When Timeouts Don’t Work

Show me a parent who has never pulled his or her hair out of sheer frustration with disciplining the kids, and I’ll show you a towering T-rex in a tuxedo.  We’ve all racked our brains out in trying to come up with an effective way to get our kids to behave.  Our parenting skills are put to the test as we devise ways to discipline our children.   These tactics vary from punishment, to taking privileges away, to using timeouts.

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most, if not all, of us have probably employed the time-honored tradition of the timeout as a method to instill discipline in our kids.  Sometimes though, this strategy of steering our kids away from his erring ways just doesn’t work.  The timeout suddenly turns into a major battle, as the kid acts out and forcefully rejects being made to sit quietly in a corner.  Instead of seeing an improved change in behavior, the parent ends up only more frustrated.

Why does this method fail, then?  During a timeout, the kid feels isolated and afraid.  Timeouts teeter on the effectiveness scale when we yell at them as we send the kid to timeout.  He reacts instead of listens.  Timeouts seemingly do nothing to nurture a kid’s compassionate and confident nature.

Being too angry at that moment does cloud our better judgment, so we end up somewhat failing in our efforts at disciplining our kids.  Instead of a timeout, we can have the kid go sit in his room, and ask him to think about what he’s done.   He can write or draw what he thinks happened, and what he should do to make things right.  When you’ve calmed down, you can then enter his room and talk to him.  If he prefers to keep quiet, you can just sit there beside him, as you occasionally give him reassuring hugs.

There is not one method to correct a child’s behavior.  We as parents need to assess how our methods emotionally affect our kids, making sure that these tactics do not compromise our relationship with them.