Many educators, as well as parents, turn to time-out for disciplining their children and here are some pros and cons of why putting your child on time-out can work or not work. How do you discipline kids? (The following information is based on my own studies and experiences. It is in no intention to sway or make judgements on anyone’s parenting skills or to say this is the correct way)
Time-Out – A system of where a child is told “you are on time-out” and are asked to sit in an isolated area, a corner, and away from everyone else. They are removed from the area where the misbehavior occurred. Then a child is asked to stay there to think about what they did wrong.
Do you think time-out works or doesn’t work? The answer to that question can depend on your child and your parenting/educating skills. Some parents believe in time-outs to be a good disciplinary system while other’s don’t. Whether you utilize the time-out system or not is up to the parents. No one in no way should be judged on their parenting.
Time-out is a form of discipline used by many educators, parents, and families. Its intention is to make the child realize that what they did was wrong and to go to a place to sit and reflect on what they did. The hope for this system is for the children to learn from their mistake. They are to come back to the group and not repeat the same problem.
Most kids have a short attention span which is normal as a kid. So when they are removed from the area where the problem happened, they often forget what happened. When you send them to an isolated area and ask them to think about what happened, what do you think really happens? They are more disturbed at the fact that they have to sit there by themselves. Therefore, often they forget the reasons why they are there in the first place. So when they return to the group, they might not remember the cause of the problem in the first place. (This can always vary with age as well).
Some people also believe that it can put a permanent scar on a child. It may create anxiety/fear for a child because every time they are in trouble, they are being isolated and asked sit/stand somewhere all by themselves. They may start developing feelings of shame and punishment every time they are put in time-out. The fear of having to go somewhere by yourself or hearing the words can give them an automatic reflex to walk into their “time-out” area. Some kids who constantly misbehave will know to automatically go to that “isolated area.”
Some believe that time-out works because it makes the kids realize that when they misbehave, there is a consequence to that misbehavior. When rules are broken and are not followed, they are will have to deal with the outcomes. How do you discipline your kids is such a huge factor in their lives.
Personally, I’m not a fan of time-out and I’ve never used it in my 17 years as an educator. I’ve had many disagreements in the education field with the boards, administrations, and my staff at times. But I just wouldn’t use it and here’s why: When a child is given a time-out, they learn that all they have to do is sit in a chair/area for a certain amount of time, and then return. They are expected to have learned a lesson while sitting there. Do you think you would be able to think about your misbehavior?
Do you know what they learn instead? They learn that all they have to do is to sit/stand for a given time and come out. It becomes a repetitive system that the kids get immune to and sometimes they find it more of a fun activity then anything else. Don’t get me wrong. Time-Outs may work for some people and not all kids act the same. Some kids may learn lessons and they may not repeat the misbehaviors and that would be great. It’s just from my own experiences and views, it wasn’t a fit disciplinary system for me.
So when asked how do you discipline your kids? Redirection! What is redirection? Redirection is when a child is redirected from where the problem occurred and are asked to find something else to do. Since they caused a problem at Point A, they lose the privilege to play/do that activity and is asked to find something else to do at Point B. Before they are redirected, we discuss the cause of the problem as well as the solution. The problem is first acknowledged, then the solution is reached and finally the child is redirected to the new activity.
They may return to Point A at a later time. Redirection gives them a chance to reflect without having to be isolated. Some people refer to redirection as losing a privilege. Since they lose the opportunity to continue what they were doing, it is a losing a privilege. When losing a chance because you didn’t follow the directions seems more fair then having a child sit in isolation for time-out. (Like I mentioned in the beginning there is no better or worse disciplinary system) It is what works best for for you and your child.
How do you discipline your kids? Feel free to leave your thoughts under comments.