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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>CurlyTop</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hi, I'm just reading this thread and want to ask.... do you think that some children don't experience time out as love withdrawal?<br><br>
TIA for your honest feedback. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes">:<br><br>
Cheers,<br>
CurlyTop</div>
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I think it's possible, but it's not worth it to me<br><br>
I've never seen where punishments or 'timeouts' benefit anyone.<br><br>
If one of my chrildren needs some quiet, some peace, I can offer that without negativiity being involved.
 

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Thanks for answering without being defensive (I really do not want to offend!) The replies by Joline & Rivka have helped me figure out something for myself. I have been thinking about my adult friends who swear they never felt their parent's love withdrawing even when they were being punished. I can't deny that they are telling me the truth, these are my friends! OTOH, I felt badly about punishing my kids (including TO used as a punishment). What I think now is that TO isn't good for our relationship. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being "Scars our Relationship", 5 being "No Effect" and 10 being "Enhances our Relationship", I think TO is a 5 or below. My main concern is to enhance our relationship so even if TO isn't perceived by my DKs as love withdrawal, it doesn't serve my goal.<br><br>
Thanks for the chance to think this thru.<br><br>
CurlyTop
 

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There are plenty of GD authors that don't advocate time outs; Alfie Kohn's being against time outs and against punishment isn't where I disagree. Our relationships with our children are, like all human relationships, complex. Kohn would have us believe that they are as predictible as the single variate studies he references. Of the families that use time outs, are the parents yellers? Is there a culture of humiliation in the family? What else is going on? Which variables are controlled for? PbR is more convincing because there is solid research supporting most of his claims.<br><br>
In UP, Alfie Kohn isn't just saying that punishment isn't an effective discipline tool (like P.E.T., Anthony Wolf, Myna Shure, and many more regularly discussed here); he goes much further in stating that almost any means by which may may even <i>express</i> disapproval to your child has the potential to scar them for life. Granted, very young children can easily conflate approval and love and one should tread very carefully in those formative years. However, I suspect that most children feeling securly grounded in a loving relationship will not, when a bit older, feel the foundations cracking should a parent express disapproval at a choice they made. Children are going to sense it anyway and no matter how super-duper a parent you are, you are going to give off disapproval vibes. The difference is, it it spoken or unspoken? Are you being honest with your child? Isn't it important in a child's development to learn that they can do something they know you disapprove of and you'll still love them and support them? That's unconditional parenting to me. The key is whether or not you are using disapproval as a method of control (i.e. the child knows that, "I don't like the idea of...." really means "don't do that") or whether they still have the choice to do it. Disapproval shouldn't be a tool to set limits, if you are a family that sets limits and if a child interprets it that way, it's up to the parent to make it clear that they really do have a choice.
 

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NoHiddenFees -- I was with you right up to the end. Your last point about disapproval brought up this question for me. (I'm throwing it out to anyone though): How do we communicate the difference between disapproval of the *person* (damaging) and disapproval of the *action* (normal and unavoidable)? I *want* my children to learn that I can disapprove of their actions -- even strongly disapprove -- and still love them at the same time. I want them to know that if they are angry with me, they can slam doors, yell, etc. and I will not doubt that they still love me. (I will let them know later that I don't like being yelled at though.) Point is, if I never show disapproval -- even in a respectful way -- how are they to funtion in, say, a marriage when they grow up? No doubt it would be too much of a spouse to ask that they never show disapproval! I would like my kids to grow up knowing that even when we disappoint the ones we love, we still have their love. And *also* that it is important to try and do our best to be kind, honest, etc. Otherwise, love not withstanding, folks won't care to be around us much, kwim? Of course you have to temper the message to the age -- little children need more slack than older ones. I'm not advocating holding small children to the same standard their future spouse might.<br><br>
BTW, does Kohn really advocate never showing disapproval? I've not yet read UP, although I've heard him on a couple of different talk shows plugging the book. (I loved Punished by Rewards -- that book changed my parenting a lot.) If so, I agree totally that this is unrealistic and sends the wrong message.
 

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I think how children experience time out, or yelling, or loss of privleges, or any other method of discipline depends on several factors. Paramount is the existing relationship with the parent, as other pp's have mentioned. But the personality of the child matters a great deal as well. I have a book called <span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Five Love Languages of Children</span>. It's kind of gimmicky, but I think it has a lot of truth in it. The authors' thesis is that children (and all people) have a preferred expression of love -- it may be "words of affirmation", quality time, gifts, "acts of service", or physical touch. Everyone likes all of these things, and we should do all of them for our children, but the primary love language is the one that makes the child *feel* most loved. You can hug a "words of affirmation" child all day, and he won't feel as loved as he will if you say "You're such a great kid -- I love you" just once. Conversely, you can tell a "physical touch" child that you love them often, but without hugs it's "just talk" to them.<br><br>
The important point for purposes of this discussion is that we not only feel love most accutely in our primary love language -- <i>we also feel rejection most accutely in that language</i>. So time-out will feel much worse to a "quality time" kid than it will to a "pysical touch" kid, especially if the time-out is followed up by a big hug, kwim? All of this may just argue for less punishment across the board <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> , but I'm responding only to the question of how kids experience punishments like time out and how damaging they are as a consequence.<br><br>
A related aside: We tend to treat others as we would like to be treated and refrain from treating others as we would *not* want to be treated. This is a good rule of thumb, but may not be adequate if we are speaking "acts of service" language to a child (or spouse) who craves "quality time".
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>UUMom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I was only breastfed two months, and never got sick. Didn't need an antibiotic until was like 13 when i had a horrible ear infection.<br><br>
Doesn't mean not breastfeeding was actually good for me.<br><br>
Kids can be punsihed and 'be fine', just as many formula kids are 'healthy'.<br><br>
Other kids can get punished and be harmed, and some formula fed kids have compromised immune systems and get every sickness their entire lives.</div>
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UUMom, I don't know why you thought I needed this prolonged lecture. I was answering a question: are there children who don't experience time out as love withdrawal? And yes, there are, because I was one of them. I wasn't preaching the wild successfulness of time out or saying that time out is never harmful or even saying that I intend to use time out myself. My post wasn't about advocacy, it was about providing an example *when one was specifically requested.*<br><br>
And I hope the formula-feeding analogy is just a random example you pulled up, and that you weren't aware that I'm having to formula-feed my daughter. Because if you *were* aware, then that was mean.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Rivka5</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">UUMom, I don't know why you thought I needed this prolonged lecture. I was answering a question: are there children who don't experience time out as love withdrawal? And yes, there are, because I was one of them. I wasn't preaching the wild successfulness of time out or saying that time out is never harmful or even saying that I intend to use time out myself. My post wasn't about advocacy, it was about providing an example *when one was specifically requested.*<br><br>
And I hope the formula-feeding analogy is just a random example you pulled up, and that you weren't aware that I'm having to formula-feed my daughter. Because if you *were* aware, then that was mean.</div>
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Honestly-- i have no idea who you are, or whether you formula feed or not. I adopted a child, so i formula fed, too. although, who feeds what is niether here not there is this discussion. we all know formula is not bbreastmilk. that's the point.<br><br>
it's an online discussion, which can seem like 'lecturing' , i suupose. It depends on one's frame of mind as they are reading.<br><br>
At any rate, my thoughts weren't completey directed at you, but towatds all the folks particpating in this thread.<br><br>
I also get that AK 's ideas are not easy for our western culture to digest. AK threads always get people going, and it's not always pretty. His ideas are very challenging and are ogten hard to accept.<br><br>
It's not personal--it's an exchange of ideas. Take from it what you will.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>luv my 2 sweeties</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How do we communicate the difference between disapproval of the *person* (damaging) and disapproval of the *action* (normal and unavoidable)?</div>
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I think that if you are building a loving and trusting relationship with your kids, disapproval of an action is less likely to feel like disapproval of the person to them. If you have built a foundation of love, if you are willing to look at things from your child's point of view, willing to understand why they do what they do and willing to assume that your child's intent is usually good (as opposed to a willful desire to be bad, to misbehave, to cause trouble), and you are willing to tell your child you understand and speak calmly to them about their actions then your kids are likely to understand that you love them no matter what.<br><br>
"You seem to be feeling very angry." "Yes!" "I think that you felt so angry that you felt like hitting your brother." "Yeah! He grabbed my toy!" "It feels bad when people grab our things. Well, it's okay to feel angry and it's okay that you felt like hitting but you may not hit. Hitting hurts. You can use your words to ask me for help." Big hug.<br><br>
To a toddler: "No hitting." (calm firm voice) "I'll help you" Big hug or pick up and carry somewhere else.<br><br>
To child who won't stop hitting or is throwing a screaming tantrum and talking isn't helping: "I'll be right here to help you when you're feeling better." or "I don't like it when people scream at me. I can't talk with you while you're screaming. I'll talk with you as soon as you're not screaming." Stay close and available.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>NoHiddenFees</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">he goes much further in stating that almost any means by which may may even express disapproval to your child has the potential to scar them for life. Granted, very young children can easily conflate approval and love and one should tread very carefully in those formative years. However, I suspect that <i>most children feeling securly grounded in a loving relationship will not, when a bit older, feel the foundations cracking should a parent express disapproval at a choice they made</i>. Children are going to sense it anyway and no matter how super-duper a parent you are, you are going to give off disapproval vibes. The difference is, it it spoken or unspoken? Are you being honest with your child? Isn't it important in a child's development to learn that they can do something they know you disapprove of and you'll still love them and support them? That's unconditional parenting to me. The key is whether or not you are using disapproval as a method of control (i.e. the child knows that, "I don't like the idea of...." really means "don't do that") or whether they still have the choice to do it. Disapproval shouldn't be a tool to set limits, if you are a family that sets limits and if a child interprets it that way, it's up to the parent to make it clear that they really do have a choice.</div>
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A bit late, but want to add that Kohn argues that time-out IS love withdrawal. He links its emergence to a study on birds (or some other critter) that talked about "time out from positive reinforcement." In the case of applying this to children, it is not so much a case of not being able to continue playing, though this too is often involved, but the most important thing that the child is being deprived of is pleasant, loving interactions with the parent. Thus the message: if you act in this way, you are not worthy of my love. I will shun you if you don't do as I say.<br><br>
So... children who do not feel this as love withdrawal are not feeling it for what it is. I would think that most children want the possibility of positive interaction with their parent(s) to be open at all times and would be upset by having this shut off when the parent was otherwise accessible (i.e. not out of the house). Perhaps some are more concerned about boredom or lost play time, but I find it hard to believe that any attached (or poorly attached for that matter) child would not be bothered by the fact that (e.g.) though she is nearby, mom is currently and deliberately out of bounds for a hug, some comforting words, or whatever. So, while the prevailing sentiment might have been "OMGOSH this is SO boring!!!" I find it hard to believe that it would not also overlap with sentiments (even fleeting ones) of being rejected or upset or downright angry about the fact that one wants to talk (or whatever) with mom now but she has deemed herself off limits.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>luv my 2 sweeties</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How do we communicate the difference between disapproval of the *person* (damaging) and disapproval of the *action* (normal and unavoidable)?</div>
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Part of it is being in tune with yourself and learning how to tease out the actual cause of your disapproving feelings and identifying triggers. Then we can deal honestly with our children about our feelings. Part of loving them is repeatedly showing them that we support them and are there when they need help, no matter why or how. This is why I think it's crucial to voice disapproval rather than have the child take what they will from what they pick up. What does a disapproving look or a disapproving stance mean to a child? Would they have the courage to come to you for help if they've assumed the worst? You don't know unless you're talking about it.<br><br>
For example, a parent might be particularly disapproving of their child's bullying of a friend, as opposed to being relatively detatched in the face of this parenting challenge. Perhaps this disapproval stems from the parent having been bullied as a child. Having identified the source to the best of their ability, the parent can then say (allowing for age appropriateness), "You probably have noticed that I disapprove of some of your interactions with xxxx. I think it's bullying. I feel very uncomfortable and can't hide it when I see you treating your friend that way because when I was a child I was bullied by my best friend and often felt angry and worthless and frustrated because of it. I never told her. Now, your friend isn't me and I don't know how your friend feels, but maybe you could ask her."<br><br>
But how far can we separate approval of the person and the action? Certainly at five and probably fifteen we can bring about a certain level of detachment, but I certainly won't approve of my children's characters should they grow up to be a Tom DeLay or and Andrew Weiderhorn (local financier who essentially bilked a bunch of retirees out of their pensions through risky and illegal investement methods). I hope I would be a strong enough person to still be there should they need me though.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">BTW, does Kohn really advocate never showing disapproval?</td>
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Not exactly, but he leaves next to no avenues open to expressing it and he explicitly and repeatedly equates a child feeling disapproval with feeling a withdrawal of love, the latter typically characterized as having lasting effects on the psyche of the child.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dal</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So... children who do not feel this as love withdrawal are not feeling it for what it is. I would think that most children want the possibility of positive interaction with their parent(s) to be open at all times and would be upset by having this shut off when the parent was otherwise accessible (i.e. not out of the house). Perhaps some are more concerned about boredom or lost play time, but I find it hard to believe that any attached (or poorly attached for that matter) child would not be bothered by the fact that (e.g.) though she is nearby, mom is currently and deliberately out of bounds for a hug, some comforting words, or whatever. So, while the prevailing sentiment might have been "OMGOSH this is SO boring!!!" I find it hard to believe that it would not also overlap with sentiments (even fleeting ones) of being rejected or upset or downright angry about the fact that one wants to talk (or whatever) with mom now but she has deemed herself off limits.</div>
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You say "what it is" but how do you know?<br>
Seriously. My ds gets time out but I dont give him the silent treatment during it. There is no break in our interaction. In fact there have been many times when I kneeled right at his feet and talked to him during his time out.<br>
I suppose "what it is" depends on the family.<br>
In addition, isnt it Alfie Kohn himself who states that it isnt what the parents intention is that matters but the how the child experiences it.<br>
So if how the child experiences it is the most important, how can it be perceived that he is "not feeling it for what it is".<br>
What it Is IS how they are feeling it.<br>
In fact I think that the most likely scenario here is that many of us who use "time out" are not really doing "time out from reinforcement" but perhaps "time out from play" or "time out from this toy" "time out from dinner" or whatever.<br>
Basically the assumption above is that the idea that children MUST FEEL a withdrawal of love is so absolutely true that any exceptions must therefore be wrong rather than proof that the premise is faulty.<br>
If experience tells us that an idea is not true for us, then is our experience wrong or is the idea wrong?
 

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Great points Joline.<br><br>
I wonder if it counts as time-out if you are sitting next to your child and talking with her or him? I know many AP anti-time-outers (in the usual sense of the term) do separate their child from problematic situations for some down time, which they spend with their child, or let the child spend by her- or himself (though the child is not forced to do this).<br><br>
From my understanding of how time-out is meant to be carried out (according to Supernanny, which I assume to be a mainstream interpretation of how to do it), one is to plop one's child on a "nauty chair" or in whatever space has been chosen for the punishment, and to not offer any positive interaction with the child at all. She advocates looking the child in the eye, saying, "You've been very naughty! You are sitting here because you threw your blocks and I asked you not to. Someone might get hurt when we throw blocks around the house" (I'm not sure she offers the child an explanation, though). Anyway, this is followed by removing oneself from the situation (or, e.g., busying oneself doing dishes or engaging in some other activity). It is not a time for cuddles or love. That would be rewarding the child for bad behaviour, and thus reinforcing it, on her take. There are many cases of children crying out for their mom (or whoever) to come to them, and the children are left to cry because they are being punished.<br><br>
If it were only "you can't play with x anymore," why would the child be confined to a particular small space, and why would this be combined with the typical advice to not offer any "positive reinforcement" during the punishment? Were that the sole intent, the child could engage in some other activity.<br><br>
Whatever the case, yes, some children may experience it differently than others and this can make it far more harmful to some children and less so to others. It is not always easy to tell which child it will be most harmful to, and as I suggested earlier, I do think that even those children who typically take it as boring, but not so much as a deprivation of love, are apt to also feel it as the latter.<br><br>
In my own childhood, I did not take what was happening as neglect or emotional abuse, though I can now see that both applied. If you asked me, I'd say that my mom definitely didn't mean it when she called me an idiot and that it didn't bother me a whole lot (that's just how we talk in our family). Similarly, if asked why we never touch, I'd just say this was normal for our family and it was weird to always be clawing at each other, as some more intimate families did. Likewise with telling each other "I love you," I normalized that too, saying that we knew it to be true and that we showed our love in other ways (by buying gifts!) and that I appreciated these just as much. I agreed with these statements as a child, or at least pretended to believe in them (even to myself). This doesn't mean that I was saved from the negative effects of (minor) neglect and (minor) emotional abuse. That is akin to saying that a child who fends well and is not afraid to be left alone is not harmed by this and does not feel abandoned or unimportant because of it. Being left alone may be more harmful to some kids than to others, but it isn't a very good thing to do to any of them.<br><br>
I think there are far worse things than a relatively gently applied time out, but the power issues that occur during these make me uncomfortable and I feel a sense of shame for the child. Aside from love-withdrawal, there are also the more basic problems with punishment itself, which are additional reasons that make me disagree with the time out approach.
 

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Wow, I'm really surprised by how many people drew had this reaction to UP -that Kohn leaves no room for disapproval, that we have to do things around a child's timetable all the time, that we cannot have genuine interactions.<br><br>
I found UP to be highly impacting, and in a very positive way. I think that it does promote a very new philosophy of the treatment of others, and one that need not be limited solely to parenting. I am still able to share my feelings with my daughter, but I am more mindful of how I "react" in situations when I feel frustrated. These are my feelings, and even if they are linked to her behavior I need to own them.<br><br>
As far as timeouts not causing children to feel love withdrawal, I'm not sure that personal anecdotes are sufficient proof to me that "some" children are fine. Are we the best judges if we are, in fact, "fine"? Not meaning to target anyone in particular, and I do not exclude myself from this question. Also, what comes to mind immediately, is that I am hoping to far exceed "fine" for my daughters, as I'm sure we all are. While not providing specific techniques, it does still leave me feeling inspired and somehow able to parent from my gut with more positivity.<br><br>
Very interesting discussion.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>pixiexto</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">As far as timeouts not causing children to feel love withdrawal, I'm not sure that personal anecdotes are sufficient proof to me that "some" children are fine.</div>
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FTR, I haven't read UP yet. It's on my list, but I have mixed feelings about the Kohn I have read so far.<br><br>
At any rate, I am curious if he offers something other than anecdotal evidence that children who are disciplined via time-outs *aren't* fine. And does he differentiate between time outs where children are isolated and those where they are simply removed from particular activities? There are so many different variations of "time out" out there, that I think the term would need to be defined before it is either accepted or dismissed.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kaydee</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">FTR, I haven't read UP yet. It's on my list, but I have mixed feelings about the Kohn I have read so far.<br><br>
At any rate, I am curious if he offers something other than anecdotal evidence that children who are disciplined via time-outs *aren't* fine. And does he differentiate between time outs where children are isolated and those where they are simply removed from particular activities? There are so many different variations of "time out" out there, that I think the term would need to be defined before it is either accepted or dismissed.</div>
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he does not.<br><br>
parents who wholeheartedly believe in spanking, are rarely convinced by the ample evidence that children who are spanked are 'not fine'.<br><br>
so even if he did offer research and studies, would it make a big difference to the general public?<br><br>
i think the best 'anekdotal' evidence is imagining yourself in the same situation -- i bet many would feel 'fine' if your dh gave them a silent treatment, while explaining all the logical reasons he did not want to talk to them. but even those who might feel fine, will likely feel resentful, even if they would be otherwise ready to see their 'guilt' and accept it, and even apologize. time outs, no matter of the degree, do not contribute to the closeness of the relationship.
 

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I've got a horrible case of Mama-brain, so I'm sorry that I'm not able to remember with accuracy which points were backed up by which research (as cited in the footnotes section) but my experience has been that this is not new information and, as the PP mentions, to me it just makes good sense.<br><br>
I try to come at parenting in a way that treats our daughters with the same dignity that I would treat anyone, or the way that I would wish to be treated.<br><br>
My Mother used withdrawal of positive attention & the silent treatment as a consequences when I was a child - I don't think she meant for it to feel like love withdrawal, but this is how it felt. Are my practices biased by this? Perhaps... regardless, I am not comfortable with using time-outs. Removal from activities, in my view, I would only use if someone's safety was being jeopardized, and this to me is not within the same class of "applied consequence" that I see time-outs as fitting into.<br><br>
So I guess, for me at least, there does not need to be a definition. I see them as rather equal - at least in their effect if not their intention.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>annabanana</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">he does not.<br><br>
parents who wholeheartedly believe in spanking, are rarely convinced by the ample evidence that children who are spanked are 'not fine'.<br><br>
so even if he did offer research and studies, would it make a big difference to the general public?<br><br>
i think the best 'anekdotal' evidence is imagining yourself in the same situation -- i bet many would feel 'fine' if your dh gave them a silent treatment, while explaining all the logical reasons he did not want to talk to them. but even those who might feel fine, will likely feel resentful, even if they would be otherwise ready to see their 'guilt' and accept it, and even apologize. time outs, no matter of the degree, do not contribute to the closeness of the relationship.</div>
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Well, it just seems odd for someone to criticize anecdotal evidence if they don't have anything other than anecdotal evidence to offer. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"><br><br>
Is the "general public" swayed by research? I dunno. But plenty of individuals are....<br><br>
And as PPs have mentioned, there are all sorts of different responses to behaviors that might fall under the category "time out." Not all are "the silent treament." That's why I think a definition is useful, and I was curious what Kohn's was.
 

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I feel it is not odd. I find the book compelling; I find claims of "I'm fine" or "My child is fine" uncompelling.<br><br>
I suppose part of the difference I see is that I am not trying to sway anyone to my point of view, but expressing genuine surprise that so many are unconvinced that time-out's are not a GD response. I can't say with certainty that Kohn either did or did not provide specific examples of research to defend his claim - I did read the book, but as I posted before my memory is not in it's finest form lately.<br><br>
Perhaps I am heading off topic in this particular thread... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kaydee</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">At any rate, I am curious if he offers something other than anecdotal evidence that children who are disciplined via time-outs *aren't* fine.</div>
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Yes, and he cites the studies. IIRC they all deal with young children and isolation type time outs.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">And does he differentiate between time outs where children are isolated and those where they are simply removed from particular activities?</td>
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No, but I'm not sure he conflates them either. It's hard to tell because he doesn't address the issue at all.
 
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