Sunday, March 06, 2011

Does this time-out thing really work for all kids?

So last week I mentioned in the PS that D attended a talk on disciplining toddlers.

This lady has a whole list of disciplines, starting with time-out in the same room, then time-out in the bathroom, and so on, until smacking.

D loved the talk and shared most of it with me, including the fact that I'm a Sergeant Major. Hmmm.

In this instance, that's a good thing.


We've been doing the time-out thing.

Kendra sits quietly on the floor and is a model for time-out.

So I think since she doesn't seem in the least bit affected (it's like you've said "come sit next to me on the bed" or something equally silly), it may not be working.

Straight afterwards, we remind her why she is in time-out (this afternoon for not listening to Mummy) and then she needs to go do what she didn't want to do earlier.


Moving on.

Connor, on the other hand, FREAKS out.

I have not put him in time-out yet because I can't stand the screaming.

D puts him in time-out and the crying starts.

"Dada! Dada! Dada! " - at a really high pitch scream.


This afternoon I teared up because I was in the lounge and Connor started his, "Dada, Dada" and then he saw me so he goes, "Mama, Mama, Mama" and starts coming toward me with tears streaming down his face.

He is distraught.

And yet I'm not supposed to reach out and take him because he's in time-out.

Then D got cross because I just sat there and didn't put him back where he was supposed to be sitting.


So my question is, does this time-out thing work for all sorts of kids?

If you use it, did you adapt slightly according to your children's personalities?

Please - I need tips - before I go over the edge.


  1. There is no way that henry would sit for time out at this stage....he just can't control his legs!! So no advice but I know what you mean!

  2. First of all, I think they're too young for time outs, and that this age is more suited for redirection.

    That said, no, in my experience, time out doesn't work for every kid. E LOVED time outs- I think it was his escape from all his annoying little siblings.

    B & O hated it with a passion. In fact, they both asked if I'd just please spank them instead at one point LOL

  3. No, I don't think it works on every child. It does work on mine. We started at 18 months. They had to stay in time out for 90 seconds. At 2 they moved up to 2 minutes. Poor babies just turned 3, so they get 3 minutes now. This is the only thing that works on mine. So many times we have just had to say either you stop or you are going to time out.... you pick your choice! Good luck figuring it out!

  4. We use time outs with our 3 year old and it works. She sits in the corner of the living room faceing the wall. She can hear all the fun her siblings are having which makes it worse on her. Before we did the corner of the room, she had a time out chair. That didn't work, she thought it was fun and could see everything that was going on.
    I think if it's not workig for you, it's time to move on. Good luck!

  5. We've been using it and it does work. I probably would have been annoyed if I were D too b/c you undermined what he was trying to do. Kids are going to manipulate you using whatever means necessary...get the upper hand now b/c it just gets worse!

    Have you read 1-2-3 Magic? We still have discipline issues (who doesn't?), but at least we're on the same page now.

  6. We do time outs at our house, and it's still kind of hit or miss. We sit them on the stairs and I REFUSE to look at them or interact with them for 2 minutes (how old they are). Sometimes they care, sometimes they don't.

    It's hard when the kiddos become distraught. Totally tears your heart out!

  7. So knock on wood, very few discipline issues. I still work with the redirection because time-outs seem pointless. It is essentially me holding a baby for minute. They get pissed and what up and whoever isn't in time out wants to be in time out!

    Since they won't sit and we hold them, Claire usually wants to cuddle. So I have decided that time outs are pretty much pointless for us at the moment!

  8. We use time-outs very occasionally, usually when one of the girls hits or pushes the other. M might or might not care that she is in time out (you should hear her sarcastic-sounding apology!), but it hurts A's feelings if you even speak too sharply, so it definitely makes an impression on her!

    Time outs did NOT work for my sister, who I have mentioned was very strong-willed. She would either get up from her appointed spot and taunt you about it, or sit where she was told for the allotted time, then get up and do the same thing all over again. My poor mom!

  9. Kendra was probably 4 before I was able to put her in time out - she just jumped up and ran off. Swats (redirection didn't work either) on the hand worked best (usually she was touching stuff that was a "no'no") as she was otherwise a very agreeable child.

    She about drove me NUTS between 2 and 4.

    Then at 4 she began to understand the "time out" and stayed put.

    Vannan, I only had to speak to, time outs were rare. I think she got swatted maybe 2 or 3 times before she turned 3 is all - usually for touching dangerous things ... you know we lived/live in very small houses?

    Joel - he was so easy. I taught him sign language with the baby signing time. Usually he gets a swat or a time out now - but I really didn't have to start using much until he was 3 1/2 or 4 - it has been much worse since our extra girl/and car accident.

    Marriana - time outs most of the time. Swats occasionally if time outs are not working. She is a very difficult child because she never feels she deserved to be stopped. Remember this is my niece, and I've only had her 2 years.

    LaRue is a lot like Kendra. I've not even considered a time out. She gets swats on hand or hiney - depending on circumstances. Redirection where appropriate. I can tell she's going to be a handful just like Kendra. Am I up for this? I'm 16 years older! Anyway, most of the time she does obey.

    Like tonight in the hospital, the floor in Tim's room is "wood" and the hallway is white. So we told her yesterday she could not pass the brown boards. She would carefully line up those little toes right against that white line. Today, she lined up her heels against the white line ... so she could watch what was going on in the hallway.

    I pick my battles.

    Consistentsy is the key. And a BIG mistake that I made - NEVER correct your spouse in front of them, NEVER undermine them. Otherwise they will play you for "good cop, bad cop" the rest of your life.

    If you don't agree - discuss it AFTER and ALONE.

    I do think that was where I dropped the ball with my first 2, and by the time we had Joel, we had worked out a system and rhythm of parenting.

    Exception - if YOU gave permission and they are getting in trouble and it is your fault. But usually, this is a case of the child playing one parent against the other - like Joel had an apple the other day. I scolded him, because I had told him 30 minutes before "NO". Then he asked Tim and Tim said yes. When I scolded, Tim said, "I just said he could have that." and I told Tim, "I told him 30 minutes ago NO because he already had something else." Then the ball was in Tim's court and I left it to Tim to deal with - because now it was a matter of tricking Daddy as well as defying Mom.

    In our house, if I say NO. It stands. If Tim says No, it stands. If I send them to Tim, he gets the call no matter what. If I say YES (depending on what it is), then they have to also get Dad's YES. Not for little things like "can I have chocolate, go outside" but for the big things. It is just part of how we have worked into a parenting rhythm over the years.

    I'll think it over and see what ideas I can give you. NOTHING works with EVERY child 100% of the time.

    Can you guess what their personality is at this point? It was a HUGE help to me to understand how my kid's personality functioned so I was better able to direct them. For instance, we are pretty sure LaRue is another INTJ - just like me, although we might have the N wrong - Kendra doesn't think so. I would have to ask the girls what the rest of their letters are. LOL Kendra is a Champion, like Tim. Vannan a Counselor. Joel is a Teacher.

    Also, positive relationships are key to effective discipline.

  10. Oh, and I would NEVER time out my kids in the bathroom. Bathroom is the NO GO zone for us - they could drown, or eat something poison so easily.

    Time outs were so hard because we didn't have a decent place to put them away from the others.

    So, now there is a chair at the bottom of our steps. MOST of them have a "when you are ready to apologize come in and talk to me" rule. They get spanked if they get out of time out and do not come see me.

    But obviously, LaRue is too small for that.

    Recommended is a certain chair, tile in a room, corner, cushion, etc in a room that you can easily see into, but is not the middle of the place where others are located.

    Avoid places that they can get into trouble/danger easily, places that are difficult to see, places that are 'fun", and places that are super comfortable, and places that have a purpose - like their bed or high chair. (Although we did use the high chair with Kendra when we had to).

  11. WOW. Fantastic comments!

    I am taking this all in...

  12. I think every kid is different. It didn't work at all on me as a child, I can tell you that much. 4 hours at 8 years old, and I still didn't crack. ;-)

    I think I better put some thought into this with Nicola. So far the only things she's done that I wanted to discipline her for is tantrums and scratching/biting. For the tantrums I just ignore her until she settles down again, but for the rest I find distracting her works really blowing lightly in her face or something.

  13. Louisa, that does not surprise me in the least :) You are very persistent!

  14. The time out thing does not work for my eldest. He screams just like your son does. I use other measures and if those measures don't work, then I smack.
    In my opinion, time outs does not work for every child.


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