Time-out is a good discipline strategy, but … why does it sometimes not work?
Parents use time-out for many reasons, because when it really works this strategy is very powerful and effective in children. But of course, this does not mean that it will work forever. Even those parents who see waiting time as an effective strategy cannot put it into practice because it is not effective for their children … or it may work for one of their children but not for the rest. Time-out is not always the only solution to correcting the behavior of all children.
Some children refuse to sit and yell or get angry. Others may not mind sitting still and prefer to be quiet playing in their bedroom. There are also children who can end up even more angry than before and make their behavior worse.
REASONS WHY THE WAIT TIME DOES NOT ALWAYS WORK
Your son knows he’s an empty threat
You can threaten the waiting time for your child but not follow through on what you say. If your child does something that requires a consequence, you have to act immediately and be consistent. This applies to child discipline strategies, not just wait times.
Play with toys or watch TV
If your child watches TV or is playing with toys instead of thinking, then the waiting time is not working. For him, the waiting time will be a time for fun and will not have a real consequence that allows him to reflect on his behavior.
You talk to your child during the waiting time
If you do not give him space to talk about his bad behavior, the waiting time will not be effective. The time out should be just that, a break, and not a time to scold your child or talk about what they did wrong. It should be an opportunity for your child (and you) to calm down and for your child to take a break from any conflicts or problems that led to the misbehavior, redirect their energy, and think about what they should and shouldn’t have done.
This is not the time for parents to talk to their children, yell, or express their frustration. You can calmly discuss what your child did wrong and what they can do better next time after the waiting time is up.
Your child feels insecure
If your child is yelling and upset about being out of time, they are likely feeling insecure. In a soothing voice, you will have to explain to him that you are only allowing time for him to be in a harmonious place, where he will have the opportunity to calm down and think about what he did wrong. You have to make sure that he knows that you love him at all times and that you will talk to him after the waiting time is up.
The waiting time is too long
If, for example, you leave your child 15 minutes in the waiting time and he is 5 years old, it is too long. Younger children should have a short wait time, a 5-year-old will need 5 minutes and no more. It is necessary to take into account the quality and not the quantity of the time. You need to be in a quiet place where you can think about what got you there on time, and what you can do next time so you don’t end up on waiting time.
It’s too entertaining a place
If you send your child to his room where he can play happily with his toys or put him in front of a television or give him a tablet or a computer to play with, it is not time for rest. She needs a quiet, distraction-free space to think about her behavior.
He’s too angry when you tell him to time out
If you send your child to the time out, you are sending him a message that you reject him instead of giving him a consequence for his behavior. Calm can be contagious, but so is anger. To avoid a power struggle and crying of confusion, it is important that you explain to your child that you love him, but that you do not accept bad behavior. Keep the cove and be gentle when you tell him that the waiting time is necessary and is a consequence for his behavior. That you need quiet time to make better decisions next time. Waiting time is not a punishment because you are angry, emotions are valid, whatever they are.
You give up trying a couple of times
If the wait time doesn’t work (your child gets angry, you don’t see any improvement in behavior, etc.), give it time. Your child may simply need to adjust to the idea of thinking of a quiet place and learn to calm down. You want to be consistent and calm and keep using time-outs for at least several weeks before throwing in the towel.
As your child matures, you may want to try free time again so that he learns to take a breath and calm down when he gets upset, a pretty important skill for school-age children to thrive.
You are abusing the waiting time
If you. Son spends more time in waiting time than sharing positive interactions with you, then it is too much. If you use time-out every day, you may be overdoing it. You will need to take a look at what is causing the bad behavior and find other ways to stop it before it starts.
You may also consider other ways to discipline your child, such as taking away privileges. And most important of all, you have to make sure that you have a strong bond with your child, that you have positive interactions, and that you play and laugh together every day. You have fun next to each other and have good communication (as in meals) .
You don’t talk about things with your kids when the waiting time is up
One of the most important components of waiting time is talking to your child after what happened. Explain why you had this consequence and what you can do differently next time to prevent that from happening. When you connect with your child, you will have the opportunity to calm down and think together. So your child will know that you love him and that you are by his side to guide him and a better behavior and in everything he needs.
Dr. Tabriella Perivolaris, Sara's mother and fan of fashion, beauty, motherhood, among others, about the female universe. Since 2018 she has been working as a copywriter, always bringing to her articles a little of her experience and experience as a mother and woman.