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3 Most Common Mistakes: Time Outs. Common discipline mistakes and how to fix them, on Babble.com.


Common discipline mistakes and how to fix them.

by April Peveteaux

August 14, 2009


What are the three most common mistakes parents make when giving their kids a time out?

Expert: Rocky Spino, licensed counselor and specialist in mental health services to children and adolescents.

1.Giving Up

“Lots of children would like for us to believe that the system hasn’t been invented that can handle them. If we buy into this bluff, then we soon find ourselves in a cycle of bailing out of everything we try. Before you start that kitchen timer, first start out with the right attitude; one of confident, can-do authority.”

2. Talking Too Much

“This might involve constantly threatening time outs rather than giving them: Issuing endless warnings or lecturing from beginning to end. Remember, the time out experience speaks for itself. It calls for action, not chatter.”

3. Bad Timing

“Requiring excessive time, choosing the wrong time and repeatedly resetting the time are all temporal no-nos that can take their toll. A half-hour time out really is no better than a ten-minute one in terms of teaching a lesson. Consequences don’t have to hurt, they just have to happen. Also, timing-out that child who is constantly late getting out the door in the morning or going to bed at night only introduces more delay and stress into the situation. Having a plan that works out things [such as] when to give and when not to give time outs can help prevent unpleasant surprises. Lastly, there is no need to start over for every antic in the time-out chair. When children get parents to continually return to the scene, attention-seeking can quickly begin to replace the reparative value of boredom and being ignored.”

As told to April Peveteaux.

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