Time Outs?

pwcross

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Hi, all,

How do people feel about time-outs? I have a two-year-old boy (25 months), and we've never used time-outs with him. They haven't really seemed necessary until recently. Of course, as you probably could have guessed from his age, he's beginning to get a little defiant. He's still largely well-behaved and good-natured, but he definitely has his moments.

I get through most things by getting down to eye level with him, speaking calmly, and mirroring his emotions, but when he does things like hit or take toys from other kids, I wonder if he needs more than just a little talk. I want him to know that there are negative consequences for actions like that. I strive to parent positively as much as I can, and I do praise him when he behaves well (e.g. "I like the way you're sharing.").

What are your thoughts? And if you do time-outs, is there an age you think is appropriate?

Thanks!
 

MoreSuccess

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We didn't use time-outs much with my son. Mostly we just took away a privilege temporarily, like a favorite toy or activity. And when he did a tantrum, we just did our best to ignore him. I agree with you, you need both the carrot and the stick (praise and punishment), as that's how things are in real life. When he was taking toys away from other kids or not sharing, we'd just pull him out and tell him it's unacceptable behavior and if he continues he won't be able to play with them. It often took a lot of repetition before he stopped.
 

AmazingP

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Parenting is really one of the most challenging jobs ever and I think you guys know this well. However, it is also one of the most rewarding because we are given the opportunity to mold them and guide them to their future. Because each child is unique, we have to devise means and techniques specific to that child and never use stereotyping. If you think that time-outs can be effective with your son, then it is your own call to implement it when needed. I have not yet done that though. :D :D
 

amy005

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I think if you nothing else works time outs are okay. They are certainty better then spanking or something of that sort! But I think it is best to use positive and negative reinforcements. Which is of course taking something away when they are being naughty or rewarding them for doing good.
 

Yolanda

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A time-out isn't a negative consequence; or at least, it shouldn't have to be. The idea of a time-out (as I was thought in my education of becoming a pedagogue) is to take the child away from the situation and to give it some time to think and evaluate what he or she has done. Putting a child in a time-out because you are mad at him or her or as a punishment isn't what a time-out is used for, so it can be a positive intervention if you use it the way it is intended.

Like you said, giving a positive spin to things is important. You can show him how he can ask for a toy as a positive intervention or tell him to pet a child on the arm instead of hitting him or her. There is nothing wrong with a firm 'no' though if he is acting out in a way that shouldn't be tolerated. Boundaries are important for children and if you are being this positive in your parenting I don't see anything wrong with that.
 

pwcross

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Thanks, everyone, for the feedback! I agree, parenting is so personal and so tailored to the individual needs of the child. Yolanda, I appreciate the input about the time-out not being a punishment so much as an opportunity for the child to breathe and reevaluate. Do you have any suggestions for specific language that would be helpful for a two-year-old?

I also like the reminder that time-out is something that is about the parent's anger or desire to punish. I'm finding that so much of managing tricky situations with my toddler is taking a step back, breathing, and managing my own emotions before approaching my son. Last week he started screaming at the zoo when I wouldn't buy him something from the gift shop -- just screaming at the top of his little lungs. While of course my first instinct was to get stressed about it, I held him, looked at him in the eyes quietly while he screamed, and after a few seconds, he just tapered off and stared back at me. I think he was a little confused, but either way, the screaming stopped and he calmed down!
 

Yolanda

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Thanks, everyone, for the feedback! I agree, parenting is so personal and so tailored to the individual needs of the child. Yolanda, I appreciate the input about the time-out not being a punishment so much as an opportunity for the child to breathe and reevaluate. Do you have any suggestions for specific language that would be helpful for a two-year-old?

I also like the reminder that time-out is something that is about the parent's anger or desire to punish. I'm finding that so much of managing tricky situations with my toddler is taking a step back, breathing, and managing my own emotions before approaching my son. Last week he started screaming at the zoo when I wouldn't buy him something from the gift shop -- just screaming at the top of his little lungs. While of course my first instinct was to get stressed about it, I held him, looked at him in the eyes quietly while he screamed, and after a few seconds, he just tapered off and stared back at me. I think he was a little confused, but either way, the screaming stopped and he calmed down!
For a two year old it's important that the intervention takes place at the specific moment the unwanted behavior takes place. With a time out you can also, calmly, warn the child that you will not accept the behavior and explain why (for example: do not hit Susan, that hurts) and also, very important, tell which behavior you'd like to see (example: kisses and hugs are nice, if you want to ask something tap gently on the shoulder). Giving a good alternative for the behavior is always a good way to go. If the situation is not improving you tell your child something like this: "this is hard for you, I see that. You are going to sit over here until you are ready to come back".
Your body language is most important because young children focus more on that than the actual vocal message, and you have to point out that it's not a punishment but a moment to relax and come back and start over, try again, with a clean slate.
 

ayedsena

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My 2 year old is very laid back, but he does have his moments. I just try to teach him right from wrong and I don't use timeouts. I really don't need to discipline him much. I am a quiet person in nature, so when my voice is raised and gets stronger, he knows when I am serious.
 

fancyfingers

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When my children misbehave, they have things taken from them. For example, when they were younger, one of my children would like to hit the others with their toys. I would take the toys away from the child and remind the child hitting was unacceptable and if continued, the toy would be gone for good. I would explain how hitting hurts, and how he/she doesn't want to be hit, and when he/she was ready, to make it better with their sibling.
As for a time out, I do not use it because having a child sit there thinking about what they did, gives them time to plan it better so next time they would not be caught.
 

mikemayo999

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Hi, all,

How do people feel about time-outs? I have a two-year-old boy (25 months), and we've never used time-outs with him. They haven't really seemed necessary until recently. Of course, as you probably could have guessed from his age, he's beginning to get a little defiant. He's still largely well-behaved and good-natured, but he definitely has his moments.

I get through most things by getting down to eye level with him, speaking calmly, and mirroring his emotions, but when he does things like hit or take toys from other kids, I wonder if he needs more than just a little talk. I want him to know that there are negative consequences for actions like that. I strive to parent positively as much as I can, and I do praise him when he behaves well (e.g. "I like the way you're sharing.").

What are your thoughts? And if you do time-outs, is there an age you think is appropriate?

Thanks!
This worked with our son. Age 2-3 are crucial for self-discipline and it's true: time outs work!