Timeouts: Do They Do More Harm Than Good?

Suzanne Murray
16

alarm clockI'm still navigating my way around the world of discipline and trying to figure out how to guide my daughter into becoming a happy, healthy—and well-behaved—individual. It's tough.

Timeouts didn't exist when I was growing up. In those days misbehaving kids were simply told, "Go to your room." My sister used timeouts with her kids and so did a lot of her friends in the early 90's when they were all the rage.

These days experts have differing opinions as to whether they're effective or not. Here's a range of expert opinions on timeouts:

 

Timeouts Are Effective

Robert MacKenzie, M.D., family therapist and educational psychologist, says they stop misbehavior and should be done for one minute per age of the child, but not before the age of three. Parents should use a timer and be exact.


Timeouts Are Harmful

Children need to feel safe and secure and when they're given a time out they feel disconnected, which can actually lead to misbehavior, says Susan Stiffleman of Passionate Parenting. When we give a child a time out we are sending a message that we can only accept their good parts and not the parts that have trouble with their feelings. If you feel the need for a timeout, excuse yourself not your kids.

 

Timeouts Are Okay—Sometimes

According to Ann Corwin (aka The Parenting Doctor), It depends on the circumstances and the child. She says, Never leave your child completely alone in a room—give him something that reminds them of you, a blanket or article that keeps them connected to you. Otherwise they can feel abandoned and this would do more damage than good.

 

Timeouts won't be part of my discipline routine. How about you?

 

Do you use timeouts with your child? How do you implement them? Do they work for you?

 

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