Parenting Information

Time Out for Adults


"Get down from the table top right now! What are you doing? Floors are for standing on, tables are for eating. You need a time out, young lady. You go to your room and think about how you have been acting today."

So little Mary, 4, goes to her room with a sulky look on her face, but is quickly lost in a game with her dolls and toys. When her mother comes to tell her that she can come out, she is so engrossed in playing that she barely looks up, completely forgetting why she was sent to time out in the first place.

So, does time out work for children?

Yes, but only when it is age appropriate (one minute for each year of age) and then followed by a discussion at eye level of why the action was unacceptable. There has to be some conversation or connection to the actual event or misbehavior for it to be used as a teaching tool. It has been my experience that the consequences need to be tied in some tangible way to the mistake in order for the discipline to become long lasting. Perhaps a more effective teaching discipline would be to have Mary scrub the table and chairs.

When the room is in chaos, the kids are fighting, the phone is ringing, the potatoes are burning and the baby is crying all at the same time, the natural reaction is to explode. Even the act of seeing the bike in the driveway, again, is enough to make the blood boil and the steam come out of our ears.

However, I am convinced that parents need to step back at times and reflect on the fact that they are teachers who are training the next generation, instead of giving in to the impulse to scream, smack or threaten. Step back to see a new perspective.

It is better by far for you to give the child some warning and say " I am so angry right now that I am afraid I will say or do something that would make both of us sorry, so I am going to go in the bedroom and calm down for a few minutes. Meet me in the living room in 15 minutes and we will discuss it. But, in the meantime, I strongly suggest you not bother me and that you spend the time thinking about solutions to the problem."

When you feel tense, try saying calming things to yourself aloud: "Things will work out, it is not worth a stroke" "I want to have the misbehavior stop, but not damage my child's spirit" "That was a rotten thing for her to have done, but she is not a rotten child" "She is a good child who made a bad choice" "Is this worth ruining the evening over?" "This too (or two, in the case of toddlers) shall pass."

Relax somewhat by taking a deep breath to the count of four, hold for the count of four and release to the count of four, while you are thinking or saying aloud "Be calm". Now, do it again at least three times. You can feel your muscles unwind and your head clear somewhat. You will feel more in command of your voice and your actions.

Focus on solutions, not excuses

In 15 minutes (often you don't get the luxury of one minute for each year of age, but wouldn't it be nice?) you will have calmed down some and the child will be ready to offer solutions. Do not allow him to offer excuses, only solutions. Allowing him to own the problem and the consequences makes it a much more effective learning experience for both of you. Taking time out before a discussion gives both the parent and the child time to regain some perspective and come up with a much more meaningful solution than one handed out in a moment of anger.

An example from one mother

Sandy, Mother of 3 shared with a parenting class some excellent advice on dealing with children;

"Many times when the kids seemed to have 'an attitude' that I knew could rapidly lead to a confrontation, I made them go in the kitchen and have a peanut butter sandwich or some cheese and crackers and then meet me in 20 minutes to discuss things. Frequently, they were simply hungry or thirsty and needed to get some protein and carbohydrates in their body to regulate the blood sugar. It is amazing how many arguments were forestalled by a full belly. Finding out that active 11-13 year old boys needed 3,000 calories a day to operate and grow, explained why they were cranky a lot!"

Take an adult time out to regroup

You have my permission to take a time out whenever you need it. Children need firm and kind discipline and we can't offer that when we are angry or out of control ourselves. A few minutes of reflection, prayer or deep breathing can give us a new prospective on life and the crayon drawings on the living room wall.

You do the most important work in the world and twenty years from now, it will be a funny family story about Mary on the dining room table. In reflection you will both realize that tables can be washed or even replaced, but close relationships and respectful guidance are priceless.

Judy H. Wright 2005 www.ArtichokePress.com

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator and PBS consultant whose passion is working with Head Start staff and parents as well as child care providers. She wants to encourage a climate of mutual respect and nurturing to all. She salutes those who work with children, either in their home or as a profession. For more a complete listing of articles, books, cd's, workshops and speaking engagements, see www.ArtichokePress.com. Be sure and sign up for the free ezine, "The Artichoke, finding the heart of the story in the journey of life."

  


MORE RESOURCES:

Free-range parenting: How much freedom should kids have?
Minnesota Public Radio News
Two parenting experts — Dr. Alan Kazdin of the Yale Parenting Center and Jennifer Senior, author of 'All Joy and No Fun" — joined MPR News' Kerri Miller to talk about the controversy surrounding free-range parenting, and the idea that parents should ...

and more »


Forget sports stats — my parenting stats off the charts
Arizona Daily Star
You see, she doesn't just play volleyball; she plays Club Volleyball. (Anything that costs in the four digits gets capped.) If your first thought at seeing the word “club” is “Ooooh, sandwich!” then you have no idea what club sports entail. But there ...



Can mindfulness practices strengthen your parenting skills?
Michigan State University Extension
Parenting adolescents can be challenging due to the rapid changes happening for young people cognitively, emotionally, physically and socially. Intense emotions for both child and parent are common during this stage of life — and research shows that ...



Demystifying Parenting in the Digital Age
Huffington Post
The number of children in a family also affects Internet parenting styles. In larger families, less control and support is observed in relation to Internet usage. The gender of parents clearly affects the Internet usage among children as well. Valcke ...



Parenting: Not for the weak-hearted
Chicago Sun-Times - Breaking News (blog)
For I always knew that parenting was less about money than time, even if financial provision is not a negligible matter. When I had more cobwebs in my pockets than cash, no job prospects and not even life insurance to leave something behind if I should ...



Apodaca: Free-range parenting style is another simplistic fad
Daily Pilot
During long, lazy summers, I spent most days running and bicycling around the neighborhood and sometimes across town. I could have been on my way to Timbuktu for all my parents knew. Mom and Dad would be tickled to know that their style of parenting is ...



PennLive.com

'The Slap' makes good TV, but not good parenting: Anne Reeves
PennLive.com
As in anything dealing with parenting, you learn as you go. I always waited to see whether the other parent would step in before I reacted. But when I felt like the child was being emotionally or physically abusive and his parents weren't around or ...



Yahoo Parenting

The Challenges of Parenting an Openly Gay Orthodox Teen
Yahoo Parenting
The conversation over Shavuout lunch at a friend's house three years ago started innocently enough—we were talking about the Israeli Rabbinate's reluctance to provide kosher supervision to food served at non-Orthodox events in Israeli hotels. One of ...



Funniest Parenting Tweets: What Moms And Dads Said On Twitter This Week
Huffington Post
Kids may say the darndest things, but parents tweet about them in the funniest ways -- so we like to round up the most hilarious 140-character quips from moms and dads to spread the joy. Our guest curator this week is Kim Bongiorno, who blogs at Let Me ...



The debate over parenting styles
Washington Post
If we are going to condemn parenting styles, to me, it seems a much more horrifying act of parental irresponsibility to allow young children to plunge into freezing water than to let them walk home alone. The look on the one little girl's face made my ...


Google News

Article List | Index | Site Map
All logos, trademarks and articles on this site are property and copyright of their respective owner(s).
The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is Copyright © 2006 CanadaSEEK.com - All Rights Reserved.