Time ins, not time outs


Not sure what this means? Maybe this article can help a bit. If you follow the link you will find other links in the article with more extensive explanations about the two. Excellent place to start your research about time-ins:

“To me, the traditional version of “time-out” complete with naughty chair and one minute for every year of the child’s age is the equivalent of emotional spanking.

I also have just a common-sense kind of beef with time-out: if your child is that calm that they can go and sit in a chair to “think”, then they probably could have been addressed with other methods of positive discipline to guide them. I am all for helping to guide children.

The opposite end of this spectrum is that when children are not calm and they are falling apart, this is not a teachable moment. If you need a time-out as a parent, I am all for that. However, for the child end of this equation, if your child is so upset and they are melting, how is sending them with their overwhelming feelings to sit in a chair going to help them make the most of this opportunity to learn?

I also find that Americans and the Brits are really the only groups where time-out seems to come up at all. So I think there is a strong cultural component that is influencing the use of time-in in parenting in this country.

Some people have argued that time-in is not much of a deterrent toward changing behavior. What time-in gives a child is the chance to connect. Time-in is not a punitive strategy; it is a strategy toward making a teachable moment happen and calming everyone down. Lawrence Cohen, PhD and author of “Playful Parenting”, has a whole section in this book entitled, “ Choose A “Meeting On the Couch” Over a “Time-Out” (page 234). I would encourage everyone to read this book, and this section in particular as he talks about time-outs were supposed to be a humane alternative to hitting children and have now ended up as the ultimate tool of positive discipline but that time-outs “enforce isolation on children who are probably already feeling isolated and disconnected.” He goes on to talk about how one COULD use time-out in a better way: 1. By inserting yourself into a child’s play when things are ramping up and play with the child(ren) (to me, this is like the way I say “Hold The Space” This may work well for sibling fighting! You could say “Time-out! I am going to play with you all now too!” 2. Providing a time-out for YOURSELF (which I am all for!) or 3. Giving children a cozy place they can go to and calm down in when they choose to go there, for however long they choose to stay there (I find this can work for children coming up on 9, but that many small children just do not understand the concept of being by themselves to calm down; they need your help!)

I have always liked the poem by Edwin Markham, which A.S. Neill quotes in the beginning of his book Freedom—Not Licensel:

He drew a circle that shut me out –
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout,
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!”

Still not convinced? I am all for boundaries! You can still be gentle and have boundaries. You can still love your child and keep boundaries. In fact, I think if you truly love your child, there MUST be boundaries. But I am also all for understanding a child’s developmental stage and working with that in a positive way. As Barbara Coloroso, author of “Kids Are Worth It! Giving the Gift of Inner Discipline” says regarding discipline: Leave your child’s dignity intact.

Help your children by guiding them with LOVE.”


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