Tuesday, November 18, 2014

To Time Out or Not To Time Out

So one of the big parenting debates of late is whether or not time outs will ruin your kids. Because, you know, everything ruins your kids these days. (THE HORROR!!)

Like how, a couple years ago they were all yelling at us for being helicopter parents who wouldn’t let our kids take risks.

And now they are yelling at us for ignoring our kids and obsessing with our smart phones so now our kids are getting hurt too much.

Whatever. We do everything wrong, the end. Amiright?


Time outs. The American Academy of Pediatrics is all, one minute for each year of a child’s age. And insist it isn’t a punishment, per se. But rather a chance to regroup. 

But then Time Magazine is all, Time outs are hurting your child. They make some good points. And Amy McCready, who wrote one of my favorite books If I Have to Tell You One More Time is all, Why Time Out is a Waste of Time.

But then Parent-Child Interactive (PCI) Therapy, which is research-based and has had very positive impacts on a huge spectrum children, uses time outs. I believe their time outs are only for one minute and the goal is to eliminate the reliance on time outs altogether. I think. It was a while ago I read about it. But I think you are supposed to get to the point where you just warn your kids and they stop misbehaving. Like magical angel spawn. 

So here is what I have done. I read conflicting advice throughout my parenting career, and alternate between different approaches as I go. Because everyone knows that the foundation of good parenting is inconsistency. Amiright?

Shoot. You guys. What the heck, you know??

I think the goal of PCI therapy is to give the kids something negative that they are motivated to avoid.  What is that? Negative reinforcement? Punishment? Oh, intro psych, you were SO LONG AGO. (when did I get so OLD? jokes. kind of.) My point is, the time out is short and not life ruining (Oh, THE HORRORS, Time Magazine!). That seems fine. An alternative would seem fine too. So whatever. I like the idea of time outs, as in sports, where you strategize and trouble shoot with the kiddo. But a pissed off preschooler is not much of a strategizer. They have a ton of other skills though, like screaming, kicking, and generalized terrorizing. So if you find a way to put those to good use, let me know. Mmkay, thanks.


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