Punitive Timeouts & Spanking: Equally Damaging

As you read this, if you are unaccustomed to my beliefs or written tone and rhythm, please go here first.  Then, as you read, keep Ken’s comments in mind.

I am in a state of aggravation, spurred by injustice, impossible scenarios, no sleep, trepidation over the damage I may be causing my child with all this transition (moving, traveling), and struggling through a significant crevasse between my husband and I.  Right now, I am not whole.  I am torn in two, with a thread of goo left dangling in between. Please forgive my attempt at coping by using sarcasm instead of sheer wit and completely pure communication.  I’m jaded and in protective mode right now… and as if life isn’t large enough as it is at the moment, I have found myself being expected to conform or defend some of my core beliefs to some very real and large, tangible people (outside my home’s walls, but not far from them).  One of the topics is the use of timeouts.

Somehow, me saying that timeouts are torture in my opinion isn’t enough to get the various people to which I refer above to leave me alone.

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What is the point of a time out?

From the adult’s perspective, if we’re honest, first and foremost, hopefully the answer to that question is to insist a child realize they have evoked your disapproval by their actions and behaviors.  Second, to be completely honest, it is to give the adult a moment’s peace, during which they do not have to contend with the child’s behaviors and actions that are causing frustration.

We accomplish our task by forcing our child to endure rejection, isolation, and dehumanizing “space to think”, which if they had managed to “think” in the first place, they would never have allowed themselves to be forced into the position they found themselves in – the experience of ostracism by a trusted, loved, care giver.

Below you will find links to subsequent posts as I complete them related to the subject, picked apart concept for concept, and sometimes sentence for sentence.  I hope you will summon your curiosity and continue the learning process, open your mind to your child’s world view, and soften your heart so that a greater knowledge and understanding might enter your parenting and the future health of your child (and you).

Too spiritual, mystical, out-there talk??

Ok, here’s the same thing without the flowers and fairies:  Timeouts cause the brain to sense physical pain because it is in fact, a deliberate action of forced isolation, rejection, and detachment, even at the most “dutiful and appropriate” level. What’s worse, that isolation, rejection, and detachment is being forced upon a child powerless to prevent it by the very entity that is supposed to represent a safe, secure, and protected place/person (be it a parent, teacher, etc).

The betrayal, on multiple levels, is astounding and horrifying.

It’s real.

Don’t believe me?

Try this: Cause those around you to purposely ignore your presence, the other adults you see as valuable for one reason or another, in your daily life. Now, make it so you cannot stop their lack of or refusal to acknowledge you (otherwise known as “removal of positive reinforcement”) until you conform to their will and wishes, or until you regain their approval in some way (if you are capable).  Tell me this is not damaging.  Tell me this doesn’t hurt you. Tell me that it doesn’t make you squirm, angry, resentful, vengeful, and ultimately needy.  I dare you to try.

Now, take that one step further and view the same scenario through the eyes of an under/undeveloped child, inexperienced in social and emotional behavior patterns, still forming a fundamental sense of self and confidence, not capable of fully understanding why, or what they have done to loose the approval of others that resulted in this forced rejection and isolation. (May bet is that if you use timeouts, or spanking for that matter, you do not fully disclose pertinent thoughts to your child, as that might just give them too much knowledge to use against you at some point, so there is a good chance that the child is not fully aware of all aspects of their infraction.)

My take?  Smacking a child may possibly cause less scarring than using timeouts/ostracism, and you all know what I think about using violence and spanking, smacking, hitting, whipping, or using any sort of like action – that being to strike, in any manner.   The reason is simple: Spanking causes humiliation, fear, and physical pain.  Ostracism causes all the same, in addition to a loss of perceived self value, loss of approval, pain of rejection, fear of isolation, and the prevention of remedy (while they sit there thinking about what they’ve done, they are effectively prevented from generating a resolution or remedy).  The amount of psychological scarring and damage is doubled.

Please understand that if I am made aware of your choice to hit your child, and you’re within arm’s reach of me, I will hit you in the exact manner and force you used on them.  And then… maybe I’ll ignore you after, just to make sure you get the full effect of the devaluing and dismissal.

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Ok, here we go……

I have had parents tell me that using timeouts is an excellent option for them, it gets great results.  I cringe.. if you understand anything about me, you know that first and foremost, I believe it paramount that we raise our children with intelligence, the ability to reason and understand their world, respect for their world (this includes those who are in a position to care and provide for them), and a curiosity to explore, develop, and learn.  THE moment I hear a parent tell me that they’ve figured out a system to manipulate their child, for the sake of their own will and desire, regardless of why or what, I start to ache for their little one.  Then, I find out they hit them (ok, spank – really, show me what the physical action of a spanking is, now repeat the action with the same force using the same tool either against a piece of foam like the kind you use in the base of a fake plant, or a brick wall if you’re brave and dumb enough.  It’s the same action as hitting, and when the object makes contact, let’s see what happens).  OR I find out they faithfully don’t spank, “would never dream of it, that’s awful and abusive”, but oh yes, they definitely use timeouts, otherwise known as rejection, which includes the transmission of obvious disapproval, and then of course the torturous forced isolation aspect.  Yes, that’s a great solution.

That same parent, in their next breath, ridicules their child passively, dishonors their child’s autonomy and dignity by speaking about them as if they are less, and typically though standing right there, the parent behaves as if the child is not in the room. Then, as if to redeem themselves in the face of, well, my face, which is typically by then contorted and unable to hide the pain it feels due to the unavoidable sense of compassion and dismay I feel for the child, they begin to offer semi-relevant praise “about” their child, that they sort of direct through their child in hopes that I’ll buy it and encourage them that they’re really a great parent after all.  All the while, their child is standing there knowing full well that the praise is empty, that it has a hitch or some sort of catch and they’ll hear about it as soon as I’m not in the room, and that their parent will insist they acknowledge the efforts and praise offered, as if it is an obligation for the child to also validate the parent, as the parent insisted I do.

But I don’t. And to date, only one parent has stood their ground long enough to start asking me why I won’t buy into their ploy and help them feel good about themselves, so that their kid is forced to do the same thing… Only one parent has ever had the courage to question my refusal to help them make their child feel inferior, of course that’s not really what they want, they just want to be superior.

The parent that asked me why it was that it seemed as though I appeared to think they were full of shit, is the same parent that an hour later broke down in front of their child, crying, while sitting on the floor in front of the child, begging the child to forgive him for his arrogance, sense of entitlement, and gross oversight of the true value of his child.  The child responded with compassion and bewilderment, and didn’t say much.

The two left that night, together, connected in a way they’d never been, with a mutual respect present that was brand new.  The child admired the parent, though he was confused and didn’t seem very trusting or certain of the situation.  The parent discovered the immense worth and complexity of his child, and found that he too held a high level of admiration for the child, it had just been hiding under the surface for years – 9 years to be exact (the child was 10 years old).

I heard from this father about a month ago, his child is now 12.  This father is still struggling with allowing himself to truly acknowledge and respect his child’s autonomy and worth. He is driven to seek reasons and actions that justify him feeling and thinking this way, before he demonstrates this belief to his child.

We talked about this concern and the father indicated that he, himself, held a deep resentment toward his own parents and other care givers for never allowing him to feel as though he was a legitimate and useful contributor, simply because he was nothing more than a child.  He grew up assuming that all children were nothing more than something to be dealt with, tolerated until they’re grown, appreciated for what they do that pleases the adult (and in truth, mimics the adult’s preferences), but not too highly appreciated lest the child become arrogant… it goes on and on.

It’s a simple point of attributing a lessor worth and diminished degree of legitimacy to a person, simply because of their age.  We, as a human race, do this to each other based on ethnicity, language, religion, wealth, and gender. We’d be truly crazy hypocrites if we didn’t do the same thing because of age too. Come on, really.. we’re not that dumb, are we?

The positive side the father reported, however, was that his child and he shared a mutual respect for each other, and instead of punishment for error, the father had learned to use logic, reason, natural consequence, and give his child room to error, room to disagree, room to explore and discover, room to question and seek guidance – instead of shoving it down the child’s throat, and room to return respect and admiration for the father that can so deeply love, if he allows himself to be that vulnerable.

The real catch is, this father changed not only the dynamics of his relationship with his then pre-teen child, but that decision affected his relationship with the child’s mother immensely and brought the two parents back together in a mutual love and respect that neither had ever experienced in their former relationship together. Now, each member of this family knows they are valued, appreciated for who they are and what they think, admired for their efforts and dedication, and respected because they are, not because of what they do or don’t. Love found a place to call home and it took root. And this kid, let me tell you, is one emotionally healthy, intelligent, and confident kid, with a boatload of personal integrity and ability to demonstrate compassion and dedication like none I’ve recently seen or known, of the same age.

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Now, to discuss specifically the harm and damage that is the actual result of using a timeout punishment system – quite possibly the most poignant and intelligent perspective I have ever come across regarding the use of timeouts:

What you probably didn’t realize is that the silent treatment is a form of ostracism. When someone is ostracized it affects the part of their brain called the anterior cingulate cortex. Do you know what the anterior cingulate cortex does?

The anterior cingulate cortex is the part of the brain that detects pain. When you give someone the silent treatment you are causing that person physical pain. Simply by ignoring someone else’s existence you can inflict pain on them. This is what the ever popular “time out” with a child is so effective. The child feels ostracized, therefore is feeling pain even though no physical pain was inflicted on them, and therefor they want to behave so they don’t have to feel that way again.

The silent treatment can be a very destructive behavior when it involves personal relationships. Let’s say with a husband and wife for instance. The silent treatment breeds bitterness on both ends and it borders on emotional abuse… I’m not making that up to be dramatic. That’s what “they” say.

S O U R C E

Then, we take a look at this from another angle –

Numb to the pain

It turns out that “hurt feelings” may be a more valid term than most of us think. Research by Williams suggests that ostracism triggers the same area of the brain that’s active when we feel physical pain. He and his colleagues used FMRI to examine what happened in the brain when people played several versions of “Cyberball”: Participants were either included in the game, excluded having been told their computer wasn’t hooked into the network, or intentionally excluded.

Each time participants felt excluded—even when it was unintentional—the brain’s dorsal anterior cingulate cortex lit up, according to findings published in Science (Vol. 302, No. 5643). This area is well-known for being part of the brain’s pain detection system, says Williams. Participants also reported feeling emotional pain.

Williams’s findings make sense from an evolutionary perspective, argue Leary and Geoff MacDonald, PhD, in a 2005Psychological Bulletin (Vol. 131, No. 2) article. They propose that social pain piggybacks on nerve pathways in the brain originally laid out for physical pain. The two now share many of the same pathways, resulting in similar responses to the two seemingly disparate phenomena, they say. It makes sense, says Leary, a Duke University professor of psychology, because social rejection and pain serve the same purpose—alerting an organism to a potentially life-threatening risk.

It may also support a counterintuitive theory proposed by Baumeister and his colleagues: that social rejection leads initially to emotional numbness. They have conducted studies in which they tell participants that based on a psychological evaluation they will end up alone later in life. They’ve found that the participants’ behaviors are affected by the news, but their moods aren’t. Baumeister compares this emotional numbing with the analgesic effect that can happen after an injury. We don’t feel pain until we’ve gotten to safety. This same pathway, he argues, may cause emotional numbness after rejection to allow the brain to begin to cope with the pain before it sets in. In fact, in a series of studies, Baumeister and colleagues find that after rejection, not only are people emotionally numb, but their threshold for physical pain increases.

Williams agrees that emotional numbness can happen. In qualitative interviews he conducted with victims of long-term ostracism, many people described their trouble engaging emotionally. However, he says, it’s not clear yet when or under what conditions people feel numbness versus pain.

Rejection’s link to aggression

Regardless, it’s clear from the research that ostracism and rejection have very real consequences. Williams’s student Lisa Zadro, PhD, now at the University of Sydney in Australia, interviewed 50 people who were either ostracized or perpetrators of ostracism. Those who’d been ostracized reported depression, eating disorders, promiscuity disorders and even attempted suicide. Almost all said that they would have preferred physical abuse to ostracism.

S O U R C E

In fact, long-term rejection can have disastrous consequences in the form of anger and aggression. Leary examined cases of school shootings and found that as many as 80 percent of shooters suffered from prolonged peer rejection. These are, of course, only correlations, but many lab studies support the idea that rejection can lead to aggression.

“There seems to be a failure of self-regulation in people who feel rejected,” says Baumeister. “And this allows a shift toward anti-social and aggressive behavior.”

But aggression is only one reaction people can have, says Williams. He and others find that people may also become more socially attentive in an attempt to win approval. Aggression, he argues, is more likely to occur when people have lost a sense of control. They use aggression to reassert themselves—a motivation that becomes more salient than any desire to be liked.

If you use timeouts, any chance you see the correlation here with either the aggressive response, or the opposing passive response? Do I need to draw to connect the dots or can you?

… on his first day, I witnessed the teacher giving a 4 yo boy a time-out for grabbing a toy from another child. They made him go and sit by himself on a chair away from the other kids and told him to “think about what he had done”. Then they eventually led him back to the group, and said, “next time you want a toy, you will use your…” and he said right on queu, “…words”. So obviously this is not the first time it has happened. I was just shocked. I was told in my tour they didn’t use time-outs. Apparently they do. They didn’t speak meanly, they were calm, but everyone was staring and I felt bad for him. I felt he was humiliated a little, ostracized, singled out.

S O U R C E Go read the rest of this.  The article is a bit choppy, but insightful.

Research suggests that ostracism is an effective form of controlling contranormative behaviors, punishing deviance, and increasing in-group cohesion (Alexander 1986; Barner-Barry, 1986; Basso, 1972; Boehm, 1986; Mahdi, 1986). For example ostracism is still one of the more common methods used to discipline young children, by parents and teachers alike. The issue of enforcing time outs, in schools and special education programs alike, has been discussed at length by social psychologists. The common denominator of most forms of time-out is the reduction of social attention. But this can be carried out in a number of ways, from physically relocating the child to a time-out room, to systematically ignoring the child who remains the same social environment (Brooks, Perry, & Hingerty, 1992; Heron, 1987). It has yet to be determined as to whether time-outs are a beneficial form of discipline.

S O U R C E


Note #2 – the ancient Greece part – I added a bit of something to the definition.

os·tra·cism
–noun

1.

exclusion, by general consent, from social acceptance,privileges,friendship, etc.

2.

(in ancient Greece, and in most contemporary homes and schools where children spend their time, across the United States and other countries) temporary banishment of a citizen,decided upon bypopular vote.

26 thoughts on “Punitive Timeouts & Spanking: Equally Damaging

  1. I could not finish, but as a child I experienced both “spanking” and time outs. I preferred the time outs/being grounded to the belt. Your body doesn’t bruise from time alone. I absolutely and whole heartedly disagree that spanking is better. I’m very worried about this. If anyone is upset…send the child away. DON’T WHIP. At least as an adult they can be grateful they weren’t beat in therapy. I’m sad you’ve said this and angry and pray I have absolutly misunderstood. Spanking is NOT better. A spanking leaves bruises and broken skin to explain. Time out…you can read to escape. I loved timeouts.

    Honey

    • Hey Honey,

      Thank you. 🙂

      I was hoping someone would immediately respond this way because it’s so much better when there is interaction than just my rantings…

      You are dead on. Spanking is not better than timeouts, which are no better than torture.
      In your experience, you received both, and you preferred time alone than being hit. Given that choice, I would definitely choose time alone too.

      But take a moment and think about what it might have been like if you hadn’t been forced to endure either, but instead had an intelligent parent who wholly and completely respected your autonomy, your worth simply because of your existence, and took the time to help you develop through your childhood instead of whacking or rejecting you back into line when you didn’t please them.

      I realize that a chunk is missing here, and it’s because I can’t type and talk, or write fast enough to keep up with the immediate demands of my chaos we are trying to call home. If I had it my way, I’d write an hour at least a day… but I can’t. The fact that my daughter is asleep right now means I will have no more opportunity the rest of the day because she’s slept in – no nap and late night. I’m sorry I can’t delivery everything more timely. Truly. It drives me nuts.

      I am hoping to start developing a section where I discuss my take on how we CAN raise our children, without the use of spanking or timeouts, or even grounding. I don’t believe any are necessary. I have an almost three year old, and I’ve never used any, and I have no behavioral issues (what I define as such, anyway). I have also raised a girl from the age of 5 to 12, with the same result, and she struggles with attachment issues and abuse at “home”. Long story. I have also been responsible for 4 other children (young) over the last 20 years, to the tune of I might as well have been their mother because I was the nanny and if any of you know what a “full time nanny” does, it’s “mom #2”, or perhaps #1, as it were. And each of the children I have nannied, somehow, were either victims of infant neglect, some other form of abuse in toddlerhood, or just generally cast aside (nanny…) and not done so because of a single parent situation by choice.

      Note here: I’m not going to attack people who hire nannies. Nor am I about to attack nannies because I believe they have the opportunity to play a vital role. It’s in how the system is used, and why, not what – that I take issue. That’s for another post altogether.

      In my experience, in my education (which is entirely unrelated, or so most would assume), in my life, every moment, I am a walking, breathing example of what I believe. I practice it and harmony is in my home. I screw up, am tired – therefore don’t give it as much energy, get angry, get tunnel vision, get impatient… harmony is gone. I stop… and start again with the intent to regain harmony. Harmony is regained.

      It’s not a game to me, it’s not a task, it’s not a chore (ok, sometimes…). Guiding my daughter (and other children I have been responsible for) in her explorations of her world is a dance. Sometimes I lead, sometimes I follow… but at the moment, I my biggest focus is keeping her from missing the enjoyment of learning the dance, and ultimately, keep her dancing. Right now, most of the time, I get to pick the music. Trust me, I’m relishing that.

      So no, I absolutely, positively, will never tell anyone to strike a child for any reason.
      I will also do my best to educate anyone who will listen to stop torturing their child with ostracism.
      Then, if they ask, I will communicate (hopefully by allowing them to watch me and my home) an alternative… for which I am going to start writing and I think I may just start broadcasting what a day is like around here.

      • …perhaps if you said you see it as equally damaging… but you said spanking was better cause they care enough to use their personal energy… I’m confused. I agree about ostracism …but… I see what (the lady after me) Tammy (?) does to be time outs, but the new Love and Logic’s”so called timeout” to be sarcastic and very creepy. ( the song to sing simply frightens me.) But, i don’t think that’s timeout but coercion, cloaked aggression and psychic behavior… especially holding a door closed. LnL went wrong some where. But i don’t understand how at any point ostracism is better than spanking. How many killers were hit? No matter how you look at it they both cause tons of mental issues but at least there isn’t physical bruising.

        I look forward to more explanation cause…Im not understanding and maybe because its too close.

        I hope this shares how much this affected me…but I thought maybe I wasn’t here…but at the no joy blog after thinking over this last night.

        Honey

        • The majority of people I talk to about their use of timeouts are abhorred by the idea of spanking. So, to state that striking a child is a preferable response to isolating and rejecting them, is done for the sole purpose of causing an immediate and passionate response. My belief is that the moment I succeed at getting someone to start thinking, reflecting, and exploring, regardless of the topic, I have done my job.

          I will amend the post to address the possible confusion that may result in the “voice” and direction I’ve written in here.

          I am smiling a huge smile as I read your comment, now for the fourth time. Please permit me to copy it in and respond to various parts.
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          …perhaps if you said you see it as equally damaging… but you said spanking was better cause they care enough to use their personal energy… I’m confused.

          They are equally damaging, both result in physical and psychological pain and destruction.

          I agree about ostracism …but… I see what (the lady after me) Tammy (?) does to be time outs, but the new Love and Logic’s”so called timeout” to be sarcastic and very creepy. ( the song to sing simply frightens me.) But, i don’t think that’s timeout but coercion, cloaked aggression and psychic behavior… especially holding a door closed. LnL went wrong some where.

          Indeed. It’s demeaning, diminuitive, disrespecting and dishonoring. AND it is destructive. More on Love and Logic soon…

          But i don’t understand how at any point ostracism is better than spanking. How many killers were hit?

          It isn’t. Ever.
          And, how many killers have been routinely rejected, ignored, and isolated by parents, peers, co-workers?

          No matter how you look at it they both cause tons of mental issues but at least there isn’t physical bruising.

          With timeouts/ostracism, there is mental scarring. With physical bruising, when received out of abuse, there is mental scarring.

          I look forward to more explanation cause…Im not understanding and maybe because its too close.

          I think you are exceptionally intelligent, wise, and have great skill in recognition, as well as perspective…. and…. Perhaps you are correct.

          I hope this shares how much this affected me…but I thought maybe I wasn’t here…but at the no joy blog after thinking over this last night.

          I’m not quite sure if I understand the last part of your thoughts here…
          And I believe your words are very telling of your own experiences and how you relate and I am so thankful you have spoken.

          • I thought I had confused the blog post with the actual prospanking NGJ group as it seemed so different from what i normally read and agree with. I think that contributed to the confusion.

            Also, Id recommend nbc/ nonviolent communication as alternatives to both Love n logics new stances on parenting and most definitly spanking. I carry around little cheat sheets as we’ve only been really nvc’ing for 3ish months…

            Hope that clarified the comment. Enjoying the posts and examples.

            Honey

          • I understand. You’re right.. I wrote it in an odd manner.

            I, too, think NVC is a great concept to fully understand. I also think Restorative Justice is something that is well worth understanding and practicing, at home, as well as in our legal system.

  2. Maybe I’m just missing it… but what exactly do you suggest to do instead of spanking and time outs with children that do not yet have the ability to understand natural consequences? I have heard you say things about your daughter who is two… so what are some examples that you use with her whenever she tells you no, is unkind to a sibling or other children, or if she otherwise misbehaves? I understand that some of what you have said in other articles points to parents changing their responses, reactions, and behavior in their personal lives and their children will model what they see. And I have been working on changing myself and how I speak and interact with my children, and I am seeing major results. But, I am just trying to understand what exactly you are promoting here…. I mean I know for sure now that you are NOT promoting time outs or spankings… so what exactly do you do instead of these?

    • See my response to Honey… as far as why I am struggling to really offer an in depth report of what I DO do.

      You’re not missing anything. I haven’t managed to get my writings together sufficiently yet to provide what you’re looking for, but I am giving a lot of thought to how I can while not needing hours to write.

      I can very quickly reply, however, that natural consequences are understood by the human mind before birth. There is not an age where this suddenly becomes apparent. The mind is hard wired to understand cause and effect, even at the most primitive of levels (cause – hunger, action – seek breast, effect, resolved hunger). What is something that must be developed, however, is the care giver’s ability to think under frustration, in order to first allow a natural consequence to occur (which can cause heartache sometimes), and second, to see what a natural consequence might actually be.

      I’ll go into this in a post titled Love and Logic… and let me state at the very beginning of THAT subject, that are some excellent concepts provided in this model (the L & L method), and there are some very seriously awful concepts.

      • Thank you for following up given your tight cirucmstances. I look forward to your post. I have been thinking a lot about natural consequences and I have tried to implent them. You are so right though about the care giver needing to be retrained to think under frustration. Last night I asked my two boys (three and four) to pick up their toys in their room. I explained to them the importance of working, being responsible, and helping me and their dad before I ever asked them to pick up. They were in whole hearted agreement and both verbalized that they understood exactly what I wanted them to do. They have picked up their toys in their room every day for at least two years, so I know that they knew exactly what I expected. But, since I am doing no time outs and no spankings… I had to rethink how to get them to do what I asked. Needless to say… they didn’t pick up their toys, they chose to play with them instead. I gave them plenty of time and three chances and they put away maybe three out of fifty toys. So, I bagged up the toys they didn’t clean up and put them on the top shelf of my closet. I told them they could have them back at a later time ( a week). Is this a natural consequence? If not what would be a natural consequence with this example? What exactly should I have said/did differently? Honestly, taking their toys away, made them cry more than a time out or spanking ever would… so am I somehow hurting them more by this approach?

        • I’m going to reply, but turn it into a scenario post. She’s asleep at the moment, so who knows, maybe I’ll even get it finished! 🙂

          • Sounds good, Thank you. Just wanted to say that I asked my boys to pick up their toys again tonight… I explained where everything was to go, and they nodded in agreement. I told them I would set the timer, and reminded them that whatever toys were left at the end of the time would go into the closet with the others. I set the timer for ten minutes… and they finished in four minutes! Six minutes to spare! I was so proud, no hitting, no yelling, no time out and they obeyed, I am so proud :)I told them how proud I was of them and then let them pick out two toys from the bag from last night.

  3. I was mostly spanked with a spoon as a child and I remember wishing my parents would give time-outs instead. I agree that timeouts would be damaging if you use them in a punishment mentality ie: every time your kid doesn’t live up to your standard of obediance or annoys you ban them to timeout, resulting in many many timeouts every day. When I quit spanking my own kids, I found time out was a god-send for those first few months where I was fighting the impulse to hit them, but I could control myself long enough to put them in time out instead.
    Now, a year later, time outs are very rare, and they usually happen when I am running out of patience. I don’t think that a short time out where my child has to sit in a chair talk to me about what went wrong is damaging. It can provide the routine they need to take a breath and calm down. And like I said, they are very rare. They do cause neediness and clingyness in my kids if I am putting them in time out every day.

    • I love how you’ve communicated here.

      May I insert “chill out” where you’ve used “timeout”?

      And I love that you talk with them during the moments used to sit and regroup.

      • I like that! I might start using the term “chill-out” instead. I’ve found that communication eliminates the need for most of the “time-out” situations.

  4. I can see a lot of your points…however, I don’t feel timeout is that bad. We use it with our 2 1/2 year old daughter only for more severe things…hitting, biting. It is very rare she is in time out. However, we don’t yell or scream we simply say, “Bummer, no ______ , time out) Then right after Time out we say, “Time out is over, I love you!” and we move on. She hasn’t seemed effected by it negatively at all and like I said, it is rare that she is in time out. I don’t see it as ignoring her…I see it has her taking a couple of minutes to think about her choices and why they were poor ones.

    http://www.happybabyhappyparents.blogspot.com

    • That’s a bummer that you disagree and don’t choose to review science, or the entire practice, as your daughter experiences it. Tell you what, I suggest you take a few moments, think about things a bit, and when I think you have had enough time to really understand within yourself something that you seem to not at the moment, I’ll continue. Until then, I won’t be responding, nor will I allow anyone else to.

      • Review science???? Why spanking is better than time out???? First, you need to respect other peoples’ views and discipline as long as they are creating well rounded kids, who respect everyone, are friendly, treat everyone equally, and are raised with great values. If I see parents who do this…I don’t question their discipline procedures. For kids who are disrespectful, mean, etc. I would question that. You can’t judge….my daughter is one of the happiest kids I know and I’m not the only one who thinks that….So her minimal time outs have not had a negative effect on her! Keep an open mind! I would never spank her…even though I was spanked…there are other, better ways to discipline!

        • That took you 14 minutes. You are not happy with me, are you? I should now say, I suppose, I have decided (by the fact that I approved your response) that you have had enough time to think about what I have imposed upon you to think about. And, I’ll add that I hope you have a better idea now of what you think, and how you’ll act next time. I respect you! And I see nothing wrong with making you take a couple of minutes to think about your choices and why, in my opinion, they are poor ones.

          Pissed, aren’t you.
          I dismissed you. I singled you out, disapproved, and decided that your thoughts, comments, and existence was such that I could assign and judge your value.

          You still haven’t reviewed the science behind the brain’s response to time outs. But that’s ok, because, unlike your daughter, I cannot force you to do anything. I can isolate and reject you, and I can tell you what you do is wrong, but you’re an adult so, I have no power over you. Or do I? Again, you’re pissed at me.

  5. Yeah, I was pissed b/c you are judging me based on not knowing me and what my situation is and how I raise and discipline my daughter. I’m proud of my husband and I, we are on the same page with raising and disciplining our daughter and we are bringing up a very well-rounded, respectful, happy child! Now do you have power over me??? No. Am I pissed again? No… I realize what you are doing. I respect you and your thoughts and like hearing other people’s thoughts, ideas, research etc, even if I don’t agree with all of it!

    • Oh WOW please stop doing the timeout to your daughter. You have no idea the damage you are causing. Just put yourself in your child’s shoes… best wishes

  6. As a child my mother gave me the silent treatment. To this day, and I am 50 years old, she continues this practice. This seemingly inconsequential act has made my life, career, friendships and relationships, extremely difficult. I find myself ALWAYS feeling unliked, unimportant and insecure. I have learned over the years, through my Christian faith, which finally gave me a sense of self acceptance and purpose… to put aside those feelings of doubt. However, they are never truly gone and continue to hinder opportunities to in my work and social life. Thanks for shedding light on this subject. I’ll continue to pray for an answer and I feel confident I’ll find the courage to fear less and love more.

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