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Thread: Let's go over this again, what's wrong with time outs? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-09-2013 10:25 AM
KSLaura The op did pose the question, 'What's wrong with timeouts'. I thought the article did a very eloquent job of explaining why and how some people do not use them. It was not meant to be an attack on those who do use time-outs. I certainly don't think children who have been subjected to time-outs turn out any worse than any other children. It does give parents something to think about, and maybe seek out other discipline tools that could end up working better for their families.

With regard to schools...I think children who grow up in a household with time-outs (or similar punishments) are likely to be used to them and to respond well to them in a school setting. I don't, however, think time-outs in schools are necessary. Most daycares in our area (infant-school age) publish the fact that they 'NEVER' use time-outs. They mostly use versions of re-direction. This 'usually' works.

Some kiddos can definately learn which behavior is acceptable and which is not without the use of time-outs or punishment.
09-06-2013 05:52 PM
Linda on the move
Quote:
Originally Posted by erinsmom1996 View Post
 

I respect your choices but I think this article is a little on the extreme side. A gentle time out, to me, is not going to traumatize my child. My relationship with my now 17 year old daughter is proof of that. This type of article only serves to make parents feel bad for not agreeing with the author. Maybe that's just me, though.

 

I found the article absurd and condescending. I suspect the author has limited experience with children, other than her own little circle of like-minded friends.

 

I work in school with special needs kids and kids with behavior problems. Some of the kids I know have REAL issues due to lack of attachment or abandonment. It is stark and heartbreaking.I believe that it actually takes something pretty extreme to cause these kinds of problems, such as going to prison. Or repeatedly telling a child that you wish they had never been born. The kids who have issues with abandonment really are the exception, not the rule.

 

Kids do not develop abandonment issues over time outs.  shake.gif

 

By the same token, all children need to learn that some behavior is unacceptable. Parents who fail to do this are failing their children. I'm quite sure that lots of families manage to teach this without timeouts. It is fine by me for someone to never use a time out. However, I don't think there is anything wrong with using them, either. For some kids in some situations, it is the most direct, clear way to get them to understand.

 

The goal is to teach kids that they are unconditionally loved and precious, but that some behavior isn't allowed. Time outs can be a part of that. A child is better off learning that lesson with time outs than not being taught that they *can* and *must* control their behavior.

09-06-2013 09:54 AM
Fillyjonk

Its a very good point queenjane about any parenting method being subject to abuse. I have to say, I've seen even highly conseusual parenting, no punishment etc taken to extremes, IMO, where the parent ends up burnt out and resentful and feels like the kid should be able to anticipate their needs better than they do. And, yk, they are a kid, being a bit of a pain, not being that empathic to their parents, is generally in their job description. (yeah, some kids are better than others but, yk, generally. And of course, our own kids, well thats the definition of ymmv)

09-06-2013 07:28 AM
queenjane
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post
 

yes, i agree with the posters who have said that time outs are not about withdrawing love. That's just not how it works IME. They are no more about withdrawing love than any other punishment. I respect those who don't punish but...that's a bigger thread. In the context of a parenting style that includes punishment, I think time outs aren't especially damaging.

 

I was thinking about this thread in terms of my relationship with my own mother. I really like and get on with my mum. We spend time together beyond being with the grandkids, although she is hundreds of miles away. Now she's the sort to try, in the early stages, to conceal any sadness or anger or disappointment. She is not a pushover but she tends to push such feelings away for as long as possible, that's how she was raised. 

 

But of course, even now, at my age, I know when I've upset her. I know when I've disappointed her. I know when she's lying and she's really, really sad at something I've done.

 

I find it much, much harder to know she's upset but won't speak up about it, to not quite know the extent of her pain, than for her to say "listen. That hurt me, what you just said. I'm upset and I'm going to take ten minutes to calm down.". I mean I wouldn't like her saying that, but I wouldn't feel pain or rejection, just sorrow that I'd upset someone I love. Similarly, as a kid, having parents who stepped in and sent me out to calm down-perhaps by sending me to my room. That was a lot better than accidentally hurting someone or breaking something and dealing with the consequences-emotional consequences, as much as anything else.

 

There's another issue here for me. Sending a kid to sit alone. That's a very relative statement. If you have a huge house and you are sending your kid halfway across it and there are possibly howling wolves. Yeah. But if we are talking, right, sit on that step, in my eyeline (because in my house, everywhere is in eyeline) for a few minutes. Its not actually something I've ever done, I have only used time outs as the lesser of two evils. But I don't think its actually going to harm a child. We do aim to parent as consensually as possible and it wouldn't fit my parenting style-but I think that to claim kids will feel unloved and rejected is going a little far. Depending on the kid of course.

 

I agree.

 

I dont generally use time outs but recently i fostered a very undisciplined sib group of three. The almost-3-yr old, when i would request things like "please dont throw your food on the floor" would glare at me "NO!"...i could explain til i was blue in the face why throwing food on the floor wasnt ok but sitting on the step seemed a more direct/concrete/understandable thing for him. He haaaated it. But it was precisely because he hated it that it helped him curb unwanted behavior. He wasnt excluded/sent away from the family....the time out step (bottom step of the stairs leading to the second floor) was literally about five feet from where he was sitting and (not)eating in full view of the entire family. He just didnt want to sit there, he wanted to be able to do whatever he wanted. I do find it ironic that in this forum there are people that will refuse to let their kids eat certain foods they want (have no problem, say, refusing to let a child eat a donut they really really really want and dont worry about the child's self-esteem or feelings of punishment then, even though it probably feels much the same to the child) or who will freely admit to holding a toddler down to brush their teeth, but then look at five mins in time out as horribly punitive discipline. 

 

I think just about any discipline method can be used badly...just yesterday we were at gymnastics and a mom was having a HUGE power struggle with her little daughter over a book that she had dropped on the floor, the mom was sternly repeating over and over for like ten minutes "PICK UP THE BOOOOOOK!" it was kind of awful. But i wouldnt say in general "expecting a child to not throw books and to pick up what she throws" is a bad idea. I know kids who are occasionally spanked and are well attached loving kids with great parents, and kids who are never spanked who dont have nearly the same good relationship (and vice versa!) there is so much more that goes into parenting, a child's development, and the relationship between parent and child than just the specific method of discipline. 

09-05-2013 07:49 AM
Fillyjonk

yes, i agree with the posters who have said that time outs are not about withdrawing love. That's just not how it works IME. They are no more about withdrawing love than any other punishment. I respect those who don't punish but...that's a bigger thread. In the context of a parenting style that includes punishment, I think time outs aren't especially damaging.

 

I was thinking about this thread in terms of my relationship with my own mother. I really like and get on with my mum. We spend time together beyond being with the grandkids, although she is hundreds of miles away. Now she's the sort to try, in the early stages, to conceal any sadness or anger or disappointment. She is not a pushover but she tends to push such feelings away for as long as possible, that's how she was raised. 

 

But of course, even now, at my age, I know when I've upset her. I know when I've disappointed her. I know when she's lying and she's really, really sad at something I've done.

 

I find it much, much harder to know she's upset but won't speak up about it, to not quite know the extent of her pain, than for her to say "listen. That hurt me, what you just said. I'm upset and I'm going to take ten minutes to calm down.". I mean I wouldn't like her saying that, but I wouldn't feel pain or rejection, just sorrow that I'd upset someone I love. Similarly, as a kid, having parents who stepped in and sent me out to calm down-perhaps by sending me to my room. That was a lot better than accidentally hurting someone or breaking something and dealing with the consequences-emotional consequences, as much as anything else.

 

There's another issue here for me. Sending a kid to sit alone. That's a very relative statement. If you have a huge house and you are sending your kid halfway across it and there are possibly howling wolves. Yeah. But if we are talking, right, sit on that step, in my eyeline (because in my house, everywhere is in eyeline) for a few minutes. Its not actually something I've ever done, I have only used time outs as the lesser of two evils. But I don't think its actually going to harm a child. We do aim to parent as consensually as possible and it wouldn't fit my parenting style-but I think that to claim kids will feel unloved and rejected is going a little far. Depending on the kid of course.

09-05-2013 07:28 AM
erinsmom1996
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post

A good article on the 'cons' of time-outs...

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/timeouts

" 1. Timeouts make kids see themselves as bad people. You confirm what she suspected – she is a bad person. Not only does this lower self esteem, it creates bad behavior, because people who feel bad about themselves behave badly.
2. Timeouts don't help kids learn emotional regulation.
3. Timeout work through fear, as a symbolic abandonment.
4. Instead of reaffirming your relationship with your child so she WANTS to please you, timeouts fuel power struggles.
5. Timeouts, like all punishment, keep us from partnering with our child to find solutions since we're making the problem all theirs.
And if you’re using them to deal with your kids’ meltdown, that’s actually destructive, as I mentioned, because you’re triggering your child’s abandonment panic.

If you want to teach your child emotional self-management, that’s only effective before a meltdown starts. When you see the warning signs, take your child to a "Time IN." This signals to your child that you understand she's got some big emotions going on and you're right there with her. If she's just a bit wound-up and wants to snuggle or even read a book, fine. If she's ready for a melt-down, you're there to help. Just let her know you're there and she's safe.

Parents who use timeouts are often shocked to learn that there are families who never hit, never use timeouts, and rarely raise their voices to their children. But you shouldn’t need to use these methods of discipline, and if you're using them now, you'll probably be quite relieved to hear that you can wean yourself away from them. "

I respect your choices but I think this article is a little on the extreme side. A gentle time out, to me, is not going to traumatize my child. My relationship with my now 17 year old daughter is proof of that. This type of article only serves to make parents feel bad for not agreeing with the author. Maybe that's just me, though.

09-05-2013 07:14 AM
erinsmom1996
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilitchka View Post
 

to a child, especially a very young one, the most important thing in life is their relationship with their parents. Their parent,s love is number 1 thing in their lives!

everything else comes second.

 

so when my child has a behavior that I don't like, and every time I decide to punish him by putting him in time out and withdrawing the most important thing in his life: my love.

 

How is that fair?

 

Most of what will happen at school/park/classes is not comparable to parental love withdrawal.

for the very young child, his relationship with his teacher, peers doesn't come close to his relationship with his parents.

 

so giving the worse punishment repeatedly to prepare for lighter punishments later in life doesn't make sense to me.

 

and as some pp said, punishment or rewards only work as external motivators. Do I really want my kids to behave ''well'' just because they don't want to get caught?

 

my most important parenting tool and the most (effective) is my relationship with each of my child. If anything affects negatively our relationship, then it is harder to connect with them and teach them.  Tim outs would definitely affect negatively our relationship, and therefore their behavior and my ability to teach them and communicate my expectations.

I don't think it is fair to say that when other moms put their child in time out they are "withdrawing" their love. I used time outs with my daughter who is now 17 and we have a wonderful relationship. She knows I love her and want the best for her but she also knows when she has crossed a line there will be consequences. In my opinion, parents who negotiate everything with their child and refuse to discipline them in any way (I'm not saying parents should spank) are not doing the children any favors. Children need to learn to calm themselves and to step away from a situation when they are losing control of their behavior and that's what time outs are about to me. I would also put myself in time out by walking away from a situation so that it didn't escalate. Time outs do not equal withdrawing love from a child, that just really bothers me to hear it put like that.

09-04-2013 10:15 AM
annie-laurie

I believe that if you take it out of context, a timeout could sound cruel. . . .but, sometimes the chaos and overwhelming noise can test a parent's nerves.  It is not cruel  to teach the child to take a minute.  It is logical. they can get so wound up, and when we use timeouts(rarely now) it is done in order to empty the madness. . .let things mellow out. That's not cruel.  I often tell my child that i will discuss an issue with him when he calms down.  It's useful to calm down before making hasty decisions!    It'd be nice to get past all this talk of cruelty.  We know that a simple tone can be cruel..  times out can be cruel, i suppose, but not if they are done with a mind to calm down.  It's hard living with someone else and all of their moods. Times out help us to regroup and return to the center. Rarely do we not laugh and smile aferwards.  It is a wonderful way to regroup!  Just because we live in the same home does not mean that we don't need alone time, even if it is enforced! We teach our kids to cope.  I need alone time.  So does he!

09-04-2013 12:44 AM
Fillyjonk

"Family life does involve some degree of utilitarianism. The thing that saves us is that children are smart enough to know our intentions. They cut us slack according to our ability to communicate love. I think people on here in the main do their very best to be thoughtful and careful, and that has to go a long way. "

 

:joynicely put. I think its an important thing for me. We really are splitting hairs to some extent. My guess is that if I walked into the kitchens of any person contributing to this thread I'd see happy, attached kids who were listened to and respected. I think a lot of the discussion can be really about how we conceptualise our family life. So for example, its important to me to be honest with myself about what I'm doing, not to hide behind semantic niceties. If I am using my power to remove a privilege from my kid, that's a punishment and I don't believe in using nicer words. I'd rather look at the complexity of the word, the greyscale of it all.

09-03-2013 07:59 PM
waiting4years For me, a time out is cooling down time, especially for introverted children because they particularly need that alone time to gather themselves. I never put my stepson or a child in my care in time out if I am angry. I calmly affirm their feelings of frustration and tell them they are in a charge of when they feel calm enough to talk over the conflict with me. As a punishment, I think it teaches the way wrong lesson, even if it works.
09-03-2013 01:52 PM
captain optimism
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamadeRumi View Post
 

This is the second time I've seen something like this mentioned.  Who said that EVERYONE in the US deplores or finds annoying the constant discussion method?  I think most of us participating in this thread have included discussing the matter with our child, whether that discussion comes after a cooling off period or without one, and many of us are from the US.

Very well. You are right and I am wrong. 

09-03-2013 11:19 AM
MamadeRumi
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain optimism View Post
 

I am also not sure that punishment is always the worst thing. My child really likes the idea of rewards and punishments. It has always appealed to his love of arithmetic and fairness. I don't use them because the annoying, constant discussion method that everyone in the US deplores works very well with him.

This is the second time I've seen something like this mentioned.  Who said that EVERYONE in the US deplores or finds annoying the constant discussion method?  I think most of us participating in this thread have included discussing the matter with our child, whether that discussion comes after a cooling off period or without one, and many of us are from the US.

09-03-2013 07:36 AM
captain optimism
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post
 

In some ways I think I parent by the least bad option-I think a lot of parents of several kids do. Constantly crunching the math to make sure that most people get most of their needs mostly met. I would not send a kid to their room for something like, IDK, lying or being a bit rude. Its a crisis management tool, its to stop behaviour that needs stopping, I completely agree its non ideal, I just think its pretty inevitable when you have the mix of personalities that a lot of houses are blessed with.

I love it that you crunch the math when parenting. That is what I imagined, from your .sig, actually. Now that I have a kid who is a math person, I find that description of parenting logic as number crunching tremendously charming. (I know he is my kid because he looks like me, even though he likes math so much that it could be confusing.) 

 

Family life does involve some degree of utilitarianism. The thing that saves us is that children are smart enough to know our intentions. They cut us slack according to our ability to communicate love. I think people on here in the main do their very best to be thoughtful and careful, and that has to go a long way. 

09-03-2013 07:09 AM
Fillyjonk

yk,I wonder if we're reading the same replies differently. I don't see much in your reply that any of the posters on here have disagreed with. I might be wrong-I haven't been back and read them. But I think everything you've said is reasonable. In some ways I think I parent by the least bad option-I think a lot of parents of several kids do. Constantly crunching the math to make sure that most people get most of their needs mostly met. I would not send a kid to their room for something like, IDK, lying or being a bit rude. Its a crisis management tool, its to stop behaviour that needs stopping, I completely agree its non ideal, I just think its pretty inevitable when you have the mix of personalities that a lot of houses are blessed with.

 

IME its also a significantly better option that the realistic alternatives. If you realistically have the option of explaining calmly to your kids that their behaviour is not ok, and they will nod and agree and perhaps give each other a conciliatory hug, then Jesus you should not be using a time out. You should probably get some kind of parenting medal actually. 

 

Wanted to mention this though. "I do agree with those who think that the use of time-out as a punishment is something we should limit. It is a way of withdrawing positive approval.". See I think that is the other thing. At the point when I used time out, my kids would not under any impression whatsohever that there was positive approval going on. Their annoyance at going to their room would be annoyance that they had to leave the fun of the group. Not my positive approval. Because at the point when I'm sending someone to their room, I'm not being very positive. 

 

I will say that when I have one kid at a time, when the others are off at a class or sleepover whatever, I don't believe I've ever needed to use punishment at all (or time outs or whatever-I do think that "consequences" is a semantic gloss. Sending someone to their room is a punishment-own it. Not you Capn Optimism, btw).

09-03-2013 06:06 AM
captain optimism

Yes, see, it was my impression that some people were asserting that a benefit of using time-outs as a punishment was to toughen up the child. If you read the thread, you will see that some posts are making a claim of that nature. 

 

I do agree with those who think that the use of time-out as a punishment is something we should limit. It is a way of withdrawing positive approval. Obviously, most of us agree that in some situations, even as a punishment, it has utility and can be less destructive for the child than staying in a space where there is conflict. The title of the thread was "what's wrong with time-outs," and what's wrong with them is that they are a punishment, a "consequence" whose intended purpose is to instill shame. (At least, as they were originally constituted, back in the 1970s when we had to sit in the corner.) 

 

We've all discussed how a break or a breather can be beneficial and not a punishment, and I don't think most parents here would say you should never impose a time-out in that sense. Opportunities to rest and regroup can be helpful to some children.

 

I am also not sure that punishment is always the worst thing. My child really likes the idea of rewards and punishments. It has always appealed to his love of arithmetic and fairness. I don't use them because the annoying, constant discussion method that everyone in the US deplores works very well with him. Also because he's an only child and I don't have the kind of behavior management emergencies that put a mom in a situation where she has to interrupt conflict between siblings immediately.  

 

Also, I was punished a lot, both violently and non-violently, and I don't think it was helpful to me in childhood or as an adult. It certainly didn't make me flexible. People respond to unfairness by finding it unfair and stressful. The person who has to suck it up and cope is the parent, who has to recognize and acknowledge her power in the parenting relationship. 

09-03-2013 04:55 AM
Fillyjonk

" I just don't think time-outs make children more resilient to unfairness, even if you use them unfairly as a practice! In a very limited role,"

 

I think that might be where the confusion is arising. I don't think anyone has suggested that time outs be used as a training tool to accustom kids to unfairness. And I certainly don't think anyone is suggesting arbitrary unfairness.

 

What has been said is something quite different, which is that time outs, when used as a crisis managment tool to give everyone some space and/or put a halt to behaviour, stop a situation escalating, and overall give everyone a chance to cool off, are unlikely to cause these feelings of abandonment and self loathing in a well adjusted kid. And so if a kid can't deal with being asked to either behave or leave the room, if that triggers feelings of fear and shame, then rather than seeing that as normal and enabling that, some of us would be a bit concerned and investigate further. Why would a kid feel abandoned and like a terrible bad person just because they were sent to the room with the Lego for ten minutes? 

 

Incidentally, like i said, I think this would need investigation. Maybe they are having a hard time at school or not feeling well. I wouldn't be toughening them up by more sending them to their room. 

 

I've said this before but the times when I would use something like a time out-ask a kid to leave the room-would pretty much all be about preventing damage to people, property, or to some extent, serious damage to feelings, and where the mood was too high for talking it out to be an option. My guess is that that is when its used by most of us. For a normally resilient kid of 6+ IME that isn't normally a problem and IME it solves the problems quickly and without a fuss. Everyone cools off and we go about our day. 

 

There's no perfect way in parenting. Especially when you have several kids, you're pretty much failing a lot of the time, its just trying not to screw up too badly :rotflmao

09-03-2013 04:17 AM
captain optimism
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post
 

just deleted a load of stuff. I think it might be helpful to work out whether we actually disagree or not. I think we all agree that there is a line at which we intervene and I'd guess that line is in roughly the same place.

 

So, captain optimism (great name). What would you do in the situation described by Dauphinette? Ie-

 

"She has been told to shush when she didn't think it was fault, she was asking someone to stop touching her hair and she got chastised.".

 

To me its pretty clear from the context too that this wasn't a huge, humiliating thing. I'm guessing Dauphinette's daughter was asked to sit down and be quiet or something. I'm assuming she wasn't hauled in front of the class and made to do a dance of shame or anything.

 

Well, I'm sure that sometimes teachers wind up scolding children unfairly. In this case, the child was sufficiently impressed with the unfairness of the situation that she told her mother about it. It was not something that she took to heart so much that she wasn't able to handle it, but at the same time, she noticed that the teacher got it wrong. 

 

I don't see any reason why it's important for parents to use (non-violent, of course!) punishments at home to prepare the child for this experience. The important thing was for the child to be able to tell her mother that this happened. Because there was someone who cares about the child's behavior and believes in her, the child has someone who will hear her and can deal with the teacher being wrong. 

 

I suppose that one or two time-outs at home wouldn't destroy the child's confidence that her mother will hear her, but on the other hand, there's no benefit to them in this situation either. I just don't think time-outs make children more resilient to unfairness, even if you use them unfairly as a practice! In a very limited role, they might be helpful for self-regulation, but this idea that accustoming themselves to mild punishments will help children develop resilience doesn't really seem logical to me. Isn't the point of attachment parenting that early attachment creates resilience? We don't make children practice discomfort in order to weather it better later.

 

(Except maybe piano practice, I am reminded of piano practice and other similar types of discipline--but that's not just suffering for its own sake. I hope.) 

09-02-2013 11:04 PM
Fillyjonk

just deleted a load of stuff. I think it might be helpful to work out whether we actually disagree or not. I think we all agree that there is a line at which we intervene and I'd guess that line is in roughly the same place.

 

So, captain optimism (great name). What would you do in the situation described by Dauphinette? Ie-

 

"She has been told to shush when she didn't think it was fault, she was asking someone to stop touching her hair and she got chastised.".

 

To me its pretty clear from the context too that this wasn't a huge, humiliating thing. I'm guessing Dauphinette's daughter was asked to sit down and be quiet or something. I'm assuming she wasn't hauled in front of the class and made to do a dance of shame or anything.

09-02-2013 05:09 PM
dauphinette
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain optimism View Post
 

 

I was responding to previous posters who had the attitude that it was OK for their children to be punished unfairly, so that they would learn to cope with "a little unfairness."

 

I didn't read anyone's response to mean that the punishments at school were unfair to begin with.  I guess, at least, that's not at all what I believe.

 

I talk to my daughter about everything.  If she tells me about a situation at school where a teacher has chastised her and she feels it was unfair we discuss it and I try to get to the bottom of it with her.  But the bottom line is that I want her to follow the rules at school.  Of course there are exceptions but for the most part I want her to behave well, take instruction, listen and learn.  If she is being out of line it doesn't bother me if she gets in trouble, although this has never happened.  She has never gotten at trouble in school.  She has never been unfairly punished.  She has been told to shush when she didn't think it was fault, she was asking someone to stop touching her hair and she got chastised.  She didn't like getting shushed, but I don't expect the teacher to know whats going on in every situation with every child every minute of the day with 30 kids in the class.  My dd moved on, no harm.  That's ideal to me, the teacher wasn't 100% right, my dd wasn't 100% wrong and she accepted that she got in trouble for it any way with out letting it totally burst her bubble.  Was it unfair that she got the shushing?  Maybe, to some.  Do I want her to be able to cope with stuff like that?  Certainly.

 

#Like water on a ducks back, #all's well that ends well, #no worries

09-02-2013 04:37 PM
captain optimism
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post
 

I know about fighting this and I know the cost of failing to pick your battles-both in terms of yourself and your own effectiveness. This stuff IS unfair. And that is why our kids need coping mechanisms for the small stuff, they need to know when to cope and when to fight.

Just to be clear. I am NOT about saying to kids, life is unfair, don't complain. I am about saying, here's when its worth fighting, here's when you must fight. And heres when, its worth taking a step back and looking at ther other persons perspective. Heres when you will end up worse off by fighting. He's when people are not trying to be mean, but rather are being clumsy. Its about perspective.

 

I was responding to previous posters who had the attitude that it was OK for their children to be punished unfairly, so that they would learn to cope with "a little unfairness." 

 

What's weird is that, when I examine my attitudes about this, I don't think time out is always used as punishment. 

 

I'm not even sure that punishment is always the wrong thing. I think in some situations, when a child understands that he or she has done something wrong, a punishment is easier than just sitting with the discomfort of being wrong. It's also better to use a non-violent punishment (I never call it a consequence, I think that's self-serving BS) than to allow the child to infringe on other people's right to peace.

 

Of course you hope you can create the conditions in your house so that it doesn't get to that point. 

 

The problem for me is when we say, "Oh, well, it's simple, I'm the mom, I tell them what's good behavior, they behave, if they don't I punish them."  I reject this. I think there is something wrong with the reward and punishment model as a mode of creating an ethical adult. When people complain that they weren't punished as children, I generally assume that they mean their parents didn't pay attention to them. I don't need punishment and reward to structure my attention. The kid doesn't need punishment or reward to know right from wrong. He's very smart. 

 

My son went off to school and had to learn how to deal with a point system for his behavior. I still didn't use time outs or punishments at home. In a punishment and reward system, if he doesn't do his homework, he gets a punishment, and if he does, he gets a reward. But when I'm in charge, he has to do things because he's a person--the same things I have to do. There's one rule for personhood, no matter how old you are, and there's no carbon offset tax. You know? You gotta be a person, clean your space, treat people well. There's no punishment or reward involved in that. Teaching him to behave well my way didn't harm his ability to deal with the teacher's way at all. It was like a game. In real life, though, it's no game. You have to do the right thing whether or not there is a reward. 

 

I don't believe in punishment, but I'm kind of a hard-ass anyway, and not only with children. 

09-02-2013 04:12 PM
Tiffa

KSLaura -  Excuse me, but I think it's pretty arrogant of you to assume that your way is the ONLY way, and that the other way is simply "leftover from our Authoritarian/Puritan ancestors". 

 

I know very well that time out is not always effective, and not always right. I am actually very good at talking and listening to a child, and have dealt very successfully with a lot of conflict without ever inflicting any punishment. I am a good peacemaker, and hope my children will learn to be. I also know how to let a child know that I am serious and that they need to obey without punishing. I know how to head it off before it gets out of hand. Most of the time. 

 

However. Sometimes they will not listen. Sometimes they will not talk to you. Sometimes they just WANT to REBEL. Sometimes they want to be angry, and they want you to be angry as well.  And I don't know how old your children are, but for most older children or teenagers I doubt that hugging it out is going to work quite as well. Sometimes they just have to be removed from the situation. You should always give them the chance to correct their behavior, as well as to talk it out and express themselves. But when they choose to continue you have to find something else that will work. 

I second the opinion that children aren't so fragile that a time out is going to damage them and make them think they aren't loved. I believe we over-think these things a little much sometimes. A couple of time outs are not going to hurt them.

 

I know how to think for myself. I know that some things don't work. And I know that my way is not the only way, and neither is yours. It sounds like you are a loving mother who is raising loving children. And that's great! But don't assume that you are the only one who knows what you're talking about. We are supposed to be sharing opinions here, not forcing them onto each other. You are suggesting that you have the only right way of doing things. I would think you would want to avoid that kind of thought, as it's what those Puritan ancestors thought as well.

09-02-2013 03:55 PM
kathymuggle
Quote:
Originally Posted by CupOfJoe View Post
 

Working as a nanny I've sometimes found -- especially with older children (6+) -- that the time-out works best when it is for me! So what I say to the child is, "I really don't like how you're behaving right now and it's making me upset so I need to take some time by myself to cool-down." and then I go away and sit quietly in another room for a bit. So without "punishing" the child I'm able to show that there are consequences for their actions and also that sometimes it's good to remove yourself from a situation in order to recenter.

I do take a time out (can I have one for my age, pretty please, I have stuff to read…. reading.gif ) when I am grumpy or spiraling.  I think it is great to model taking a break when you need one.

 

If one of the kids is grumpy, I expect them to leave if it their behavior that is inappropriate.  I am not going to be pushed out of a room or whatever when I am not the one who is engaging in (typically unrelenting) behavior.  

 

So - I don't really love parents taking time -outs in lieu of children (unless they really need one as they themselves are grumpy), as I don't think it teaches kids that certain types of behavior is not okay.

09-02-2013 03:42 PM
dauphinette
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post

A good article on the 'cons' of time-outs...

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/timeouts

" 1. Timeouts make kids see themselves as bad people. You confirm what she suspected – she is a bad person. Not only does this lower self esteem, it creates bad behavior, because people who feel bad about themselves behave badly.
2. Timeouts don't help kids learn emotional regulation.
3. Timeout work through fear, as a symbolic abandonment.
4. Instead of reaffirming your relationship with your child so she WANTS to please you, timeouts fuel power struggles.
5. Timeouts, like all punishment, keep us from partnering with our child to find solutions since we're making the problem all theirs.
And if you’re using them to deal with your kids’ meltdown, that’s actually destructive, as I mentioned, because you’re triggering your child’s abandonment panic.

If you want to teach your child emotional self-management, that’s only effective before a meltdown starts. When you see the warning signs, take your child to a "Time IN." This signals to your child that you understand she's got some big emotions going on and you're right there with her. If she's just a bit wound-up and wants to snuggle or even read a book, fine. If she's ready for a melt-down, you're there to help. Just let her know you're there and she's safe.

Parents who use timeouts are often shocked to learn that there are families who never hit, never use timeouts, and rarely raise their voices to their children. But you shouldn’t need to use these methods of discipline, and if you're using them now, you'll probably be quite relieved to hear that you can wean yourself away from them. "

Says who?  I mean, besides you and whoever you are quoting from that link that I am not following?  People that agree with you might agree with that, but you can't just say it and it becomes truth.  I don't actually agree with any of this, I don't feel bad or sad about the time outs.  I am happy with my relationship with my little girl, she is great.

09-02-2013 03:38 PM
dauphinette
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CupOfJoe View Post
 

Working as a nanny I've sometimes found -- especially with older children (6+) -- that the time-out works best when it is for me! So what I say to the child is, "I really don't like how you're behaving right now and it's making me upset so I need to take some time by myself to cool-down." and then I go away and sit quietly in another room for a bit. So without "punishing" the child I'm able to show that there are consequences for their actions and also that sometimes it's good to remove yourself from a situation in order to recenter.

 



Who are these 6/7/8 year old children who don't behave well when you ask them to?? At that age, I would expect children who are asked to be quiet/settle down to do so without a punitive intervention. I run a whole troop of girl scouts in that age range and they have no problems with behavior. We use the girl scout sign to signify when it is time to be quiet and listen to someone in the group. The girls occasionally need reminders, but nothing more than that.

This is laughable to me!  Oh my goodness, I don't even know what to say.  At my daughter's school, which focuses on inclusion, there are kids with all varying levels of behavior and good grief, certainly there kids of all ages who can not or do not listen, take instructions well or do what's asked of them.

09-02-2013 03:27 PM
Fillyjonk

Also, just went back through the thread

 

@cap'n optimism. " I do not in any way want my kid to learn to deal with a little unfairness. Look at the society in which we live. It's not a little unfair. It's HUGELY unfair. We get through our lives pretending it's not that bad. Most of us are in the United States, the country with the highest GDP and the most people in prison of any country in the world (per capita and as an absolute number and as a percentage of prisoners in the world.) We have a decreasing life expectancy and a rising infant mortality rate. These aren't unfairnesses randomly distributed in society, luck of the draw, too bad so sad. They are based on racial bias, sexism, class bias, xenophobia, and a ton of socially tolerated violence. "

 

Ok that's not a LITTLE unfair. That is VERY unfair. I expect my kids to speak up against this stuff. I've been involved in action against this stuff my entire life (well I'm in Europe but we still have our problems). I do not see how teaching my kids that they can deal with little things themselves, that its ok to feel upset or angry but they need to look at the other persons perspective and work out which battles to fight, in any way reduces their ability to fight this big stuff. 

 

I know about fighting this and I know the cost of failing to pick your battles-both in terms of yourself and your own effectiveness. This stuff IS unfair. And that is why our kids need coping mechanisms for the small stuff, they need to know when to cope and when to fight.

 

Just to be clear. I am NOT about saying to kids, life is unfair, don't complain. I am about saying, here's when its worth fighting, here's when you must fight. And heres when, its worth taking a step back and looking at ther other persons perspective. Heres when you will end up worse off by fighting. He's when people are not trying to be mean, but rather are being clumsy. Its about perspective.

09-02-2013 03:25 PM
KSLaura http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1387563/is-punishment-ever-necessary
09-02-2013 02:53 PM
Fillyjonk

kathymuggle so agree with everything you said.

 

Honestly abandonment panic? For real? I don't mean in little kids-say under 6. But for older kids. "Symbolic abandonment?" Seeing themselves as "bad people"?. In all honestly, I think if a kid is reacting like that, at 6+. to a simple request to go away and stop being a pain, then personally I'd be looking at whether there might be a deeper issue.

 

 

YK, IME its right that kids play up and are noisy and annoying at really bad times. That's kind of their job. To my mind its not their job to be super obedient. I don't judge my sucess as a parent by how quiet my kids are. And I am SURE that if I gave my kids a choice between 24/7 quietness and gentleness and indoor voices, vs our general football stadium noise levels with me sometimes saying, "look, if you can't be quiet you're going to have to go to your room til I have an actual cup of coffee in my hands", they'd choose the latter, no doubt at all.

 

 

"Who are these 6/7/8 year old children who don't behave well when you ask them to?? "

 

 I'm not interested in raising kids who are about groupthink and pleasing others.Who do what they are told without ever annoyingly arguing back at the worst possible time and embarassing me. That's not my goal and its not how I judge my parenting sucess. I want to raise emotionally literate kids who care about others but I'm not especially interested in or expecting high levels of compliance at age 6/7/8. My girls Scout groups are each 30 rambunctious girls, some with some additional needs and behavioural issues, and they are wonderful, lively, if sometimes slightly deafening places. Woudln't have it any other way. But thinking for yourself is pretty important to me, I'd take that over obedience any day. So much more fun.

 

.Parenting isn't one size fits all and nor should it be.We all want different things for our kids and that is how it should be.

 

And yk, my kids never seem to stop talking. They are certainly not afraid to share feelings.

 

One thing that comes up again and again. this notion that every "bad" action by a kid has a reason and that reason must be explored. The thing is for me, your kid gets to 8 or 10 and sometimes the reasons are not very good. Sometimes they hit their sister because she wouldn't pass the sausages. Sometimes they are just being unspeakably naughty. I think if you push deep enough there will always be an unmet need in all of us. But I also think its fair to have an expectation for our kids that they control themselves.

09-02-2013 02:51 PM
redheather
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post

A good article on the 'cons' of time-outs...

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/timeouts

" 1. Timeouts make kids see themselves as bad people. You confirm what she suspected – she is a bad person. Not only does this lower self esteem, it creates bad behavior, because people who feel bad about themselves behave badly.
2. Timeouts don't help kids learn emotional regulation.
3. Timeout work through fear, as a symbolic abandonment.
4. Instead of reaffirming your relationship with your child so she WANTS to please you, timeouts fuel power struggles.
5. Timeouts, like all punishment, keep us from partnering with our child to find solutions since we're making the problem all theirs.
And if you’re using them to deal with your kids’ meltdown, that’s actually destructive, as I mentioned, because you’re triggering your child’s abandonment panic.

If you want to teach your child emotional self-management, that’s only effective before a meltdown starts. When you see the warning signs, take your child to a "Time IN." This signals to your child that you understand she's got some big emotions going on and you're right there with her. If she's just a bit wound-up and wants to snuggle or even read a book, fine. If she's ready for a melt-down, you're there to help. Just let her know you're there and she's safe.

Parents who use timeouts are often shocked to learn that there are families who never hit, never use timeouts, and rarely raise their voices to their children. But you shouldn’t need to use these methods of discipline, and if you're using them now, you'll probably be quite relieved to hear that you can wean yourself away from them. "

 

Yes, what's in bold. Anything that builds relationship is what I hope for. There is always a reason, especially in young ones, behind any given behavior.

 

I think there are different kinds of time-outs, from what I've been reading. Removal from the community is the one I dislike so much. Of course we have to be socialized and learn how to get along despite feelings of anger etc., but I just feel so strongly that we also need to learn how to appropriately express our feelings or they go underground and come out twisted later. Having the community model different ways to do this just has to be better than sitting by oneself feeling wrong, bad, and at the worst unwanted. Keeping the child in the ring offers a chance to teach them, to see their effects. I'm really not sure how much is being learned, or if it's helpful, by oneself.

 

Teens? Well, I'm not there yet. I'm hoping to lay the groundwork now. I can only say I think would have been more likely to talk to my parents if they'd been talking to me from an earlier age. The channel just wasn't there by then. Fingers crossed.

09-02-2013 02:46 PM
KSLaura Why is this 'over the top'? Also, contrary to popular belief, I think that kids who aren't punished this way tend to be much less fragile and secure in their place in the world.

I punished my oldest DD. Heck, I even spanked her. It took a while for me to realize that this was not effective and not the relationship I wanted with my children. Once I started down the path of more gentle discipline/no punishments, her behavior improved immensly. I think its ok to re-examine and re-adjust parenting techniques as parents learn and grow. smile.gif
09-02-2013 02:02 PM
kathymuggle
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSLaura View Post

A good article on the 'cons' of time-outs...

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/timeouts

" 1. Timeouts make kids see themselves as bad people. You confirm what she suspected – she is a bad person. Not only does this lower self esteem, it creates bad behavior, because people who feel bad about themselves behave badly.
2. Timeouts don't help kids learn emotional regulation.
3. Timeout work through fear, as a symbolic abandonment.
4. Instead of reaffirming your relationship with your child so she WANTS to please you, timeouts fuel power struggles.
5. Timeouts, like all punishment, keep us from partnering with our child to find solutions since we're making the problem all theirs.
And if you’re using them to deal with your kids’ meltdown, that’s actually destructive, as I mentioned, because you’re triggering your child’s abandonment panic.
 

I think being against time-outs across the board is over the top. 

 

I don't think most kids are so inherently fragile that they cannot be away from their family for a few minutes as a consequence for behaviour they have chosen.  

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