When "Time Out" Doesn't Work
When I was a kid, my punishment for not listening to my parents or doing something I shouldn’t have was to be sent to my room. Of course, I didn’t mind that since my room was full of all my toys and games to keep me occupied, and unfortunately, anything but punished. Now that I’m a parent, I don’t see that as a smart solution. Don’t get me wrong, I think using “Time Out” is a much needed disciplinary technique, but I it shouldn’t be used in a child’s bedroom where he or she can easily be distracted.
This really hit me when my oldest was five years old and I had sent him to his room for some transgression. I left him in his room for a few minutes to “think about his actions” and then asked him to talk to me about why he was being punished. His response? He forgot he had been sent there since he was building Legos the entire time. I suddenly realized that he was doing exactly what I had done as a kid: Play while in “time out”.
After that incident I realized that I needed a different strategy if I wanted my children to understand their punishments, and hopefully, correct the behavior that sent them there. We now have a “time out chair” at our house, which is usually in a corner or another room (without toys or any electronics). The chair works better than an actual “time out spot” because we can use it while traveling or visiting other relatives. Plus, the rule is that once someone is in time out, they cannot get out of the chair until time is up. So far, this has been working with my two boys, and they definitely understand that “time out” is a punishment, not an excuse to play.
Do you have a time out chair or do you send your kids to their rooms? Which do you think works better?
Catch the season finale of America's Supernanny, tonight at 9pm/8c on Lifetime