Discipline for Softies

Q. Do you think time-outs don't work?

A. There are some benefits to time-outs. When you give them calmly and keep them brief, they won't exacerbate a problem the way harsher punishment might. For example, yelling at your child can make him even more defiant. Time-outs are also a way to stop bad behavior while it's happening. But research shows that punishment -- including time-outs -- doesn't have much impact on future behavior. After a time-out, it's a good idea to explain why it isn't nice to grab or to say potty words, but even when kids understand why something is wrong, they still aren't more likely to do what's right the next time. It's what you do during "time-in" that's crucial -- creating opportunities to practice good behavior and following up with praise.

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