‘Time-Outs’ Are Hurting Your Child

While I agree with some of this, I do think there are times when you need to separate the child from the situation, calm yourself down, then rejoin your child to discuss the behavior. Children can quickly escalate our internal dysregulation, so it is important to recognize what is happening inside of you. Using words to describe your internal state can help model for your child: “I’m feeling frustrated. I need a moment alone to calm down.”

TIME

Time-out is the most popular discipline technique used by parents and the one most often recommended by pediatricians and child development experts. But is it good for kids? Is it effective? Not according to the implications of the latest research on relationships and the developing brain.

Studies in neuroplasticity—the brain’s adaptability—have proved that repeated experiences actually change the physical structure of the brain. Since discipline-related interactions between children and caregivers comprise a large amount of childhood experiences, it becomes vital that parents thoughtfully consider how they respond when kids misbehave. Discipline is about teaching – not about punishment – and finding ways to teach children appropriate behavior is essential for healthy development.

So what about time-outs? In most cases, the primary experience a time-out offers a child is isolation. Even when presented in a patient and loving manner, time-outs teach them that when they make a mistake, or when they…

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