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Gentle Discipline > enlighten me - what's wrong with time outs?
verde's Avatar verde 12:05 PM 06-09-2007
Offwing, I agree with you completely. IMHO the two most vital requirements for successful parenting are a sense of humor (you'll go insane without one) and FLEXIBILITY. Children have their own personalities and although some are sweet and generous, many of them have less than attractive qualities like sneakiness and selfishness. There is no one true way to raise a child. Even Alfie Kohn (and some might say The Almighty Alfie Kohn) admits in his own book that his own methods don't always work on his own children. Having a messianic belief in one philosophy of raising children may work fine for you and your child but it does not work for everyone.

As I said in an earlier post, I know many wonderful parents who use time-outs and their children are fabulous. To call this a "love withdrawal" is totally absurd. It NEVER occurs to those children that their parents don't love them. If you want to believe that it's a "love withdrawal" that's fine but I do not believe that and neither do those other wonderful parents.

A Boy's Mama, I say carry on. Of course we are "the boss" of our children. This morning I told my 20 mos old dd to turn around and come down the stairs on her tummy instead of walking upright because it's safer. I guess that means I'm her boss. Yep. And she's better off because of it.

alegna's Avatar alegna 12:44 PM 06-09-2007
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.
sucks to be you.

-Angela
alegna's Avatar alegna 12:45 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post
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.

alegna's Avatar alegna 12:46 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
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.


-Angela
alegna's Avatar alegna 12:48 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post
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.

No tomatoes here. I agree wholeheartedly.

-Angela
alegna's Avatar alegna 12:50 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
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.
Wow- GREAT comparision.

I agree.

-Angela
alegna's Avatar alegna 12:57 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMR View Post
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??
Okay - first, it is possible to parent and discipline without every using punishments.

Next, as I said, if the child is young enough that they can not keep themselves from hitting the dog then they simply need to be better supervised so they don't have the opportunity.

-Angela
crissei's Avatar crissei 01:37 PM 06-09-2007
This thread has given me a lot of food for thought.

Me and DH have been so exhausted lately that we are finding dealing with our DS very challenging. In the throws of DS tearing the house apart, I have been taking DS to the couch and telling him to sit, just so I can play catch-up with whatever happens to be all over the place. I haven't thought of this as time-out, but maybe it is?
I try to get him to help clean up, but his understanding is still pretty limited.
Anyway... I guess I have some thinking to do...
dis's Avatar dis 02:11 PM 06-09-2007
I've read that Haiman article several times, and what bothers me is that I'm not sure I believe his base assumption - that the behaviour is always a symptom of an underlying unmet need. I don't buy it. Sometimes I think the behaviour is just to see the parental reaction. Sometimes I don't think the child has any idea why they do a particular behaviour; there is no unmet need underlying it, they just wanted to see what would happen when they hit the cat/their brother/whatever. Sometimes a toddler or a child is just really worked up and isn't thinking at all. So first you stop the behaviour, then you explain why we don't do that. And in the case of things like hitting, my primary goal is to stop the behaviour (because it's potentially dangerous), and THEN work on empathy and intrinsic motivation. It takes time for a person to develop empahty and that knowledge that they shouldn't hit because it hurts the target, and the empathy can easily lag behind.

We use time-outs when DD is worked up. When she gets worked up, she hits. So we try, as much as possible, to head things off early and avoid having her get to the point where she starts hitting, and we talk about why we shouldn't hit, but sometimes we miss the cues or it happens so fast we're at that point before we can do anything. So yeah, in that situation? She gets a short time out where she sits on the stairs, with a parent in eyeshot (although not within arms-reach, because we're the ones she wants to hit), until she's calmed down and can return to her usually sunny self and we can discuss why we don't hit.

Every child is different. I'm sure there's many kids who don't need timeouts; but to call time-outs 'violent' is just way too much. I'm sure there are parents who use them inappropriately, just as with everything, but I just can't agree that they are harmful - unless someone has some scientific research to back that up?
Kathryn's Avatar Kathryn 02:25 PM 06-09-2007
I disagree with time outs, especially TIMED ones. I have, however, had my dd sit in my lap until she calms down (attacking the babies) or come sit in a different room with me. I never put a time per year type thing on it because it's not about 'if you sit nicely for 3 minutes, I forgive you'. It's about getting her to calm down and stop hitting and kicking things/people. That usually means me bear hugging her long enough for her to get back in her head and realize it's ok. I don't consider those time outs, personally. They're more of just getting away from the thing that's causing her to flip out. When she hits the dog or cat, I make US go into a different room to play. I tell her that we need to be gentle to the animals and until we can, we are playing in here to protect the animals. I never make her leave by herself or apply a consequence that doesn't even make sense.
glorified_rice's Avatar glorified_rice 02:41 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by dis View Post
I've read that Haiman article several times, and what bothers me is that I'm not sure I believe his base assumption - that the behaviour is always a symptom of an underlying unmet need. I don't buy it. Sometimes I think the behaviour is just to see the parental reaction. Sometimes I don't think the child has any idea why they do a particular behaviour; there is no unmet need underlying it, they just wanted to see what would happen when they hit the cat/their brother/whatever. Sometimes a toddler or a child is just really worked up and isn't thinking at all. So first you stop the behaviour, then you explain why we don't do that. And in the case of things like hitting, my primary goal is to stop the behaviour (because it's potentially dangerous), and THEN work on empathy and intrinsic motivation. It takes time for a person to develop empahty and that knowledge that they shouldn't hit because it hurts the target, and the empathy can easily lag behind.

We use time-outs when DD is worked up. When she gets worked up, she hits. So we try, as much as possible, to head things off early and avoid having her get to the point where she starts hitting, and we talk about why we shouldn't hit, but sometimes we miss the cues or it happens so fast we're at that point before we can do anything. So yeah, in that situation? She gets a short time out where she sits on the stairs, with a parent in eyeshot (although not within arms-reach, because we're the ones she wants to hit), until she's calmed down and can return to her usually sunny self and we can discuss why we don't hit.

Every child is different. I'm sure there's many kids who don't need timeouts; but to call time-outs 'violent' is just way too much. I'm sure there are parents who use them inappropriately, just as with everything, but I just can't agree that they are harmful - unless someone has some scientific research to back that up?
I really agree with what you are saying. I know that when my son hits me, he is sometimes doing it to test my reaction and sometimes it is because he is tired, overstimulated, etc... We try to avert those situations, but of course it is not always possible. I know that at two, his sense of empathy is not fully developed, yet I know that it is developing because I have seen clear signs that it is.
I am conflicted though, because like you said some of these situations can be potentially dangerous (to me, mostly), because some of his hits and slaps are very painful. I don't know what a natural consequence of hitting me should be (with all this discussion of natural consequences). Should it be that I get up and go into another room without explanation? Should it be that I ignore him and don't talk to him? I don't think so. That would be as confusing or more so than a brief cool-down period in his bedroom, which I sort of think of as pushing the "reset" button on the situation. Perhaps I should just ignore the fact that he slapped me in the face? That does not seem logical to me either. I think my son is well aware that what he is doing is unacceptable and I think that he needs to know that I am in control of the situation and that he can be free to express his emotions (positive or negative) and that I will be there for him no matter what, in a loving way while also providing clear boundaries and guidance when it comes to behavior.
runes's Avatar runes 02:47 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by dis View Post
I've read that Haiman article several times, and what bothers me is that I'm not sure I believe his base assumption - that the behaviour is always a symptom of an underlying unmet need. I don't buy it. Sometimes I think the behaviour is just to see the parental reaction. Sometimes I don't think the child has any idea why they do a particular behaviour; there is no unmet need underlying it, they just wanted to see what would happen when they hit the cat/their brother/whatever. Sometimes a toddler or a child is just really worked up and isn't thinking at all. So first you stop the behaviour, then you explain why we don't do that. And in the case of things like hitting, my primary goal is to stop the behaviour (because it's potentially dangerous), and THEN work on empathy and intrinsic motivation. It takes time for a person to develop empahty and that knowledge that they shouldn't hit because it hurts the target, and the empathy can easily lag behind.

We use time-outs when DD is worked up. When she gets worked up, she hits. So we try, as much as possible, to head things off early and avoid having her get to the point where she starts hitting, and we talk about why we shouldn't hit, but sometimes we miss the cues or it happens so fast we're at that point before we can do anything. So yeah, in that situation? She gets a short time out where she sits on the stairs, with a parent in eyeshot (although not within arms-reach, because we're the ones she wants to hit), until she's calmed down and can return to her usually sunny self and we can discuss why we don't hit.

Every child is different. I'm sure there's many kids who don't need timeouts; but to call time-outs 'violent' is just way too much. I'm sure there are parents who use them inappropriately, just as with everything, but I just can't agree that they are harmful - unless someone has some scientific research to back that up?
he has been mentioned several times in this thread already, but alfie kohn's book, unconditional parenting, has numerous citations of scientific research that has been done on this subject. some of the research is quite surprising, in fact.

the book is great but it's quite information dense, so if you're pressed for time (being parents, we probably ALL are pressed for time ) there is a DVD of him doing a lecture at stanford university that is quite entertaining and very well done. he is able to explain his major points in a very digestible form.

violence does not just mean physical violence. the outward appearance of time out is that it is a 'calm' technique because there is no hitting involved. but the underlying interaction between parent and child is still adversarial. we do need to dig much much deeper than the surface and to also be empathetic to the child's perception and experience. i contend that it is through this empathy and compassion towards our children, at those moments when we find it hard to love them due to their behavior, is when they need it the most. isn't that the definition of 'unconditional love'? when modeled this, they internalize empathy and compassion WITHOUT having to be 'taught' how to be empathetic and compassionate, because empathy and compassion are NOT behaviors.

(so sorry i'm not very articulate this morning, my coffee hasn't kicked in yet)

karre's Avatar karre 03:02 PM 06-09-2007
I don't really believe in time outs. Yet i do not believe that using time out to deter a child from hitting the cat will prevent a child from learning to have compassion and empathy for the cat. A parent can use time out to impose consequences for hitting the cat and ALSO teach their child that the cat should be treated with kindness and help to foster compassion for the cat. A child afraid of time out might learn to leave the cat alone much sooner than he learns empathy for the cat (and initially will be motivated by time out) BUT i do not think that IN ANY WAY prevents the child from learning empathy for the cat. Some parents, who are not invested in the moral growth and maturity of their child, may use quick and effective means of behavior control and then fail to do the work of teaching their child why they should do the right thing (other than time out) but i don't think these people/situations are created by the very nature of the discipline that is used. I do not think the discipline itself prevents the child from learning to be motivated by other forces. I would expect those of you who stated that they have faith in a child's ability to learn, reason and grow would agree with this statement.

I think this is a very poor argument against time outs. I think many parents who use time outs also teach their childern moral responsibility. I have yet to see an arguement that demonstrates why a child who initially was motivated by a fear of time outs would fail to learn to be motivated by moral reasons.

I think the problem with time outs arises when the time outs damage the parent child relationship (which i believe eventually happens and that is the reason i do not believe in time outs). If the child develops a lack of trust and feels insecurity about his relationship with his parents then i think a problem arises. The child may become unattached to the parent and form another attachment elsewhere. If this attachment is with a loving, responsible and invested adult like a loving grandmother, aunt or teacher then the child will still most likely grow up to be a responsible, compassionate person. However if the child instead forms an attachment with another child, someone who has not yet learned to be responsible themselves, then the child will fail to mature normally and and may grow up to be motivated solely by self interest. (i think the degree to which this happens depends upon how sustained the child's attachement to other childern is and how long the parent--child relationship is damaged.)

Bottom line: When the child feels he can no longer rely on the parents for love, support, etc the parent loses his/her natural, non-coercive power (that forms out of the child's love and trust for the parent) to influence and teach the child.
runes's Avatar runes 03:22 PM 06-09-2007
nobody said that using time outs prevent the development of empathy and compassion.

it is entirely possible to use time outs as a form of discipline and have the end result be an adult that is empathetic and compassionate. but it's not BECAUSE of the discipline that they developed the ability to be kind and see the world through other people's perspectives.

as for the contentions that not using time outs is a 'cookie cutter' approach, i'm kind of :. what is more cookie cutter than a time out?

Toddler hits the cat...TIME OUT.

Preschooler hits mommy...TIME OUT.

Child doesn't comply with parents directive...TIME OUT.

that's not consistency, people.

that's lazy, uninspired parenting.

i guess i need to get ready for those tomatoes again.)
dis's Avatar dis 03:36 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post

as for the contentions that not using time outs is a 'cookie cutter' approach, i'm kind of :. what is more cookie cutter than a time out?

Toddler hits the cat...TIME OUT.

Preschooler hits mommy...TIME OUT.

Child doesn't comply with parents directive...TIME OUT.

that's not consistency, people.

that's lazy, uninspired parenting.

i guess i need to get ready for those tomatoes again.)
And 'please timmy, we don't hit because it's not nice' over and over and over again while Timmy just keeps right on hitting is inspired parenting?

See, I can make inappropriate and inaccurate generalizations too!
samanthasmom's Avatar samanthasmom 03:52 PM 06-09-2007
what a gread thread. my dd is 13 mos and my husband and i haven't really discussed discipline. this has given me so much to think about!
Perdita_in_Ontario's Avatar Perdita_in_Ontario 03:52 PM 06-09-2007
The reasonable natural consequence for hitting the dog is that the dog goes away - at least in our house. Hit the dog (or the cat) and the toddler is removed and the cat/dog is moved to behind the baby gate. Usually the cat/dog beats me to it...

There are two advantages to this. The child learns that playing roughly with the animal means there's no more animal to play with. And the animals feel protected and therefore don't have to protect themselves. 3 animals (2 cats and a German Shepherd - plus one more Shepherd up till recently) and none of them have bitten, scratched, snapped, or even hissed or growled. And the toddler has learned self-restraint.

I do agree that different techniques (within reason) work in different households. So much depends on temperaments (childs and parents and the interaction). But my bias is to start with the least controlling discipline and try to make that work first. I don't use a lot of "explaining" with DD - short sentences and clear words work best, I find.

As for "do people use timeouts with toddlers" - I talk to parents and day-care providers who are putting 14- and 15-month olds in forced timeouts. Try to tell me that's not just plain punishment - there's no reflection going on, that's for sure.
runes's Avatar runes 03:59 PM 06-09-2007
to me, inspired parenting is when you maintain a loving connection with your child, coupled with an understanding of development and meeting your child where they are, added to an attitude of cooperation, the spirit of maximizing 'Yes'es in our lives as much as possible while maintaining safety and appropriate personal boundaries and taking responsibility for modeling positive values and actions.

wow, that's quite a run on sentence.

anyways, nowhere in there are the words behavior, control or compliance.
blessed's Avatar blessed 04:03 PM 06-09-2007
I don't think every combination of child and parent allows for the same child rearing techniques.

I don't use time outs. Never have, and dd is really exceptionally well behaved. My friends who do use time outs call her 'the angel', which is really a gross overcharacterization. She's a normal three year old, with all the developmental and human nature challenges that go along with that.

But for the combination of she and I, time outs are damaging to our relationship. The closer we are, the more receptive she is to taking guidance from me. She trusts me not to shame her or hurt her, so she listens when I ask her to do or not do something. She has embraced the idea that I have her best interests at heart and am motivated by what is good for her. So she listens.

But I don't parent other children, I parent my own. And other parents may not be able to find the emotional tools to accomplish child guidance without coercive techniques. Perhaps if another parent was matched with dd, that parent would feel as though time outs were necessary. And for that particular combination of child and parent, maybe that would be true.
devster4fun's Avatar devster4fun 05:06 PM 06-09-2007
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.
I guess I think they can develop that intrinsic motivation. It takes time, maybe even a lifetime of positive and negative experiences.

What makes me not run red lights when no one is around? Well, I think for myself. Really, if not one car is around and I'm waiting...I go. It doesn't harm anyone. I pay my taxes because they fund a lot of wonderful things in my community. Do I agree with how every penny is spent, of course not.

I think the biggest drawback of punishments and rewards, is they teach to child to rely on someone else to think for them. Children learn this black and white thinking. (good vs. bad, etc..) When so much of life is grey and in the middle. And, each day you have to make choices about what is best. And, they both require escalation to continue working.
Stickers turn into candy, then toys, then trips etc...
stlmomof2's Avatar stlmomof2 05:32 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
sucks to be you.

-Angela
Whereas you feel morally driven to follow all of society's rules and you love and care about everything that your mom does?
Janelovesmax's Avatar Janelovesmax 05:37 PM 06-09-2007
I'm sorry, I have to say something.
Though I'm not an advocate of time-outs, there are moms on this board who OBVIOUSLY did not have to deal with challenges that require a time-out. I only gave my son time out once, when he was insisting on playing with oven. Though I'm all for gentle discipline and talking and explaining and teaching, there are some children that no matter what you say or how you act will not listen or understand unless the time-out is provided.

Boys for example are a lot more challenging,and more likely to deserve a time-out...
I emphasize with mothers who feel like there is no other choice but give time-out and maybe it's not such a bad thing to teach a child that everything he does in life has consequences.
runes's Avatar runes 05:37 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by mandymichel View Post
Whereas you feel morally driven to follow all of society's rules and you love and care about everything that your mom does?
i think she was trying to point out that a life lived in fear of punishment um, well...sucks.
runes's Avatar runes 05:45 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Janelovesmax View Post
I'm sorry, I have to say something.
Though I'm not an advocate of time-outs, there are moms on this board who OBVIOUSLY did not have to deal with challenges that require a time-out. I only gave my son time out once, when he was insisting on playing with oven. Though I'm all for gentle discipline and talking and explaining and teaching, there are some children that no matter what you say or how you act will not listen or understand unless the time-out is provided.

Boys for example are a lot more challenging,and more likely to deserve a time-out...
I emphasize with mothers who feel like there is no other choice but give time-out and maybe it's not such a bad thing to teach a child that everything he does in life has consequences.
OBVIOUSLY? ok.

are you suggesting that those that are able to parent without coersion are only able to do so because they haven't had to deal with challenging behaviors or lucky enough to have compliant little girls? then that goes to the assumption that some children NEED to be coerced, or there is some behavior that NEEDS to be punished for in order to elicit compliance? i don't believe that for a second, that is quite a slippery slope and i'm not sure that is a can that you want to open.
blessed's Avatar blessed 05:49 PM 06-09-2007
I think it's true that not every child will respond to any given method of discipline. But I do think that the vast majority of children respond to noncoercive techniques.
blessed's Avatar blessed 06:00 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Janelovesmax View Post
...there are moms on this board who OBVIOUSLY did not have to deal with challenges that require a time-out. I only gave my son time out once, when he was insisting on playing with oven..
I got a bit of a giggle over this as well.

Sure, that's right. None of us has ever had our child persist in playing with something we'd asked them not to. OBVIOUSLY if we had experienced misbehavior of THAT magnitude, we'd understand this whole time out business .
Janelovesmax's Avatar Janelovesmax 06:09 PM 06-09-2007
I'm not going to correct myself. There is no "one size fits all" - bottom line.
It's funny - I had a friend who had 2 children who were challenging and strong-willed and she was so proud of herself for never giving them "time-out". There is until little Jake came along.
There are some situations that can drive a mother off the wall and if she feels like she needs to give a child "time-out"for sanity of both them, then it's her prerogative and nobody can judge her.
monkey's mom's Avatar monkey's mom 06:13 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Janelovesmax View Post
I'm sorry, I have to say something.
Though I'm not an advocate of time-outs, there are moms on this board who OBVIOUSLY did not have to deal with challenges that require a time-out. I only gave my son time out once, when he was insisting on playing with oven. Though I'm all for gentle discipline and talking and explaining and teaching, there are some children that no matter what you say or how you act will not listen or understand unless the time-out is provided.

Boys for example are a lot more challenging,and more likely to deserve a time-out...
I emphasize with mothers who feel like there is no other choice but give time-out and maybe it's not such a bad thing to teach a child that everything he does in life has consequences.
My first child has been a HUGE challenge. HUGE.

Ask anyone in my API group what it was like for a full YEAR (plus) of following him around the room monitoring him so he wouldn't hit the other children, guiding him to share the toys, removing him when he became so overwhelmed he would completely melt down kicking and screaming.

Add years of food allergies with Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde type behavioral reactions with aggression, tantrums, very little sleeping, and an almost autistic-like ability to tune you out, and you've got a kid that most people told me they understood why I wasn't getting pregnant again anytime soon.

High needs and spirited and sensitive to the n-th degree.

And, now, at 5.5 one of the most considerate, gentle, kind kids you ever want to meet. I'm biased, of course. But, I can't tell how often I get postive feedback from other people about how generous he is, how considerate and polite he is, how he helps kids mediate and negotiate. He's still very sensitive to injustices and other things, but he has STOPPED all of those insane toddler behaviors like hitting, tormenting the cat, grabbing toys, being unwilling to share, etc. And without punishment. Without time-outs. Without imposing consequences.

Now, if he knocks a kid down on the playground he doesn't look around to see if he's going to get in trouble or not. He helps the kid back up and hugs them or helps them find their mom and apologizes.

So, believe me, my kid was a huge pita for a long, long time. You could probably find lots of posts on the GD forum about it. But, he's passed through that stuff feeling like I'm his ally not his adversary, and he's got a much bigger tool box of stuff to call on.

I read the posts from people like Dar, UnschoolinMa, wuwei and see how these amazing mamas have raised their kids without punishment and coercion, and they are not having the issues that most of the other parents I know are.

So, I'm convinced: Time-outs are not only NOT necessary, they've got the potential to do a lot of damage to the kid and the parent-child relationship. It's just not worth it in my opinion. It's one of those things I want to shout from the rooftops: "Hey! You don't HAVE to punish your kid! There is another way!!" Obviously, there are tons of people out there and on here who are not going to go this route, but I do feel compelled to put it out there: There is a different way that does not involve your child turning into a monster, and in fact, will probably turn out better than you imagined.

Peace. :
karre's Avatar karre 06:15 PM 06-09-2007
I'm not even sure we are all defining time outs in the same way. For instance, i do not think that removing your child from an activity where he could be harmed or could harm someone so that you can stop the behavior and explain to him that the activity or his actions were dangerous and could harm him or someone else is a time out. A time out is not (imo) a situation where you are doing something dangerous and the child must be removed for his safty so you can complete your task. Also a time out, imo, is not a situation where you are dealing with two kids in a fight and you must seperate them and cannot be with them both at once but must attend to them each individually. Also i would not conisider a mom (dad/parental figure) who removes herself/himself from a situation where she might yell or hit out of anger a time out. For young childern, this seperation may still be difficult but at least you can say "mama will be right with you, mama just needs to take care of..." (babies/toddlers can be put in cribs/playpens while still in your presence, etc)

A time out, by my definition, is where you deny/prohibit the child from being in your presence (or the presence of another caring adult) as a punishment for "bad behavior". The child is not allowed to benefit from your presence so he/she can discuss his/her emotions with you (or you help the child interept his/her emotions) until the child has served her punishment. If the child was just removed from a difficult situation and has a lot of intense emotions at the time of the time out, i could see how the child would feel quite isolated and abandoned with no one to turn to for support. Even if the child is calmed down and then ordered to go to time out afterwards the child could feel very ashamed of his/her prior emotions and feel afraid that he/she has done something to cause the parent to no longer love him/her.
Janelovesmax's Avatar Janelovesmax 06:21 PM 06-09-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
My first child has been a HUGE challenge. HUGE.

Ask anyone in my API group what it was like for a full YEAR (plus) of following him around the room monitoring him so he wouldn't hit the other children, guiding him to share the toys, removing him when he became so overwhelmed he would completely melt down kicking and screaming.

Add years of food allergies with Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde type behavioral reactions with aggression, tantrums, very little sleeping, and an almost autistic-like ability to tune you out, and you've got a kid that most people told me they understood why I wasn't getting pregnant again anytime soon.

High needs and spirited and sensitive to the n-th degree.

And, now, at 5.5 one of the most considerate, gentle, kind kids you ever want to meet. I'm biased, of course. But, I can't tell how often I get postive feedback from other people about how generous he is, how considerate and polite he is, how he helps kids mediate and negotiate. He's still very sensitive to injustices and other things, but he has STOPPED all of those insane toddler behaviors like hitting, tormenting the cat, grabbing toys, being unwilling to share, etc. And without punishment. Without time-outs. Without imposing consequences.

Now, if he knocks a kid down on the playground he doesn't look around to see if he's going to get in trouble or not. He helps the kid back up and hugs them or helps them find their mom and apologizes.

So, believe me, my kid was a huge pita for a long, long time. You could probably find lots of posts on the GD forum about it. But, he's passed through that stuff feeling like I'm his ally not his adversary, and he's got a much bigger tool box of stuff to call on.

I read the posts from people like Dar, UnschoolinMa, wuwei and see how these amazing mamas have raised their kids without punishment and coercion, and they are not having the issues that most of the other parents I know are.

So, I'm convinced: Time-outs are not only NOT necessary, they've got the potential to do a lot of damage to the kid and the parent-child relationship. It's just not worth it in my opinion. It's one of those things I want to shout from the rooftops: "Hey! You don't HAVE to punish your kid! There is another way!!" Obviously, there are tons of people out there and on here who are not going to go this route, but I do feel compelled to put it out there: There is a different way that does not involve your child turning into a monster, and in fact, will probably turn out better than you imagined.

Peace. :
I applaud you for this. I honestly have nothing but admiration for mothers who dealt with such challenges and knew a better way to deal with it then "time-outs" and as I said I don't advocate them in any way and if I can avoid giving them ever again, I would love to. You are a testimonial to all women out there.
All I'm saying is that I emphasize with mothers who feel the need to give a child a time-out and maybe some approach works with one child that will not work with other children. I feel like the way this board is approached is with a lot of judgement, some posts are short and plain mean and I don't see a need for it.

We are in the same boat here. We are all trying to do what's best. I know for sure that some children are easier then others and a mother might think that her child is a challenge but really has no idea what a challenge is. So there is no room for judgement on these boards, none.

With that said, I appreciated your post so much, because it was respectful of how I felt and at the same time offered hope to moms who are struggling now.
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