Daily Archives: March 29, 2010

Consider this

I’ve been thinking a lot about time-outs recently – how over-used and ineffective they have become.  The original meaning of the word, time-out, has taken on a whole new dimension.  It used to mean take a break, refresh yourself, renew your spirit, outlook and energy. 

Now it is the punitive solution to almost all discipline problems – no matter what they are, sometimes over and over again for the same misbehavior. According to many parents I talk to, they sense time -out isn’t working for their child or for them but don’t know what to do instead.

By relying so automatically on time outs, we are omitting any focus or insights on perhaps the real cause of the misbehavior, the child’s need as well as her goal.  For all misbehavior has a goal attached.

As I was musing on this subject, I came across a poem written by a mom in Canada.  I offer it here as food for thought, encouragement, permission if you need it, to try what this mom did and see what happens.  



 Today  I took my four-year-old into my lap.   

This was his time-out.

 Time to cuddle with mommy

 And hear how much he means to me.

Not him sitting alone in a chair

Feeling as if everyone hates him

 I’m not the perfect parent.

 I yell, throw things at my kids

 And say mean stuff sometimes.

 Today my kid was acting

 Like what other people might call a brat

 Kicking his brother

Knocking over toys

And yelling at the top of his lungs

To bug us all.

 So I went over to him, lifted him up

And held him close, just us.

 I told him he is special to me

 He melted, tension flowed away.

 Center of my world

 He relaxed, aaaah…

 After a few minutes

 He jumped off my lap

And went to play quietly with his brother.

 I watched in awe.

  I finally listened to my insides

 That said children need love

 Not punishment.

To be the center of one’s world

 For just a few minutes

 In the time-out chair.

                     by Alaina Chapman, Dunster, BC, Canada

Anyone who wants to explore reasons why their child is misbehaving and sitting in far too many time-outs, let’s talk. Just call Family Resources and ask for Fran.

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