social transgression would be pretty dysfunctional.

If a friend came over to my house and hit on my husband wouldn't I talk to her about it? And if I found out that she came from a culture where that sort of interaction/display was not considered inappropriate and she had not meant to offend, wouldn't it make more sense to explain that in this culture and in my home that sort of behavior is not acceptable? If she forgot in future visits would it be better to put her on "ignore" or gently remind her of my feelings? And obviously we're not dealing with developmental issues of *impulse control* in this scenario, so that's a HUGE difference.

I don't know....I remember an episode of Supernanny where they used the guest room as the "time out room" and I just remember thinking, "Oh my, you've created a jail in your own home!" I don't think four year olds need jail. Or solitary confinement. They need guidance and parents who are on their side, IMHO.
post #46 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
And for *me* that just doesn't sit right. I want my dd to not hit the cat because she cares about the cat not because she's afraid of a punishment.

-Angela
What if the child doesn't like or care about the cat? It's a lot to assume that a kid can develop intrinsic motivation for following all necessary rules. There are many rules in life that people will never truly want to follow. So, what makes me not run red lights when there is no one else around or pay taxes that go toward pointless wars and so on and so forth? Fear of punishment.

That said, I don't think I believe in time outs unless the time spent out has a purpose to it, like some of the examples mentioned. But even removing a child from a situation where he doing something like hitting someone else is parent imposed and forceful. I'm sure my daughter sees it as a huge parent imposed injustice when I keep her from writing on the walls, take batteries away from her, brush her teeth, etc.
post #47 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by mandymichel View Post
What if the child doesn't like or care about the cat? It's a lot to assume that a kid can develop intrinsic motivation for following all necessary rules. There are many rules in life that people will never truly want to follow. So, what makes me not run red lights when there is no one else around or pay taxes that go toward pointless wars and so on and so forth? Fear of punishment.

That said, I don't think I believe in time outs unless the time spent out has a purpose to it, like some of the examples mentioned. But even removing a child from a situation where he doing something like hitting someone else is parent imposed and forceful. I'm sure my daughter sees it as a huge parent imposed injustice when I keep her from writing on the walls, take batteries away from her, brush her teeth, etc.
so in the absence of intrinsic motivation, punishment is the method of ensuring compliance?

i personally have a lot more respect for children (even the littlest ones) and their ability to internalize how to do the right thing for no other reason than it's the right thing to do.
post #48 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by mandymichel View Post
It's a lot to assume that a kid can develop intrinsic motivation for following all necessary rules.
Well, if they're necessary, why wouldn't people want to follow them?

I don't abide red lights b/c I'm afraid of punishment, I abide them b/c of safety. But, many many many people run red lights all the time--despite the punishments.

And that's kind of the point....I don't want to raise a kid who looks around to see if someone's going to drop the hammar before or after he does something cruddy. I want him to think about how that cruddy behavior is going to affect others and his sense of character.

Time out (and other punishments), seem to me, to create a climate of seeking to *get away* with behavior, rather than doing the right thing intrinsically. Maybe your kids will be different, but I have yet to personally meet kids who operate differently. It makes me sad to see how furtive and sneaky they become--that look to the adult in the room and when they realize they haven't been "caught," how triumphant they seem.
post #49 of 185
This is a really interesting discussion. I have been thinking about this a lot lately because my son has been really challenging me with unacceptable behaviors that are out of the ordinary for him. Hitting, biting, slapping and screaming. All of these things are "normal" for this age, from what I gather, but this has all come so suddenly and I'm not quite sure how to handle it. Up until this point, we have had to do very little in terms of "punishment", because he didn't do anything that would really warrant that kind of response. He has by no means always been perfectly behaved, but any problems that we encountered could be talked through....explained, etc... (like many of the previous posters have mentioned) and he would listen and learn. Now, that approach doesn't seem to be making much of an impact. He will slap me all of a sudden for no reason, I'll explain to him why physically harming me, or any person or animal is unacceptable, etc... we discuss it and he will tell me all about it, I offer him alternatives ex."if you feel like you need to hit something, it is okay to hit a pillow", or "if you really need to scream, go into your room and do it so it won't be so loud for daddy and me", yet it still continues. I have resorted to immediately bringing him into his room and telling him to sit and think about what he did (clearly stating that it was for hitting me) and informing him that he can come out and join us when he is ready. I never close the door, or do this in anger or in a forceful manner. He doesn't seem to be bothered in the slightest, and usually comes right out in a better mood.(usually I ask him if he needs to go to his room, and he'll say yes) Then he says "I'm sossie mamma" and I ask him what he's sorry about, then he will explain it to me. This doesn't seem to work any better, because invariably, he will do the same thing again. In my experience, this version of a time-out works no better than what I was doing before, but for some reason I feel like I have to do something to let him know that his behavior is unacceptable. How can I help him deal with this negative energy in a more positive way?? I just don't know Maybe I should just go back to talking it through each and every time and wait for him to grow out of it, which I'm sure he will at some point.
post #50 of 185
even if there is no forcing/pinning etc of a child, i cannot tell you how many times i've been out and about in the world and i've heard the words come from an exasperated parent:

"DO YOU WANT A TIME OUT?"

and usually, right after that, a "NOOOOOOOO!!" from a wailing child.

a threat is a threat is a threat, whether it's a swat on the butt, or being made to sit in a chair for a minute per year of age. what does that accomplish? maybe you get (temporary) compliance, but you also get the beginnings of an adversarial relationship based on a fundamental power struggle, and a child that learns that the most important consequence of a certain behavior is the one that pertains negatively to him or herself.

i so do not want that for our family.

on another note, as i was just nursing my little one down to sleep, i was thinking about what the societal ramifications are of this philosophy. if we've come to a point in society that people are doing the right thing based on what's in it for them, that does not bode well for us as a species.: that is so...SAD to me, it's quite tragic. now that i think about it, there are reminders of it every day. on the highway, the sign to remind us to fasten our seatbelts says "buckle up...it's the law." but we shouldn't fasten our belts because we're loathe to get a ticket and pay a fine, we should do it because it's a safety issue. i don't recycle my cans, glass and plastic because i can get a fine and citation from the sanitation department...i take the time and effort to do it because it's an environmentally sound thing to do, and i do what i can to be a steward of the earth. i don't violate the user agreement here because i'm afraid of getting banned, but because i respect a rule that was set up to protect this community. and i'm not a good person that tries to help other people because i want to ride the glory train to heaven or because some book and a man at a pulpit said so, but because helping others and sharing the abundance of our lives is the right thing to do.

so now that i think on this more, i realize that in fact, i do feel that the answer to the op's question is that time outs are a violent, short sighted and controlling method of trying to elicit compliant behavior in children.

there. i said it. :i'm ready for the tomatoes.
post #51 of 185
...Back to the original topic, personally *I* think time outs carried out in a natural consequence way (as in as a cooling off period so they can regroup and rejoin the family) IS gentle discipline. There is no such thing as one size fits all parenting.
post #52 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by glorified_rice View Post
Then he says "I'm sossie mamma" . . .
To me, toddler hitting is not different than the above mispronunciation--developmentally normal and beyond their capability to change before they're ready.

No amount of punishing the kid for saying "sossie" instead of "sorry" is going to make his skills catch up with an adult's. But you could probably mess up the relationship a bit over it.

I think showing them what TO do ("Can you push your lips together like this? Rrrrrrr, rrrrrrr, rrrrrr?" or "Can you tell me with words that you're angry?") and letting them know how it impacts those around them ("Oh, it's OK, Nana might not understand you just yet, she's not ignoring you." or "It hurts when you hit the kitty.") and waiting for the skill set for them to outgrow it are more effective and better for the relationship.

And I agree with kidspiration! Awesome post!

I've definitely seen time outs used in a threatening manner and often are more about taking out the parent's frustration and anger on the child, than about providing a cool down and reflective time.

Finally, I'm not sure how many toddlers are able to spend two or three minutes reflecting on something that is not happening in that exact moment--I could be wrong, but it, again, doesn't seem to jive developmentally.
post #53 of 185
I haven't read all the responses. I find timeouts often overused and random- not a great tool for teaching. I find talking, redirection, natural consequences to be more effective and more respectful. I have found myself removing G from situations when he gets all wound up and starting to be a super wild boy as opposed to his typical wild boy That's when he's most likely to do things I don't want him to do and/or get hurt.
post #54 of 185
IMO time out is a way for parents to convey "You sit here because *I* am upset. I cannot reasonably control this situation so I will impose a punative, passive agressive consequence so that I may feel I have done something."

Time out IS love withdrawl, I don't care how "nicely" you go about it.

Learn a better way to parent!
post #55 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by karre View Post
I think the older kid they could still feel hurt by the time out. Kids (even older kids) desperately want approval from their parents so the time out could be percieved as a removal of acceptance and love because the child did something they shouldn't have. I remember i used to feel hurt and ashamed by time outs.
I wasn't really referring specifically to time outs, just that *any punishment is seen as random.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
I want my dd to not hit the cat because she cares about the cat not because she's afraid of a punishment.
Yes, YES!! That right there is why I haven't really got on board with the whole time out thing (and because we aren't really there yet). But I have no idea what things will be like in say, 5 years, hence my above question.

But that right there is the crux of the issue, I think. The motivation to do things (or not do things) shouldn't come from fear. That is also why I believe corporal punish doesn't work.
post #56 of 185
Ethan's Mom - I also have a son who is 2, and have needed to take him aside and sit him down and require him to take a "time out" but it is more like a time to calm down, take a breathe and shift gears. At this age, he doesn't have much self control and also doesn't fully understand that actions=consequences. He's getting it, but he's not actually even capable of totally understanding what a punishment is. When he pulls our cat's tail, I tell him to stop, I explain that it hurts the cat and that the cat will claw him and then I separate them. If he keeps it up I will naturally reprimand him a little bit (a more stern NO!) and put the cat outside, for example. I can see that in the future it may be necessary to remove him from situations where he may get out of control, and perhaps have him sit quietly to chill out. It would involve a conversation about why what he did wasn't the best choice. I'd try to avoid shaming and blaming... So I guess there are different ways to have time outs.

What you are describing sounds ok to me. It's not like on the Super Nanny where she gives children the "naughty seat." To me that takes it too far.
post #57 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
what about in older children who can reason? When does it become appropriate to say "if you do x when I ask you not too, then y will happen"?

And if the "punishment" is consistent, how is it random? If the same thing happens every time (loosing a privilege, like TV, or going to the park).
It's random in the sense that not being able to watch TV has nothing to do with the offense. Non-random would be not buying another whatever for a child who purposely breaks the first one, for example.

I'm big on natural consequences, personally. At 17 months, my daughter is a little young even for this (usually when she acts up it's because she's tired/bored/frustrated and can't express her feelings any other way), but I teach high school and that's pretty much the only "punishment" I use unless it's an offense the administration NEEDS to know about.
post #58 of 185
I'm always bemused at the sense of their being "one true way" to raise a child that comes out of some comments in these kinds of discussions.

People seem to forget that children are not little cookie cutter beings that if treated the same way every time by every parent we get the same results everytime. They have different feelings, reactions, tolerances, likes and dislikes. What work for one will not automatically work for another.

A quiet contemplative child might thrive on a discipline approach where a time of calm thought allows him to deal with his thoughts where as a high-energy, bouncing off the walls child would find that to be an agony.

Luckily we are not primates who are stuck instinctually acting the same natural way regardless of whether or not it works. We have these big beautiful brains that allow us to read, observe and learn. We can modify our actions to fit the needs of our child and do what is best for her.

So if your child is healthy, happy, secure and loving kid, keep doing what you are doing. Don't let the process fuss you when what is important is the results of the actions.

Warning: I am really tired of cheap shot, straw man hysterics being used by people who disagree with a statement but who can't come up with anything sensible to say in objection. So if anyone posts something stupid like "So, if BEATING your child is WORKING you should keep doing it, huh. You are child beater!! I will not bother to patiently explain how that was not what I was saying. But I might be rude and mock that person.
post #59 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post
also, there is the concept that a discipline technique like time out teaches a child to relate everything to their OWN experience. it can foster self-centeredness and also negatively impact the development of compassion and empathy. since the child learns, time out after time out, that a negative consequence happens to them due to x y or z behavior, they don't learn that it's not ok to do x y and z. instead, they internalize that either they have to be better at not getting caught, or not to do a certain thing because of the impact on themselves, not on the effect that their actions have over others.
1st - Wow. Thank you for that explanation! I'm going to print that up so I can remember that because it makes total sense.

2ndly - I can't believe I am seeing a time out thread in a Toddler forum. People put their toddlers in TO's? Wow. Why? There are better ways! You explain to the child... you teach empathy, yada, yada.

3rd - I think the vast majority of TO's are "abused and misused." I think the way the OP does it sounds fine - because she STAYS with the child.

The Disadvantages of Times Outs by Aletha Solter, Ph.D.

Quote:
According to many educators and psychologists, however, time-out is not as innocent as it seems and is, moreover, an emotionally harmful way to discipline children. In fact, the National Association for the Education of Young Children includes the use of time-out in a list of harmful disciplinary measures, along with physical punishment, criticizing, blaming, and shaming.2
People (adults and children) do need a place to calm down. But again, THE PROBLEM WITH TO's is the way * most * people do this, it's mean and abusive. GO TO YOUR ROOM RIGHT NOW (leave my presence, I don't want to look at you right now). How is a child supposed to feel? Is he getting the message that "I need to calm down." No, he's getting the message that HE is inherently bad and not worthy of parental love and attention when he is feeling out of control/can't control himself/needs help.

Quote:
Time-out stems from the behaviorist movement based on the work of psychologist B.F. Skinner. His theory of operant conditioning asserts that children will behave in certain ways if they receive rewards for doing so ("positive reinforcement"), and that undesirable behavior can be diminished by withholding the rewards or by invoking pain (both of which are termed "punishment"). Skinner himself believed that all forms of punishment were unsuitable means of controlling children's behavior.1 Even so, while spanking is on the wane in the United States, the withholding of love and attention has persisted as an acceptable means of control.
I do want to start doing what my awesome Parent Educator advised us to do - ask the child, you need to calm down... "do you want to stay in this room with me? Go to your room? Pick another spot? Pick to sit in quietly (it can be with me in the room or by yourself) to calm your body down." But I would not call it a TO because a) I hate the name and b) the implication "you are being separated for being "bad" and therefore you are punished."

Is the child bad? Or is the behavior bad? The behavior is bad, not the child, but the child doesn't see it that way. They think THEY are bad.

: DH (not being AP/GD himself) uses TOs because that's what he hears works. He encourages me to use it.

DS is 7. We've tried them in the past 2 years. Not knowing any better at the time (going along with this plan) fine, let's see if it works. When DH demands DS go upstairs, he goes. When I do, he laughs in my face and I have to drag him upstairs (this is what Alegna means by "parent imposed" a kid is usually dragged/hauled to their "naughty spot" or whatever destination.)

So... I've stopped doing it. Doesn't work for me or him. And OMG I think Kidspiration is right on about how a child perceives it.
post #60 of 185
my dd is only 17 months.. so she's never had anything close to a time out.. I think when/if the time comes, I'll probably use that method of 'punishment' since obviously I don't see how I could ever smack my lovely girl!! YIKES!! So, I don't see anything bad about time outs.. esp. when done as the OP described... very lovingly and making sure that they know WHY they needed to take a break!

Another question though... people mention the natural consequence thing.. which is generally a good point. But using the OP's example of hitting the dog.. what is the natural consequence to that? The dog biting the kid, then getting put to sleep for biting??
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