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Time out: yes or no?

There is a lot of controversy around this discipline strategy which has been whether very criticised or implemented by parents who swear it works. Confusing? I know and I hear you.

It seems to be very harsh to take ours kids and put them in a corner for a certain amount of time, alone. But hey! if professional practitioners say it will help them calm down and think about what they’ve done wrong; then it will teach them what is not acceptable for us parents. Therefore, next time they will do better. Is that so?

What I’ve noticed by working with families in the last 8 years and being a mum myself, is that learning takes time. It takes time for children to learn how to control their reactions, it takes time for them to learn how to write, how to swim, how to respond, how to behave, and it takes time to build a sense of self and a personality.

The only thing that our children will remember when we use the time out technique, is that when they don’t do what we want from them, then our reaction will just be to reject them. Rejection doesn’t feel good, and it builds resentment. When children don’t repeat the “bad” behaviour afterwards, it’s only because they don’t want to be rejected again. That’s why, they will choose to please us. We don’t want them to become people pleaser who grow up seeking external validation for them to feel good about themselves. We want to raise them so they become self-confident with a good level of self-esteem for them to be able to thrive in life.

So, what to do when their behaviour become out of control and they don’t listen to us when we are trying to make sense of their actions but they’re pushing our buttons?

Use the “time out with me” strategy. What’s that? It’s simple, we remove the kids from the situation, meaning we go somewhere else. We stay with them and we acknowledge the feelings. We can offer a hug which will refill their emotional jug. Once our kids are back to a normal state then we can explain why we decided to move them away. This way of doing “Time out” will help us resolve a difficult situation but also will show the kids that they are never alone with their feelings and that we are not scared of those ourselves. In fact, we are accepting them and normalising the fact that emotions come and go.

The result is that children feel seen, heard, understood, valued and most importantly secure. They can always count on us no matter what happens.

If you want to know more about the “Time Out” and how to help them self-regulate while we are accompanying them, be in touch.

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