The Truth About Time-Out

Staying the Course

At some point, your attempts to set limits will almost certainly be met with tears. Even after you've patiently explained to your toddler why pulling on the lamp cord is a bad idea, he won't grasp the concept right away. (As with almost everything else a 2-year-old does, repetition and practice are key.) If you decide to impose a time-out, accept that crying or even a tantrum might ensue and be prepared to ride it out.

Once the time-out is over, don't mention the incident again. Instead, direct your toddler toward positive behavior -- and give him lots of praise and encouragement for acting correctly.

Remember that there is no quick fix or easy solution to this very trying phase. "There's an almost naive assumption among a lot of parents that if you discipline children, they won't engage in that behavior again," Dr. Lavigne says. "That rarely holds true at any age, but especially not for a 2-year-old."

Copyright © 2004. Reprinted with permission from the October 2000 issue of Parents magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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