Ahh, the timeout. What was thought of as new age or hippie parenting 40 years ago, is now commonplace.
In our house, timeouts are big. We’ve read the book “Magic 1-2-3” and have been following (well, mostly) their guidelines and use of timeouts. Soon, because she’s getting bigger, we can add taking away privileges to our arsenal. At the end of the day, have the timeouts changed her behavior? Not that I can so easily and obviously see. I think what they do is give everyone a break. A break from the bad behavior or action that is going on and the parents a break from going into yelling or possibly hitting mode. A chance to get out of each others faces. Many days, that’s a big plus.
I’d like to say I’m a more calm, peaceful less loud vocal mom, but I’d be lying. But I do think it has helped. I’d probably be screaming way more than I do.
Others have been taking a look at the effectiveness of timeouts (although, I’m wondering, if they are deemed ineffective, what other methods to parents have? We know we can’t go back to hitting.)
Circle of Moms has recently posted an article examining just this.
Circle of Moms member Kara F. wonders why timeouts are so popular. “Do timeouts work?” she wonders, explaining that her nearly 3 year-old so “will rarely stay where we put him.”
She’s not alone. Every day, no matter where I am I hear parents say, “Stop it now or you get a timeout!” But after 18 years of teaching parenting and raising two kids, it’s my opinion that timeouts (as they’re practiced today), don’t work very well for young children (ages 1-5).
The “timeout” was originally conceived as a breather for both parent and child. It was created so both could take a short break, get calmer, and then talk about how to resolve a difficult situation. That is not the way timeout is being used today. These days, timeouts are used as a punishment, one that’s more socially acceptable than say, spanking.
Why We’re Sloppy With Timeouts
When parents first begin using timeouts they get down to their child’s eye level, they say the right words and gently escort them to a timeout spot. Then, as a child approaches age two, three, or four…well, things began to change.
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