Rosie to the Rescue!: Time Outs, Two Ways

As parents, we have a tendency to be insecure about our discipline tactics, and quite frankly, I think this is a good thing. Being strict with a person we love so incredibly is a stressful thing to do, but children need to learn right from wrong. They need to understand boundaries and the consequences of making bad choices, but as new information comes out over time, we have learned that the ways we once used to teach these lessons are either harmful or totally not helpful.

Lately, my focus has been on time outs. Time outs were once a safe punishment option for parents in which they didn’t physically hurt their child and both parties got to take a break from a heated moment, but now experts are saying this technique may lose its effectiveness because parents aren’t using it correctly. Do you remember being sent to your room as a child, lying on your bed reflecting about what you did wrong? Or do you remember lying there devising grand plans to find your real parents because these couldn’t possibly be them?! (If you’re anything like me, the latter is likely true.) This is one of the many reasons time outs don’t really work, and, if you ask me, there are two better discipline solutions:

Give yourself a time out if necessary. Sometimes we get so mad it’s hard to see straight, let alone discipline in a rational way. It’s quite alright to give yourself a moment to take a deep breath and think before you act—and this is far better than making a mistake or doing something you’ll later regret. Besides, it will help teach your children to think before they act in the heat of the moment. Remember this the next time a little mitten slaps you around the face or draws on the wall, again!

Do time outs together. Take your child away from the situation and to a quiet place. Have them look you in the eye, while you explain to them what happened and why it’s not okay. It isn’t easy to have this type of confrontation with your child, but it makes them hear you out and focus on what just happened—and not on finding new parents! When the chat is done, move on and don’t hold a grudge for the rest of the day. Being the “naughty” kid can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, so move on to something fun. This will help teach them the power of being able to move forward after a not-so-good experience or choice.

Consistency is key. Always have your children acknowledge that they understand, or give them the opportunity to ask you questions if they don’t. As the mom of four, I’ve used this technique with my own little wall writers and arm biters. And I promise, it works!

Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas
Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas
Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas

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  1. [...] case you missed it, here is a recent post from “Rosie to the Rescue”, my blog for Parents Magazine, where I give you my alternatives to [...]