Looks as though we are putting Time Out into a permanent Time Out. Time Out was the fashionable and widely accepted method for dealing with non-compliant or badly behaved children. Even Nanny 911 told us so with her very best British, no-nonsense delivery.
We started to hear from clients that they didn’t want their nannies to use Time Out when dealing with disciplining their children. I have to admit that we immediately thought- another family who doesn’t want their children’s behavior corrected. We stand corrected.
The trainings we have for our nannies always provide solid tips. Our last series of talks for National Nanny Training Day was entitled “Getting to Yes” which followed up on a previous lecture on “Positive Discipline.” What we learned and now share with all our nannies is that to discipline means to teach. Putting a child in the corner, on a step, or in a naughty chair is not teaching him or her anything. If we think that the banished child is cogitating on his rotten behavior, think again. He’s probably thinking about how mean the person is who isolated him. The punishment is unlikely to change future behavior or build skills.
Instead of the corner, try talking to the offender. Get down on his or her level. Ask questions. Give choices. Have a “time in” with your offender.
Daniel J. Siegel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D in their book No –Drama Discipline: The Whole –Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture your Child’s Developing Mind is worth a read. According to Dr. Siegel:
Misbehavior is often a cry for help calming down and a bid for connection. When the parental response is to isolate the child, an instinctual psychological need of the child goes unmet.
The books goes on to make the point that brain imaging shows that relationship pain caused by the time-out rejection looks like physical pain in the terms of brain activity. That bit of science is thought provoking.
Time out has had its day. Time to move on.