Why are time-outs ineffective?

Kim DeMarchi, MEd Parent Educator, shares advice for parents on why time-outs are an ineffective disciplinary tool, and suggests techniques that work to discipline your child without punishing them
Why Time-Outs are Ineffective
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Why are time-outs ineffective?

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Timeouts are a discipline tool that many people use. Unfortunately, some of the time they become misused. It becomes another word for punishment. When our child is whining, we start yelling, "Stop your whining. Go to your room right now for a timeout. Don't come back until I tell you so." The message that we are now sending your child is: I don't like you. Go away from me. Get out of here. That's the message that they are hearing, just because they were whining. The child didn't need the timeout, the parent needs the timeout. The parent needs to step back, take a few deep breaths, figure out what's going on here? Why is my child whining? What are they trying to communicate to me? And deal with that. Sending a child to a timeout, they are not thinking about it, they have no idea what they've done, probably, and making them stay in there for a certain amount of time is unproductive. A child that is five should not have to stay for five minutes. They may be calm in one minute and be able to re-join the situation. That five year old may not be ready in five minutes when you say, "Come on out. It's been five minutes." Maybe they need ten minutes to get themselves into a calmer space. Self-quieting and self-calming is a much better way to think of it. What is your goal as a parent? Is your goal to punish them and make them feel bad about themselves? Or is your goal to teach them and to get them calm and learn self-control?

Kim DeMarchi, MEd Parent Educator, shares advice for parents on why time-outs are an ineffective disciplinary tool, and suggests techniques that work to discipline your child without punishing them

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Kim DeMarchi, MEd, CPE

Parent Educator

Kim has been an educator for more than 20 years.  She has worked as an elementary school teacher in the independent school sector as well as an Assistant Director of Admissions. She had the pleasure of working with and teaching teachers, assistants, students, and parents. Kim is most proud of being a wife and mother of “tween” boy/girl twins. Being an effective parent is Kim’s passion in life. She says, “every day I try to be mindful of each decision I make in regards to parenting with the end in mind”. Besides Kim’s experiential background, she holds her bachelor’s degree, her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, a master’s degree in Education, and is a Certified Parent Educator in multiple programs. Kim is the Co-Founder of Empowered Parenting, which offers courses, workshops, and one-on-one coaching to parents, teachers, grandparents, healthcare workers, counselors, corporate America, and anyone who relates to children. Kim’s knowledge and experience coupled with her enthusiasm, humor, empathy and compassion, has helped thousands of people worldwide with their daily interactions with children. Kim’s goal is to help reduce conflict, foster mutual respect, and create deeper communication and connections between loved ones.

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