my first inclination is to say no, i don't use them...i don't believe in them. but i think its really the punitive time outs i don't believe in, and i know friends who use them in a nonpunitive way and seems to work for them...and they are very loving about it. and they stay with their child...its more of a break, not a punishment. and that i can't argue with. there are definitely times we all need that.
that said, when i'm really losing it with my daughter, i guess i am sorta using a modified timeout with her lately...although i never use the phrase "time out"...i just cringe at that phrase and i agree with the poster earlier who said that there's an epidemic of time outs (oh i hate seeing the time out chairs that are sold! makes me so mad!) its way overused lately in my opinion...punitive time outs.
what i do with my daughter when she's totally losing and i have no patience for it and i am concerned with what i might say or do if i don't remove her, is i scoop her up (often kicking and screaming) and plunk her down on her bed or ours (they are next to each other in the bedroom) and sometimes i say nothing and sometimes i say that she may come out when she's calm. i do NOT close the door. in fact, i used to not even put her in the room...used to just remove her from the room we were in, usually the living room...and just put her in the hall...basically just taking her out of the room i'm in because she's not in a place to listen to me since she's lost control and i'm not in a patient place, so i can't take her in the room shrieking at me anymore. i feel my blood boiling and i need her away from me before i snap.
i don't think this is necessarily the best approach...i'm not real proud of it...but i figure its better than hitting her or saying something nasty that could really injure her emotionally...and lately she has been so extreme in her behavior, screaming and sassy and i just don't have patience for it. (7wks ago our baby boy was stillborn and we are working through our mourning) so i use this as a way to not lose it on her and do something i'll seriously regret. i've never felt so out of control myself before, so i figure this is something that is way better than the alternative. (what that alternative is, i don't really know nor want to think about...i've never hit my child, and until recently never even thought i would be capable of it, nor had i ever yelled at her til recently...life is all upside down right now and we're fumbling to get back rightside up.)
so when i place her in bed, i don't shut the door, i don't tell her she has to stay in there for x amount of time...i simply say she needs to calm down (what it really means is i need to calm down, i guess) and she's welcome to come out whenever she is calm and able to talk to me in a respectful way. if she comes out and is still acting like a madwoman, i plunk her back down in bed again. it usually doesn't last more than like 2 min and she's calm and out trying to talk to me in a calm voice. she's never spent more than like 4min in the bed before calming herself. then we talk and sort through things. i've even been apologizing to her lately when i get angry with her and yell (it doesn't happen that much, but i'm so disappointed in myself when i do it) and we talk about how its scary to lose control and alternatives and specific things she can say instead of the rude yelling at me she does. i nearly always give her the specific words she could say...sometimes she uses them, sometimes not.
actually now that i'm writing this out...i'm thinking i'll start doing the opposite approach and put MYSELF in a "time out" (though i won't call it that.) and perhaps that will be better because its really me who needs it!