More on Discipline - part 2: Time Out

Time Out

Time out can be for the child or for the parent. Time out is basically time alone. That is away from the social group. Being social beings, we prefer to be where the action is, so by isolating a child will grab their attention and allow them to rethink their behaviour. Time out is not punishment and should never used to humiliate a child as being forced into the ‘naught chair/spot’. We are looking to avoid creating hurt feelings, embarrassment and humiliation. Try to remove the offending child from the social group before they become angry or embarrass themselves.

As a child gets older they will learn to take themselves to their room when they feel they need some time out to regain control of themselves.

As adults we may also need some time out. When you find yourself getting angry or frustrated with a child’s behaviour, you may need to get away for a short time to bring your own feelings under control. I have often suggested to parents to let their children know why they need time out, “Mummy is getting upset and needs to calm down so I’m going into my room for a little while”. Before doing this, you must make sure your children are left in a safe environment, if possible have another adult present to watch the children while you take a break.

Positive Parenting

Before we get into the next topic I want to stress positive parenting. Look for good behaviours and show your approval and pleasure. Reassure your child that you love them regardless of their bad behaviour. Make time in your busy schedule to spend quality time with each child and this means listening to them. Show them you are interested in them. If you actively listen to your child, they are likely to be more open with you. Active listening means taking note of what they are saying and respond accordingly. Active listening will help you to find out if anything is bothering or worrying your child. Spending time with your child in a positive way will help your child listen to you. Let them know your expectations, be consistent with boundaries and remember to change the boundaries as your child gets older. Having a daily routine and setting boundaries eliminate some of the temper tantrums, as these things become a part of everyday life and therefore are expected. Also, when disciplining, pick you battles. Allow some of the smaller squeamishness to be ignored until you has conquered the bigger battles.

Reasons for bad behaviour

Firstly, take into consideration the age of a child as they may be too young to understand that their actions are unacceptable or with an older child, he/she may not have been taught that this particular action is unacceptable. Much of a child’s bad behaviour may be due to attention seeking and this can be helped through giving more attention to their good behaviour.

Other reasons for bad behaviour may include:

  • Changes within the family such as a new sibling, family stress, starting childcare.

  • Frustration with their inability to communicate or do an activity.

  • Angry or upset and are unable to express themselves in another way.

  • Feeling they are being unfairly treated and what to punish the offending person.

  • Feeling their independence is being restricted and needing room to develop.

If you would like some help with behavioural issues, please don’t hesitate, give us a call. We would be delighted to assist, to arm you with tips and skills to help you manage your family’s challenges.


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