To use Time Out or Not

Lots of parents ask us about the use of “time outs.” We believe that the use of “time outs” is over done and often unrelated to the issues at hand. If a child is angry, asking them to sit quietly in a chair is unrealistic. Better to have them release their adrenaline through physical activity like pounding pillows, running around the house or driveway, vacuuming, etc. Then, once the adrenaline has cleared, talk about a natural consequence. Older children often come up with perfect natural consequences for their actions. “I was careless with something that broke, therefore I need to replace it.” “I forgot to do my chores, so I owe you one extra chore plus the one I forgot.” Natural consequences help our children develop self-discipline and an internal compass. Punishment creates resentment and can foster a sense of being wronged by the parent.

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