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5 Responses to The Disadvantages of Time Out

  1. Liz

    Can’t time-outs be beneficial when a child is out of control and needs time to calm down? I know sometimes I need space from a stressful situation to cool off and come back with a rational, composed mindset.

  2. Sylvia@MaMammalia

    Another sad lesson kids could learn in a time-out is how to be sneaky and not get caught next time. A time-out while they’re angry, hurt, or scared is a great opportunity for a child to think about revenge or better evasive tactics.

    As Liz above suggested, there may be certain types of “time-out” that are non-punitive, even helpful. Some people call them “time-in” because instead of banishing the misbehaving child, you spend time together…crying, calming down, talking, etc. But it’s not a punishment the way typical time-outs are used. Instead of leaving the child to sort out what they did on their own, you help them work through it. Very different!

  3. Mandy @ Living Peacefully with Children

    Many of us do benefit from some cooling off time once in a while. However, there is a very big difference between time to cool off and the traditional punitive time-out used by so many American parents: control. With traditional time-outs, the parent is attempting to gain control of the child by forced isolation. “Do as I say or suffer the punishment.” It’s a bullying tactic. It is punitive in every aspect.

    An adult going into another room by choice is doing what they need to in order to feel calm and collected – an incontrol of themself. No one is trying to control another person.

    We, as parents, sometimes need to help our children recognize that they may need some time away. Last week I asked my older son if he needed some time to cool off when he was agitated with a younger sibling. He replied that he did and asked if I could make certain he got some much needed space. I stepped in when I saw he was loosing his cool and brought it to his attention. He was then able to atten dto his needs, along with some help from me to meet those needs (a need for some time to himself).

    Sometimes younger children do benefit from some connection time with a care giver in order to help them work through their emotions and needs and center themselves, as Sylvia mentioned above. However, these are not to be confused with traditional time-outs.

  4. Leigh

    I am very intrigued by this topic and actually dedicated my weekly column to it over at Athens Patch this week. Although I don’t take the stance of necessarily agreeing with you, an interesting discussion has started in the comments of the story and I would be honored to have you join in and give your two cents. Many parents are curious about alternatives to time out, including myself. Here is the link if you would like to join the conversation.


    Thank you,
    Leigh Hewett

  5. Leigh

    Oh…I just realized that you actually did grace us with your thoughts over there. It took me a moment to put two and two together. Sorry! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment on my story!