Do You Do "Time Outs?" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 38 Old 07-05-2011, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I used to think that I was against this parenting method, but I've started trying it recently with good results....calmer kid (age 4) and calmer mom!

 

Knowing that there aren't necessarily "rights" and "wrongs" to this issue, what do you think are some of the pros and cons to "time outs?"


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#2 of 38 Old 07-05-2011, 01:50 PM
 
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I think that the pros/cons would depend on the individual child.  A very social child could view time out as solitary confinement while another less social child would spend the time destressing and calming down.  So for the very social child a time out with the parent would be more productive and spending time alone would be more productive to the loner child.

 

And to add in my personal definition and use of time out, time outs are/were used to remove the child from the situation, give them (and me) time to cool off so that a meaningful conversation can take place.  We have also put toys in time out to remove the cause of the conflict.

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#3 of 38 Old 07-05-2011, 02:13 PM
 
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Time outs are slippery things! I have never been able to convince my kids that a time out is for everyone's benefit, not a punishment. However, one thing that works wonders (maybe because I don't do it very often) is when I give MYSELF a time out. I tell them that they are draining my energy or making too much noise or whatever and I need a few minutes by myself to calm down and regroup. Instant angels!

 

I also think that if it's working for your LO, there is your answer! There are lots of things I thought I would never do *cough* behavior charts *cough* -- until my very spirited youngest came along and all my fancy parenting principles went right out the window. eyesroll.gif

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#4 of 38 Old 07-05-2011, 02:19 PM
 
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I think time outs are awesome for certain situations.  If a child needs to chill out and gather themselves it's great.  But, if the child threw playdough, timeout is ineffective.  I prefer to use "well, now you are done playing with playdough".

 

I have a group situation though, so it's different for me.  I've noticed that if a time out is needed, it's usually ME that wants the time out from everybody.  Not so much the children.  

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#5 of 38 Old 07-05-2011, 04:03 PM
 
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like pps i'd say depends on the kid. 

 

timeouts would have been devastating for my child. but at 5 when she was at her worst she understood that words could hurt. so when she was mad she would herself put herself in timeout. before that at around 4 i would put myself in timeout so as to not react by lashing out. 

 

i have never said - go to your room. instead dd storms off to her room, gathers herself and then comes out much calmer. 

 

before 5 for dd there were no pros. the cons were being alone which made dd feel extremely abandoned. 


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#6 of 38 Old 07-05-2011, 04:17 PM
 
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I've done two kinds of time out:

 

The "you've done X and so you have to have a timeout" and the "you need to go to your room until you can be civil" kind of timeout. I've also done "Mommy timeouts," i.e., "I'm soooo mad at you right now that I'm going to put you in your crib until I calm down and can be trusted with you" which became "I'm going into my room for awhile until I calm down" when my kids became older and it wasn't dangerous to leave them alone.

 

I will say that for me, the first kind felt very very wrong. It's punitive. It involved a lot of us repeatedly bringing the child back to their room to 'serve' the timeout, and a lot of fighting over the actual timeout. I'm pretty sure that my kids learned nothing from those and that they didn't help our relationship very much. The good news is that we that these weren't very productive early on, and so we didn't do them very much. Usually they were a sign that we were at the end of our rope. We did a few for each kid around age 3-5, learned with each kid that no, they don't really work, and move on.

 

We still do the calm down kind of timeout. I think it's very useful for antisocial behavior (hitting), interminable whining, and general crankiness. Our kids have learned from this. Ds will stomp off to his bedroom when he's angry, as will I. Dd will sometimes go to her room, but usually she likes to share her pain. Often, we'll have to send her off after we've hit our limit of hearing her latest complaint. When she comes back she'll be in a position where she can begin to talk about the issue.

 

Two things I think are important:

1. If you do the calm down kind of time out, make sure that you reconnect afterward. This isn't a punishment. This is a time for you to gather yourself or to get less stimulation so you can calm down. We're not banishing you from the family, and we're happy to see you when you're back.

2. If you are thinking about timeout, think about what you're trying to teach your child. A timeout is usually too indirect to teach a child to pick up after themselves or to not draw on the walls. They're not going to get that connection easily. But I think it works pretty well to teach them to take the space they need to calm down, or to give their family a break when emotions are overwhelming.


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#7 of 38 Old 07-06-2011, 05:38 AM
 
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we don't do time outs.. we try to do unconditional parenting for the most part.  my kid's a toddler, though, so take it fwiw.  i did try a "time in" the other day, and it totally blew my socks off that it worked.  IT WORKED.  so, i think for us, having luckily stumbled on something that works, so far, we don't need to go with anything else. 

I have worked with kids of a variety of ages, though not my own, and I'm of the opinion that time outs for the kids just doesn't work.  The kid usually reacts in one of two ways: either getting MORE angry at not being allowed to explain or get attention (which from what I've seen is about 80% of the problem in the first place) or shutting down and blowing up later.  I think (and this is if people use time out for calming down) those little emotions need to come out.  I think not necessarily talking about the immediate problem right then is important, but letting that kid have your full attention and gaze. 

Then, later, at a calmer point and when the kid can look at the situation from a different point of view is the time to discuss.. what could have happened differently in the situation.  role playing helps, too. 

now, time out for a parent is a different situation.  if you're so angry you're going to blow a gasket, walking away and cooling off can be the best thing for the parent to do. 

If you're using time outs, and they don't seem to work, seriously, give a time in a go.  i really had my doubts that it would work, too, but figured it was worth a shot.  holy heck, i am so glad i did.  (then again.. if the kid has pushed your buttons already to the point where a time in is only going to be you glaring at the kid and angry, then YOU take a time out and explain why.. and THEN try the time in.) 


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#8 of 38 Old 07-06-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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So am I the only parent who's clueless about what a "time in" looks like?  What is it that you do in a time in, Hildare?

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#9 of 38 Old 07-06-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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i am guessing the 'time in' is what lynn talks about - the reconnecting afterwards.

 

so instead of going away you both sit and reconnect.

 

that is if i get it right. if so then yeah... time ins definitely were for us when she was younger. and time outs came in later by her choice. 


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#10 of 38 Old 07-06-2011, 09:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LROM View Post

So am I the only parent who's clueless about what a "time in" looks like?  What is it that you do in a time in, Hildare?


well.. again, dd is pretty small, 20 mos.  so for us, this looks like mommy picking her up and taking her away from the source of her tantrum, and engaging her with something else.  Just giving her complete attention.  Rocking, cuddling, etc.  if the situation calls for it. 

Then when the fit is over, later, we can talk about how to do things differently.  Using small words, i think she 'gets' it.  i've also used her little animals to role play with her somewhat.  (though she thinks it's completely hilarious to put one animal in particular in a time out shrug.gif)  i've learned it does no good to try to talk about it when she's mad.  the same with older kids, too.. 

 

For older kids, I've read about a waldorf approach (kids can't use their heads to understand frustration but their hands can work to help, something like that) is to give them something to drum or make a rhythm on.  i'm not a waldorf parent, though.. maybe someone else can speak to that?

 

And.. the time in stuff comes from unconditional parenting.  For older children, they can help come up with ways to solve the problem..  a time in could be a walk or a change of scene, too.  

I think the idea behind the time ins is just reconnecting.  Seriously, most of the behaviors that people seem to use time outs for are basically attention-seeking.  time ins can allow an answer to the attention seeking, and let the kids know that their needs are being met, even if they can't or won't express those desires for reconnection/attention. 

 

i was really surprised that it worked so well for us, too, like i said.. i just thought it was some interesting theory that i'd give a shot.  i think some of the playful parenting stuff that people like so much are kind of a form of this, too.. giving attention with humor. 

 

 

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#11 of 38 Old 07-06-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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Thanks for explaining!  I guess we did time-ins intuitively, but didn't know it had a name or concept behind it. 

 

I always try to reconnect once she's done with a major major tantrum, especially since we do do time out sometimes when she did something looking right at us as we were telling her not to do it and why she shouldn't do it.  We did time ins so she would know it was her behavior, not her herself, that was not ok.

 

I'd be interested to hear more about the Waldorf idea on this, I don't know any Waldorf parents.  Any reading this thread?

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#12 of 38 Old 07-06-2011, 08:22 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by hildare View Post

well.. again, dd is pretty small, 20 mos.  so for us, this looks like mommy picking her up and taking her away from the source of her tantrum, and engaging her with something else.  Just giving her complete attention.  Rocking, cuddling, etc.  if the situation calls for it.

 

Then when the fit is over, later, we can talk about how to do things differently.  Using small words, i think she 'gets' it.  i've also used her little animals to role play with her somewhat.  (though she thinks it's completely hilarious to put one animal in particular in a time out shrug.gif)  i've learned it does no good to try to talk about it when she's mad.  the same with older kids, too.. 

 

This is where you really do need to know your child. I suspect the age of the child makes a difference as well. For our older child, trying something like a time-in where he got my full-on attention when he was upset would fuel the fire. It didn't matter if I wasn't talking about the issue that he was mad about, he needed space to calm down. (This is the same child who slept best in his own bed with his blanket over his face; the same child whose idea of 'snuggling' was/is being about 2 feet away from me on the bed. There is a pattern for him.) Thus, for him, 'time out' in his room (or another space, it didn't have to be his room) gave him the space that he needed to calm down. We always reconnected afterward -- sometimes we talk about what went wrong, sometimes we just went on our way.

 

For our younger child, it's trickier. Often what she needs is a hug and a sympathetic ear, and so the 'time in' described here works well. At other times she's so out of control that she needs to separation (she hits when she's out of control). She needs the lack of social contact to be able to get her body under control. Very often, she'll go off to our room, throw herself on our bed, and get it out of her system. Then she'll pick up a book, start to read and be OK.

 

I think it also changes as they get older. A child  under 2 is still pretty easily distracted. Once they hit 3, they can get pretty focused on what they want, and their memories improve. My kids, at least, would remember things for a very long time. (Dd still holds grudges about something that happened with a neighbor 3 years ago shrug.gif. She's only 7.) When they're less distractable, you might need to shift your responses.

 

And just for everyone's information, even the experts who advocate time out will not (or should not) advocate them for children under 3 because they don't have the memory to link the time out with the 'offense'. Thus, the only thing that should be done with a child under 3 is a time-in, distraction or some other technique. Personally, I wouldn't do timeout for any age except if the child needs it to calm down, or for anti-social behavior.

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#13 of 38 Old 07-07-2011, 11:36 AM
 
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So am I the only parent who's clueless about what a "time in" looks like?  What is it that you do in a time in, Hildare?



For me, I a "time in" is just time where I sit with the child whose behaviour is at issue. We don't talk or anything - just sit together quietly for a few minutes. But, I didn't pick up the term from anywhere...just seemed like a good way to describe it, as opposed to a "time out" where I send the child off alone.

 

I do some time outs with ds2. They don't really seem to accomplish anything...but nothing else does, either. I'm usually frustrated enough to want to smack him at least once a day, so I feel time outs are a less harmful alternative, even if they have nothing else going for them.

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#14 of 38 Old 07-07-2011, 01:19 PM
 
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"time in" has always worked best for my daughter. i'm Buddhist and she's done yoga and meditation in my arms since birth, then along with me as she's grown. i've noticed she only has behavior problems when she's overstimulated, hungry or thirsty, or frustrated by her youth somehow. during or after the time in we talk about her frustration. if she can't say what's wrong, i set her up with crayons and paper so she can "draw it out." a few times she's just needed a really good cry to get out all the "big" feelings. i either hold her while she cries, or sometimes she'll go to her room and stomp around and hit the bed and pillows, then she'll come back and sit next to me. for a while she wanted to sit in her little chair (she saw a friend getting time out at their house), she'd drag it somewhere just out of my sight and i'd hear her taking great big deep breaths. then i'd let her know when "time was up" by counting one minute per year. last year it wasn't effective any longer and she wanted back in my arms for time-in, so that's what we do now.

 

i say, whatever works, works! careful observation is needed to figure out what your child really responds to, and it can change from day to day, even hour to hour. sometimes they need guided physical activities - like jumping up and down, crab-walking, etc. - to help quiet their body before they can process anything emotionally.

 

i wonder how many parents introduce the concept of meditation to their kids? and at what age? we don't do anything formal or fancy, nothing like Zen mind-emptying. we do just plain "mindful meditation." letting thoughts happen quietly, choosing not to act on them until we feel calm enough. also practicing deep abdominal breathing. so that any form of discipline includes thinking about what went wrong and how to make it better. she likes meditation so much she teaches other kids how to meditate! they get a little "quiet circle" going outside sometimes.

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i wonder how many parents introduce the concept of meditation to their kids? and at what age? 

2 1/2 years old. however it happened by accident. after my separation a year before i was looking for 'something'. and i found meditation. at a church. i didnt enjoy anything else at the church.  i had tried it on my own earlier and i knew i needed a teacher a group. the class started at 6 pm. i would get there earlier with dd to put her in the daycare. she absolutely refused. she refused to stay over at her dads. she wanted to be with me. that's when i told her well she could come with me but she would have to be quiet - not to distract anyone else. the group was open to trying having dd there. every. single. time. dd would meditate for a few minutes after prayer and then fall asleep.  deep dead to teh world sleep till we were done an hour later. 

 

we then found the temple which felt like home where meditation was the base when dd was 4 and she started sunday school there a couple of times a month. 

 

to say i am grateful for meditation is an understatement. dd has high anxiety. stomach aches and headaches. she is also a natural worrier and struggles to breath when she starts panicking. prayer and meditation has really helped her calm her down. when she got lost at a local fair she sat and meditated. when she took public transport all by herself recently which she had been begging me for years, the first time she prayed and meditated as seh was so scared even though she knew the route and stops like the back of her hands. 

 

i really do feel meditation has been a gift. i hope its something that will remain with her always. starting so young i see it as a natural path - a great coping skill. she is an oddball, weird and kids sometimes are v. cruel towards her. meditation helps her cope. meditation has helped when she feels deep pain and sadness. however i will say we still need to figure out how to get her to use it when she gets angry. 

 

i have also explored other kinds of meditation with her- like walking meditation. and she came up with homework meditation (hates hw).

 

 

 


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#16 of 38 Old 07-08-2011, 10:00 AM
 
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i am guessing the 'time in' is what lynn talks about - the reconnecting afterwards.

 

so instead of going away you both sit and reconnect.

 

that is if i get it right. if so then yeah... time ins definitely were for us when she was younger. and time outs came in later by her choice. 



This is where we are right now.  Ds is 4.  These days when he has a meltdown, he goes into the bedroom and comes out about 15 minutes later with a smile on his face and kisses and hugs and an apology.  When he was younger, dh or I would take him to the bedroom and talk him through it for I guess what would be considered a "time in".

 


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#17 of 38 Old 07-08-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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Yes, I found it to be far more effective method than discussing things to death.  It is really not possible to discuss anything with anyone in the middle of tantrum. In fact, my children started removing themselves to the bedroom and asked to be left alone at a rather early age.   Time outs are for everyone. My kids have time to calm down in the bedroom. I have time to calm down in the living room. they come out, say  apologies for their behavior and sometime they agree with us, other time they propose a  logical compromise we can all live with. My point to them is "We not dicussing anything until you are calm"

 

And yes, if one of them repeteadly doing something I asked them to stop, they are sent to their room.

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#18 of 38 Old 07-08-2011, 11:37 AM
 
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Quote:
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Yes, I found it to be far more effective method than discussing things to death.  It is really not possible to discuss anything with anyone in the middle of tantrum.

 

 

It's been a long time since I had to consider "time outs" as a tactic (I have teenagers), so I didn't think I had much to say on the topic. I haven't read through the thread. This post reminded me that sometimes I found a quiet time (time out, if you will) to be effective in preventing a tantrum. If I saw the warning signs of frustration and pending meltdown, suggesting a little solitary time to breathe and relax helped a lot. It wasn't really meant as a punishment, but I'm sure it looked like a time out to anyone else.  

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#19 of 38 Old 07-08-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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Well, every kids is different. My older son, when he was young, would go from calm to explosive in 15 seconds. But, he is not like 99% of other kids. He had bipolar disorder

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#20 of 38 Old 07-08-2011, 11:51 AM
 
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Yes! They keep us all sane. DD (age 8) will still go to her room for quiet time when need be. I take myself to my room for quiet time. Everyone reconnects when things calm down. Win win. We've used them for a long time.

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#21 of 38 Old 07-08-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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Well, every kids is different. My older son, when he was young, would go from calm to explosive in 15 seconds. But, he is not like 99% of other kids. He had bipolar disorder



Yep, they are all different. And for some, sending them off for a quiet time might provoke a tantrum, not prevent, because they get a chance to seethe over perceived wrongs. Who knows? That's why every parent has to try things on their own children. The results can surprise.

 

I just thought I'd add my 2cents on when and how it worked for us.

 

 

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#22 of 38 Old 07-08-2011, 12:46 PM
 
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We don't do time outs for punishment. I guess what we do could be considered "time ins."
DS is only 27 months, but when he's displaying some sort of undesirable behavior, one of us removes him from the situation, sits him down, and explains why what he's doing isn't acceptable. He's old enough now that he gets what we're saying and he's able to tell us that he's ready to be nice to the dog/mommy/daddy, stop banging on the window, etc.

When he's done something that makes me really angry, I send him to sit on the couch for his own safety while I calm down and/or clean up whatever catastrophic mess he's made.
He usually knows when he's caught doing something wrong so he'll say "Silas Kenni!" (Silas Mackenzie, his first and middle name, the dreaded Mom's Angry combination) and go running for the couch by himself. The cuteness usually erases my anger immediately so I go to him and talk about whatever it is that he's done.
Both situations always end with snuggles.
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#23 of 38 Old 07-08-2011, 06:09 PM
 
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I suppose we do something like a "time in". DS is 2 & very spirited. And we do follow "unconditional parenting" for the most part. I'll often tell him he's not listening well or not being gentle & give him a hug while explaining why we have to change activities (he's very focused so distraction doesn't really work). If he's having a really hard time with a particular situation, we usually retreat to the "safety" of his room to calm down together. Lately, though, he's been catching himself & just telling me that he wants to go in his crib with some books.... It's his own quiet time.

 

And, yes, I often need a time out myself...

 

You know, I really don't think "time outs" bother me, as long as they're not punitive. I think every child & every situation needs it's own tools. The only thing that really bothers me is hearing "time outs" used as a threat ("do this or you're getting a time out") or, again, when they're used punitively & the child is left to cry alone. But that leaves a lot of room for developing approaches that work for all sorts of kids & families.


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#24 of 38 Old 07-08-2011, 07:40 PM
 
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We do time outs, but not with a time limit. We do "take a break". Our style is to teach deep breath taking. E can already do it at 10 months. When I can see that she's getting frustrated I'll encourage her to take a deep breath and try again. I've noticed already that there are times when she's getting frustrated and just as I'm about to say something she'll take a deep breath on her own. With our little friend who is just 2 (but gifted and cognitively and verbally 3+), we've been doing deep breaths since she was a baby as well. At about 20 months we started having her do a deep breath and "take a break" when she was overwhelmed and out of control, and this generally means leading her away from the group and having her sit down. She chooses when she is ready to come back. At first that would be immediately, and as long as whatever it was didn't happen again (usually this was only for extremes like pushing, hitting), this was fine. As she's gotten older and more verbal she now decides for herself that she wants a break. She'll say she's going, walk away, sit down until she feels better and then come back. She'll sit and take several deep breaths, calmly and quietly.
I like that she regulates herself and that I am teachng her a useful skill for her whole life rather than just trying to get her to acquiesse.

K, H, and baby E (who is now three!!!)
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#25 of 38 Old 07-09-2011, 05:24 AM
 
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I don't do time outs. I started avoiding them because with my explosive older child, it would have turned into a physical punishment - I would have had to physically keep her somewhere - and I wasn't willing to do that, partly because of my history (toward end). Then I read Unconditional Parenting, and that resonated with me, and I started trying to think of other ways to handle her tantrums. I decided that for her, just letting her do her tantrum thing and then reconnecting when it was over was the best choice. It wasn't something she was doing to me, it was simply a loss of control, and it felt wrong to me to punish her for losing control when she wasn't trying to anyway, I decided. There have been times when I've been tempted as the years have passed by, not because I thought it would teach her something but just because I thought it would cause a behavior to at least end in the moment and that would be nice. But I've just tried to handle things as well as I could without them, and now she's 9 and is doing well. My younger one has never had a tantrum at 2.5 (knock on wood) and is the calm, easy child I'd read about when my older one was little, so it hasn't even come up as an issue with her.

So for me, I've done ok without them. I see why people use them though and I do think they can be used gently and as a part of GD.

I will add to be fair that I grew up in a home with a sometimes abusive alcoholic, and because of that I sometimes feel natural reactions that are outside of the reality of what my kids give me, and need to separate myself for a time being because, frankly, I feel an urge to hit them. So I briefly separate myself to protect them, and I don't doubt that has at times felt to them like they were given a time out as it's still a separation. But I've decided that's the best choice available to me at those times. The older one is well past all that, and the little one is quiet, so it hasn't come up in a long time, but certainly it was an occasional occurrence when the older one was younger. Though tantrums weren't a trigger for me - I found I usually just empathized with her loss of control. I can't remember what specifically triggered the feeling. It was probably more about me than them.
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#26 of 38 Old 07-09-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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I do both with my son (4). Right now we are in a new-baby transition stage and he has been at grandparents/getting lots of big brother presents, so it has been fairly difficult. Talking it out is my first approach. We talk about what happened, why it was inappropriate, what is appropriate and why. However, if he decides to continually do things that he is aware after our talk; then he is sent to time out. A lot of times that works better than trying to talk it out with him- simply because it shows that I mean business and he WILL get in trouble if the behavior continues. Prior to the chaos of the new baby a simple talk and then a warning of time out would cause a change in behavior. I feel like if you tell the kid why they are in time out, not to do said behavior again and give hugs/kisses after; then it is a productive time out. However, putting a kid in time out w/o elaborating on why they are there is pretty useless.

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#27 of 38 Old 07-09-2011, 03:57 PM
 
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We "take a break" instead of "time out".  It's not necessarily a punishment, we don't have a time out chair, or corner or anything like that.  It's just a break, to take a few moments to calm down and regroup.  I haven't had to use it too much at home, but when I taught Montessori preschool we had a little rug with a 3min. hourglass along with a few little solitary activities.  My favorite was a little rubber duck.  They could lay down on the rug with the duck on their tummy and watch it go up and down with each breath.  It was a great way to get them to focus and take deep breaths to calm down.  It worked very well!


Sarah, partner to J and mom to DD1 April 30th, 2002 and DD2 May 5th, 2012. love.gif

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#28 of 38 Old 07-09-2011, 05:08 PM
 
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For those of you who teach meditation or deep breathing to pre-verbal children, how do you go about it?


Amara ~ Married to my HS sweetheart, we're having a blast with baby Z (1/29/2011)

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#29 of 38 Old 07-10-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmaraMonillas View Post

For those of you who teach meditation or deep breathing to pre-verbal children, how do you go about it?



See my post above.  :)  I used that technique with preschoolers, but I'm sure it would work with pre-verbal children as well.


Sarah, partner to J and mom to DD1 April 30th, 2002 and DD2 May 5th, 2012. love.gif

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#30 of 38 Old 07-10-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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I used to be totally against time-outs, but now I see that they can be really useful if they are used as a tool instead of a punishment. I don't threaten my daughter with time-out, but if she's just too psycho, she NEEDS to be somewhere to calm down. Time-out can be for as long as she wants it to be. She sits on the bed in the bedroom and when she feels ready to come out and be her sweet self again, she comes out. I don't set a timer, because it isn't a punishment.

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY: I think it's very important that she sees me having time out. When I get very angry with her, instead of yelling at her, I tell her I'm angry and so I need to have a time-out and calm down. I go to the bed and sit with a book and she will come in to check on me periodically to ask if I'm feeling better. It's good for me because I get time away from her to calm down and it's good for her because she see's that it's not a punishment. It can help someone feel better.


Mama to a bright 5 y/o girl dust.gif and a beautiful boy born 03/10/12 fly-by-nursing1.gif Loving unschooling, 2xuc.jpgfamilybed2.gif ecbaby2.gifand natural living in Hawaii.rainbow1284.gif
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