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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HELP! My ds is soooo hard to get through to. Trying to give him a time-out is awful . . . he has to be carried there (while he grabs on to things and tries to generally impede progress), he will not stay in his room, doesn't care if I reset the timer over and over and over again and is rarely even phased by the process. I'll ask him why he had a time-out when the timer goes off and he often can tell me why, but there is nooooooo indication that this is going to make him think twice about doing the same thing in the future.<br><br>
I am reading Kid Cooperation by Elizabeth Pantley right now, and I like her ideas of natural consequences etc, but am still unable to make time-out work for us. Does anyone else have the same problem? Should I give up on time-out altogether (it is much more frustrating for mommy than ds - he actually has fun trying to interrupt the process). I don't want to stop time-outs because it just seems like certain misbehavior naturally needs a time-out as discipline (like running away from mommy - which he does OFTEN).<br><br>
I guess my problem is that everything that I've read about time-outs assumes that the child just passively goes and sits there for the three minutes - not my guy! :LOL<br><br>
Any suggestions?
 

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We only use time-outs for hurting behavior (kicking,hitting, name calling) and we phrase it as an opportunity to go and cool down - not as a punishment. We might say something like, "I think you need some alone time to calm down. Why don't you go upstairs for a few minutes until you are able to use good words with us."<br><br>
We always offer the option of having a parent come along and sit with him/snuggle if that will help, and so long as he will not hurt us. Being "alone" for a small child often really means being alone *with* their primary care giver. Many young children are not ready to be isolated -- can be much too scary. If they have to be carried up kicking and screaming, then they definately need me to stay with them and soothe them until they are ready to talk.<br><br>
We do not set a certain time limit, we just ask that they pull it together and calm down before rejoining the family. They are good at deciding for themselves when they are ready.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Danesmama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I guess my problem is that everything that I've read about time-outs assumes that the child just passively goes and sits there for the three minutes - not my guy! :LOL</div>
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Yep. It seems like you either have to have an unusually compliant child or some sort of fear dynamic where the child is afraid of what might happen if he/she doesn't stay put.<br><br>
I don't have either of those. Course, I'm also not a fan of punishment so... big deal. :LOL The only way "time-out" works around here is when we take it together (when we're getting too intense with one another and need to chill out for a minute or two) or when I take them alone. I tell him I "need a break" and to please find something to do that doesn't involve me while I cool down. He's four and that's only recently begun to work.<br><br>
About the Pantley book: If she's putting time-out forward as a natural consequence, then she's pretty much off base. Forcing a child into isolation is an imposed, not natural, consequence (i.e. punishment).
 

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I agree with dragonfly. I don't know how people "make" their kids sit somewhere. I guess they are just more placid then mine. I have been trying out a bunch of different discipline tools in the past few months. And time out doesn't seem to work for us. We've used it like Mamaduck mentioned for hurting behavior. I will pick him up and say that it's time to sit on the step and think about why we're acting such-and-such way and to come up with a better solution for the both of us. I think he's sat there for 1 minute intervals. That's the longest I've done, and they longest he can go. (BTW, the steps are a pretty central location in our house. He can see me. I can see him. It's not total deprivation for him).<br><br>
What HAS worked on occasion is thinking time/quiet time in his bedroom. He actually HAS come out of his room-on his own (the door is open) and seemed to be in a better mood and more in-control of his emotions.<br><br>
Still looking for the magic answer myself, actually. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch">
 

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Danesmama - I noticed that your son is not much younger than mine. One thing I've found to be really helpful is to talk with my son in calmer times about how we should handle things when they start to fly out of control. That's how we came up with the idea of taking a time-out together.<br><br>
It might also help to come up with a "trigger" word. This is something else we've done that's been really helpful. He helps me decide on a word that will remind him that he needs to step back and reassess what he's doing. For example, I've had a major issue with him always wanting to hug the baby girl we babysit. (The hugging isn't the problem so much as the grabbing her in order to hug her and the fact that he doesn't seem to get it when she's protesting). We decided that "boundaries" would be our trigger word. When I say it, he's supposed to stop what's he's doing and give her some room. I try to keep my tone light - so it's a reminder, not an annoyance.<br><br>
Maybe it would help you all to come up with something like that so he knows when he needs to check his behavior but there's not the ominous, negative "NO" hanging out there. Involve him in the process so he feels some ownership over it. This is a <b>huge</b> thing for my son - if he helps to make the "deal" then he's much more likely to follow through.<br><br>
Other than that, you can always post about specific issues you're having here and see if anyone has some insights on ways to handle them.
 

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I've been struggling a lot lately with timeouts and out of bounds behavior, so I've just started looking into it... I'm a teacher at my son's preschool, and they follow Becky Bailey's philosophy... during our staff meetings we are constantly reminded that most children under 5 have no or very limited inner talk. I've been trying to walk him through my thought process and involving him in thinking of solutions. It seems to have cooled us down a bit around the house.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lurk.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lurk">:
 

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To the OP:<br><br>
Why does the time out have to be in his room? Sounds like your DC is having a lot of fun with the struggle to get to the room and stay in the room. I would start with a time out right there where you are, first off. Then you need to talk your DC through the process, "You need to sit here and calm down because you were being too rough. When you are ready to be gentle, come over here and let us know that."<br><br>
He's like 3 - 3 1/2, right? Is he pretty verbal? You can ask him questions while in time out, make a plan for when he is done with the time out, etc. Sitting alone in a room to "think about it" is too open-ended. I think time-outs are most useful when they are a planning session to make good choices in the immediate future.<br><br>
This won't help the OP, but starting young (age one) with a form of time out made it easy for my son and I. If he was aggressive, I would have him sit down and then I would label the behavior, demonstrate the correct behavior, and make a plan for when he got up. As he got older, he would do more of the talking and planning. By the time he was old enough to be "defiant", he was used to the routine of listening to me, then would walk over and sit in time out compliantly, no matter how off target his behavior was. But never for three minutes alone. We would start talking before that. Now he initiates it, with, "Mama, I am ready to talk about it." Sometimes he hangs out in his room alone if he chooses (he's old enough to be mad at ME) for longer, but talking about it is by his initiation.<br><br>
I agree with the person who said they only use time outs for aggressive hurtful behaviors (I include property destruction that does not stop after a couple of warnings). I think there might be different, more appropriate interventions for running away behaviors, if that is the main issue. I have not dealt with that personally, but maybe others have ideas.....<br><br>
L.
 

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How can you make time-out work?<br>
You can't. They don't.<br>
So what are you supposed to do? Deal with whatever it is in the moment, verbally (and I don't mean yelling). Always remember to acknowledge the emotions behind the behavior. <b>Then get over it and move on</b>.<br>
He will mature eventually and get past whatever behavior(s) it is you don't like. Setting up an adversarial role with him in the meantime, by for example forcing him into time outs, is only going to make things much harder on you both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all of the replies! Just to clear up Dragonfly - Pantley does not say time-out is a natural consequence, rather she says that you should use natural consequences to teach your child discipline in certain situations. For example - don't fight with dc about putting on their coat, boots and mittens when it's cold. Let the child go outside and get cold - then they will ask for their mittens.<br><br>
We really have started an adversarial role and I know that I've gotten myself caught in a spiral that I don't want to be in. Thank you everyone for showing me that time-out need not be in his room for the set amount of time. You'd think that I would have been able to figure that out on my own <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/duh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="duh"> .
 

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OK, my DD's only 19 months, so we haven't even gotten there yet, but in case you haven't read this, here's just some food for thought that I'm planning on refering to when needed:<br><br><a href="http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/to.htm" target="_blank">http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/to.htm</a>
 

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seems to me that time out works best as a threat. as in, you'll only have to do it a few times and then it is just a peaceful incentive for a child to make an attitude adjustment. I dont see how it works for a small child under 3, though. they dont seem to get it like older kids do. if my girl is having tantrums and being troll-like, I'll just ask her to choose between an attitude adjustment or a time out. she almost always 99.999% of the time would prefer to chill out. then I try to figure out what she wants/needs to get out of her craptastic mood. but I will put her in her room for a time out if she can't get a grip. and this, dear attackers waiting to jump on this, is of course, after I offer hugs and rice milk and other obvious comforts. because still, at 3 1/2, the biggest cause of bad behavior is usually needing extra sympathy/comfort. but now and then, we have a blowout, and she has a time out. "until she is ready to behave properly." (usually lasts a minute tops, which I am thankful for!)
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sparklemom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How can you make time-out work?<br>
You can't. They don't.<br>
So what are you supposed to do? Deal with whatever it is in the moment, verbally (and I don't mean yelling). Always remember to acknowledge the emotions behind the behavior. <b>Then get over it and move on</b>.<br>
He will mature eventually and get past whatever behavior(s) it is you don't like. Setting up an adversarial role with him in the meantime, by for example forcing him into time outs, is only going to make things much harder on you both.</div>
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time outs for children under three don't help anyone but mom. If you need some space to make sure you don't blow a gasket, a time out is NOT a bad thing. I don't believe it should be used as a punishment for a child that young though. I don't believe it should because I tried it and it didn't help a thing. In fact he was three and a half when I put him in my room for a time out and he locked himself in and I couldn't get him out and a three minute time out turned into a thirty minute ordeal that ended only when the local fire dept showed up and got in through a window to let him out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I think he's a bit young to understand time out yet. I use positive time out in my daycare. We have a corner with a couple of big floor pillows, a basket of books, and some soft toys. I've had good luck with my toddlers using it, but only because they see the big kids do it and they know that "it's what we do". My kids have gotten so good at it that they recognise on their own when they need a time out and they put themselves there.<br><br>
-Heather
 
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