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Old 05-31-2017, 02:01 AM   #1
nessnco
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Default Time-Out

I am doing a parenting course at the moment (I'm sort of addicted to them, I love meeting other parents), it is illegal to hit children here so for the most part they normally don't bug me. Yesterday they were talking about time-out and I left feeling really annoyed because for them the time to use time out is for hitting or violence and them putting an upset child in a room etc. To me that is harmful (in saying that all the kids in my house now have come to me after being removed from their biological parents) am I over reacting or is there something seriously wrong with separating an upset child from you.
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Old 05-31-2017, 03:20 AM   #2
Earthmummy07
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Default Re: Time-Out

I think it's something everybody has their own comfort level over and it can be very individual to the child. Some older children in particular calm down faster if left to process their feelings somewhere quiet. But forced separation can definitely be counter productive at best, and hurtful for a lot of kids. Its something I'd be very wary of with children with difficult backgrounds

Our rule used to be that no-one in our house had to cry alone. Unfortunately we had to adjust that when my meltdown kid got big enough that sometimes he needed to be separated for everyone's safety but in general I find it much more productive to be there with them to help them work through it, especially with younger kids. Sending them away to deal with their problem by themselves sends some very mixed messages about being able to turn to you for help, and depending on the child it can feel very shaming which is never helpful.
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Old 05-31-2017, 05:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Time-Out

It depends on if being used in a punitive way or a way to help child regroup and work thru the big feelings .GCM used to advocate making a cozy corner for child to go to which works well for some kids
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:02 AM   #4
MegMarch
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Default Re: Time-Out

I think a time out can be a really useful tool for a child to begin learning how to separate themselves from a problem in order to calm down. We call it taking a break to get calm and if the child can be safe during it, we stay with her. If not, we as parents take a break for a few moments to gather our own calm before trying again.

My child is introverted and prefers to be alone to deal with her feelings usually, particularly after about age 3.5 I actually struggle with this a bit because I want to connect, help her process, etc, but she doesn't benefit from that. We've set up a small area of her room for getting calm at various point. For awhile it had a list of ways to help herself - counting, breathing, etc - along with a little music box, a glitter jar, some other stuff.

So imo, it depends a lot on the message. "You don't get to be with other because you are having a hard time, go figure things out" is a lot different than "You are having a hard time, let's help you get calm." The second also empowers the child to do these thing on their own as they mature, providing tools and skills instead of shame and punishment.
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Old 06-02-2017, 01:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Time-Out

It really depends on the child. I use a form of time out with my daughter when she is angry. She cannot stop herself from screaming (literal screams), saying rude things and generally behaving inappropriately. I send her to her room to cool off and give me a few minutes to regroup. She comes out when she's ready and is able to behave in a civilized manner.
When she was little and upset, I could not be in the same room as her or it would set her off all over again. It really was like hitting the reset button her forty five minute melt downs. She is on the spectrum, so that probably has something to do with it.
For me to hug her or try to soothe her is counter productive to say the least. But that time alone is enough for her to calm down and get a fresh perspective.
My son on the other hand needs to be held and comforted when he is upset. I would no more leave him to deal with his big overwhelming feelings than I would leave him unsupervised with markers. He gets really upset and screams until I pick him up and talk to him. Once he hears that his anger is heard and understood, he can move on with his day. But he needs to know that he is heard and someone cares.
That being said, I am not going use time out to punish them. It's pretty illogical if you think about it. Kids aren't thinking about whatever they did to end up in time out. Or at least not in the way they're supposed to be thinking. They are thinking of the injustice of it all and how unfair this situation is. I don't blame them one bit for that, either. Talking when they are calm works a lot better.
I can understand why people use time out. They don't know what else to do. They know they shouldn't hit or yell, so now what? They whole parenting without punishing is a pretty out there idea for most people. I know it had to be right up there with the earth is flat when I first heard it. I felt so sorry for those kids because I believed that their parents were too busy trying to be smarter than everyone else in the room to really parent their children and those poor children were going to pay a very steep price as they got older. But once I learned what to do instead of what not to do, it clicked. It's not letting them do whatever they want, it's setting limits that really do mimic the real world.
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Old 06-02-2017, 07:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Time-Out

I think others have already covered that this is a very complex 'tool'.

It is punitive to separate a child in a shaming or 'when you are worthy of being in our presence, you can return' sort of way. When the goal of a time out is to 'make a child pay' so they will 'remember next time and not want to have to suffer through it again' - it is definitely punishment and something we would never endorse here at GCM

A cozy corner is a great idea for many children to take a step away and recharge.

Older kids can understand 'take a moment, step away for a minute' especially if mom and dad model this for them when they get upset.
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