Time Out as a parenting strategy has been around for decades, however in recent times it’s been strongly criticised by a few. It’s been claimed that Time-Out is harmful to children; that using Time-Out can traumatise children and cause them short and long-term harm. It’s been argued that Time-Out sends the message that the child is not loved and is ‘unlovable’; that the child feels rejected and abandoned. How ridiculous! Adding insult to injury, instead of using Time-Out, parents are advised to use Time-In. Time-In is where the parent must remain calm and must speak in soothing tones to ‘re-connect’ with their ‘little darling’, who is apparently so distressed that they cannot possibly manage on their own with their ‘big feelings’. And Time-In is supposed to magically make everything better and the child will stop throwing tantrums because they feel so connected and supported by their very understanding, loving, patient parent. This is the most ridiculous piece of parenting advice I’ve heard. Time-In rewards a child’s tantrum, so instead of getting fewer tantrums, you are teaching the child to throw a tantrum so they can get your undivided attention. This is a great example of popular opinion taking the place of decades of scientific research.
Last week (May, 2019) Professor Dadds, from the University of Sydney (Child Behaviour Research Clinic), published their latest research which conclusively showed that Time-Out is very beneficial to children with disruptive behaviour, and using Time-Out results in children being “much happier and much more regulated”. Professor Dadds even went on to suggest that Government Agencies responsible for the adoption and foster-care of children with traumatic backgrounds should also be recommending the use of Time-Out, and that they have seriously got it wrong by advising that Time-Out should not be used. Anyone recommending the use of Time-In might need to check their Psychology 101 lecture notes.
Time-Out is a healthy and very effective strategy for containing a child’s unruly, intolerable, unreasonable, aggressive behaviour, regardless of whether your child has ADHD, ODD, ASD or any other behavioural issue. And if you’ve tried Time-Out before and it didn’t work, don’t worry, that’s most likely because Time-Out has been diluted down by the mamby pamby brigade. Time-Out often needs to be tailored to your child and your situation. This is usually pretty straight forward after discussing everything in detail. And as a parent of a child who is throwing tantrum after tantrum, please don’t think you need to distinguish between what is a ‘sensory overload meltdown’, verses a ‘tantrum’ verses another ‘big feelings episode’ – it’s all the same, it’s a tantrum!
For more information about Time-Out, you can listen to my Permission to Parent Podcast. Please follow the link https://permissiontoparent.com.au/blog-podcast/