Healing the Family Heart: Time-out sucks away your child’s emotional security

One of the most commonly used parenting techniques in current day use throughout schools, homes, and day cares is “time-out”. “Time-out” is based primarily on a way of thinking that implies children act out for attention. Therefore, if a child is acting out ‘for’ attention, you don’t want to reward the child but rather give the child ‘time-out’ to think about their negative behaviors, thereby making better decisions next time.

Considering that educators and professionals are still teaching and writing about this technique as though it were a ‘new’ alternative behavior discipline method. Let’s ask the question: What makes “time-out” any different than standing with your nose in the corner, sitting on the dunce chair, being sent to your room, or having to sit in the naughty chair?

Can someone please tell me the difference?

Bishop T.D. Jakes says, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always be where you’ve already been!”

If the dunce chair or standing with your nose in the corner didn’t work when we were children then why do we think by dressing it up as something seemingly more contemporary, that it is going to work now? Many of you may be saying, “but it does work. All I have to do is start counting to three and my child stops their behavior to avoid time out” or maybe you’re saying, “if it’s good enough for Super Nanny, it’s good enough for me.” Have you seen the new King Kong flick? Well, to a two-year old, an adult looks something like Kong did to the blonde, an utter giant. Wouldn’t you sit in a chair for two or three minutes if King Kong told you to do so? Wouldn’t you stop your behavior if you knew that if you continued you would lose the loving support of your most secure attachment figure? Help me understand how it makes sense to send a child whose behavior is clearly communicating that they are unable to manage their current emotional state, to go sit by themselves to sort through their upset emotions, alone.

“Time-out” does not recognize the developmental and regulatory struggles a child is demonstrating in the midst of their behavior acting out. Consider for a moment, that rather than a child acting out ‘for’ attention, he is in fact acting out because he ‘needs’ attention. Read that sentence again. It can make all of the difference.

download zombie strippers online

download definitely maybe divx Instead of sending the child off to sit in a chair or be isolated, bring the child into you for a period of time. Have him sit next to you, hold your hand, stand beside you. Say to the child, “When you are feeling better you may go back and play.” In other words, allow the child to determine how much time-in that he needs. Important point: It is not imperative that you touch the child during this time. A child that does not want to be touched, or reacts violently, should not be touched. In that moment the child is in survival mode and feels very threatened. Keep your distance, but indicate to the child that you are nearby and will stay so, until the child feels safer.

“Time-in” can be a very effective alternative to “time-out”. “Time-in” teaches compassion, regulation, the ability to create internal calm in the midst of stress, and understanding. Before providing “Time-In” for your child, give some to yourself. Take a moment, find a quiet corner, take four deep breaths, and find your calm, peaceful self. Now you are ready to help calm your child

Bryan Post, PhD, LCSW is the co-founder of Beyond Consequences Institute www.beyondconsequences.com.

all hat divx download

2 Replies to “Healing the Family Heart: Time-out sucks away your child’s emotional security”

  1. Time-in sounds lovely, but is it any different? Perhaps a little softer than exclusion, but the child is still being withdrawn from ongoing activity. Staying with you, the teacher, the parent, may also seem a punishment – and surely not a natural consequence. Perhaps we need to address the fact that children who seem to be seeking attention by behaving overtly need to get the right kind of attention. Time-out or time-in – both respond to behaviours that have occurred that we deem inappropriate. We, as teachers, should start noticing children when they are behaving appropriately. Not by congratulating them (poorly behaved children generally doubt the sincerity of positive comments) but just by telling them you see them. For example: “Johnny, I see you are colouring with a red crayon” tells Johnny you see him doing something that has nothing to do with bad behaviour. It is not a qualitative statement (which he doesn’t buy), but rather a statement of fact. You can do this all the time, it is completely without stress, and it tells the child you see him/her when they are not behaving badly. I’ve used this in supply teaching situations up to grade 6 with amazing success…and it sure beats having to deal with negative behaviours. It’s not my idea. You can read about it in “Transforming the Difficult Child” by Howard Glasser and Jennifer Easley (ISBN: 0-9670507-0-7)

  2. Thank you for your constructive thoughts.
    I agree with the lack of insight re the ‘time-out’, to me this is about emotional maturity vs an effort to make a student or child ‘conform’ or ‘obey’ for the benefit of others.
    True, it will calm the moment.
    I am a Mother of 30 years, actually, the experience of all my children adds up to 105 years.
    I am also a teacher assistant. Maybe that doesn’t qualify for me to respond. I decided to take my chances.
    Again, thank you.

Comments are closed.