Timeout seems a good idea, after all, it is well documented by some very well respected professionals and lots of parents use them, however in reality they can cause a lot of upset and grief for both children and parents and isolates children when they need to connect with you most.
Why we need to stop using timeout and find a more positive alternative?
1. Timeout makes children feel bad and lowers their self esteem
If children are behaving badly, they were already feeling bad, sending them to timeout will just make this worse. In order for children to behave better we need to help them to feel better.
2. Timeouts don’t help children to regulate their emotions
The best way to teach children to calm themselves down is to provide a nurturing environment where they feel safe and secure. Sending children to timeout means they will likely calm down eventually, however resentment, stress and frustration may be building up within them, which means they are quicker to anger and less likely to behave well. It is far better to provide a place where they can use as a calming soothing place to unwind, where they recognize a place of comfort and relaxation rather than isolation and punishment.
3. Timeout is a negative thing to do
Sending an upset child to timeout will likely make them feel rejected just as they were feeling out of control and really need to connect with you. It is more effective in the long term to use positive techniques such as having ‘time in’ with your child to re-connect and listen to them, honour their feelings and help them to understand their emotions.
4. Timeout can damage your relationship with your child
Instead of reaffirming the relationship that you want with your child, timeout creates a power struggle and a controlling win lose situation. For long lasting positive relationships with your child look for ways of finding a win-win solution.
5. Timeout, like other fear based punishments can weaken your bond with your child
In order to encourage the behaviour that you want, you need to be looking to create a strong bond and good relationship with your child, using timeout can weaken that bond because you are isolating them when they need you most.
Positive alternatives to using timeout
If you want to teach your child emotional self-management, try to nip things in the bud and catch things before they escalate. If you see your child getting upset, angry or starting to use any number of negative behaviours such as hitting or shouting, it’s a warning sign that you need to re-direct your child to something to calm them or distract them to something positive to do. You can do this in a number of ways including taking some quiet time together perhaps sitting together and reassuring them that you understand that they are upset and that you are happy to talk about what is bothering them when they are calm.
To find more positive ways to encourage the good behaviour that you want, please contact us directly, we are happy to help