Time Outs: The Trouble with Time Outs

By September 26, 2016Parkland Players

This is the first post in a pair of posts on time outs.

Most parents and teachers who have tried the strategy of time-outs for misbehaviour know that it can often result in a power struggle. Your reasons for using the time out are valid: your child needs time to calm down or reflect on their behaviour and how to carry out restitution. However the time may not be achieving the goals you are hoping for, because children often need support in figuring out how to calm down and talk through their emotions. They need a “time-in” with parents.

Problems with Time Outs

  • Children are unaware of why they are in time out: this is problematic because how they are supposed to problem solve, calm down and reflect if they do not even know what they are supposed to be reflecting on.
  • Power Struggles: if children resist a time-out punishment, this can result in a parent and child power struggle wherein parents are telling their child to remain in their time out area and children are disobeying. This is obviously not constructive for either party involved.
  • Opposition to Time Outs with Age: as children get older they become less and less likely to willingly except a time out. This renders the time out virtually ineffective and takes us back to the issue of power struggle.
  • Modelling power instead of peace: time outs very clearly assert authority when it is better to model communication and collaboration when situations get difficult.
  • Only dealing with the behaviour: lastly, time outs only get at the behavioural display. They punish the behaviour without fully acknowledging the underlying cause of the behaviour, which can be largely social or emotional in nature.

So here, we have discussed the problems with time outs. In our next post we will be going through potential ways to make time outs more effective and how to alter this parenting strategy.

Source: http://parentsmatter.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=600 Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs


Get the latest from Parkland Players

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Parkland Players!

You have Successfully Subscribed!