Why time-outs may not be as effective as you think they are

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You'll be surprised at the effects time-outs can have on a child's development. Read this informative article to find out more...

time-outs don't work

A full-blown tantrum can be difficult for most parents to handle

“I don’t WANT to put my toys back. Go ‘WAY, I don’t WANT you!”

Are you hearing phrases like this from your toddler? Or perhaps he has just flung his plate across the room or pinched his sister because he didn’t get what he wanted.

Back in the day, children were most likely spanked or yelled at by their parents when they behaved like this.

However, child health experts across the board now agree that such extreme forms of discipline could definitely do more harm than good to a child.

With parents and educators becoming more concerned about the negative impact of corporal punishment and yelling on a child’s development, “time-out” has emerged as a seemingly more appropriate and popular alternative.

But are time-outs as effective as we think they are?

time-outs don't work

Not too long ago, hitting a child as a form of discipline was widely accepted. Time-outs have since largely replaced this.

The origins of time-out

According to the book Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason (Kohn, 2005), time-out is actually an abbreviation for “time out from positive reinforcement.”

The term emerged around half a decade ago from the work of psychologists such as Burrhus Frederic Skinner as a way of training laboratory animals.

As Skinner and his colleagues tried to teach pigeons to peck at certain keys in response to flashing lights, they experimented with various rewards (e.g., food) and punishments (e.g., withholding food) to get the birds to “comply”.

Following the work of Skinner, the term was picked up by other researchers who soon started applying it to methods of discipline for children.

Kohn explains that before long, time-out became the most commonly recommended form of discipline for young children by professionals and a seemingly more effective way of correcting children’s misbehaviour.

Keep reading on the next page…

Bigger Kid Discipline